What is Sin?


What is Sin?
Sin is a word that is often thrown around without considering the fundamental question … what is sin? Especially, what is sin from a Christian or biblical worldview perspective?

Ways the Bible Talks About Sin

There are several ways that the biblical writers talk about sin that are extremely helpful in answering the question, what is sin? We will examine these ways briefly below.

What is Sin? Missing the Mark

The word “sin” in Greek is a term pulled from archery. In archery, there is a target or bullseye and the distance between the bullseye and where the arrow lands is called “the sin.” What is sin? It’s like missing the mark or missing the bullseye of the life that God has created us to live.

What is Sin? Straying Off the Path

Another way the biblical writers talk about sin is by comparing it to straying off of a path. There is a path of living the way God intended for us to live … and when we stray from that path, we are “out of bounds” as far as God is concerned. What is sin? It’s like straying off of the path that God intends for us.

What is Sin? Being Lost

Similar to straying off the path, sin is often referred to as “being lost.” We are treating this separately from straying off the path because of the intense nature of the imagery of being lost. There’s a difference between taking a few steps off the path and leaving the path so far behind that you lose your bearings and don’t know where you are. What is sin? It’s like being lost. It is leaving God’s ways behind in such a way that you lose sight of where you were designed to be.

What is Sin? Being Sick

Biblical writers, especially in the stories of Jesus, equate being sick with sin. It’s not that if you are physically sick, it is caused by sin. But the sin nature inside of us is similar to a systemic problem in our bodies. What is sin? It’s like being sick. It is having a virus or other brokenness inside of you that affects everything you do.

What is Sin? Cheating on a Spouse

There is a brokenness, relationally, between God and human beings. Because we choose to live our way instead of His way, it’s as though we are cheating on God. God loves us and has taken steps toward us in Jesus to destroy the gap between us and reunite us. All we have to do is trust Jesus and devote our lives to following Him … and as we do that, the brokenness is healed and the gap is removed. What is sin? It’s like cheating on a spouse. The relationship that was meant to be between two people is broken and needs to be put back together.

What is Sin and What Do We Do About It?

After looking at an overview of the ways biblical writers answer the question, what is sin, the next question follows very quickly. What do we do about it?

What is Sin? Our Need for a Savior

Sin is not something we can deal with on our own. We can’t heal ourselves or find our way back to God’s path on our own. We’re lost. We’re broken. There is good news in response to the question what is sin? The good news is that God sent Jesus to be our Savior—to save us from sin so that we could live the life we were created to live.

What is Sin? Systemic to the Human Race

One of the reasons sin is such a problem is because it is systemic to the human race. All cultures, all societies, exhibit problems because of sin. What is sin? It is the virus that is baked into our DNA that causes us to live outside of God’s plan and God’s ways. Only Jesus can save us from our sin. Only Jesus can heal the systematic brokenness inside of us. What is sin? It’s something that only God can deal with it because of its massive scale.


For more information about sin and other Christian worldview topics, visit the free resources section of our website.

Who is Summit Ministries?

Summit Ministries exists to cultivate rising generations to resolutely champion a biblical worldview. We accomplish this in several ways.

Developing Free Worldview Resources
Hosting Student Conferences
Providing Curriculum for both Christian Schools and Homeschoolers

Developing Free Worldview Resources

We have a huge archive of worldview resources in the form of videos and articles. These are all developed from the standpoint of apologetics—providing a defense for the Christian faith and a biblical worldview.

Hosting Student Conferences

Every summer, hundreds of students attend one of our Student Conferences in Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. During these conferences, students hear from some of the foremost minds in Christianity, as they learn to defend their faith and prepare for college. The result is hundreds of students who have taken ownership of their faith and know why they believe what they believe.

Providing Christian School and Homeschool Curriculum

Another way we encourage rising generations to stand strong in a biblical worldview is through providing bible curriculum for Christian Schools and Homeschools. Thousands of kids are using these tools to understand their faith (at an age-appropriate level) and then be ready with a defense of why they believe what they believe. The study of apologetics can begin at a young age, even though it will look differently than it does later on in life.

The Focus of Summit Ministries

We are focused on helping people approach and understand life from a Christian, biblical worldview. In our culture today, there are many competing worldviews that offer an explanation for the big questions in life. Through the study and application of apologetics, we provide a solid foundation for people to feel confident in a biblical worldview.

What Areas Does Summit Ministries study?

Answers for the biggest questions in life are being offered all around us. How do we sort through this barrage of assumptions and assertions? We have identified ten areas where the biblical worldview can guide our thinking and our behavior. These areas are woven into our homeschool curriculum right from the start, in ways that are age-appropriate.

  • Theology
  • Philosophy
  • Ethics
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Law
  • Politics
  • Economics
  • History

These 10 areas provide a comprehensive worldview that is based on biblical principles. Through the consistent application of apologetics to these 10 topics, we teach people how to defend their faith with confidence.

The History of Summit Ministries

An alarming number of Christians stumble while in college and around half will renounce their faith because they simply do not have a defense for what they believe. David Noebel, our founder and former president, almost joined those statistics while he was a philosophy student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Dr. Noebel founded Summit Ministries in 1962 to help ground Christians in their faith, thereby enabling them to face the barrage of challenges on college campuses.

Our home is a turn-of- the-century hotel (formerly known as The Grandview), luxurious by early 20th century standards. Around this hotel, we have built our home in a complex of buildings dubbed the Summit Village. This, our home base, is located in Manitou Springs, CO at the foot of Pike’s Peak.

From 1962 until 1988, we were a small series of camp-style conferences, hosting an average of 350 students each year. After sending his own son Ryan through our program, Dr. James Dobson featured Summit Ministries on the Focus on the Family radio program in 1989, which quickly grew our attendance exponentially.

Today, with our world-renowned faculty and under the direction of President Dr. Jeff Myers, we are viewed as one of the foremost leaders in training Christians in apologetics, worldview analysis, and social engagement.