Forgive/Forgiven - Aphiemi

INTRODUCTION - Forgive is a verb which the 1828 Webster's Dictionary defines as follows:

To pardon; to remit, as an offense or debt; to overlook an offense, and treat the offender as not guilty. The original and proper phrase is to forgive the offense, to send it away, to reject it, that is, not to impute it, [put it to] the offender. But by an easy transition, we also use the phrase, to forgive the person offending.

This definition of forgive begs the question "Is there someone you need to forgive? Believers supernaturally enabled by the Spirit can forgive freely because we have been freely forgiven supernaturally! As Paul said we should be "habitual forgivers," continually "forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven" us. (Ephesians 4:32+). As H W Beecher said "Every man (or woman) should have a fair-sized cemetery in which to bury the faults of his friends." C H Spurgeon said it this way "Forgive and forget. When you bury a mad dog, don’t leave his tail above the ground." But there's no point in burying a tail or a hatchet if you’re going to put up a marker on the site. The familiar phrase "bury the hatchet" is an old English idiom meaning "to make peace". The phrase is an allusion to the literal practice of putting away the tomahawk at the cessation of hostilities among Native Americans in the Eastern United States. Weapons were to be buried in time of peace." (Wikipedia)

Burying the Hatchet - Old Joe was dying. For years he had been at odds with Bill, formerly one of his best friends. Wanting to straighten things out, he sent word for Bill to come and see him. When Bill arrived, Joe told him that he was afraid to go into eternity with such a bad feeling between them. Then, very reluctantly and with great effort, Joe apologized for things he had said and done. He also assured Bill that he forgave him for his offenses. Everything seemed fine until Bill turned to go. As he walked out of the room, Joe called out after him, "But, remember, if I get better, this doesn't count!"

We may smile at this story. Yet what a clear picture this gives of the way we sometimes treat one another. The forgiveness we profess is often superficial (Not from the heart, Mt 18:35, Ezek 36:26, 27). It may be prompted by fear, or to gain some selfish advantage, or to clear our conscience--not out of genuine love for God (cf Lk 7:41-47) and the one who has wronged us. Yes, we may say we forgive, but when the least little friction arises, we are quick to resurrect past grievances. We must understand the breadth and length and height and depth of God's forgiveness in Christ on the Cross, foreshadowed by these beautiful pictures... 

  • Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. (ED: Where is the east and west pole?)
  • Isaiah 38:17 “Lo, for my own welfare I had great bitterness; It is You who has kept my soul from the pit of nothingness, For You have cast all my sins behind Your back. 
  • Isaiah 44:22 “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”
  • Micah 7:18-19+ "Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love.  19 He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea. (Then put up a "No Fishing" sign like Corrie Ten Boom likes to say!) 

In short, we like to "bury the hatchet" with the handle sticking out. That way we can easily pick it up again and use it to our advantage. How different is the forgiveness Jesus talked about! (Mt 18:15-22). If our sinless Lord is willing to forgive us--with all our faults--how can we withhold pardon from those who have sinned against us? True Christlike forgiveness buries the hatchet completely.

Those who say they will forgive but can't forget,
simply bury the hatchet but leave the handle out for immediate use.
--D. L. Moody

Christ the Lord our debt has paid—
All our sins on Him were laid;
We like Him should try to live,
Always ready to forgive!

Garth Brooks has a song which speaks of the unforgiving heart…

We bury the hatchet
But leave the handle stickin' out

We're always diggin' up things
We should forget about
When it comes to forgettin'
Baby, there ain't no doubt
We bury the hatchet
But leave the handle sticking out

-Garth Brooks, "We Bury The Hatchet"
​​​​​​ on the Album: Ropin The Wind

One more illustration - WHEN FORGIVENESS SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE - Corrie ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place, was taken captive and spent time in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. While in prison, Corrie saw incredible abuse, so inhumane that it drove the prisoners to incredible depths, including intentionally allowing lice to breed on their bodies because the more lice they had, the less likely it would be that the guards would molest them! And Corrie even witnessed the death of her own dear sister.

After the war, God sent Corrie ten Boom on a mission of mercy through the war-torn cities to encourage residents to choose forgiveness over bitterness. She would motivate her audiences by sharing some of the atrocities she had experienced, implying that if she could forgive such horrors, so could her listeners. One night speaking, she immediately recognized the man who came walking down the aisle as a particularly cruel guards in one of the concentration camps. The man did not recognize her however. As he approached Corrie he said...

Fraulein, you don't know me, but I was a guard in one of those camps. After the war, God saved me. I wish I could go back and undo those years. I can't, but I've just been prompted by God to come tonight and ask you, would you please forgive me?

Then he extended his hand to her. Can you imagine the horrible thoughts and memories that raced through Corrie's mind as she recognized his face and then even worse, heard his incredible plea for forgiveness? How could she? Corrie said her arms froze at her side and she was literally unable to move. The flashbacks in her mind replaying the atrocities, the death of her sister, the abuse. And then God's Spirit said to her,

Corrie, what have you been telling everyone else to do? As an act of your will, will you choose to forgive?

Corrie went on to explain what happened next...

I reached out my hand, and I put it in his, and I said, 'You're forgiven.

She later reported that at that moment...

It was like a dam broke loose—all the bitterness and resentment—and God set me free.

So let's look at the Greek word for forgive, aphiemi. My prayer as you study this truth, Your Teacher, the Spirit, will enable you to "know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (Jn 8:32) Amen.

Forgive (863) (aphiemi from apo = prefix speaks of separation, putting some distance between + hiemi = put in motion, send) conveys the basic idea of an action which causes separation. Literally aphiemi means to send from one's self, to forsake, to hurl away, to put away, let alone, disregard, put off. It conveys the basic idea of an action which causes separation and refers to total detachment, total separation, from a previous location or condition. It means to send forth or away from one's self. It refers to the act of putting something away or of laying it aside. In secular Greek aphiemi initially conveyed the sense of to throw and in one secular writing we read "let the pot drop" (aphiemi). From this early literal use the word came to mean leave or let go.

It is worth noting that the most common way aphiemi is translated in the NAS is left (to go away from a place, to depart from, to remove oneself from an association with, to leave behind - [ponder how these might relate to "forgiveness!"]) (38x) followed by forgive (23x) and forgiven (23x).

