Copyright © 2007, Sharonsrose.org
All rights reserved.

The Issue of Forgiveness In Cases of Clergy Sexual Abuse

The most important thing for the CSA survivor to understand regarding the issue of forgiveness is that forgiveness is not the issue. However, because so many Christians and others make forgiveness an issue for the CSA survivor, it is important to understand forgiveness. Once understood, it will become apparent why forgiveness is not the issue.

Several months after the clergyman perpetrator at my church had been exposed, and the church covered up his deeds, allowing him to resign as if nothing happened, I was still numb from all that transpired. I was left without any recourse against the clergyman perpetrator who sexually assaulted me. A well-intentioned Christian friend tried to explain to me that I needed to forgive the clergyman perpetrator and the elders of my church for what happened to me. It was “for me,” he said. It caught me off guard. I was still going through the disbelief and shock stage of grief. I was appalled and angry at the reality that the elders were not ever going to hold the perpetrator accountable. What happened still angers me. But the individual who spoke to me of forgiveness was someone I thought I could trust. He had counseled my husband and me, and had been an advocate for all of the victims of the clergyman perpetrator in my church. But on a particular evening, he insisted that I grant forgiveness to the predator and errant elders even though the predator never confessed, even though the elders deliberately wronged me—and continue to wrong me. I was astounded. In his frustration of not being able to convince me to “forgive” my nemeses, he finally stretched out his arm, pointed his finger in my face, and proclaimed, “YOU have a spirit of unforgiveness!”

I was stunned. Did I have a “spirit of unforgiveness”? His words stabbed deep. All of my Christian life I have strived to live a godly life. His proclamation certainly didn’t set well with my desire to please God. On the other hand, the clergyman perpetrator hadn’t confessed his sin against me, let alone ask me to forgive him. As a matter fact, no one in authority in my church would acknowledge they had done anything to hurt me. Their stance was they had done the “right” thing in covering up what the clergyman perpetrator had done. They weren’t even going to entertain the idea of asking me to forgive them. Should I just grant them forgiveness without holding them accountable? I was confused. I decided to search for answers. Was I sinning by not forgiving them?

As a child, my parents taught me to forgive those who asked for it, but the clergyman perpetrator who hurt me brainwashed me to incorrectly believe that forgiveness was totally wiping out the offense without any confession or even asking for forgiveness. He said forgiveness was “wiping the slate clean.” Sins and offenses were to be cast “as far as the east is from the west,” he taught me. “You go back to square one with the [offending] person,” he said. “It’s as if the offense never happened,” he explained. He meant that relationships were restored by people unconditionally forgiving their offenders. He further explained that the offending party, if a believer, should be granted forgiveness whether or not any wrongdoing was confessed; that is, it was the obligation of the offended party to grant forgiveness to the offender—because Christ forgave us—and that doing so was for the benefit of the offended party. But this kind of “forgiveness” never seemed right.

Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the verb “forgive” as, “(1) to give up resentment against or the desire to punish; stop being angry with; pardon (2) to give up all claim to punish or exact penalty for (an offense); overlook (3) to cancel or remit (a debt).”

Webster’s definition is the generally held view of forgiveness. The definition is derived from five words in the Bible: two Hebrew words found in the Old Testament, and three Greek words found in the New Testament. It is important to understand the biblical meanings of these words, and their usage, in order to get a better understanding of forgiveness.

There are two Hebrew words translated either “forgive,” or “forgiven.” The first word is násâ (or nâçáh). It is used of forgiveness at least eleven times in the Old Testament. The Dictionary of the Hebrew Bible, by James Strong, defines this word as,

accept, advance, arise, bear (up), bring forth, burn carry (away), cast, contain, desire, ease, exact, exalt (self), extol, fetch, forgive, furnish, give, go on, help, high, hold up, honorable (+ man), lade, lay, lift (self up), lofty, marry, magnify, obtain, pardon, raise up, receive, regard, respect, set (up), spare, stir up, take (away, up), X utterly, wear, yield. (Strong 80)


It is a general word with many meanings for different applications. It can mean “forgive, pardon, spare” in context.

The second Hebrew word translated “forgive” or “forgiven,” is çâlach. It is used of forgiveness at least thirty times in the Old Testament. Strong defines this word as “a prim. root; to forgive—forgive, pardon, spare” (Strong 83). It is a more exact term for forgive or forgiven than násâ. Plainly, the two Hebrew words have the same meaning: forgive, pardon, or spare. The context in which the word is used helps in understanding which meaning is meant.

