Metanoeo - met-an-o-eh'-o

The Meaning of Metanoeo:

A Greek Word with the English Translation meaning to Repent (to perceive, to think, the result of perceiving or observing). In this compound word the preposition combines the two meanings of time and change, which may be denoted by 'after' and 'different'; so that the whole compound means: 'to think differently after being informed with the truth'.

From: Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 4:976-977

Metanoeo is a combination of two words:


  • Literally, "to direct one's mind to a subject"
  • In classical Greek it meant with your thinking "to perceive" or "to notice"
  • In compounds means "after," "with," "around," etc.
Metanoeo literally means "after directing one's mind to a subject."
But what did it mean to the Greeks?

Metanoeo . . .

  • can first mean "to note after, later";
  • it can then mean "to change one's mind" or "adopt another view" or "to change one's Thinking";
  • if the change of mind derives from recognition that the earlier view was foolish, improper or misdirected, there arises the sense "to regret," "to feel remorse," "to rue."
From: Theological Lexicon of the New Testament, 2:472

Metanoeo is literally "know after-think differently."
To metanoeo is first of all . . .

  •  change of mind
  • a change of feelings
  • a change of intentions
  • a change of plans
  • to reflect (which implies a time later than the first knowledge)
  • to reconsider a first opinion is a new form of thought after coming under the influence of Truth (Hebrew 'emeth) (Greek Aletheia) or Deceive by Deception (Hebrew Ganab) (Hebrew Mirmah)  (Greek Planao) (Greek apate), whence derive ignorance and error due to lack of Knowledge
What characterizes this evolution is that it is accompanied by regret, sorrow, or shame at the former attitude, opinion, action or belief.

By implication, metanoeo means a complete change of mind from one thing to another in which the two positions are mutually exclusive, rather than simply meaning any old change of thinking.

Metanoeo is not just a 'changed' mind, it is a total reversal of one's previous attitudes, opinions, actions and beliefs.

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