Weekly Bible Commentary by Wes Woodard

Hebrews 12:16 & 17 – “Repentance”

 There is a cultural difference between how a first century Greek understood repentance and how our American culture understands it today. The former culture thought of it as mental, “a change of mind” (p. 287 of G. Abbott – Smith Manual Greek Lexicon (dictionary) of the New Testament). Our culture views it more as penance and associated with emotions. The writer of Hebrews clearly gives the first century view of a mental decision when he describes Esau. “…that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected for he found no place for repentance (he did not believe that he did anything wrong in selling his birthright!) though he sought for it with tears.” NASV