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Bible Q

What is “sin in the flesh”?

This is an awkward question. “Sin in the flesh” is not really a term found in the Bible, but a misunderstanding based on Romans 8:3 in the King James Bible.

“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” (Romans 8:3 KJV)

Some people have read that as a noun phrase, so, sin-in-the-flesh, as if it were a thing located in the flesh, like Jack in the box. But it isn’t.

What the Greek text says is  περὶ(for) ἁμαρτίας (sin) κατέκρινεν (condemned) τὴν ἁμαρτίαν (sin) ἐν (in or by) τῇ σαρκί (the flesh).

In the flesh, where the condemning was done, or less likely by the flesh, the instrument used,  are added explanation to the simple sentence “condemned sin”. Sin in the flesh, may well often by a location for sin, but this is not a Jack in the box situation where the Jack is fixed in the box by a spring. Even in the case of the Jack in the box, the Jack and the box are inherently different substances.

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