This Old Testament concept of forgiveness carries with it repentance. In the Jewish Law (Mosaic Law) forgiveness is to be granted on the condition that one performs “teshuvah,” the rite of repentance. If the offense is against God, then teshuvah must be completed before God can grant forgiveness. If the offense is against another person, then teshuvah must be completed before that person can forgive the offender. Further, it is understood that unless the sin was against God, God cannot forgive the offender; only the offended party can award forgiveness. So, asking God alone to forgive doesn’t work. The offender must offer restitution for the offense and ask the offended person for forgiveness. The Jewish Virtual Library quotes Joseph Telushkin, from his book, Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History on Teshuvah or repentance:

Jewish tradition holds that teshuvah consists of several stages: The sinner must recognize his sin, feel sincere remorse, undo any damage he has done and pacify the victim of his offense, and resolve never to commit the sin again. Jewish law also offers some guidelines to the victim of the sin. In the normal order of events, if the offender sincerely requests forgiveness [i.e., has performed teshuvah] , the victim is required to grant it—certainly by the third request. Withholding forgiveness is considered cruel and is itself a sin. (insertion mine) Concerning offenses committed against God, a characteristic Jewish teaching is that of Rabbi Bunam of Pzsyha, who once asked his disciples: “How can you tell when a sin you have committed is pardoned?” His disciples gave various answers but none of them pleased the rabbi. “We can tell, he said, “by the fact that we no longer commit that sin.”


In other words, Old Testament forgiveness is conditional. It involves confession or acknowledgment of the wrong committed, a sacrifice (to God) or, if a crime was committed, an offering of restitution (to the offended person), then asking for forgiveness before the offended party (whether human or Divine) can grant forgiveness to the offender, and then vowing never to commit the offense again. It is not to be taken lightly. Remission of a sin or guilt involves the understanding that sins and trespasses are serious.

Three Greek words are translated either “forgive” or “forgiven” in the New Testament. The first is aphiemi. It is used of forgiveness at least forty-one times in the New Testament. The Dictionary of the Greek Testament, by James Strong, defines this word as, “to send forth, in various applications: —cry, forgive, forsake, lay aside, leave, let (alone, be, go, have), omit, put (send) away, remit, suffer, yield up” (Strong 17). In Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (A Comprehensive Dictionary of the Original Greek Words with their Precise Meanings for English Readers), by W.E. Vine, this word is defined as,

primarily, to send forth, send away . . . denotes, besides its other meanings, to remit or ‘forgive (a) debts, . . . these being completely cancelled; (b) sins . . . . In this latter respect of the verb, like its corresponding noun . . ., firstly signifies the remission of the punishment due to sinful conduct, the deliverance of the sinner from the penalty Divinely, and therefore righteously, imposed; secondly, it involves the complete removal of the cause of offence; such remission is based upon the vicarious and propitiatory sacrifice of Christ . . . . Human forgiveness is to be strictly analogous to Divine forgiveness . . . . If certain conditions are fulfilled, there is no limitation to Christ’s law of forgiveness . . . . The conditions are repentance and confession, Matt. 18:15-17; Luke 17:3 (Vine 462). (Emphases mine.)


This word carries the same interpretation as the Hebrew word çâlach. According to Mosaic Law, forgiveness is only granted conditionally, that is, if certain conditions are met. This word, then, means that forgiveness is conditional. Vine concludes the New Testament conditions are “repentance and confession.”

The second Greek word translated “forgive” in the New Testament is the word, apoluo. It is used only one time in the New Testament to mean “forgive” (Luke 6:37). Strong defines this word to mean, “to free fully, i.e, (lit.) relieve, release, dismiss . . . let die, pardon, or (spec.) divorce: (let) depart, dismiss, divorce, forgive, let go, loose, put (send) away, release, set at liberty” (Strong 14). Vine provides only a note on this word:

Note: Apoluo, to let loose from . . . to release, is translated “forgive,” “ye shall be forgiven,” Luke 6:37, A.V. . . . the reference being to setting a person free as a quasi-judicial act. (Vine 463)


The verb apoluo does not mean to forgive as we generally understand forgiveness. It is a legal term meaning to release from a legal contract. It has little to do with forgiving “sins” or “crimes.”