NAS translation of aphiemi: abandoned(1), allow(5), allowed(2), divorce(2), forgave(2), forgive(23), forgiven(23), forgives(1), gave...permission(1), leave(7), leaves(2), leaving(8), left(38), let(9), let...alone(6), let him have(1), neglected(1), neglecting(2), permit(6), permitted(1), permitting(1), send...away(1), tolerate(1), uttered(1), yielded(1).

Aphiemi refers to the act of putting something away or of laying it aside and as used in the present context means that God lets go of the obligation we "owe" Him because of sin against His holiness. It means to remit (to release from the guilt or penalty of) as one would a financial debt (e.g., on the Rosetta stone it refers to the "total remission" of certain taxes). Unfortunately the English word "forgive" does not adequately picture the meaning of the Greek.

In secular Greek literature, aphiemi was a fundamental word used to indicate the sending away of an object or a person. Aphiemi was used to describe the voluntary release of a person or thing over which one has legal or actual control. The related noun aphesis meant described a setting free. .Later it came to include the release of someone from the obligation of marriage, or debt, or even a religious vow. In its final form it came to embrace the principle of release from punishment for some wrongdoing. .

Colin Brown adds that aphiemi means "With a personal object, to send forth, send away (of a woman, to divorce; of a meeting, to dissolve, end), to let go, to leave, dispatch; with an impersonal object, to loose (e.g. a ship into the sea), to discharge (e.g. arrows), to give up. In the figurative sense the verb (aphiemi) means to let alone, permit, let pass, neglect, give up (taking trouble, etc.); in Josephus, Ant., 1, 12, 3, to lose one’s life, die. The legal use is important: to release from a legal bond (office, guilt, etc. and also, a woman from marriage, e.g. Hdt., 5, 39), to acquit (e.g. cancellation of criminal proceedings, Plato, Laws, 9, 86, 9d), to exempt (from guilt, obligation, punishment, etc.; e.g. Hdt., 6, 30). Similarly the noun aphesis (e.g. Demosthenes, 24, 45) means release, pardon, or remission, etc (New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)

Aphiemi was also used of teachers, writers, and speakers when presenting a topic, in the sense of “to leave, let alone, disregard, not to discuss now. It means “to abandon, to leave as behind and done with in order to go on to another thing.”

The Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint, contained many of these ideas. In the Old Testament aphiemi spoke of releasing a prisoner or remitting a debt, but it also came to mean pardon or forgiveness. Aphiemi is used in Lev 16:10 to describe sending the scapegoat into the wilderness.

Trench says that the image underlying aphiemi is that of releasing a prisoner (Isaiah 61:1), or letting go, as of a debt (Deut 15:3). One is reminded of the one goat who was offered as a sin-offering on the Day of Atonement, and of the other goat upon which was placed the sins of the people (symbolically) and which was let go in the wilderness, never to be seen again by Israel, the latter goat typifying that aspect of redemption in which the sins of the human race were put away, never to be charged against the individual again (see Leviticus 16)..

Wuest explains aphiemi from God's perspective noting that "It refers to the act of putting something away. God did that at the Cross when He put sin away by incarnating Himself in humanity in the Person of His Son, stepping down from His judgment throne, assuming the guilt of man’s sin, and paying the penalty, thus, satisfying His justice, and making possible an offer of mercy on the basis of justice satisfied. When a sinner avails himself of the merits of that atoning sacrifice, he thus puts himself within the provision God made. His sins were put away at the Cross, and he comes into the benefit of that when he believes. (Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament:) (Bolding added)

Here is an audio message from Mark Dever entitled A Friend – Philemon 1:17-25 - Listen to this one if you (or someone you know) is having difficult with forgiveness


Rick Renner on aphiemi - The word "forgive" is the Greek word aphiemi. It means to set free; to let go; to release; to discharge; or to liberate completely. It was used in a secular sense in New Testament times in reference to canceling a debt or releasing someone from the obligation of a contract, a commitment, or promise. Thus, it means to forfeit any right to hold a person captive to a previous commitment or wrong he has committed. In essence, the word "forgive"—the Greek word aphiemi—is the picture of totally freeing and releasing someone. A modern paraphrase of this Greek word would simply be to let it go! This means you and I don't have the privilege of holding people hostage to their past actions if they repent and ask us to forgive them. If they sincerely seek forgiveness for offending us, we are obligated to "let it go." If your offender repents and sincerely asks for forgiveness, Jesus said you are to put away the offense and no longer hold on to it. You must release those ugly feelings you've held against that person. You have to let it go! (Ed: See a similar picture portrayed in the secular use of aphiemi meaning to "Let the pot drop!")
    ▪ So are you able to let go of the offense that someone has committed against you? 
    ▪ Are you able to put away that offense once and for all instead of dragging it up again and again? 
Just as God has removed your sin as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12)(Ed: cp Isa 38:17, 44:22, 43:25, Micah 7:18,19-note, Acts 3:19, 20), you must now decide that this person is freed in regard to that past offense. Once you forgive him, you cannot drag up the offense again and again. You have released and liberated him completely from that sin. Therefore, you never have the right or privilege to pull out that offense later and use it against him. It is gone! (Read his full devotional Confront, Forgive, and Forget - from his book Sparkling Gems from the Greek) (Italics, bold and color added for emphasis)

Richards notes that aphiemi "is a verb that occurs 146 times in the NT. It has the sense of "forgive" 49 of these times, 44 of which occur in the Gospels; but it has this meaning only once in Paul's writings (Ro 4:7). It is used in the sense of forgiveness of sins, of debts, and of crimes. The majority of the occurrences of aphiemi convey a meaning other than forgiveness: i.e., dismiss, release, leave, or abandon. (Richards, Larry:. Expository Dictionary of Bible Words. 1985. Zondervan)

In 1Corinthians 7 (1 Cor 7:11, 12, 13), Paul uses aphiemi in speaking of a Christian husband’s not sending away (that is, divorcing) his unbelieving wife. Divorce is total marital separation, complete abandonment of the relationship. And so this same Greek word is used here in Romans of forgiveness of sins. When we are forgiven, our sins are put away from us, separated from us, "divorced" from us. In Mt 15:14 the same term is used to speak of separating ourselves from false teachers.

Aphiemi basically means to send away and was used to indicate the legal repayment or cancellation of a debt or the granting of a pardon. It is used in Scripture to refer to God’s forgiveness of sin. Through the shedding of His own blood, Jesus Christ actually took the sins of the world upon His own head, as it were, and carried them an infinite distance away from where they could never return. That is the extent of the forgiveness of our trespasses.

