There are 4 thoughts on “Two New Studies of Biblical Repentance”.

  1. I’m wondering if there might not be some connection between the Book of Mormon ( e.g., 2 Nephi 4:32 May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!) view of repentance and what is found in Psalms and Isaiah:

    Psalm 34:16-18 The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

    Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

    Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

    Isaiah 66:2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

  2. Thanks for your analysis of these two books on repentance. I was wondering if you or others simply looked at the words of Jesus on the subject of repentance. For example the woman caught in adultery-Jesus said he would not condemn the woman and told her to go and sin nor more. He did not ask or demand she enter into a repentance process of some type. I am convinced that her encounter with Jesus was so powerful that she turned from that particular sin in her life going forward. Her forgiveness by
    Jesus was complete in and instance.
    In Paul’s case conversion was powerful and we read of no process to repent from his instances of abetting murder.
    As non-LDS it seems to me the LDS the repentance process imposed on a brother or sister does not emphasize mercy, grace and forgiveness but emphasizes justice and accountability, ie a price for one’s sinfulness must be “paid” for. All the while the church leader says or implies “we love you brother xx, but first you must go thru a repentance of ZZZZ”. Is this what Jesus taught?

    • Thank-you Frank, for that comment. As you have noted, this book review essay only discusses the theories of biblical repentance as presented in these two relatively recent books by Bible scholars. One of these could be described as Christian evangelical and the other might be described as secular Jewish. There was no discussion of Mormon teaching.

      In a 10-page section of an older paper I have analyzed what I find as the Book of Mormon teaching on repentance. I see repentance as taught there as the process of turning away from whatever paths we might be choosing or following to walk on the straight and narrow path provided through Christ and his gospel. The only descriptions of “paying a price” apply to those who do not repent.

      If you wish to read the longer version, you can access these ten pages on line at
      on pages 33-42.

      Best wishes,


    • As a faithful Latter-day Saint, I see your characterization of the LDS repentance process a little differently. Repentance is always a personal process, undertaken by the sinner with the guidance of the Holy Ghost, to turn away from the sinful behavior and get back to the walk with God we are invited to travel. Only in cases of sin that involves some form of injury to others, or to the body of Christ as a whole, is a bishop involved. This is still the choice of the sinner, who is free to walk away from ecclesiastical authority and work on it by his/herself. We are free to, and encouraged to, counsel with our bishops, who will provide loving guidance and insight as directed by the Spirit. What you describe is more like the Catholic process of confession to a priest, who assigns a penance for the sin. We are taught that repentance is a daily act, repeated whenever the person recognizes a need for it.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

All comments are moderated to ensure respectful discourse. It is assumed that it is possible to disagree agreeably and intelligently and comments that intend to increase overall understanding are particularly encouraged. Individual authors are given the option to disallow commenting or end commenting after a certain period at their discretion.

Close this window

Top of Page

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This