Word of the Day: Chatta’ah 

Meaning: Sin

Hebrew: חַטָּאָה

Pronounced: khat-taw-aw

Copy the word at the top of your page. Say it aloud three times.

Have you heard this word before? If so, what do you know about it?

Look up the following references where this word is used. How do they aid your understanding of the word?

Genesis 4:7

Genesis 18:20

Genesis 31:36

Genesis 50:17

Exodus 10:17

Exodus 29:14

The first use of this word is in Genesis 4, but we know that the concept of sin entered the world at the fall, in Genesis 3. Read Genesis 3 and note three things: 

  1. How sin entered the world
  2. What was affected by sin
  3. What was the ultimate result of sin’s entrance into the narrative

Where are we in the meta-narrative of Scripture (or, the story of Redemption)? 

Chatta’ah (sin) comes glaringly onto the scene in Genesis 3. If Genesis 1 and 2 are all about the setting of the story, Genesis 3 is all about the conflict introduced into the story. Chatta’ah is the Hebrew word for our direct disobedience of God’s commands. It is used of Old Testament characters, and it can be used of us. 

One of the most interesting things about the Hebrew language is how thoughtful it is, with layers of meaning woven into every syllable. In Hebrew, the sound of a word often embodies the meaning of that word, and Chatta’ah is not exception. While Elohim has a soothing, royal sound as it rolls off our tongues, Chatta’ah is abrasive, harsh, and abrupt. 

Just like the word sounds, Chatta’ah ruptures our relationship with God, creation, and each other. It breaks us and all our relational ties. After the fall, every relationship we can name – man and God, man and woman, woman and child, man and nature – is strained under the burden and weight of Chatta’ah. Our story needs a hero. We need a rescue. The main character, who began so serenely at the setting of the story Self-content and Self-Fulfilled, needs to step in and save the day. 

Pray & Reflect: Confess to God that you know you sin. Ask Him to forgive your sins. Thank Him that you know the end of the story – thank Him for sending a Savior to remove your sins and make your relationship with Him right again.

Author: amygannett

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  • Amy this was wonderful, just love studying words. So enriching! As someone who was born in one language, lives in another, and thinks /writes in yet another, words are especially dear to me.
    I have a question, I’ll be looking it up online as well, but would love your insight or to point me to resources. In Hebrew how is the word transgression different? Reading Genesis 50:17 made me think of it.

    Then I have a thought and would love your take on it. It really called my attention the choice of animal and general description in Exodus 29:14. After raading the other verses where the word for sin is used, I was struck by how the offering for sin is the skin, flesh, and excrement of a beast that is large and strong. And that it must be burnt outside the camp. Made me think of the nature of sin seeking to overpower us. It’s strong. Its allure is large and hard to deal with. The fact that this offering is to be burnt outside of the camp made me think of the nature of God is so diametrically opposed to that of sin. He is holy and can not be in the presence of what isn’t holy.
    Anyway, just pondering outloud 😉. Would love to hear your thoughts Amy. So love learning to navigate the Word, thanks for creating this space and resource!

    • Great thoughts here! There are several Hebrew words for sin, and we looked at the most general word (all-encompassing word) for it in today’s study. There are others, and you can check them out in a Strong’s Reference or on BibleHub! It’s a great study!

      I think your point about sin offerings being offered outside the camp DOES point us to God’s holiness. Think about the Fall – where did Adam and Eve have to go? Outside the Garden. Where were sin offering made? Outside the Temple (the place of God’s presence). Where was Jesus crucified? Outside the holy city. God’s presence and sin do not mix!