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

Dr. Michael Gleghorn is both a research associate with Probe Ministries and an instructor in Christian Worldview at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.. He earned a B.A. in psychology from Baylor University, a Th.M. in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Theological Studies (also 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: Arianna and Josiah. His personal website is

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