Greg Perry on Repentance

‘ (…) “repent” – meaning to change one’s mind – is an extremely close approximation to the original Greek and Hebrew words. So, what does that mean for us?

It means that when we read the English word repent in Scripture, we should stick with its accurate meaning of changing one’s mind. Anything else we add does little but subtract from God’s Word. Until we’re smart enough to win Jeopardy against God, we should probably stick with just listening to Him and taking Him at His Word.

God’s Word helps us understand God’s Word. Often, the immediate context of a word in Scripture, the surrounding context, the book it’s in, the time period it’s written in, and its place in Biblical history will all help us understand a word better.

…God says He repents more than 25 times in Scripture. He says a fewer number of times that He doesn’t repent. Yes, we have to work out what’s going on here. God isn’t psychotic or bipolar; we must read His Words and figure out what He is teaching us when when He uses context to teach us. (Hint: It turns out that this seeming contradiction is one of the simplest things to understand in Scripture. God often was either going to bless or bring destruction onto a person or nation and then, due to man’s change in one direction or another, God rethinks and changes what He said would happen. Or, due to man’s stubbornness to not change direction, God didn’t rethink or change what He was going to do. Those times He refuses to repent.)

Still, if we only used the number of times God says something as having more weight, God certainly seems to repent of what He was about to do several times.

By sticking to what words actually mean, we can begin to attack errant beliefs. And by “errant” I truly mean errant from the literal Word of God, not just those who disagree with us.’

source: “Perry on Repentance” (godisopen).


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