The third Greek word translated “forgive” or “forgiven” in the New Testament is the word charizomai. It is used ten times in the New Testament of forgiveness. Strong defines the word to mean, “to grant as a favor, i.e., gratuitously, in kindness, pardon or rescue: —deliver, (frankly) forgive, (freely) give, grant” (Strong 77). Vine translates the word, “to bestow a favor unconditionally, is used of the act of forgiveness, whether Divine . . . or human . . .” (Vine 463)

Basically, then, there are two different ideas for forgiveness in the Bible. One type of forgiveness is conditional. This is the only kind of forgiveness in the Old Testament. Forgiveness of sins or trespasses was to be granted on the condition of confession and sacrifice and/or restitution granted to the offended party. This concept is carried through in the New Testament. Aphiemi is used at least forty-one times in the New Testament, carrying with it the conditions of repentance and confession. The burden for forgiveness here is with the one who offended. Forgiveness cannot be granted until the conditions are met.

Repentance is to feel sorry, contrite, remorse for what one has done or failed to do that was offensive to another. Webster’s third meaning of “repentance” states, “to feel so contrite over one’s sins as to change, or decide to change, one’s ways; be penitent” (Webster 1138). It’s not just saying, “Sorry.” It’s taking action to right the offense so the sin or offense will not happen again. It is concomitant with performing the Jewish Teshuvah.

Confession is simply the act of confessing, or acknowledging. Webster’s specifies what can be confessed: “an admission of guilt, esp. formally in writing, as by a person charged with a crime . . . .” (Webster 292)

The second type of forgiveness is unconditional. This is a new concept introduced by Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul. Luke wrote about one of Jesus’ parables in Luke 7. In his parable, Jesus tells Simon Peter, “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii [about $90 or one day’s wage] and the other fifty [$9 or one hour’s wage]. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave [charizomai] them both” (Luke 7:41,42). The creditor certainly did not have to forgive the debt, but he chose to do so. The two debtors didn’t have to do anything to get their debts forgiven. It was an act of kindness on the part of the creditor. It was gratuitous. It was unconditional forgiveness. Unconditional forgiveness is solely up to the “offended” person, the one who suffers the wrong. It is never up to the offender (or debtors in the case of Luke 7) to determine whether s/he should be unconditionally forgiven.

Probably the most difficult verse to ascertain is Ephesians 4:32. The word “forgive” in this verse is charizomai. The verse says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Many Christians take this verse to mean that since God has unconditionally forgiven you, then you should unconditionally forgive other Christians. Yes, it is true Christians have their sins forgiven by God, and that because of the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ on the cross. That was unconditional merit. God bore the price. There is nothing that believers can do to earn this forgiveness. Is Paul telling believers to always bear the price of another believer’s sins, especially if the sins involve sexual immorality?

A look at the context of Ephesians 4:32 is necessary to understand what is meant. In Ephesians 4 and 5, Paul exhorts the believers at Ephesus to “walk” (live life) a walk (life) that is worthy of Christ. In other words, be exemplary in your actions. In Eph. 4:1-6, he tells them to be unified in the Spirit, “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love” (v. 2). In Eph. 4:7-16 Paul explains spiritual gifts, how each is different and necessary:

till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect [mature] man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (vv.13,14, (NKJV) insertion and emphasis mine).


It is noteworthy here to point out that every believer in the church is important, not just the pastors and elders. Many churches “throw out” CSA victim/survivors once there is an allegation of clergy sexual abuse. This is in an attempt to “cover up” what happened and “protect” the sinning pastor. Some churches actually opt to keep the offending clergyman perpetrator! Doing so is clearly against what God intends in churches.

In verses 17-24, Paul contrasts those who walk as “the Gentiles” [unbelievers] walk (v. 17) with “you [who] have heard [Christ] and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus” (v. 21). The Gentiles are described as

having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; who being past feeling [i.e., having no conscience], have given themselves over to licentiousness [sexually immoral acts], to work all uncleanness with greediness (v. 19, (NKJV) insertions mine).


In verses 22-24, Paul commands believers,

that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness. (NKJV)


Finally, in verses 25-32, Paul gives emphatic commands about how to live the Christian life:

Therefore, putting away lying . . . .Be angry, and do not sin . . . .Let him who stole steal no longer . . .Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers, and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God . . . .Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you. (NKJV)


Many preachers stop with verse 32 because that is the end of chapter 4. However, Eph. 4:32 is in the middle of Paul’s treatise of “walking.” He continues in chapter 5, verses 1-7 talking about walking in love (agape love); what that is and what that isn’t:

Therefore be followers of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma [a reference to Old Testament sacrifices] (vv. 1,2 (NKJV)).


In other words, when Christians show love toward other Christians, it is a “sweet-smelling aroma” to God. It pleases His senses! It makes God very happy!

Then Paul contrasts agape love with another kind of living. He says,

But fornication [sexual intercourse by those who are not married to each other] and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor course jesting, which are not fitting (vv. 3,4, (NKJV) emphasis mine).


