Repentance – A Quick Study

2 Sep

Since moving into to a small yet wonderful little church in the Detroit Metropolitan area, I have had the privileged of reading two magnificent books in my spare time.  One is entitled “The Day Christ Died” by Jim Bishop and explains the Jewish world in such a way that I am truly amazed and very grateful.  The other book is one that I wish I would have had earlier; it is a commentary called “The Jewish New Testament Commentary” by David Stern.  This book is of particular interest to me because it explains the many of the Hebrew idioms and phrases that we find in the New Testament along with giving the meaning behind the Hebrew names and characters, etc.  The longer I am a Christian, the more I see the need to study such things as it bring the Bible to light in a whole new way.  Below is one such case taken from Matthew 3:2.  The word for today is repentance.

“And [John the Baptist] would say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!'”  (Matthew 3:2)

The Greek word here for repent is metanoiete which is related to nous (which is New Testament Greek for “mind”).  Metanioete in Thayer’s Greek Lexicon means to “change one’s mind” whereas the Jewish New Testament Commentary (JNTC) adds “to have a complete change of heart.”  The JNTC goes on to say, “The underlying Hebrew concept [of the Greek word “metanioete” or “repent” (KJV)] is expressed in the [Hebrew] word “t’shuvah [which means] “turning” or “returning”… which is in the context of religious behavior means “turning” from one’s sins and “returning” to God.  Note that there is not only a “from” but a “to;” for turning from one’s sins is impossible unless at the same time one turns to God – otherwise one only turns from one set of sins to another!”



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