|Volume 23 Number 10 October 2021
Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words has several definitions and three major categories that describe an abomination.
An abomination is a loathsome, detestable thing. First, it defines something or someone as essentially unique in the sense of being dangerous, sinister, and repulsive to another individual. When used with reference to God, this nuance of the word describes people, things, acts, relationships, and characteristics that are ‘detestable’ to Him because they are contrary to His nature. Things that are related to death and idolatry are loathsome to God. People with habits loathsome to God are themselves detestable to Him.
Second, it is used in some contexts to describe pagan practices and objects. In other contexts, it describes the repeated failure to observe divine regulations. Third, it is used in the sphere of jurisprudence and of family or tribal relationships.
Biblically speaking, exactly what is an abomination? There are numerous passages that define and cover the scope of this treacherous behavior and mindset. Proverbs is a treasure trove of revealing definitions. Some of these definitions may be startling, shocking and even surprising to us. An introduction to Proverbs from the Apologetics Press Defending the Faith Study Bible offers these most insightful thoughts. “A ‘proverb’ (root meaning = ‘comparison’) in Hebrew usage is a moralistic pronouncement about everyday life… Proverbs very practically point people down the pathway to successful living. They cut through the façade and complexities that we humans so typically conjure up in our lives by pinpointing how to live a godly life in preparation for eternity.” Isn’t that rich? One would need help to misunderstand the uncompromising nature of these discernments.
Abominations are at the top of the sin heap in repulsiveness to God. Abominations are neither tolerable in the Old Testament nor the New Testament. They are always condemned and never become spiritually acceptable in God’s sight! The distinction in this article of an abomination is in reference to Almighty God.
Proverbs 6:16-19 lists seven abominations in rapid fire succession. “These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.” These additional Scriptures exclusively from Proverbs further define an abomination in the sight of God.
Numerous other passages reveal more abominations and who or what is abominable. There are passages that define repeated failure to observe divine regulations and laws. Why has God revealed this side of His nature to us? The better we know who God is and how it is that He deals with us, puts us in a better position to make the choice of submission or rebellion. It has been said that when God begins to work in our lives, the first thing He does is address our sins. To be clear, when we sin, we miss the mark. We cross a boundary set by God. Iniquity is a perversion of what is right. Furthermore, God is holy, pure, and just. Sin cannot and will not ever dwell in His presence. David describes our relationship to God by inspirational perfection regarding our sins and iniquities in Psalm 103:8-14.
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
Hallelujah! God be praised forever and ever!
Vine, W.E. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1966.
Defending the Faith Study Bible. Montgomery, AL: Apologetics P., 2020.