The number four and groups of four connect with our sense of place in the horizontal world. Everything around us is in one of four directions: east, west, north, or south. In the worldview of the Old Testament, complete descriptions were often developed in sets of four. When the tax collector Zacchaeus expressed his practical faith in Jesus, he included a promise to “pay four times as much as I owe to those I have cheated in any way” (Luke 19:8). Jesus accepted that commitment as a sign of genuine repentance, symbolic of completeness. And there are four Gospels, a complete picture of the life of Christ.
Hebrews 11 is known as the “faith chapter” of the Bible it contains a list of several heroes of the Old Testament who were known for their great faith. Number three on this list is Noah, who, “being divinely warned of things no yet seen, [and] moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Hebrews 11:7 NKJV).
The most common NT word for sin is hamartia . Parabasis, “trespass” or “transgression,” literally, means to step across the line. One who steps over a property line has trespassed on another person’s land; the person who steps across God’s standard of righteousness has committed a trespass or transgression. Anomia means “lawlessness” or iniquity” and is a rather general description of sinful acts, referring to almost any action in opposition to God’s standard of righteousness. Poneria, “evil” or