The Scripture testifies,

“Who is a God like Thee, Who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:18, 19, cp Isa 38:17, 43:25, 44:22, Jer 31:34, 50:20)

Comment: Henry Morris "Micah 7:18,19, climaxing the Old Testament message of the prophet Micah, comprises a beautiful testimony to God's saving gospel. He pardons all our iniquities forever. Furthermore, He will "subdue" them in our personal lives by the compelling love of His compassion, and our sins will not be remembered any more." (Morris, Henry: Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing)

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us,” David declared (Ps 103:12-note)

Comment: To ancient Israel the distance from east to west and “the depths of the sea” represented infinity. God’s forgiveness is infinite; it takes away our trespasses to the farthest reaches of eternal infinity.

Spurgeon's Wonderful Words: As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. O glorious verse, no word even upon the inspired page can excel it! Sin is removed from us by a miracle of love! What a load to move, and yet is it removed so far that the distance is incalculable. Fly as far as the wing of imagination can bear you, and if you journey through space eastward, you are further from the west at every beat of your wing. If sin be removed so far, then we may be sure that the scent, the trace, the very memory of it must be entirely gone. If this be the distance of its removal, there is no shade of fear of its ever being brought back again; even Satan himself could not achieve such a task. Our sins are gone, Jesus has borne them away. Far as the place of sunrise is removed from yonder west, where the sun sinks when his day's journey is done, so far were our sins carried by our scapegoat nineteen centuries ago, and now if they be sought for, they shall not be found, yea, they shall not be, saith the Lord. Come, my soul, awaken thyself thoroughly and glorify the Lord for this richest of blessings. Hallelujah. The Lord alone could remove sin at all, and he has done it in a godlike fashion, making a final sweep of all our transgressions.

On the Cross as He died,

Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up (aphiemi) His spirit. (Mt 27:50, cp Jn 19:30)

Here aphiemi is translated "yielded up" and has the basic meaning of letting go or sending away, indicating an act of volition. Jesus’ life was not taken from Him by men, but rather He surrendered His spirit by the conscious act of His own sovereign will. As He had explained to the Twelve...

No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down (tithemi) on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down (tithemi), and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father." (John 10:18).

The literal meaning of aphiemi is illustrated in Mark where the disciples

immediately left (aphiemi) the nets and followed Him. (Mk 1:18, cp similar meaning in In Mt 4:11, 20, 22)

They made a complete break from their former life, yielding up their nets and separating from them. As far as their life’s work was concerned, they abandoned, completely separated themselves from, their father and his fishing business.

Jesus spoke a parable describes "kingdom principles" (Mt 18:23) regarding forgiveness and ends with a stern warning regarding the consequences of an unforgiving spirit (Mt 18:33, 34) by those who had been freely forgiven so great a debt. In this parable He described an insolvent slave who was in debt to his lord and how

the lord of that slave felt compassion (splagchnizomai from splagchnon [word study]) and released him and forgave (aphiemi) him the debt. (Mt 18:27) (Note what precedes the forgiveness - compassion! cp Mt 5:7-note, Jas 2:13)

When missionaries in northern Alaska were translating the Bible into the language of the Eskimos, they discovered there was no word in that language for forgiveness. After much patient listening, however, they discovered a word that means, “not being able to think about it anymore.” That word was used throughout the translation to represent forgiveness, because God’s promise to repentant sinners is, “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jer. 31:34).

God forgave at the Cross when He put sin away by incarnating Himself in humanity in the Person of His Son, stepping down from His judgment throne, assuming the guilt of man’s sin, and paying the penalty, thus, satisfying His justice, and making possible an offer of mercy on the basis of justice satisfied. When a sinner avails himself of the merits of that atoning sacrifice, he thus puts himself within the provision God made. His sins were put away at the Cross, and he comes into the benefit of that when he believes.

Forgiveness means God buries our sin and does not mark the grave or leave the hatchet handle exposed (so to speak). When God at Calvary paid the penalty of human sin by satisfying the just demands of His holy law, He put away sin (along with its guilt, defilement, and penalty), "bidding it to go away" (aphiemi). This transaction was beautifully memorialized in the symbolism of the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:21, 22+ - celebrated as one of the most solemn Jewish holidays by modern Jews who celebrate the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) on the 10th of Tishri or September) where the Azazel or scapegoat (cf Lev 16:26+ where aphiemi is used in the Septuagint), figuratively or symbolically bearing all the sins of all the people of Israel(one year's worth of sins!), was led away into the wilderness to bear away their sins, perfectly foreshadowing Jesus' once for all time work as our "Sin Bearer" (1Pe 2:24-note). On the Day of Atonement there was also a second goat which was chosen by lot and was sacrificed symbolizing the need for a substitute to die in the sinner's stead!

Ron Mattoon on Jesus' use of aphiem in Luke 11:4 (Luke's version of the "Disciple's Prayer") - Beloved, God knows us. He knows what we think and what is going on in our hearts. He knows especially about our sinfulness. This is why we are to seek His forgiveness. In fact, the word "forgive" is from aphiemi {af-ee'-ay-mee} which means "to send away." Our greatest need is forgiveness of our sins. We need forgiveness of sins for salvation because God is holy and will not tolerate sin in His presence. Man's problem concerning his sin debt is he is broke. Man has nothing to pay to appease the holiness and justice of God. If his debts of sin are not forgiven, they are charged against him forever, as he is absolutely bankrupt. Forgiveness, therefore, must come from the free mercy of God in the Lord Jesus Christ. We need forgiveness of sins for fellowship with God. Our sin hurts our walk with Him, but there is forgiveness when we confess our faults to Him. Our sins affect our prayer life.

