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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words

Repent, Repentance

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A — 1: μετανοέω
(Strong's #3340 — Verb — metanoeo — met-an-o-eh'-o )

lit., "to perceive afterwards" (meta, "after," implying "change," noeo, "to perceive;" nous, "the mind, the seat of moral reflection"), in contrast to pronoeo, "to perceive beforehand," hence signifies "to change one's mind or purpose," always, in the NT, involving a change for the better, an amendment, and always, except in Luke 17:3,4 , of "repentance" from sin. The word is found in the Synoptic Gospels (in Luke, nine times), in Acts five times, in the Apocalypse twelve times, eight in the messages to the churches, Revelation 2:5 (twice),16,21 (twice), RV, "she willeth not to repent" (2nd part); Revelation 3:3,19 (the only churches in those chapters which contain no exhortation in this respect are those at Smyrna and Philadelphia); elsewhere only in 2 Corinthians 12:21 . See also the general Note below.

A — 2: μεταμέλομαι
(Strong's #3338 — Verb — metamelomai — met-am-el'-lom-ahee )

meta, as in No. 1, and melo, "to care for," is used in the Passive Voice with the Middle Voice sense, signifying "to regret, to repent oneself," Matthew 21:29 , RV, "repented himself;" Matthew 21:32 , RV, "ye did (not) repent yourselves" (AV, "ye repented not"); Matthew 27:3 , "repented himself" 2 Corinthians 7:8 (twice), RV, "regret" in each case; Hebrews 7:21 , where alone in the NT it is said (negatively) of God.

B — 1: ἀμεταμέλητος
(Strong's #278 — Adjective — ametameletos — am-et-am-el'-ay-tos )

"not repented of, unregretted" (a, negative, and a verbal adjective of A, No. 2), signifies "without change of purpose;" it is said (a) of God in regard to his "gifts and calling," Romans 11:29 ; (b) of man, 2 Corinthians 7:10 , RV, "[repentance (metanoia, see C)] ... which bringeth no regret" (AV, "not to be repented of"); the difference between metanoia and metamelomai, illustrated here, is briefly expressed in the contrast between "repentance" and "regret."

C — 1: μετάνοια
(Strong's #3341 — Noun Feminine — metanoia — met-an'-oy-ah )

"afterthought, change of mind, repentance," corresponds in meaning to A, No. 1, and is used of "repentance" from sin or evil, except in Hebrews 12:17 , where the word "repentance" seems to mean, not simply a change of Isaac's mind, but such a change as would reverse the effects of his own previous state of mind. Esau's birthright-bargain could not be recalled; it involved an irretrievable loss. As regards "repentance" from sin, (a) the requirement by God on man's part is set forth, e.g., in Matthew 3:8 ; Luke 3:8 ; Acts 20:21 ; 26:20 ; (b) the mercy of God in giving "repentance" or leading men to it is set forth, e.g., in Acts 5:31 ; 11:18 ; Romans 2:4 ; 2 Timothy 2:25 . The most authentic mss. omit the word in Matthew 9:13 ; Mark 2:17 , as in the RV.

Note: In the OT, "repentance" with reference to sin is not so prominent as that change of mind or purpose, out of pity for those who have been affected by one's action, or in whom the results of the action have not fulfilled expectations, a "repentance" attributed both to God and to man, e.g., Genesis 6:6 ; Exodus 32:14 (that this does not imply anything contrary to God's immutability, but that the aspect of His mind is changed toward an object that has itself changed, see under RECONCILE).

In the NT the subject chiefly has reference to "repentance" from sin, and this change of mind involves both a turning from sin and a turning to God. The parable of the Prodigal Son is an outstanding illustration of this. Christ began His ministry with a call to "repentance," Matthew 4:17 , but the call is addressed, not as in the OT to the nation, but to the individual. In the Gospel of John, as distinct from the Synoptic Gospels, referred to above, "repentance" is not mentioned, even in connection with John the Baptist's preaching; in John's Gospel and 1st Epistle the effects are stressed, e.g., in the new birth, and, generally, in the active turning from sin to God by the exercise of faith (John 3:3 ; 9:38 ; 1 John 1:9 ), as in the NT in general.


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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Repent, Repentance'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/ved/r/repent-repentance.html. 1940.

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