Offerings and Sacrifices

Difference between an Offering and Sacrifice

Feature Offering Sacrifice
Scope Broader category Specific type of offering
Definition Gifts or contributions Voluntarily giving up something valuable for the sake of something else
Intention Express respect, devotion, allegiance, thanksgiving To honor, appease, or seek favor from a deity or principle or worship
Items Food, drink, objects, sometimes animals Requires a life

For example:

And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,

Offering

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.

Sacrifice

If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer

  • a male without blemish:
  • he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.
  • And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
  • And he shall kill the bullock before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces. And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire: And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar: But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.

-- Leviticus 1:1-9 (KJV)

Another example:

A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master:

if then I be a Father, where is Mine honour? and if I be a Master, where is My fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise My name.

And ye say, "Wherein have we despised thy name?" "Ye offer polluted bread upon Mine altar"; and ye say, "Wherein have we polluted thee?" In that ye say, "The table of the LORD is contemptible."

And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.

-- Malachi 1:6-8 (KJV)

However, some bible translations choose to translate "burnt sacrifice" as "burnt offering" or even mix up the terminology, but according to Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Dictionaries of the Greek and Hebrew Testaments:

Offering

H4503 מִנחָה minchah (min-chaw') n-f.

  1. a donation.
  2. (euphemistically) tribute.
  3. (specifically) a sacrificial offering (usually bloodless and voluntary).
    [from an unused root meaning to apportion, i.e. bestow]
    KJV: gift, oblation, offering, present.

Sacrifice

H2077 זֶבַח zebach (zeh'-ɓach) n-m.

  1. (properly) a slaughter, i.e. the flesh of an animal.
  2. (by implication) a sacrifice (the victim or the act).
    [from H2076]
    KJV: burnt offer(- ing), sacrifice.
    Root(s): H2076

Jesus' sacrifice

For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. -- 1 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV)

Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. -- Ephesians 5:2 (ESV)