Psalm 66:18—If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: "Forgive us our sins," is to be our prayer. We looked at our problem, now we will look at the proportion for forgiveness. The Proportion for Forgiveness "for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us." Luke 11:4b. (Ed: Mt 6:12-note has "And forgive us our debts, AS [instead of "for" as in Luke 11:4b] we also have forgiven our debtors.") This second clause in the sentence does not mean that we must earn God's forgiveness with our own forgiveness of others. Our forgiveness of others demonstrates our felt need of being forgiven by the Lord. It shows what the Lord has done in us and for us. The attitude of forgiveness of others demonstrates genuine repentance. No repentant person truly seeks forgiveness who does not have a forgiving spirit himself. We must not expect our prayers for forgiveness to be heard, if we pray with malice and spite in our hearts towards others. We are wasting our time. To pray in such a frame of mind is mere formality and hypocrisy. In its use in regards to forgiveness, the word translated "forgive" in our text means "the dismissal of a punishment or of a debt." It means you no longer hold against someone a wrong they have done to you. You have dismissed the charge. The guilty party is no longer obligated to you because of a wrong they have done to you. So let me ask some probing questions here. Do you need to forgive your wife or husband? Make up your mind to do so right now (Ed: I would add a caveat here -- yes, "make up your mind to do so" but "do so" in reliance NOT on the power of your flesh, but on the energizing power of the indwelling Spirit Who lives in you and gives you not only the DESIRE to forgive [your fallen flesh DOES NOT want to forgive!!! It wants revenge, it's "pound of flesh" so to speak!!!] but the POWER to forgive - Study Php 2:13NLT-note. In short, the forgiveness Mattoon rightly calls us to carry out is only possible supernaturally, not naturally!). Have you been unwilling to forgive your parents for things that have happened in the past, perhaps many years ago? Promise God that you will do it. In fact, do it today! Forgiveness is not a psychological trick. It is a miracle and God can help you do it (Ed: "enable" is more accurate than "help" for the latter implies I have the innate ability to forgive and just need a "little push" from the Spirit! That is not accurate! We are 100% dependent on the enabling power of the Holy Spirit! For more discussion of this vital spiritual principle see "The Paradoxical Principle of 100% Dependent and 100% Responsible"). If He commands us to forgive, He will give us the ability to do it.

Wayne Detzler on forgive - In the New Testament "forgiveness" comes from the Greek word aphiemi. Literally this means to send away, or to put apart. Thus the root meaning of forgiveness is to put away an offense. In secular Greek literature, this word was fundamental. It was used to indicate the sending away of an object or a person. Later it came to include the release of someone from the obligation of marriage, or debt, or even a religious vow. In its fmal form it came to embrace the principle of release from punishment for some wrongdoing. The Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint, contained many of these ideas. In the Old Testament aphiemi spoke of releasing a prisoner or remitting a debt, but it also came to mean pardon or forgiveness. The New Testament contains 142 references to this word. Of these, 47 are in Matthew, 34 in Mark, 34 in Luke, and 14 in John. This leave only 13 for the remainder of the New Testament. In other words, forgiveness is tied closely to the life of Christ. From a Christian standpoint the most important meaning of aphiemi is that of pardon or forgiveness. God is the great Source of forgiveness. In the Lord's Prayer we pray for forgiveness of our sins (Matt. 6:12). When John the Baptist came he proclaimed the necessity for such forgiveness (Mark 1:4). Jesus confirmed His deity by forgiving sins (2:5; Luke 7:47). In His final days on earth Jesus urged His disciples to proclaim forgiveness worldwide (Mt 24:47). Peter's Pentecost sermon ended with an invitation to forgiveness (Acts 2:38), which was part and parcel of apostolic preaching (5:31; 10:43). Paul also emphasized the forgiveness of sin (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14). Likewise the Apostle John placed primary emphasis on forgiveness (1 John 1:9; 2:12). Another aspect is the forgiveness which people show to one another. According to the Sermon on the Mount, we are forgiven as we forgive others (Matt. 6:12-14). Though this is a "hard teaching," it seems that Christians who fail to forgive will not be forgiven. As already mentioned, the first meaning of our word is forgiveness. However, a second meaning is that of departure. Satan left (aphiemi) Jesus after tempting Him in the desert (4:11). Jesus left His disciples and went away to pray (26:44). James and Peter left their father Zebedee and his fishing business to follow Jesus (Mark 1:20). Some Jewish bullies also left Jesus, because the crowd was attached to Him (12:12). In these instances the meaning of the word is departure. It is loosely related to the idea of forgiveness, because it speaks of separation from someone. The idea of separation also pertains to things. Jesus talked about men who had left their houses (Matt. 23:38; Mark 13:34). The disciples said they had left all to follow Jesus (Matt. 19:27; Mark 10:28). Here again the idea is one of separation: people have separated themselves from certain things or places. One final aspect of the word shows the basic meaning even more clearly. Jesus left the crowds to have privacy with His disciples (Matt. 13:36). In Paul's teaching mention is also made of divorce, in which a husband sends his wife away (1 Cor. 7:11). The basic meaning of aphiemi is to send away. One sees this in the illustrations from the Gospel narratives. The main meaning, however, is forgiveness, in which one puts away all grudges and forgets the wrong done. This is the majestic spiritual importance of this common Greek word. It is important for every Christian to learn the art of forgiveness, or else his or her relationship with the Lord will remain forever clouded, to say nothing of relationships with other people. Literature and folklore are full of references to forgiveness. "He who forgives ends the quarrel," according to an African proverb. A comparable English proverb is: "The noblest vengeance is to forgive." Henry Ward Beecher (1813-87), famous Congregational clergyman, said: " 'I can forgive, but I can't forget,' is just another way of saying, 'I will not forgive.' " In other words, forgiveness entails forgetting. According to Alice Cary (1820-71), a hymn-writer: "Nothing in this lost world bears the impress of the Son of God so surely as forgiveness." A similar sentiment was expressed by Hannah More (1745-1833), an educator and writer: "A Christian will find it cheaper to pardon than to resent. Forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits." C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) sounded a cautionary note to the subject of forgiveness. "Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea," he said, "until they have some-thing to forgive." In commenting on forgiveness a businessman said: "You won't catch me getting ulcers. For one thing, I just take things as they come. For another, I don't ever hold a grudge, not even against people who have done things to me that I'll never forgive." It is God's forgiveness which presents a pattern for human forgiveness. Devotional writer Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) said: "Never build your preaching of forgiveness on the fact that God is our Father and He will forgive because He loves us. . . . It is shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love. The only ground on which God can forgive me is through the Cross of my Lord." Billy Graham put it even more directly: "If His conditions are met, God is bound by His Word to forgive any man or woman of any sin because of Christ." Christian film producer Billy Zeoli said, concerning forgiveness, "Our God has a big eraser." Someone else formulated forgiveness this way: "We are most like beasts when we kill. We are most like men when we judge. We are most like God when we forgive." John Owen (1616-83), a well-known Puritan preacher and writer, commented on forgiveness in this statement: "Poor souls are apt to think that all those whom they read or hear of to be gone to thither [heaven] because they were so good and so holy. . . . Yet no one of them, not any one that is now in heaven [Jesus Christ alone excepted], did ever come thither any other way but by forgiveness of sins." Thomas Adams, another Puritan, said: "Sins are remitted, as if they had never been committed." To which John Bunyan added: "No child of God sins to that degree as to make himself incapable of forgiveness." (New Testament words in today's language - Highly Recommended Resource for your personal library)


Aphiemi originally conveyed the sense of to “throw.” For example in a secular Greek writing we read "let the pot drop", where the verb is aphiemi (think about that grudge you on which you are stubbornly refusing to release your grip!!! Let it go, not just with your words, but from your heart. You will experience a freedom that can only be described as supernatural beloved!!!). From this physical meaning we derive the common meaning “leave, let go.” An instance is found in the Rosetta stone for “total remission” of certain taxes.

