List of Sins

The Bible does not contain a complete list of sins.  However, it does give a large sampling of those things that God considers to be sin.  

Before we get to the list of sins, let’s first take the time to establish the biblical definition of sin. 

The Bible defines sin as breaking God’s law. 

1 John 3.4:  “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”  

The word “lawlessness” comes from the Greek word anomia. 

  • Nomia is from the root word Nomos meaning “law”
  • Affixed to the beginning of the word is the prefix “a”.  This negates the word.
  • Thus “anomia” means "without law."

To sin is to commit lawlessness, to act outside of the boundaries of law.  Simply put, John tells us that sin is when we violate the laws of God. 

Sin can fall into one of two categories.

  1. Sin of omission.  This is when we do not do what God commands us to do.
  2. Sin of commission.  This is when we do what God has commanded us not to do. 

Sin is Universal

Romans 3.23:   “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”  

The Bible also tells us that everyone has committed sin.  Even the most celebrated biblical heroes were not without sin. 

  • David is described as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13.22).  Yet David had an affair with a woman named Bathsheba.  When she became pregnant, David had her husband, Uriah (a faithful soldier in David’s army) murdered  (2 Sam. 11).  
  • Noah was a drunkard.  (Gen. 9.21)
  • Abraham lied several times.  (Gen. 12.10-17)
  • Jonah ran away from God -- which is why he was swallowed by a great fish  (Jonah 2)
  • Solomon allowed his wives to lead him into idolatry  (1 Kings 11).  
  • Peter denied Jesus three times  (Matt. 26). 

The difference between those who are lost and those who are saved is the presence of sin in their lives.  Thus the question of how to be saved is a question of how to resolve the problem of sin.  

It does not matter who you are, everyone great and small has committed sin.  When you go to the grocery store and pass by someone in the isle, you know that he or she has sinned and is either saved or needs to know how to be saved.  When you go into the bank and speak with the teller, you are speaking to someone who is either saved or needs to know how to be saved.  When you say hello to the postman that brings your mail or the UPS driver who delivers a package, you are greeting someone who has in some way broken the laws of God and either has been saved or needs to know how to be saved.  When you look in the mirror, you see someone who has sinned.  

So often sin is minimized and trivialized.  Some ask, why do I need to know how to be saved?  After all, God would never condemn me for such inconsequential sins.  However, the Bible shows that sin comes with severe consequences.

Romans 6.23:   "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

When we go to our place of employment and put in our hours, we are earning our paycheck.  In like manner, Paul is saying to us that when we commit sin, we get what we have earned -- spiritual death.

The best way to understand the concept of spiritual death is to read Isaiah 59.2:

Isaiah 59.2:  “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.”

Spiritual death is being separated from God.  If we die in this state of spiritual separation, we face an eternal separation, what the Bible calls Hell.

Everyone has committed sin.  However, God offers a way for sin to be removed, and the Bible tells us how to be saved by accessing His gift of salvation.

Scriptures which Provide a List of Sins

Below you will find three passages in the Bible which contain a list of sins.  After each passage, notice a couple of observations.

1.  The first passage which provides a list of sins...

Galatians 5.19-21:  "Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. "

A couple of observations regarding this list of sins contained in Galatians 5.19-21

  • It is worthy of notice that there is no little sin in the eyes of God.  Envy is just as bad as adultery.  Drunkenness will condemn you just as much as murder.
  • Also notice the phrase at the end of the list, "and the like."  This is not an all inclusive list by any means.  These are sins, but so is anything else that is like them.

2.  The second passage which provides a list of sins...

Romans 1.28-32:  "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."

A couple of observations regarding this list of sins contained in Romans 1.28-32:

  • The phrase, "God gave them over" is found several times in this chapter.  The idea is that God did not interfere with their free will.  He stepped aside and allowed them to do what they wanted.
  • Also notice that it is not just sinful to practice such things, but it is sinful to approve of others who practice such things.

3.  The third passage which provides a list of sins...

Revelation 21.8:  "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

A couple of observations from the list of sins contained in Revelation 21.8:

  • Again, it is worthy of notice that there is no sin that is worse than the other.  Someone who tells a lie will be eternally lost just as a murderer.
  • While all sin condemns one to this end, one does not have to remain in this sinful condition. He can be saved by God because of Jesus Christ.

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