Acyrologia, Repentance, and Pennance

Someone placed a humourous definition of acyrologia on Facebook, just recently, and at first I thought it quite funny, since several people in my family utilize this practise quite regularly. Upon reflection, I realized that there can be a quite sinister application of this practise, but before we examine that, let’s have some fun;


An incorrect use of words – particulately replacing one word with another word that sounds similar but has a diffident meaning – possibly fuelled by a deep-seeded desire to sound more educated, witch results in an attempt to pawn off an incorrect word in place of a correct one. In academia, such flaunting of common social morays is seen as almost sorted and might result in the offender becoming a piranha, in the Monday world, after all is set and done, such a miner era will often leave normal people unphased. This is just as well sense people of that elk are unlikely to tow the line irregardless of any attempt to better educate them. A small percentage however, suffer from severe acyrologiaphobia, and it is their upmost desire to see English used properly. Exposure may cause them symptoms that may resemble post-dramatic stress disorder and, eventually, descend into whole-scale outrage as they go star-craving mad. Eventually, they will succumb to the stings and arrows of such a barrage, and suffer a complete metal breakdown, leaving them curled up in the feeble position.

Here is a serious definition from Your dictionary dot com


Noun  (plural acyrologias)

  1. (rhetoric) inexact, inappropriate or improper use of a word
  2. malapropism

From Latin, from Ancient Greek ἀκυρολογία (akurologia), α- (a-, “not”) + κυρος (kuros, “authority”), λογια (logia, “speech”)

And of course this leads to the definition of…


  1. ludicrous misuse of words, esp. through confusion caused by resemblance in sound
  2. an instance of this (Ex.: progeny for prodigy)

So it seems that malapropism is a synonym for acyrologia.

This practise would seem innocent, or innocuous, to many, but there is a sinister side when it comes to the subject of salvation. The Roman Catholic Church has indulged in the practise of malapropism in their bible translations!  I am sure the following is not the only instance of this, but it is certainly one of the most egregious!

Here is how the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible, 1899 American Edition (DRA) “translates” the Greek word “metanoia”;

And saying: Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 3:2

Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of penance. Matthew 3:8

I indeed baptize you in the water unto penance, but he that shall come after me, is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptize you in the Holy Ghost and fire. Matthew 3:11

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say: Do penance, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4:17

In every case the Authorized Version (KJV) translates the word “metanoia” as “repent” or “repentance”.

Penance is not the same word as Metanoia; the meaning is entirely different. Penance is defined thusly by the Merriam Webster dictionary;

Simple Definition of penance

  • : something that you do or are given to do in order to show that you are sad or sorry about doing something wrong

Full Definition of penance

  1. an act of self-abasement, mortification, or devotion performed to show sorrow or repentance for sin
  2. a sacramental rite that is practiced in Roman, Eastern, and some Anglican churches and that consists of private confession, absolution, and a penance directed by the confessor
  3. something (as a hardship or penalty) resembling an act of penance (as in compensating for an offense)

Catholics punish themselves when they feel guilty for a certain sin.  Their priest determines how they are to punish themselves.  This practise is not found in the New Testament at all.  Sometimes they will whip themselves until they bleed.  Beating yourself till you bleed is not what God ever asks of us.  This outward show does not actually mean that anything has changed in the heart!  You can beat yourself until you are a bloody mess, and still be unchanged inside!  God’s intent is that we change from the inside-out!

Because of their emphasis on the flesh, this world, and this life, the Roman Catholic Church utterly rejects the meaning of Metanoia. So they substitute a meaning that sounds similar, and may even be slightly related, but only in a fleshly way.  This practise is the worldly sorrow spoken of by Paul in II Corinthians 7:10

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

Changing of the mind was something Augustine couldn’t understand, or practice, and didn’t preach. He couldn’t stop sinning sexually so he had himself castrated. It is much easier to beat-yourself-up over past sins, than to change your mind about everything, but this is what the Lord commands us!

The problem is that you can change your behaviour without being changed on the inside! There are a lot of people who live strict lives, who meticulously avoid breaking the law, model citizens, who are nonetheless utterly lost!

The original Greek μετάνοια is transliterated as “metanoia”

metanoia: change of mind, repentance

Original Word: μετάνοια, ας, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Transliteration: metanoia
Phonetic Spelling: (met-an’-oy-ah)
Short Definition: repentance, a change of mind
Definition: repentance, a change of mind, change in the inner man.

Cognate: 3341 metánoia – literally, “a change of mind” (“afterthought“); repentance. See 3340 /metanoeō (“repent”).

