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Probe Ministries > Q & A: Probe Answers Our Email > Bible Emails > "Are the Gifts and Calling of God 'Irrevocable,' or 'Without Repentance'? Which One is Right?"

"Are the Gifts and Calling of God 'Irrevocable,' or 'Without Repentance'? Which One is Right?" Print E-mail

The KJV translation says in Romans 11:29, " . . . for the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance." But the other translations say, " . . . for the gifts and calling are irrevocable." Which is the correct one?

The Greek term used in Romans 11:29 is ametameletos. It is essentially the negation of the term metamellomai which, according to the Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament can mean: (1) feel remorse, become concerned about afterward, regret (Matt. 27:3); (2) change one’s mind, think differently afterward (Heb. 7:21). Thus, if we negate these meanings, the term in Romans 11:29 can really be translated either way, although for contemporary readers it is probably best to translate as "irrevocable" or "incapable of being changed," for this more clearly communicates the idea to most people today. The phrase, "without repentance," tends to be a little more archaic, which one would expect for the KJV, as it was originally published in 1611.

Hope this helps.

Shalom in Christ,

Michael Gleghorn

© 2010 Probe Ministries

About the Author

Michael GleghornMichael Gleghorn is a research associate with Probe Ministries. He earned a B.A. in psychology from Baylor University and a Th.M. in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Before coming on staff with Probe, Michael taught history and theology at Christway Academy in Duncanville, Texas. Michael and his wife Hannah have two children. His personal website is

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Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at

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