Repentance and Metanoia – A Bible question…

We have heard and read the following Bible verse over and over again:

Matthew 3:2

And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

repent

This gave the concept of repentance to Christianity. We are going to look into it and see what this verse really means. What did Jesus, the son of God who came to earth more than r 2000 years ago really mean when he said that? Let us start our analysis…

First of all, we all know that Jesus didn’t speak in English, and Bible was not written originally in English. Jesus spoke in Aramaic, Old Testament in Bible was written in Hebrew and the New Testament was written in Koine-Greek. And I would say, the translation of Bible to English has killed the real meaning of most of the well known Bible verses.

The original Greek word used in New Testament for what we call as repentance is ‘Metanoia’..

What does Metanoia really mean?

Let us dive right into that and also look into various analysis available on the internet. I have given the links to the sources.

Metanoia means afterthought, from meta meaning “after” or “beyond” and nous meaning “mind”. In Classical Greek metanoia meant changing one’s mind about someone or something

(Source: https://bible.org/seriespage/3-new-testament-repentance-lexical-considerations)

Metonoia has nothing to do with the sins you have committed…

Tracing the root meanings is very helpful towards, but not determinative of, final meaning. Still, a word’s origin is not arbitrary, but informative. Thus we can not ignore the formation of metanoia which gives us the basic definition a change of mind.

(Source: http://www.gracelife.org/resources/gracenotes/pdf/gracenotes22.pdf)

A change of mind is very vague. What did Jesus really mean by change of mind? Let us look into various other things into consideration.

In the book ‘Theosophia: Hidden Dimensions of Christianity’ written by Arthur Versluis, he goes into detail about Metonoia and brings the actual meaning of the Bible verse into light. He explains that as fallen beings we tend to search things outside and our yearning always remains outward bound… But the word ‘Metonoia’ really suggests ‘turning inward’…

So, the bible verse Matthew 3:2 really means

“Turn inward! The kingdom of heaven is near”

Kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God means the same thing….

This can be further proved by referencing another Bible quote here, which is one of my all time favorites. But before that, let me ask you this question:

Where is the kingdom of heaven?

The question is answered in Bible very clearly:

Luke 17:21:

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

So, the kingdom of heaven is within you. But our journey normally outside. As long as it is outward bound, the kingdom of God or heaven is going to be far away. But if we turn inward, it is near… Does it make sense?

In fact, the Tamil translation of Bible preserves the original meaning of the verse:

மனம் திரும்புங்கள் பரலோக ராஜ்ஜியம் சமீபித்திருக்கிறது

The above verse exactly means ‘Turn your mind, the kingdom of heaven is near’!

The mystical dimensions of Christianity talks about mystical union with God.. The union is only possible when you turn inward, because God is within you. If you turn inward and resume your journey, the salvation is not very far away….

There are lots of other pages on the internet which talks about it in detail and support my argument.

Here is another one:

Definition.  Metanoia is a Greek word that has the following translations and meanings in English:

1. A turning about at the level of the soul, with a resulting awakening to matters spiritual and less importance given to matters that are material and fleeting.

This turning about in the soul is very special.  It is akin to feeling and saying to oneself “I have been there and done that”, in regard to worldly pursuits.  The soul then makes a critical decision to take a turn or move in a completely different direction.

Some would say that direction is to re-unite with the Father energy.  Others would say that it is a turn inward toward perfecting the self, instead of seeking love and fortune outside of oneself.  Still others would say it is a turn toward the divine nature that is in each of us, to explore it to the fullest, with the belief and knowing that this is the true path to happiness and joy on all levels.

2. Repentance, as used in some Greek Orthodox churches.  Here the word has a religious significance and is similar to what other churches call conversion or being reborn again in Christ.  Conversion is not converting to a religion.  Conversion is a deeper spiritual process in which a person becomes more aligned with the principles of Christianity.

Source: http://www.drlwilson.com/articles/METANOIA.htm

I also have a video where I have spoken about this in detail… Here you go:

Hope you found this analysis meaningful.. Feel free to comment, I am open for a discussion…

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Author: Shanmugam

I am a blogger and I was a spiritual seeker. I had a tremendous awakening experience in July 12, 2014 on a Gurupurnima day in the presence of Sadhguru but I wouldn’t call that as spiritual enlightenment. But it did free me from many things and changed many things.

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