Sins Or Faults? Does It Matter?

Q. I have recently had some problems with two brothers who think we should confess our sins to each other according to James 5:16 whereas I believe we confess only to God because only God can forgive sins! The KJV states faults whereas the majority if not all other versions of the bible state sins in the verse in James. What is the answer? Does it matter?

A. The Greek word translated faults in the KJV (James 5:16) is most often translated trespasses or offenses. Sins and faults are also appropriate translations. I don’t think the audible confession of each specific sin is necessary to meet the requirements of James 5:16. The Lord already knows what they are, and no one else needs to. In my opinion acknowledging that we’re sinners asking to be forgiven is sufficient. This verse is confirmed in 1 John 1:9. If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

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