Belief in God Biblical doctrines

What is the meaning of Repent?

John the Baptist and Jesus Christ opened their ministries on Earth calling for repentance (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:15). Jesus, in His Revelation to John, called the church of Ephesus to repent.

Revelations 2:5 Remember therefore from where you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come to you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of its place, except you repent. (KJVER)

The Revelation might be shrouded in symbolism but Jesus was clear in His admonition. They need to μετανοέω (metanoeo) the Greek word translated ‘repent’ in the New Testament. Do ‘the first works’? Believe, for those who have not yet believed, and for many, get back to God!

Mickelson’s Enhanced Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary defines the word repent as “to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (morally, feel compunction).” That means to change your mind. In the sense of salvation it means to turn from your sins to God.

Webster’s Dictionary has two forms of the verb, intransitive (v.i.) and transitive (v.t.), as follows:

REPENT’, v.i.
1. To feel pain, sorrow or regret for something done or spoken; as, to repent that we have lost much time in idleness or sensual pleasure; to repent that we have injured or wounded the feelings of a friend. A person repents only of what he himself has done or said.
2. To express sorrow for something past.
…Enobarbus did. Before thy face repent. (Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra: Act 4, Scene 9)
3. To change the mind in consequence of the inconvenience or injury done by past conduct.
Lest perhaps the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:” Exodus 13:17
4. Applied to the Supreme Being, to change the course of providential dealings. Genesis 6. Psalm 106.
5. In theology, to sorrow or be pained for sin, as a violation of God’s holy law, a dishonor to his character and government, and the foulest ingratitude to a Being of infinite benevolence.
…but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3, 5
REPENT’, v.t
1. To remember with sorrow; as, to repent rash words; to repent an injury done to a neighbor; to repent follies and vices.
2. With the reciprocal pronoun.
…no man repented him of his wickedness.” Jeremiah 8:6 [this form you’ll find used in the Old Testament but now obsolete.]

When John the Baptist and Jesus called to the crowd to “Repent you!” (Matthew 3:2) then baptized those who yielded their hearts and minds to God, confessing their sins. Jesus Himself was baptized to show to the world He was obedient to His Father, fulfilling Scripture.  This is also what the Apostle Peter said when he called to the crowd:

Acts 2:38 … Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Change you mind! Turn it back to God! For some, Turn it to God!


“REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD AND FAITH TOWARD OUR LORD JESUS CHIRST” is the essence of the gospel. Repentance implies serious thought, pondering over the conduct and state of the heart; it proceeds from deep and solemn conviction of our sin and sinfulness in the sight of God; it proves a concern to escape danger, obtain pardon, and enjoy peace; it includes sorrow and remorse – enlightened and heartfelt – that we have grieved the Lord, dishonoured His cause, and slighted His mercy; it always leads to reformation. There may be some degree of reformation without repentance, but there can be no real repentance without reformation. Let us examine our ways, reflect on the dishonour we have done the Saviour, seek anew the tokens of His forgiving love, mourn over our follies and faults, and begin again to do our first works. Look to Jesus, wait upon God, search His holy word, diligently attend His ordinances, speak of Jesus and for Jesus, and abstain from all appearance of evil, as we did at first. What love, what zeal, what carefulness, what consecration to God, we manifested then! Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord. Let us repent and do our first works. — Daily Remembrancer  February 26th Evening

DR Feb 26 E

 See also What does biblical repentance mean?

By John Gideon Hartnett

Dr John G. Hartnett is an Australian physicist and cosmologist, and a Christian with a biblical creationist worldview. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. (with distinction) in Physics from The University of Western Australia, W.A., Australia. He was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellow at the University of Adelaide, with rank of Associate Professor. Now he is retired. He has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.