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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


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tres´pas : To pass over, to go beyond one's right in place or act; to injure another; to do that which annoys or inconveniences another; any violation of law, civil or moral; it may relate to a person, a community, or the state, or to offenses against God. The Hebrew אשׁם , 'āshām ("sin"), is used very frequently in the Old Testament when the trespass is a violation of law of which God is the author. The Greek word is παράπτωμα , paraptōma .

In the Old Testament an offering was demanded when the offense was against God: a female lamb; in other cases, according to the magnitude of the wrong, a ram or a goat; the offering was to be preceded by a confession by the one committing the trespass. If the trespass was against a human being, the wrong-doer must make it right with the person, and when reconciliation should have been effected, then the offering for sin was to be made. See under SACRIFICE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT , "Trespass Offering." If a person's property has been injured, then the trespasser shall add a fifth to the value of the property injured and give that to the injured party (Leviticus 6:5 ). Zaccheus, wanting to make full restitution, went beyond the demands of the Law (Luke 19:1-9 ).

The New Testament teaching on the subject is, first to be reconciled to the brother and then offer, or worship (Matthew 5:23 , Matthew 5:24 ). In all cases, also, the offended party must forgive if the offender shall say, "I repent" (Matthew 6:14 ; Ephesians 4:32 ; Colossians 3:13 ). We have been alienated by our trespasses from God (Ephesians 2:1 ). It was the Father's good will to reconcile all to Himself through Christ (Colossians 1:20-22 ). We must be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20 , 2 Corinthians 5:21 ). This being done, our trespasses shall be forgiven and we shall be justified.

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Trespass'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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