Mark Wilson emory2oo2 at
Fri Aug 24 13:22:40 EDT 2001


You wrote:

>I am wondering about the word METANOIA and I'm looking for some information
>about the original sense or meaning of this word in NT Greek, I don't mean
>some theological biases or ideas, just the common use of this word in that
>time. I'm not thinking on any specific pasage .
>What is its origin? What is its meaning?

When discussing the "origin" of METANOIA, I think you simply must
consider documentary evidence BEFORE the NT, otherwise, I doubt
we can truly speak of this word's "original sense."

However, I think I understand your question, and would like to
offer this suggestion:

Consider METANOIA the turning away from XYZ, NOT the turning toward

I think I can somewhat support that METANOIA is primarily used
in the NT of turning away from XYZ, not toward something in particular.

For example, you will find the idea of repent:

from dead works
of wickedness
of her sexual immorality
of your deeds

But turning away from any one of these does not require that
one turn away from XYZ WITH THE INTENT of turning toward ABC.

To me, the turning toward ABC, for example, turning to God, would
NOT be an act of repentance, but an act of faith. Almost as if to
say that to repent means to "let go of something" and faith is
the act of "grabbing onto something." I think of them as two,
separate and distinct responses.

I suppose one could repent (turn away from XYZ) without consciously
turning toward something else. Quite naturally, to turn away from
something would require turning toward something else, but here
I am trying to say that METANOIA is the turning away from ONLY.

Repentance then is the first step in a process, the gospel process
if you will. And if one also choses to turn to God (faith) upon turning
away from sin (repentance), then we might overlook these two steps
and wrongly conclude that only one event took place.

When someone says to me repentance is one side of the coin, and
faith is the other, I am quite content to not argue beyond that.
That's an acceptable way of describing it. But if we wanted to get
overly technical, I might argue as I have above.

My thoughts,

Mark Wilson

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