Fundamental #6

What Does Sin Mean?

Fundamental #6

Memory Scriptures

Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.—1 John 3:4

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”—Matthew 22:37-39


Summary Statement

Sin is the word used to describe the breaking of God’s law—when we go against what God tells us to do. To understand what sin is, it’s also important to understand what God’s law is. God’s law is perfect and holy and good and is based on the two great principles of love toward God and love toward neighbor. The 10 Commandments are built on this law of love. Breaking one of these commandments, or any part of God’s law, is sin and causes hurt and pain—sometimes not right away, but disobedience to God always has a consequence. In contrast, obeying God’s perfect law can bring blessings like great joy and true peace.


Begin Your Study 

Read the memory scriptures together with your children, then read through the summary statement (remember to simplify the statement, if necessary). Have your children cut and paste the summary statement from this page in their “Fundamentals Bible Study Journal” (as suggested in the Memorizing Scripture resource “The Fundamentals”).

Have your children copy the memory scriptures in their journal on two separate pages. Ask your children if they remember the last Fundamental on the Word of God. God’s Word is truth, and it tells us what the right way to live is and what the wrong way is. Following God’s law is the right way to live; following sin is the wrong way to live.

Ask your children if they can come up with a list of ways to follow God’s law. (They may find their list from Fundamental #5 useful.) You may want to help them begin a list with a couple of examples, such as keeping the Sabbath, honoring your parents, and so on. Write the list on the page underneath the Matthew 22 scripture. Remind your children that when we do the things God tells us to in His law, we are blessed. For each item you have listed under Matthew 22, ask your children if they can think of the good consequences of those choices. For example, when we keep the Sabbath, we get to spend extra time with our family, enjoy special Sabbath treats, see church friends, and so on.

Next create a list with your children of things God tells us not to do, things that are sins (such as lying and stealing). Have your children write this list on the page with the 1 John 3 scripture. Ask your children, Why does God tell us not to do these things? Discuss with them how when you do these things, it hurts your relationships with God and with others. For example, if you lie to a friend, that friend will not trust you and may not want to be your friend anymore. 


Digging Deeper Interaction #1

Today focus on Matthew 22:37-39. Have your children read through these verses. All of God’s law can be summed up by doing two things: loving God and loving others.

Take a few pieces of blank white printer paper and fold them in half to create a mini-book. On each page, have your children create a sentence beginning with “I love God by  … ” or “I love others by  …” and have them complete the thought. On each page, have them draw a picture to match each sentence. This would be a great book to reread on the Sabbath!


Digging Deeper Interaction #2

Practice memorizing the two memory scriptures for this Fundamental. Then ask your children, Where does God tell us how to love Him and love others in the Bible? In the 10 Commandments! Cut out two “tablet” shapes of construction paper or poster board. Depending on the ages of your children, either have a printed copy of the 10 Commandments they can cut out in strips and glue on the paper, or have them write the 10 Commandments on their “tablets.”


Bible Story: Daniel

Review a story about a man who followed God and would not bow down to worship a statue even when it meant he could lose his life! Read through and discuss the EEI lesson “Daniel, Man of Prayer” to help your children learn about this remarkable man who loved God and His Word. 


Bonus Ideas 

The Bible is full of scriptures about the beauty of God’s law. Challenge your children (and yourself!) to find additional scriptures to add to their “Fundamentals Bible Study Journal.” (Hint: David spoke a lot about God’s law in his psalms.) 

A great way to have your children learning all of the 10 Commandments is by singing a song. Do a quick online search to find a great, catchy tune, or come up with your own!

For an additional 10 Commandments activity, find the “10 Commandments Puzzles” teaching tool from the EEI Additional Resources section, or choose "The 10 Commandments" overview study from the Word of God section. 


Wrap-up Activity

Have your children create a poster for one or both memory scriptures and display it with their growing collection. They could glue their 10 Commandments tablets to the poster.

To end your study, have your child recite the memory scripture (one or both) for a small audience, perhaps while on a family visit to see a church member.  

Further Your Study

The Fundamentals

The Fundamentals

Kids are well-known for asking lots of questions. Wouldn’t it be great to have some answers and scriptures already prepared? Our “Fundamentals” series asks the basic questions of life and provides scriptures to memorize for the Read More >

The 10 Commandments

The 10 Commandments

The 10 Commandments are a key to loving God and loving our neighbors. They’re also essential to living good, happy lives. Our "Commandments" series gives an overview of what the 10 Commandments are and why they are important. Read More >

Daniel, Man of Prayer

Daniel, Man of Prayer

In a foreign land with pagan gods and under the authority a foreign king, Daniel remained faithful to the one, true God. He continued to pray to and worship God even under the threat of death. Review his story and Read More >

10 Commandments Puzzles

10 Commandments Puzzles

Use our 10 Commandments puzzle templates to engage children of all ages in learning about God’s important laws.  Read More >