Metanoia is a compound word made from the prefix “meta” and the suffix “noia”.

Meta is a prefix appearing in loanwords from Greek, with the meanings “after,” “along with,” “beyond,” “among,” “behind,” and productive in English on the Greek model:

Noia a combining form appearing in loanwords from Greek, where it meant “thought”: Greek -noia, equivalent to nó (os) mind + -ia -y3

(also found in paranoia)

So, literally, metanoia means “after-thought”

This is not the same as a change of opinion, although it does indeed include this, but it is much more. When Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake on the Island of Melita, in Acts 28, the natives originally thought that he must be a murderer who had escaped the sea, and was bitten as a divine act of vengeance. When he suffered no ill effects from the snake bite, they changed their opinion and thought “he must be a god”.

The word used here is metaballó, and it simply means a change of opinion. The person who does this is the same after this change of mind. Nothing has been transformed.

G3328. metaballó

This is a different word than metanoia, and is not the kind of mind change that God intends in the verses that speak of salvation.

You see, the ultimate goal of God is to make us to be like Himself. He wants us to be like Jesus, so He has to transform our character, and he starts this by working in our mind. So the meaning of repent is really to change our worldview. We don’t just change our mind about sin, but about everything!

As a horse can be turned by the tiny bit in a its mouth, or the tiny rudder that changes the course of a large ship, so the body follows as we conform our mind to the mind of God.

Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke 13:4,5

We all die, and many Christians throughout the ages have suffered violent deaths, so what did Jesus mean here? He certainly did not mean that if we repent we will not suffer a violent death!  He is actually claiming knowledge of the ultimate destination of the victims of this tower collapse, and they all perished in Hell!

If you go to the first three verses of the chapter you see people who were obeying God in offering Sacrifices when they were murdered, and yet Jesus is making the same claim about their ultimate destination; they had not repented and were lost for all eternity! They were doing the things God had commanded them, but their mind was not changed!

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. II Corinthians 5:17

When we have repented we accept the testimony of God about our sin, about our own righteousness, about morality, about science! Yes, even science! If you think the evolutionary hypothesis is scientific, you have not yet fully repented!

There is another word that is translated as “repentance”, such as in 2 Corinthians 7:8

For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

This is the word metamelomai, which means “to regret”.

Strong’s Greek G3338. metamelomai

This is not the word that God commands all men to do, and does not result in Salvation, but is merely to regret a word, or an action.

Some of the confusion stems from the fact that the English word “repent” has multiple meanings. So while the Greek words appear to be more specific, and thus there are more of them, one English word is used for these multiple meanings.  It is up to the reader to understand the specific meaning by the context in which the word is used.

There are things the bible says that are difficult to hear for human ears, even for western “Christian” ears! A person who has repented accepts everything the bible says, and seeks to harmonize all the Scriptures, knowing that God never changes. If there is anything the Scriptures say that your society is offended at, you still must believe the Word of God over the government of the land! (Sorry, Mr. Trudeau)

The Word of God has a lot to say about the mind; there are two minds in the world, either you are of a carnal mind or you are of a spiritual mind. Some “great minds” are actually carnal, such as Richard Dawkins, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, James McDonald, Billy Graham, or Stephen Hawking. Some may claim to be spiritual, but in reality these guys are all on the same side of the fence.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Romans 8:6, 7

Repentance goes along with being “Born Again”; When you are a part of the family of God you begin to think like God! Being “conformed to the image of God’s Son” does not mean that we all grow a beard, like Jesus had, nor to wear first century Jewish clothing, but to become like Him in our way of thinking!

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:29

You can be conformed to this world, which means eternal death, or you can conform to the image of Jesus Christ, which is the only road to eternal life.  Conforming on either hand starts with the mind.  Beating yourself up over past sins does not change the mind, but is a form of works righteousness.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2

The Word of God is always talking about the mind. Sin starts in the mind, and so it is the change of mind that leads us to stop sinning, and begin our journey to Christlikeness.

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. I Corinthians 2:16

Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. Ephesians 2:3

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Ephesians 4:17

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; Ephesians 4:22,23

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:5

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled Colossians 1:21

The Catholic practice of “penance” is in view in Colossians 2:18;

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, Colossians 2:18

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. II Timothy 1:7

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: Hebrews 8:10

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; I Peter 4:1


About dknezacek

An average, ordinary guy. Author, husband, father, pilot, aircraft builder, test pilot, machinist, artist, just ordinary stuff that lots of people do. Don't forget bible student. Dan's passion is bible study, especially including the End Times prophecies.
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