GUILT. The deserving of punishment because of the violation of a law or a breach of conduct. In the OT, the concept of guilt is largely ritualistic and legalistic. A person could be guiltless before both God and the nation (
In the NT, Jesus stressed the importance of right heart attitude over against outwardly correct acts and taught that there are degrees of guilt, depending on a person’s knowledge and motive (
Paul deepens the understanding of guilt by universalizing and internalizing the debt to God which results from sin. He thinks of the actual removal of sin by Christ’s death as well as payment of the debt through the justification which God through faith grants the repentant sinner (
Guilt is also seen in a Hebraic way as the consequence of sin by other NT writers; see
J. G. Simpson, “Guilt,” HDCG, 1 (1906), 696-698; J. R. Willis, “Guilt,” HDB, 1 vol. ed. (1909), 320-322; F. R. Tennant The Concept of Sin (1912); H. F. Hall, “Guilt,” ISBE, 2 (1915), 1309, 1310; H. R. Mackintosh, “Sin (Christian),” HERE, 11 (1921), 538-544; C. A. Beckwith, “Guilt,” SHERK, 5 (1950), 95, 96; L. Morris, “’Asham,” EQ, 30 (1958), 196-210; J. Hempel, “Ethics in the OT,” IDB, 2 (1962), 153-161; S. J. De Vries, “Sin, sinners,” IDB, 4 (1962), 361-376; J. Barr, “Guilt,” HDB rev. (1963), 354, 355; J. Heuschen and B. Vawter, “Guilt,” Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible (1963), 912-918; G. Quell, G. Bertram, G. Stählim and W. Grundmann, “ἁμαρτάνω, ἁμάρτημα, ἁμαρτία,” TDNT, 1 (1964), 276-316, esp. sections on Guilt; J. Lachowski, “Sin (in the Bible),” New Catholic Encyclopedia, 6 (1967), 850-852; P. Schoonenberg, “Sin,” Sacramentum Mundi, 6 (1970), 87-92.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
gilt: The Christian idea of guilt involves three elements: responsibility (Greek aitia, "cause," depending upon a man’s real freedom), blameworthiness (Latin reatus culpae, depending upon a man’s knowledge and purpose) and the obligation to make good through punishment or compensation (Latin reatus poenae; compare Greek opheilema, "debt,"
I. In the.
1. The Ritualistic and Legalistic Conception:
Moreover, the element of personal responsibility is sometimes lacking where guilt is assigned. The priest may sin "so as to bring guilt on the people" (
The central idea in all this is not that of the individual, his responsibility, his motive, his blame. It is that of a rule and the transgression of it, which must be made good. For this reason we see the ú ideas of sin and guilt and punishment constantly passing over into each other. This may be seen by noting the use of the words whose common root is ’-sh-m, the distinctive Hebrew term for guilt. In
2. Prophetic Teaching:
II. In the.
1. With Jesus:
Here as elsewhere Jesus came to fulfill. With Him it is the inner attitude of the soul that decides. It is the penitent publican who goes down justified, not the Pharisee with his long credit account (
Because it is not primarily a matter of the outward deed but of the inner spirit, Jesus marks different degrees of guilt as depending upon a man’s knowledge and motive (
2. With Paul:
See also SIN.
Mueller, Christian Doctrine of Sin, I, 193-267; Schultz, Old Testament Theology; Kaehler, article "Schuld," Hauck-Herzog, Realencyklopadie fur protestantische Theologie und Kirche.