repent, repentance

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The Greek and Hebrew that is often translated as “repent” or “repentance” is (back-) translated in various ways: (click or tap here to see the rest of this insight)

  • Western Kanjobal: “to think in the soul”
  • Kekchí: “pain in the heart”
  • Northwestern Dinka: “to turn the heart”
  • Pedi: “to become untwisted”
  • Baoulé: “it hurts to make you quit it” (source for this and above: Nida 1952, p. 137)
  • Balinese: “putting on a new mind”
  • Chicahuaxtla Triqui: “be sorry on account of [your] sins”
  • Uab Meto: “to turn the heart upside down” (source for this and the two above: Bratcher / Nida)
  • Central Mazahua / Chichimeca-Jonaz: “turning back the heart” (source: Nida 1952, p. 40)
  • Suki: biaekwatrudap gjaeraesae: “turn with sorrow” (Source L. and E. Twyman in The Bible Translator 1953, p. 91ff.)
  • Yamba and Bulu: “turn over the heart (source: W. Reyburn in The Bible Translator 1959, p. 1ff.)
  • Nyanja: kutembenuka mtima (“to be turned around in one’s heart”) (source: Ernst Wendland in The Bible Translator 2002, p. 319ff.)
  • Caribbean Javanese: mertobat (“tired of old life”)
  • Saramaccan: bia libi ko a Massa Gadu (“turn your life to the Lord God”)
  • Sranan Tongo: drai yu libi (“turn your life”) or kenki libi (“change life”)
  • Eastern Maroon Creole: dai yu libi (“turn your life”) (source for this and 3 above: Jabini 2015)
  • Eggon: “bow in the dust” (source: Kilgour, p. 80)
  • Embu: “changing heart” (“2 Cor. 7:10 says ‘For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death.’ In ordinary speech the terms ‘repent’ and ‘regret’ are used interchangeably in Embu, so that this verse comes out as: ‘godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no repentance,’ which is contradictory. The problem was solved by using ‘changing heart’ in the first, and ‘sadness’ in the second.”) (source: Jan Sterk)
  • Anuak: “liver falls down”
  • Kafa: “return from way of sin to God” (source for this and the one above: Loren Bliese)
  • Latvian: atgriezties (verb) / atgriešanās (noun) (“turn around / return” — see turn around / convert) (source: Katie Roth)
  • Obolo: igwugwu ikom: “turning back (from evil)” (source: Enene Enene)
  • Mairasi: make an end (of wrongdoing) (source: Enggavoter 2004)
  • Luchazi: ku aluluka mutima: “to turn in heart” (source: E. Pearson in The Bible Translator 1954, p. 160ff.)
  • Chokwe: kulinkonyeka: “to fold back over” or “to go back on oneself” (source D.B. Long in The Bible Translator 1953, p. 135ff.).
  • Muna: dofetompa’ao dhosa bhe dodoli ne Lahata’ala: “to radically-end sin and to turn to God” (source: René van den Berg)
  • Bacama: por-njiya: “fetch sand” (“Before the coming of Christianity 100 years ago, when the elders went to pray to the gods, they would take sand and throw it over each shoulder and down their backs while confessing their sins. Covering themselves with sand was a ritual to show that they were sorry for what they had done wrong, sort of like covering oneself with sackcloth and ashes. Now idol worship for the most part is abandoned in Bacama culture, but the Christian church has retained the phrase por-njiya to mean ‘repent, doing something to show sorrow for one’s sins’” — source: David Frank in this blog post.)
  • “In Tzotzil two reflexive verbs to communicate the biblical concept of repentance are used. Xca’i jba means to know or to reflect inwardly on one’s self. This self inquiry or self examination is similar to the attitude of the prodigal son where Luke 15:17 records that ‘he came to his senses.’ Broke, starving, and slopping hogs, the prodigal admitted to himself that he was in the wrong place. The second reflexive verb ‘jsutes jba’ means turning away from what one is and turning to something else. In a sense, it is deciding against one’s self and toward someone else. It is similar to the attitude of the prodigal son when he said, ‘I will get up and go to my father’ (v. 18).” (source: Aeilts, p. 118)
  • Enlhet “exchange innermosts.” “Innermost” or valhoc is a term that is frequently used in Enlhet to describe a large variety of emotions or states of mind (for other examples see here). (Source: Jacob Loewen in The Bible Translator 1969, p. 24ff.)
  • San Blas Kuna: “sorry for wrong done in the heart” (source: Claudio and Marvel Iglesias in The Bible Translator 1951, p. 85ff.)
  • Desano: “change your bad deeds for good ones
  • Isthmus Mixe: “put your hearts and minds on the good road”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “change your thinking about evil and walk in the way of God”
  • San Mateo del Mar Huave: “just remember that you have done wicked, in order that you might do good”
  • Coatlán Mixe: “heart-return to God” (source for this and four above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

See also: convert / conversion / turn back and see Seat of the Mind for traditional views of “ways of knowing, thinking, and feeling.”

complete verse (Revelation 2:21)

Following are a number of back-translations of Revelation 22:1:

  • Uma: “That angel also pointed-out to me a stream, its water sparkled like crystal. The water of that stream gives life. Its headwaters appear from the Seat sat-on by God and the Lamb,” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “I was also shown by the angel the water/river that gives life without end. This water is clear like glass and flows from the throne of God and the Sheep,” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Then the angel showed me the water called the water which can give life, and that water was as clear as glass. And the water has its source at the seat of God which is also the seat of the young sheep.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Then the angel showed me the river that is the source of water which gives life. This river, it glitters like crystal, and it comes from the throne of God and the Sheep” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Shown also to me by the angel was the flowing river which gives life. It’s really very clear like first-class mirror/glass. It springs at the seat of God and the one referred to as Young Sheep in their kingship.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Afterwards, the angel showed me again where God was seated and also the Lamb. There where they were seated there came forth a stream of good water, it gives new life. It shone like glass.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

complete verse (Revelation 2:21)

Following are a number of back-translations of Revelation 2:21:

  • Uma: “I gave her an opportunity to repent from her sin, but she refused to let go of those wrong deeds of hers.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “I have warned/instructed her, told her to regret and leave now her sin of fornication/adultery, but she does not want to.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “I have put up with her for a long time so that she might stop doing those bad things, however she will not stop.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “I have given her the opportunity to repent of her sins, but she refuses to turn-her-back-on her sleeping-with those who are not her spouse.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “I have already given her room to repent and let go of these disgusting things which are her way-of-life, but she is really determining that she won’t let go of them.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “I have waited for this Jezebel, perhaps that she will separate from the fornication she walks in, but she does not want to separate from it.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)