Sin, Shame, Guilt & Proclaiming the Evangel (1)

I. Note passages from the Bible
II. Note some notes
III. Comments

II. Noting Some Notes:



SHAME. The Eng. word and its cognates appear about 190 times in OT and 46 times in NT. These occurrences are translations of original forms representing at least 10 different Heb. and 7 different Gk. roots and a considerably larger number of Heb. and Gk. words.

Two main meanings can be distinguished: descriptions of states of mind, and descriptions of physical states. The states of mind may be classified into three broad categories: first, those where an individual is or might be the object of contempt, derision or humiliation; second, those where he feels bashfulness or shyness; third, those where he feels respect or awe. The physical states involve a degree of exposure or nudity, or the words are used as euphemisms for the sexual organs.

The most frequent usage by far involves the ideas connected with contempt, derision and humiliation.

Woolley, P. (1996). Shame. In D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard, J. I. Packer, & D. J. Wiseman (Eds.), New Bible dictionary (3rd ed., p. 1085). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. (Note: Emphasis mine)


Shame correlates with several parallel themes such as sin, nakedness, reproach, humiliation and guilt. It is, however, particularly connected with post-Fall sexuality and humanity’s broken relationship with God and others.

After the Fall, Adam and Eve were ashamed to stand before God, whose test of obedience they had violated (Gen 3:1–24). This is not surprising. But the unaccustomed sense of nakedness and shame they experience toward each other is unanticipated and clearly portrays the devastating effects of sin on the very core of our being. Shame is thus seen objectively as that moral state which exhibits the reprehensible and degrading nature of sin, and subjectively as a psychological or emotional consequence that flows from guilt and sin. The two are necessarily related. To sin and feel no shame aggravates the offense. Thus one of the strongest condemnations Paul can direct against the enemies of the cross of Christ is that they “glory in their shame” (Phil 3:19 RSV). At the same time, to continue to feel shame after sin has been forgiven would be equally inappropriate, since forgiveness removes sinful reproach through the One who endured the cross and despised its shame (Heb 12:2).

Shame and judgment are juxtaposed so frequently that “to be put to shame” is recognized as an idiom meaning to come under God’s judgment. But there is also a sense in which shame functions as a moral deterrent within the believing community. Thus when Paul cautions the Ephesians against unwholesome speech, he suggests that it is a shame to even speak in public about what evildoers perform in secret …

Ryken, L., Wilhoit, J., Longman, T., Duriez, C., Penney, D., & Reid, D. G. (2000). In Dictionary of biblical imagery (electronic ed., pp. 780–781). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.