Is it Repent, Do penance, Amend your lives, or is it Reform? Ah! Which bible is the correct one?


“And Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptised, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for remission of sins, and ye will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38, DARBY)
“But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38, DRA)
“Then Peter said unto them, Amend your lives, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins: and ye shall receive the gift of the holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38, GNV)
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38, KJV)
“and Peter said unto them, `Reform, and be baptized each of you on the name of Jesus Christ, to remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 2:38, YLT)


The verb is μετανοέω metanoeō. Strong’s Concordance says:

  1. to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent
  2. to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins

It’s always translated as ‘repent’ in the King James Version.


To add to the alphabet soup:

NRSV (New Revised Standard) Repent

REB (Revised English Bible) Repent

NAB (New American Bible) Repent

NJB (New Jerusalem Bible) Repent

And last, but certainly not least, Douay-Rheims: Do Penance

Just when I thought I’d found consensus! :confused:


NABRE (Oxford large Print) and RSV-2CE (The Didache Bible) are my two main Bibles. But there are many other secondary Bibles (as many as the sand on the sea shore!)


kkollwitz is 100% correct.

The verb metanoeō or metanoia. It means to change one’s mind or turn about. It is tightly bound to the Jewish idea of conversion, or finding the right path.



“Repent, do penance, amend your lives, reform” all mean the same. Surely there is no conflict?


I forgot to add that both these Bibles use ‘repent’.


Actually, they don’t mean the same thing. let me translate it into modern english.

Repent = Change your minds
do penance = fast, pray and prove you are sorry
amend your lives = change your lives
reform = join the Protestant heresy



Exactly what I was thinking. It’s a distinction without a difference .


Even if they do actually mean different things most English speaking people are unlikely to know the difference. To the laymen all versions convey the same meaning: “Straighten up and be baptized…” As far as this verse goes the OP is safe with either of those translations. Beyond this verse tho of the translations the OP listed the DRA is the best for a Catholic. Of the more recent translations I’d recommend first the RSV-CE and the NABRE second.


All of those are based on the Greek whereas Douay is based on Jeromes Vulgate.

edit: Jerusalem is a translation of the French which was a translation of the Greek.


I like the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition the best. Of course, the New American Bible is the text for the Lectionary in the United States. The Confraternity Bible was used before the NAB. The Jerusalem Bible is a very poetic translation.


Do ALL for Christ as the Holy Spirit directs you!


Two points come immediately to mind:

  1. God doesn’t speak “modern English”; he speaks the language of love and mercy, which he reads in our hearts, and speaks from his heart, and not on paper.

  2. Your “modern English” translations, specifically the one you cite for “reform” is hardly credible…appears more to be a subjective, personal translation rather than one that speaks with any linguistic authority.


Presumably, that was supposed to be

Very pedantic, yes, yes, I know.


a. They are **all **modern English.
b. “reform” is “reshape”, and thus very similar to “amend”; it implies nothing about a particular branch of the Christian faith.


At its most literal, μετανοεω is ‘rethink’ (which is what ‘repent’ is, too). That makes “straighten up” a pretty good colloquial rendering.


Okay then, how do you define reform? do you mind making your own modern english translations from “the language of love and mercy”?


Modern Catholic Dictionary:

REFORM. Change with a view to improvement. By her nature as a living organism, the Catholic Church has undertaken numerous reforms in her long history. These have been mainly concerned with the moral and spiritual life of the faithful, by the use of the elaborate legislative, administrative, and ritual means at the Church’s disposal. The term “reform” occurs in the first paragraph of the first document issued by the Second Vatican Council in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. And the desire “to impart an ever-increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful” (Introduction) runs as a theme through all the conciliar teaching and the postconciliar directives of the Holy See.

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