Personal Online Journal

Sunday, June 09, 2019

The Meaning of Repentance

We studied the talk of President Nelson from Apr 2019 given to the Priesthood today in church. "We Can Do Better and Be Better" Russell M. Nelson. This phrase stood out to me "Too many people consider repentance as punishment—something to be avoided except in the most serious circumstances."

I looked up "repentance as punishment" and I found "The Meaning of Repentance" Ensign Aug 1988 by Theodore M. Burton.

It shares the same definition that President Nelson shared
The word for repentance in the Greek New Testament is metanoeo. The prefix meta- means “change.” The suffix -noeo is related to Greek words that mean “mind,” “knowledge,” “spirit,” and “breath.”
Thus, when Jesus asks you and me to “repent,” He is inviting us to change our mind, our knowledge, our spirit—even the way we breathe.
Elder Burton also includes
Confusion came, however, when the New Testament was translated from Greek into Latin. Here an unfortunate choice was made in translation; the Greek word metaneoeo was translated into the Latin word poenitere. The Latin root poen in that word is the same root found in our English words punish, penance, penitent, and repentance. The beautiful meaning of the Hebrew and Greek words was thus changed in Latin to a meaning that involved hurting, punishing, whipping, cutting, mutilating, disfiguring, starving, or even torturing! It is no small wonder, then, that people have come to fear and dread the word repentance, which they understand to mean repeated or unending punishment. 
The meaning of repentance is not that people be punished, but rather that they change their lives so that God can help them escape eternal punishment and enter into his rest with joy and rejoicing. If we have this understanding, our anxiety and fears will be relieved. Repentance will become a welcome and treasured word in our religious vocabulary.

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