Words “Astray” and “Ignorance” are similar Hebrew and Greek Words

"I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments." Psalm 119:176

Mat 18:12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

"Astray" from the strong's:

Definition: I lead astray, deceive, cause to wander.

4105 planáō – properly, go astray, get off-course; to deviate from the correct path (circuit, course), roaming into error, wandering; (passive) be misled.

I don't think this word astray covers willful belligerence towards God! This sheep that went astray did so accidentally. And the Lord rejoiced when this sheep was brought back to the fold.

"If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. So it is not [the] will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish." Matthew 18:13, 14

Further more we have this: Hebrews 9:7 "But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:"

"Errors" here is translated "sins of ignorance" (Link)

This is the NIV: "But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance." (I am quoting from the NIV simply because it is the correct translation as verified by the Strong's Concordance.)

Strong's Concordance for "errors" (KJV) in Hebrews 9:7:

51. agnoéma (n) 1 Usage in NT

"an offence committed through ignorance, an error due to (willful or culpable) ignorance."

Thayer's Lexicon Expanded definition: "ἀγνόημα (τος τό, a sin (strictly, that committed through ignorance or thoughtlessness ( A. V. error):"

52. agnoia (n) is another very similar Greek word. 4 usages in the NT. Here they are:

Acts 3:17 N-AFS
GRK: ὅτι κατὰ ἄγνοιαν ἐπράξατε ὥσπερ
NAS: that you acted in ignorance, just
KJV: that through ignorance ye did [it], as
INT: that in ignorance you acted as

Acts 17:30 N-GFS
GRK: χρόνους τῆς ἀγνοίας ὑπεριδὼν ὁ
NAS: the times of ignorance, God
KJV: the times of this ignorance God
INT: times of ignorance having overlooked

Ephesians 4:18 N-AFS
GRK: διὰ τὴν ἄγνοιαν τὴν οὖσαν
NAS: because of the ignorance that is in them, because
KJV: through the ignorance that is
INT: on account of the ignorance which is

1 Peter 1:14 N-DFS
GRK: ἐν τῇ ἀγνοίᾳ ὑμῶν ἐπιθυμίαις
NAS: lusts [which were yours] in your ignorance,
KJV: in your ignorance:
INT: in the ignorance of you desires

Here is the Verb form of these last 2 words: 50. agnoeó

This is the antonym of 1097 ginóskó, meaning; "I come to know, learn, realize."

Check out the OT: "And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him." Number 15:28

"For if we sin willfully ("willfully," - an antonym of "astray" or "ignorance") after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins," Hebrews 10:26

"Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word." Psalms 119:67

Job 28:28 "And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that [is] wisdom; and to depart from evil [is] understanding."

1 John 5:16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. 17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

sins NOT unto death are sins of ignorance.

according to Strong's Hebrew:

7683. shagag


"to go astray, commit sin or error" and "deceived, err, go astray, sin ignorantly"

Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon:

1a) to err (mentally)

2) to sin (ignorantly or inadvertently)

It's good to look at other verses that speak of ignorance in context.

Like Deut 19:4: "And this [is] the case of the slayer, which shall flee thither, that he may live: Whoso killeth his neighbour ignorantly, whom he hated not in time past."


1Ti 1:13 "Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy , because I did [it] ignorantly in unbelief."

This even shows further WHY Paul received forgiveness. He "obtained mercy, because" he did it in ignorance.

But being in ignorance can only go on for so long. We must seek God with all our heart so we have less of a chance to go astray. We need to love God with all our heart. That means we need to love and OBEY The Word of God with all our heart. God still says we can all be "destroyed for a lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6a) So we must fight with all our heart and continue on praying, reading and studying God's Word.

In Leviticus 5 God states, “If anyone sins and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, even though they do not know it, they are guilty and will be held responsible. They are to bring to the priest as a guilt offering a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for them for the wrong they have committed unintentionally, and they will be forgiven. It is a guilt offering; they have been guilty of wrongdoing against the Lord.” Lev 5:17-19

So even if you do sin in ignorance, you are guilty and must seek God for forgiveness through Messiah.

I believe this is a very important lesson for Christians!

More messages on this topic:

  • Abiding in Christ

  • Sins of Ignorance vs Willful Sins

  • You can be saved!

    God loves the people in the world so much that He came down to die for us. If God is opening your heart to His message and you feel convicted for your sins which have separated you from a holy God and you feel the need to be forgiven, then say this prayer. This is how I was powerfully converted to the Christ in 1997!

    Say, "My Lord and my God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe Jesus the Christ died on the cross and shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of all my sins. I believe Jesus raised from the dead and ascended into heaven and is now on the right-hand side of God listening to this prayer. I open up the door of my heart and I invite You in, Lord Jesus. Thank you, God, for saving my soul and I vow to serve you with all my heart which is the first and greatest commandment. Amen."