The Bible uses a number of different terms to help us understand the nature of sin. One of those is transgression, which is a word that we really don’t use too often in everyday language, but is extremely profound. Let’s take a look at it together.
The word transgression means “to cross over” or “to pass by.” In the Bible, it is most often used in reference to transgressing God’s explicit commands. When God gives a specific command and that command is disobeyed, transgression has taken place. God’s Law has been broken, which is probably the way we most often think about sin.
The first explicit sin recorded in the Bible is an act of transgression found in the first three chapters of Genesis. God gave Adam and Eve an explicit command in the garden of Eden: do not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If they did, they would die. Despite knowing God’s command, what did they do?
They ate the fruit, and death came into the world as a result. They transgressed, or broke, God’s commands. And every time we sin in a way that runs contrary to what God has said—lying, stealing, hating, being disobedient to our parents, you name it—a transgression has been made.