Paul continues through verse 21 of chapter 5 with more of his discourse speaking on walking in light and walking in wisdom.

The emphasis in chapters 4 and 5 is in living the Christian life. The idea of charizomai is central to his theme of “walking.” Clearly, charizomai is intended to be between believers, not believer to unbeliever. It is interesting that Paul would describe unbelievers in the midst of this discourse. And how amazingly well he describes clergyman perpetrators in Eph.4:19 and Eph. 5:3.

What is meant by the phrase in Eph. 4:32, “just as God in Christ also forgave you”? This seems to be the part of verse 32 that gets thrown in the face of CSA survivors. Understanding how God “in Christ” forgives is important.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” This verse proclaims that God is willing and has provided the way (through Christ’s work on the cross) to forgive “the world.” That means everybody, not just a select few. Does that mean every person living in the world will be saved?

I remember when I was saved—when I became a Christian. The Holy Spirit brought to mind the “bad” things I had done: lying to my parents, getting in trouble with friends. Doing those things made me feel guilty as a young teenager. When I heard the gospel and realized who Jesus was, and what He had done for me on the cross, I was compelled to “believe.” In doing so, however, I had to confess that I was not worthy to approach God. I was a sinner. I felt terrible remorse for the things I had done, so I repented. After I accepted Him as my Savior, I didn’t want to do the “bad” things I had done before. I was forgiven. My sins were gone. I felt clean. That’s what forgiveness does.

So, in order to be saved, one must confess one’s sins and repent. Even though God freely forgives any who would believe in His Son, forgiveness of sins is still conditional on the sinner taking a step of faith. Forgiveness of sins that leads to salvation is unconditionally present and ready for the asking. But it can’t be actualized until the sinner steps forward in belief. Not everyone in the world will be saved. Why? Because not everyone will take the step of faith to believe in Christ.

When the Apostle Paul told believers to forgive each other, he was actually asking them to live together in harmony. Having petty arguments, and even taking each other to court, is not the way to maintain a godly walk in the Christian life. Rather, doing those unbecoming things before unbelievers would grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30). I do not believe Paul is commanding Christians to “freely” and “unconditionally” forgive the wrongs of believers without holding them accountable, especially if such a “believer” is acting like an unbeliever by committing the acts mentioned in Eph. 4:19 and 5:3.

The words of Jesus give great insight into how believers ought to forgive believers for offenses. In Matthew 18:6-7. He warns about “offenses”:

But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! And if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.


Jesus teaches it is better not to sin in the first place—sin is serious business! But what do you do if your brother sins against you? Jesus explains in Matthew 18:15-18,

Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear you, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established’ (Deut. 19:15). And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector [i.e., an unbeliever]. Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (NKJV)


Many CSA survivors have tried to follow the steps of Matthew 18:15-18. But too often church leaders side with the offender, not the offended. Instead of exposing the wrong and correcting it, they cover up and lie about the crimes committed by the clergyman perpetrator. Doing so is in direct opposition to Christ’s commands to the church (cf. also I Tim. 5:19,20 where Paul commands the church to accept (receive) an allegation against an elder (or pastor) “from two or three witnesses”). When church leaders refuse to listen to CSA victim/survivors, they skew the process for remedy that Christ Himself has laid out in Matthew 18. That, in itself, is offensive causing further damage and abuse of CSA survivors.

Finally, in Matthew 18:21 Peter asks Jesus,

Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive [aphi?mi, conditionally forgive] him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. (NKJV)


The concept of forgiving your “brother” is clear. In this passage, it means conditionally forgiving your brother. The conditions are confession and repentance. If your brother commits an offense or trespass against you, and seeks to make it right and asks for forgiveness “seventy times seven” times, then we are to grant forgiveness that many times. Sadly, there are extremely few clergymen perpetrators or erring church leaders who even attempt to seek forgiveness from CSA victim survivors.

If a clergyman-perpetrator and/or the offending church leaders take steps toward forgiveness, i.e., publicly acknowledge (confess) the wrong, and offer restitution to the CSA survivor (perhaps by making arrangements to pay for pain and suffering, counseling, etc.), and then ask for forgiveness from the CSA survivor, then, and only then, would forgiveness become an issue. Depending on how deep the wounds are, even that might take many years; it would be up to the CSA survivor to determine if enough healing had occurred to grant forgiveness.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you need to ask for forgiveness in order to receive healing! While many victims feel the need to ask for forgiveness (I did), be careful. Much of that felt “need” stems from a “false guilt” which is normal for victims of sexual assault. It may be that you do need to ask forgiveness of certain people you hurt because of clergy sexual abuse. I needed to ask my husband for forgiveness, as well as my parents and the rest of my family. For years I had lived under the lie of the clergyman perpetrator. I dutifully and faithfully kept his secret. That hurt my family and especially my husband. So in that regard, I asked to be forgiven for living under a lie, not because I had committed a sexual sin with the pastor. The CSA victim/survivor is not guilty of any offense against the perpetrator or anyone in the church.