Thayer says aphiemi means “to send from one’s self, to send away, to let go or give up a debt, to remit, forgive.”

Our English word forgive as commonly used does not give an adequate picture of the Greek verb aphiemi. We say that we have forgiven some one who has wronged us. By that we mean that any feeling of animosity we may have had, has changed to one of renewed friendliness and affection. We do not hold the wrong done against the person anymore. But so far as the act itself is concerned, we cannot do anything about it. It has been done, and it cannot be removed from the one who committed the wrong. But aphiemi includes within its meaning, the act of dealing with the act of wrong doing in such a way that the sinner who appropriates the Lord Jesus as Saviour, has his sins put away. First, they are put away on a judicial basis by the out-poured blood of Christ. He paid the penalty the broken law required, and thus satisfied divine justice. Second, God removes the guilt of that sin from the believing sinner and bestows a positive righteousness, Jesus Christ Himself, in whom this person stands justified forever This is what is in the Bible regarding God's forgiveness of believing sinners. Remember, however that forgiveness does not abolish the consequences of what we have done but it puts us right with God.

The opposite of forgiveness is obviously unforgiveness which is linked closely to bitterness one of the most dangerous of all plagues to healthy Christian living. It will eat away at the vitality of your spiritual life until your once-vibrant testimony is in shambles. Unforgiveness and bitterness is like “cancer to the soul”, and as Bryon Paulus the director of Life Action Ministries explains, is the number one problem his revival teams encounter in American churches. The cure for this spiritually toxic plague is one of the most beautiful words in any language --forgive. Note that the essence of the word is in the last part, give. To for give means to give someone a release from the wrong that he has done to you. It means to give up any right of retaliation.

God’s forgiveness, which must coordinate with His justice, is based upon the payment of the penalty by a substitute. Jesus Christ, His Son, paid the penalty for our sin by dying on the cross...Looking at Calvary, God is now free to forgive those who come to Him through the blood of Christ.

When God forgives He forgives completely. This kind of forgiveness is “Judicial Forgiveness”. It is one of five kinds of forgiveness in the Bible. A failure to distinguish these kinds of forgiveness causes great confusion, unnecessary guilt and needless fear.

Easton's Bible Dictionary gives a nice synopsis on forgiveness of sins describing it as

"one of the constituent parts of justification (being declared righteous). In pardoning sin, God absolves the sinner from the condemnation of the law, and that on account of the work of Christ, i.e., he removes the guilt of sin, or the sinner's actual liability to eternal wrath on account of it. All sins are forgiven freely (Act 5:31; Act 13:38; 1Jn 1:6, 7, 8,9). The sinner is by this act of grace for ever freed from the guilt and penalty of his sins. This is the peculiar prerogative of God (Ps 130:4-note; Mark 2:5). It is offered to all in the gospel."

Five Kinds of Biblical Forgiveness

1. Judicial Forgiveness

The eternal forgiveness of all sins of the one who has trusted Christ. This forgiveness is the result of justification and has to do with the believer’s initial, necessary forgiveness from God. The forgiveness one experiences upon being justified by faith is once for all, and eternal. This forgiveness is accessed only on faith in Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God Who took away the sins of the world. David describes this type of forgiveness in his declaration

“Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute not iniquity.” (Ps 32:1, 2-note).

The psalms also teach that

"As far as the East is from the West, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Ps 103:12-note).

And so dear reader you can declare this moment,

"As I have trusted Christ for my salvation, the debt I owed for all my sins past, present, and future has been paid in full by the His precious blood shed for me and my debts have been completely forgiven, sent away, remitted. My Father remembers those sins no more." (Ps 130:4-note; Acts 26:18; Eph 1:7-note; Col 1:14-note)

2. Paternal Forgiveness

This aspect of forgiveness describes that which is broken with our Father when we fail to forgive others. On the positive side this quality of forgiveness describes restoration of fellowship between God the Father and His beloved child thus speaking of "family" forgiveness. This forgiveness is contingent upon the child of God (a) Confessing their sin or specifically naming the sin, agreeing with God that it is in fact a grievous sin, and expressing a willingness and desire to forsake it, attitudes and actions that are well summed up in the word repentance (see 1Jn 1:9; Jn 13:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10; Mt 6:12-notes cf Pr 28:13) (b) Forgiveness of debts (sins) others have against us (Personal forgiveness - see the next kind of forgiveness.)

3. Personal Forgiveness

Restoration of fellowship with another human being

(a) This facet of forgiveness is so important that Jesus conditions our forgiveness and restoration to fellowship with our Heavenly Father on our willingness to forgive others. In fact paternal/personal forgiveness is the only topic that Jesus elaborated on in the "Lord's (Disciple's) Prayer" in the Sermon on the Mount. See notes on the actual prayer in Mt 6:12-note and Jesus' further explanation in Mt 6:14,15-notes; Mt 18:21-35; Luke 6:37; Col. 3:13-note; Eph 4:31, 32-note)

(b) Personal forgiveness has a vertical dimension—we must release the person to God. This can happen anywhere at anytime. Jesus taught,

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven my forgive you your sins.” (Mk 11:25)

(c) Personal forgiveness has a horizontal dimension—we must confront the offender and forgive if he repents.

“Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” (Luke 17:3)

4. Social forgiveness

Restoration of fellowship with society (Jn 8:1-10) This may be a personal attitude in our own communities or involve us in ministries like Chuck Colson’s prison ministry. There is little forgiveness by society today partly because there are very few things that society frowns on.

