In this week’s Bible study, we’re focusing on the word “iniquity” in the Bible, which means “crooked,” or “bent.”
It describes how individual people and whole communities become crooked versions of their own best ideals. History shows how, despite our best intentions, humans easily fall into communal patterns of prejudice that elevate some people as more important than others.
The good news of God’s Kingdom intentionally disrupts and overturns these patterns, but it requires that we name our crooked failure, individually and corporately. This is the only way we can open ourselves to becoming whole and upright by the healing power of God’s grace.
Iniquity is a biblical word that very few people use anymore, and even fewer people know what it means! In this video, we’ll explore the significance of this word in ancient Hebrew, and discover a whole new way to think about our selfish decisions and their consequences.
After watching the video, reflect on how the biblical word “avon” shapes how you understand humanity, sin, or God.
As you read this passage, we invite you to reflect on your own life, community, and world. The prophet is describing how his community has become so morally crooked that people can hardly discern what is bent versus straight. Notice the vivid metaphors that describe the self-deception and the feelings of helplessness when a whole society defines crooked behavior as perfectly acceptable. The kind of community that results is its own form of punishment, and the hope is that people will see the pain around them and turn back to Yahweh.
What grieves you the most as you read through this passage?
Re-read verses 15-16. What is God’s response to what is happening? What do you think this says about who God is?
Paul describes how humanity is a lot like a group of zombies––physically alive but mentally, spiritually, and morally dead. But God is in the business of making new humans who live by his generous mercy, and that’s what he accomplished in the resurrection of Jesus.
What resonates most with you as you read this passage?
Re-read verses 8-10. What can and can’t we boast in, or in other words, where does our honor and value come from? How does this relate to what’s going on in your life, community, or world currently?