You do not need to ask for forgiveness from the church. On the contrary, the church needs to ask you for forgiveness! But don’t expect them to do so. The church leaders allowed you to be hurt when they should have protected you from harm! John 10:11,12 says,

I [Jesus] am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. But he who is a hireling and not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them (NKJV, insertion mine).


As one of God’s precious sheep, it was up to the church leadership to shepherd you, guide you, and protect you; not flee and allow the wolf (clergyman perpetrator) to harm you. You are not at fault for what happened. The clergyman perpetrator and the church leadership are the ones responsible for the harm. If they are living right with God, then they should be compelled to ask you to forgive them!

What is really going on when Christians, church leaders, and church-goers demand that CSA survivors “forgive” their perpetrators? Many times church leaders will use this tactic to divert attention away from holding the clergyman perpetrator accountable for his crime. They seek to somehow blame the CSA survivor so they won’t have to deal with the real issue. The real issue is accountability and responsibility. A CSA survivor is not responsible for what happened, nor should she be held accountable. The clergyman perpetrator is responsible for the crime he committed. He should be held accountable. Church leaders often err in handling CSA cases. They are responsible for their actions before God and man. They, too, should also be held accountable. The real culprits are the clergyman perpetrator and errant church leaders. Attention needs to shift back to the center of the problem: the sexually immoral crimes that were committed, and, too often, the cover up of those crimes.

Often, well-meaning Christians will tell a CSA survivor to forgive the perpetrator, as was the case with me. Laity has a hard time dealing with clergyman perpetrators. The very idea is an oxymoron. Church goers have an even harder time dealing with CSA survivors. In trying to make sense of clergy sexual abuse, many look for someone to blame. They are hoping to find an easy solution to their own pain, or the pain they see in the CSA survivor. They might be grieving knowing their church is “split” over what happened. They yearn to regain their lost sense of “normalcy” in church. They falsely believe that if the CSA survivor would just “forgive” the clergyman perpetrator everything will somehow be better, things will get back to the way they were before they learned about the abuse, and the pain they feel inside will somehow subside. Some Christians have been taught that unconditional forgiveness (without the perpetrator confessing or repenting) is the only way the CSA survivor will gain healing. Many well-meaning Bible teachers erroneously teach that unconditionally forgiving every offender (no matter what the offense) will bring peace and “freedom” to the offended. However, this teaching is not what Scripture teaches, and leads to denial and false hope. Things may never be the same in a church tainted by clergy sexual abuse. It may take years to “clean house” in order for that church to be right with God again. Things may never be the same again for a CSA survivor.

Rather than pointing fingers at CSA survivors, church leaders and church goers should instead reach out their hands with open arms. CSA survivors need safety and support to go through the healing process which takes years. Part of the healing process may be to allow the CSA survivor to freely opt to leave the church with honor and with the church’s blessing. It needs to be with the understanding that she did nothing wrong; that she was victimized. Whether the CSA survivor decides to leave the church or not, both leadership and laity need to humbly apologize to her for not providing a safe place for her to worship God, fellowship with other believers, and participate in the Great Commission. CSA survivors are a vital part of the body of Christ (Eph. 4:14), and should never be cast off like a “throw-away.”

The real issue is not forgiveness. For the CSA survivor, the real issue is regaining what was lost. It is healing physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. One CSA survivor describes the experience as being "destabilized." CSA survivors need to be re-stabilized after being destabilized by clergy sexual abuse. That is the real issue.

______________________________________________



Works Cited


The Holy Bible, New King James Version. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1979, 1980, 1982.

Strong, James, L.L.D., S.T.D. The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1890, 40th printing, 1981.

---. Dictionary of the Hebrew Bible. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1890, 40th printing, 1981.

---. Dictionary of the Greek Testament. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1890, 40th printing, 1981.

Telushkin, Joseph. , Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History (NY: William Morrow and Co.) 1991, quoted in The Jewish Virtual Library (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/repentence.html).

Vine, W.E., A Comprehensive Dictionary of the Original Greek Words with their Precise Meanings for English Readers (McLean, VA: MacDonald Publishing Co.) n.d.

Webster’s New World Dictionary of American English (Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief), Third College Edition (New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.) 1988.