5. Ecclesiastical Forgiveness

Restoration of fellowship with the church) 2Co 2:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 2Th 3:14, 15. This forgiveness assumes a prior discipline by the church body and an evidence of a repentant heart on the part of the one disciplined. The purpose of discipline is restoration, and forgiveness assumes repentance and restoration.

Further Thoughts on Forgiveness

  • You do not have to forget after you forgive. God's grace may allow you to do so, but your forgiving can still be sincere even if you remember.
  • You do not overlook people’s faults by forgiving them. You must forgive them because you do hold them to account and refuse to agree with or overlook their faults.
  • Forgiveness deals with our emotional response toward an offender. Pardon deals with the consequences of his offense. Unless we have the authority we may not be able to pardon an offense, but we can always forgive.
  • Forgiveness offers a chance at reconciliation; it is an opportunity for a life together instead of "death" together. Forgiveness has creative power to move us away from a past moment of pain, to unshackle us from our endless chain of emotional reactions, and to create a new situation in which both the wrongdoer and the wronged can begin a new way.
  • The alternative to forgiveness is, in the end, a ceaseless process of hurt, bitterness, anger, resentment and self-destruction. And as Jesus clearly warns there is the continued hand of our Father which will weigh heavy upon us...
  • 'And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors...for (Jesus explains why it is crucial that believers forgive the spiritual/ethical debts others owe us) if you forgive ("remit their debt", consciously choose to send it away) men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions." (Mt 6:12-note; Mt 6:14,15-note) Forgiveness of others is absolutely crucial in order for believers to experience the forgiveness (and fellowship) of their Father. Such restored fellowship will also remove a major hindrance or roadblock to effective prayer. Has God's Spirit placed someone on your heart that you need to forgive?

THE HIGH COST OF UNFORGIVENESS AND DESIRE TO "GET EVEN": Even animals know the value of not trying to get even. Dale Carnegie once noted that the only animal the grizzly would allow to eat with him was the skunk. Grizzly bears in Yellowstone Park often come to eat at the place where garbage is dumped. This huge bear can fight and beat almost any animal in the West, but it lets the skunk share its meal. Carnegie said that the grizzly surely resented the skunk and could have easily killed the little creature in any fight. No doubt the bear would have liked to have gotten even with him for his intrusion. But he didn’t. Why? Because he knew the high cost of getting even. Most animals are not dumb. They are much smarter than many humans who allow their stomachs to churn all day, their minds to storm all night and their souls to turn black with hatred as they plot revenge.

TRUE FORGIVENESS TO SOME PEOPLE IS SIMPLY "TOO MUCH"! - Marie de Medicis, the Italian-born wife of King Henri IV of France, became the regent for their son Louis after her husband's death in 1610. In later years her relationship with Louis soured and they lived in a state of ongoing hostility. Marie also felt a deep sense of betrayal when Cardinal Richelieu, whom she had helped in his rise to political power, deserted her and went over to her son's side. While on her deathbed Marie was visited by Fabio Chigi, who was papal nuncio of France. Marie vowed to forgive all of her enemies, including Cardinal Richelieu. "Madam," asked Chigi, "as a mark of reconciliation, will you send him the bracelet you wear on your arm?" "No," she replied firmly, "that would be too much." True forgiveness is hard to extend because it demands that people let go of something they value (Ed: The very essence of the verb for forgiveness - Aphiemi = a sending away, letting it go, dropping it, canceling the debt they owe you!) -- not a piece of jewelry, but pride, perhaps, as sense of justice, or desire for revenge. (contrast Ro 12:17-note, Ro 12:18, 19, 20, 21-note) -- Daily Walk, May 27, 1992.

Illustration - The Forgiveness Flower - A girl was asked what forgiveness is. She gave the following beautiful answer: "It is the odor the flowers give off when they are trampled upon." For the merciful Christian (Jas 2:13, Mt 5:7-note), this odor reaches far, far away, even up to the judgment seat of Christ (2Cor 5:10) so that the Christian need not shrink back when he gets there. One day when Stan Mooneyham was walking along a trail in East Africa with some friends, he became aware of a delightful odor that filled the air. He looked up in the trees and around at the bushes in an effort to discover where it was coming from. Then his friends told him to look down at the small blue flower growing along the path. Each time they crushed the tiny blossoms under their feet, more of its sweet perfume was released into the air. Then his friends said, "We call it the forgiveness flower." This forgiveness flower does not wait until we ask forgiveness for crushing it. It does not release its fragrance in measured doses or hold us to a reciprocal arrangement. It does not ask for an apology; it merely lives up to its name and forgives-freely, fully, richly. What a touching example of outrageous forgiveness!

Related Resources: Forgive/Forgiveness

Related Resources on Forgiveness

Study the main NT words for forgive/forgiveness:

Excellent 5 Part Sermon Series on Forgiveness by Dr Ray Pritchard:​​​​ following messages are also in his book - The Healing Power of Forgiveness (see reviews by readers)

Other Resources on Forgiveness


Aphiemi is used 143x in 131v - Usage: abandoned(1), allow(5), allowed(2), divorce(2), forgave(2), forgive(23), forgiven(23), forgives(1), gave...permission(1), leave(7), leaves(2), leaving(8), left(38), let(9), let...alone(6), let him have(1), neglected(1), neglecting(2), permit(6), permitted(1), permitting(1), send...away(1), tolerate(1), uttered(1), yielded(1).

Take a few minutes and hold pointer over the following passages to help give you a better sense of the meaning of this great NT word aphiemi) -

Mt 3:15; 4:11, 20, 22; 5:24, 40; 6:12, 14, 15; 7:4; 8:15, 22; 9:2, 5, 6; 12:31, 32; 13:30, 36; 15:14; 18:12, 21, 27, 32, 35; 19:14, 27, 29; 22:22, 25; 23:13, 23, 38; 24:2, 40, 41; 26:44, 56; 27:49, 50; Mk 1:18, 20, 31, 34; 2:5, 7, 9, 10; 3:28; 4:12, 36; 5:19, 37; 7:8, 12, 27; 8:13; 10:14, 28, 29; 11:6, 16, 25; 12:12, 19, 20, 22; 13:2, 34; 14:6, 50; 15:36, 37; Lk 4:39; 5:11, 20, 21,23, 24; 6:42; 7:47, 48, 49; 8:51; 9:60; 10:30; 11:4; 12:10, 39; 13:8, 35; 17:3, 4, 34, 35; 18:16, 28, 29; 19:44; 21:6; 23:34; Jn 4:3, 28, 52; 8:29; 10:12; 11:44, 48; 12:7; 14:18, 27; 16:28, 32; 18:8; 20:23; Acts 5:38; 8:22; 14:17; Ro 1:27; 4:7; 1Cor 7:11, 12, 13; Heb 2:8; 6:1; Jas 5:15; 1Jn 1:9; 2:12; Re 2:4, 20; 11:9.

