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A Look at the Word “Repent”

I continued my research in Revelation tonight (8-16-2016) by looking at the word “repent.” I noticed that it was used again and again and I wanted to know what the word looked like in the original language (Greek).

I found the word “repent” 12 times in my ESV translation. Each and every time it means “Metanoeo.” This comes from “Metanoia.”

After seeing how often the word is used in Revelation, I can see that this is a word that matters to God.

If you click over to view the commentary on the word “Metanoia” you’ll see that it’s really not a good option to translate that as “repent.” In our culture we think of “repent” as saying, “I’m sorry. I did a bad thing.” Metanoia, on the other hand, is much more. Here is what one scholar said:

• Metamellomai/μεταμέλλομαι is, for example, the Greek verb translated in Matthew 27:3 as Judas “repented himself” after he saw Jesus being led away. Metamelomai denotes “painful sorrow” or “remorseful regret.” Metamelomai is the equivalent of the words Repent or Repentance.”[9] The biblical scholar A. T. Robertson adds the comments that Judas had only sorrow and regret and “mere sorrow avails nothing unless it leads to change of mind and life [metanoia].”[10]

When I taught the kids about the word “Metanoia” (during VBS) I explained it like this: that we were going left and we turn and go right. We were in the darkness and now we are in the light. We were going one way and now we are going another.

It’s a complete change in direction and in our thinking and not a mere, “Sorry, God.” It’s going from hating God to loving Him. It’s going from loving sin to hating it. It’s going from living for the darkness to living for the light. From serving the world to serving the Kingdom of God. It’s the difference between black and white.

In conclusion – it would perhaps be wiser to use the word “Metanoia” each time we see “repent” in Revelation (or, if we must have an English equivalent, “turn around”). What God is looking for are people willing to turn from the left – to the right. From night – to day. From ‘self’ to ‘selfless.’ From darkness – to light. From the curse – to the blessing. From lies – to truth.

A complete and utter change of mind and change of direction in their living patterns. To be able to say: “I was blind…but now I see.”

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Published by Shara Weiss

Shara is a writer, social media marketer, content provider, and marketing consultant. In addition to the work she does alongside Rick, she has run since 2009. Shara has a background in education, early childhood, teaching, ministry, and volunteerism.

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