Matthew 3:15 But Jesus answering said to him, "Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he permitted Him.

Matthew 4:11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.
 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

Matthew 5:24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.
 40 "If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.

Matthew 6:12 'And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
 14 "For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
 15 "But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Matthew 7:4 "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye?

Matthew 8:15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him.
 22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead."

Matthew 9:2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, "Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven."
 5 "Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, and walk '?
 6 "But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins "-- then He said to the paralytic, "Get up, pick up your bed and go home."
Matthew 12:31 "Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.
 32 "Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
Matthew 13:30 'Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn."'"
 36 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field."
Matthew 15:14 "Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit."
Matthew 18:12 "What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?
 21 Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"
 27 "And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.
 32 "Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.
 35 "My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."
Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
 27 Then Peter said to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?"
 29 "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.
Matthew 22:22 And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away.
 25 "Now there were seven brothers with us; and the first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother;
Matthew 23:13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
 23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.
 38 "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!
Matthew 24:2 And He said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down."
 40 "Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.
 41 "Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.
Matthew 26:44 And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more.
 56 "But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets." Then all the disciples left Him and fled.
Matthew 27:49 But the rest of them said, "Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him."
 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
Mark 1:18 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
 20 Immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away to follow Him.
 31 And He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them.
 34 And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.
Mark 2:5 And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
 7 "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?"
 9 "Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven'; or to say, 'Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk '?
 10 "But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins "-- He said to the paralytic,
Mark 3:28 "Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter;
 36 Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him.
Mark 5:19 And He did not let him, but He said to him, "Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you."
 37 And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James.
Mark 7:8 "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men."
 12 you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother;
 27 And He was saying to her, "Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."
Mark 8:13 Leaving them, He again embarked and went away to the other side.
Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
 28 Peter began to say to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You."
 29 Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake,
Mark 11:6 They spoke to them just as Jesus had told them, and they gave them permission.
 16 and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple.
 25 "Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.
Mark 12:12 And they were seeking to seize Him, and yet they feared the people, for they understood that He spoke the parable against them. And so they left Him and went away.
 20 "There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife, and died leaving no children.
 22 and so all seven left no children. Last of all the woman died also.
Mark 13:2 And Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down."
 34 "It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert.
Mark 14:6 But Jesus said, "Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me.
 50 And they all left Him and fled.
Mark 15:36 Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, saying, "Let us see whether Elijah will come to take Him down."
 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last.
Luke 4:39 And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately got up and waited on them.
Luke 5:11 When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.
 20 Seeing their faith, He said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven you."
 21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?"
 23 "Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins have been forgiven you,' or to say, 'Get up and walk '?
 24 "But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,"-- He said to the paralytic-- "I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home."
Luke 6:42 "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.
Luke 7:47 "For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little."
 48 Then He said to her, "Your sins have been forgiven."
 49 Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this man who even forgives sins?"
Luke 8:51 When He came to the house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him, except Peter and John and James, and the girl's father and mother.
Luke 9:60 But He said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God."
Luke 10:30 Jesus replied and said, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.
Luke 11:4 'And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.'"
Luke 12:10 "And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.
 39 "But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into.
Luke 13:8 "And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer;
 35 "Behold, your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, 'BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!'"
Luke 17:3 "Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
 4 "And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him."
 34 "I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left.
 35 "There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left.
Luke 18:16 But Jesus called for them, saying, "Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
 28 Peter said, "Behold, we have left our own homes and followed You."
 29 And He said to them, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,
Luke 19:44 and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation."
Luke 21:6 "As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down."
Luke 23:34 But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.
John 4:3 He left Judea and went away again into Galilee.
 28 So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men,
 52 So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. Then they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him."
John 8:29 "And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him."
John 10:12 "He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
John 11:44 The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."
 48 "If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."
John 12:7 Therefore Jesus said, "Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial.
John 14:18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
 27 "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
John 16:28 "I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father."
 32 "Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.
John 18:8 Jesus answered, "I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,"
John 20:23 "If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained."
Acts 5:38 "So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown;
Acts 8:22 "Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.
Acts 14:17 and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness."
Romans 1:27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
1 Corinthians 7:11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.
 12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her.
 13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.
Hebrews 2:8 YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET." For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.
Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
James 5:15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 2:12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name's sake.
Revelation 2:4 'But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
 20 'But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
Revelation 11:9 Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb.


Aphiemi is used 61 times in the Septuagint (LXX)

Genesis 4:13 Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is too great to bear!
Genesis 18:26 So the LORD said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account."
Genesis 20:6 Then God said to him in the dream, "Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.
Genesis 35:18 It came about as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.
Genesis 42:33 "The man, the lord of the land, said to us, 'By this I will know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me and take grain for the famine of your households, and go.
Genesis 45:2 He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it.
Genesis 50:17 'Thus you shall say to Joseph, "Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong."' And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father." And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
Exodus 9:21 but he who paid no regard to the word of the LORD left his servants and his livestock in the field.
Exodus 12:23 "For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you.
Exodus 22:5 "If a man lets a field or vineyard be grazed bare and lets his animal loose so that it grazes in another man's field, he shall make restitution from the best of his own field and the best of his own vineyard.
Exodus 32:32 "But now, if You will, forgive their sin-- and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!"
Leviticus 4:20 'He shall also do with the bull just as he did with the bull of the sin offering; thus he shall do with it. So the priest shall make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven.
 26 'All its fat he shall offer up in smoke on the altar as in the case of the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin, and he will be forgiven.
 31 'Then he shall remove all its fat, just as the fat was removed from the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall offer it up in smoke on the altar for a soothing aroma to the LORD. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven.
 35 'Then he shall remove all its fat, just as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offerings, and the priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar, on the offerings by fire to the LORD. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin which he has committed, and he will be forgiven.
Leviticus 5:6 'He shall also bring his guilt offering to the LORD for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin.
 10 'The second he shall then prepare as a burnt offering according to the ordinance. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin which he has committed, and it will be forgiven him.
 13 'So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin which he has committed from one of these, and it will be forgiven him; then the rest shall become the priest's, like the grain offering.'"
 16 "He shall make restitution for that which he has sinned against the holy thing, and shall add to it a fifth part of it and give it to the priest. The priest shall then make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering, and it will be forgiven him.
 18 "He is then to bring to the priest a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation, for a guilt offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his error in which he sinned unintentionally and did not know it, and it will be forgiven him.
Leviticus 6:7 and the priest shall make atonement for him before the LORD, and he will be forgiven for any one of the things which he may have done to incur guilt."
Leviticus 16:10 "But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat.
Leviticus 19:22 'The priest shall also make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the LORD for his sin which he has committed, and the sin which he has committed will be forgiven him.
Numbers 14:19 "Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness, just as You also have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now."
Numbers 15:25 'Then the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the sons of Israel, and they will be forgiven; for it was an error, and they have brought their offering, an offering by fire to the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their error.
 26 'So all the congregation of the sons of Israel will be forgiven, with the alien who sojourns among them, for it happened to all the people through error.
Numbers 22:13 So Balaam arose in the morning and said to Balak's leaders, "Go back to your land, for the LORD has refused to let me go with you."
Deuteronomy 15:2 "This is the manner of remission: every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the LORD'S remission has been proclaimed.
Deuteronomy 26:10 'Now behold, I have brought the first of the produce of the ground which You, O LORD have given me.' And you shall set it down before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God;
Joshua 10:19 but do not stay there yourselves; pursue your enemies and attack them in the rear. Do not allow them to enter their cities, for the LORD your God has delivered them into your hand."
Judges 1:34 Then the Amorites forced the sons of Dan into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the valley;
Judges 2:21 I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died,
 23 So the LORD allowed those nations to remain, not driving them out quickly; and He did not give them into the hand of Joshua.
Judges 3:1 Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to test Israel by them (that is, all who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan;
 28 He said to them, "Pursue them, for the LORD has given your enemies the Moabites into your hands." So they went down after him and seized the fords of the Jordan opposite Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross.
Judges 16:26 Then Samson said to the boy who was holding his hand, "Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them."
Ruth 2:16 "Also you shall purposely pull out for her some grain from the bundles and leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her."
2 Samuel 15:16 So the king went out and all his household with him. But the king left ten concubines to keep the house.
2 Samuel 16:10 But the king said, "What have I to do with you, O sons of Zeruiah? If he curses, and if the LORD has told him, 'Curse David,' then who shall say, 'Why have you done so?'"
 11 Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, "Behold, my son who came out from me seeks my life; how much more now this Benjamite? Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him.
2 Samuel 20:3 Then David came to his house at Jerusalem, and the king took the ten women, the concubines whom he had left to keep the house, and placed them under guard and provided them with sustenance, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as widows.
1 Kings 19:3 And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.
2 Kings 4:27 When she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught hold of his feet. And Gehazi came near to push her away; but the man of God said, "Let her alone, for her soul is troubled within her; and the LORD has hidden it from me and has not told me."
2 Kings 23:18 He said, "Let him alone; let no one disturb his bones." So they left his bones undisturbed with the bones of the prophet who came from Samaria.
1 Chronicles 16:21 He permitted no man to oppress them, And He reproved kings for their sakes, saying,
2 Chronicles 10:4 "Your father made our yoke hard; now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you."
 10 The young men who grew up with him spoke to him, saying, "Thus you shall say to the people who spoke to you, saying, 'Your father made our yoke heavy, but you make it lighter for us.' Thus you shall say to them, 'My little finger is thicker than my father's loins!
2 Chronicles 28:14 So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the officers and all the assembly.
Ezra 6:7 "Leave this work on the house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its site.
Job 39:5 "Who sent out the wild donkey free? And who loosed the bonds of the swift donkey,
 14 For she abandons her eggs to the earth And warms them in the dust,
Job 42:10 The LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the LORD increased all that Job had twofold.
Psalm 17:14 From men with Your hand, O LORD, From men of the world, whose portion is in this life, And whose belly You fill with Your treasure; They are satisfied with children, And leave their abundance to their babes.
Psalm 25:18 Look upon my affliction and my trouble, And forgive all my sins.
Psalm 32:1 A Psalm of David. A Maskil. How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered!
 5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.
Psalm 85:2 You forgave the iniquity of Your people; You covered all their sin. Selah.
Psalm 105:14 He permitted no man to oppress them, And He reproved kings for their sakes:
 20 The king sent and released him, The ruler of peoples, and set him free.
Psalm 125:3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest upon the land of the righteous, So that the righteous will not put forth their hands to do wrong.
Proverbs 4:13 Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life.
Proverbs 24:31 And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles; Its surface was covered with nettles, And its stone wall was broken down.
Ecclesiastes 2:18 Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me.
Ecclesiastes 5:12 The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much; but the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep.
Ecclesiastes 10:4 If the ruler's temper rises against you, do not abandon your position, because composure allays great offenses.
Ecclesiastes 11:6 Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.
Song of Solomon 3:4 "Scarcely had I left them When I found him whom my soul loves; I held on to him and would not let him go Until I had brought him to my mother's house, And into the room of her who conceived me."
Isaiah 22:4 Therefore I say, "Turn your eyes away from me, Let me weep bitterly, Do not try to comfort me concerning the destruction of the daughter of my people."
 14 But the LORD of hosts revealed Himself to me, "Surely this iniquity shall not be forgiven you Until you die," says the Lord GOD of hosts.
Isaiah 32:14 Because the palace has been abandoned, the populated city forsaken. Hill and watch-tower have become caves forever, A delight for wild donkeys, a pasture for flocks;
Isaiah 33:24 And no resident will say, "I am sick"; The people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.
Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.
Jeremiah 12:7 "I have forsaken My house, I have abandoned My inheritance; I have given the beloved of My soul Into the hand of her enemies.
Ezekiel 16:39 "I will also give you into the hands of your lovers, and they will tear down your shrines, demolish your high places, strip you of your clothing, take away your jewels, and will leave you naked and bare.
Daniel 4:15 "Yet leave the stump with its roots in the ground, But with a band of iron and bronze around it In the new grass of the field; And let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, And let him share with the beasts in the grass of the earth.
 26 'And in that it was commanded to leave the stump with the roots of the tree, your kingdom will be assured to you after you recognize that it is Heaven that rules.