Unit 5: Repentance & Forgiveness – Sample

Unit Progress:

Thoughtful Lives | Module 3 | Unit 5 (Sample)

Unit Description:

A third definition of Righteousness, connected with the previous two definitions, and a summary of Paul’s 1st-century Jewish formation in relation to the Hebrew Scriptures

Achievement-Based Objective: By the end of this unit you will have …

  • Explored your own pre-knowledge and personal experience of Repentance and Forgiveness
  • Observed the usage of key terms (“repent” and “forgive”) and cognate concepts (“sackcloth” and “merciful”) in the Hebrew Scriptures and the Apocrypha and noted curiosities and consistencies in their usage
  • Watched a short video on “The Process of Justification in Jewish Tradition” and reflected on its significance
  • Listened to a contemporary Jewish woman describe her experience and understanding of the Jewish observance of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
  • Responded to a video, “Repentance unto Shalom”
  • Practiced drawing the diagram of Shalom-Righteousness-Law-Repentance & forgiveness

Est. Time to Complete: 2:30-3:30 hours

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Materials Available for This Unit

Learning Tasks for M3U5

Outline of Learning Tasks for Unit

Learning Task #1: Explore Your Own Understanding of Repentance and Forgiveness (10 min)

Learning Task #2: Search and Observe the Scriptures, with Curiosity (1-2 hours)

Learning Task #3: Reflect on “A Process of Justification in Jewish Tradition”–A Chalkboard Chat (15 min)

Learning Task #4: Listen to an Audio on The Days of Awe (20 min)

Learning Task #5: Watch and Respond to Video: “Repentance unto Shalom” (45 min)

Learning Task #6: Watch a Chalkboard Chat: “Shalom-Righteousness-Law-Repentance” (1:35 min)

Respond to the following questions in your Course Journal.

M3U5-Learning Task 1: Explore Your Own Understanding of Repentance and Forgiveness (15 min)

  • Freewrite on “Repentance” for 5 minutes. Explore your experience of repentance (or lack thereof) — both in your spiritual life and in your relationships with others. What does repentance mean to you?
  • Freewrite on “Forgiveness” for 5 minutes. Explore your experience of forgiveness (or lack thereof) — both in your spiritual life and in your relationships with others. What does forgiveness mean to you?

M3U5-Learning Task 2: Search and Observe the Scriptures, with Curiosity (1-2 hours)

In Paul’s tradition:

Covenant faithfulness is Shalom-making is Righteousness!

But what if the Covenant is broken?!

Better: If the contract is broken or violated or betrayed — what, then, of the Relationship?

Let’s see what the Paul’s Scriptures say … both the Hebrew Bible and the Apocrypha, since Paul was clearly familiar with those books as well. We’re looking to see, to imagine, what PAUL may have known, felt, thought about how the Covenant between God and Israel worked in “real life”–beyond the wedding altar of Sinai.

Here’s your task:


Using BibleGateway.com (or other concordance, but you can print out results from Bible Gateway), look up each of the following words, observing their use in the relevant literature.

      • repent (This should also return instances of “repents”; “repented”; and “repentance”)
      • forgive (This should also return instances of “forgives”; “forgiven”; and “forgiveness”)
      • sackcloth
      • merciful

NOTE: BibleGateway.com will get data from the Apocrypha if you search the RSV or NRSV. Neither KJV nor NIV will include the Apocrypha.

With BibleGateway.com, you can print out the results … and thus scan the individual usages. Select (in the sidebar) OT usages, print. Then select (in the sidebar again) Apocrypha usages, which are always listed after the NT, print again. Then you can move on to the “observe” phase of the research.

B. OBSERVE: Some things to observe:

    • Note the type of literature of each usage. Compare the usage in the different types. Compare the usage between Old Testament and New Testament and Apocrypha. Sort of interesting.
      • Genesis
      • Law and Law Narratives — Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers
      • The Deuteronomists — Deuteronomy through 2 Kings
      • Chronicles, Nehemiah, Ezra
      • Psalms
      • Prophets
      • Apocrypha (If you don’t know anything about a particular book of the Apocrypha–like “The Prayer of Manassas”–look it up on Wikipedia!)
    • Note the Subject (and object) of the verbs or actions (Who repents? Who forgives? Who is meciful? etc.)
    • Note any particular curiosity or oddity that catches your eye. Something in the story line? Something that surprises you? Something new?


Spend 15-30 minutes on each word/word-group. After observing each word/word-group, write a paragraph (2-5 sentences) making broad-stroke comments about what you observe … and conclude each paragraph with at least one question your observations lead you to ask. These can be profound or simplistic or confusing or “of course” kinds of observations and questions. Don’t look for a sermon. Just observe. And be curious.

M3U5-Learning Task 3: Reflect on “A Process of Justification in Jewish Tradition” (15 min)

  • In your Course Journal freewrite for 3 minutes on the question of whether this “Process of Justification” is familiar to you. Does it sound like Christian doctrine? Or Jewish doctrine? Keep going for a full 3 minutes just on that topic.
  • Write for another 3-5 minutes on what it might mean for your understanding of Christian theology if the “message about Christ” (≈ forgiveness of sins) is exactly the same message that Jews have always practiced and still practice today. What good is Christ if forgiveness is already available from YHWH? Why Christ? Trouble yourself over that question!

M3U5-Learning Task 4: Listen to an Audio on the Celebration of The Days of Awe  (20 min)

I spoke with Ruth Setton, a good friend and a valued writing partner, about her own Jewish celebration of the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I could not convince her to do a Zoom so we could record it in that way. We were in the coffeeshop where we meet once a week to write together — and so the recording has all the coffeeshop noise. Apologies for the quality of the audio! I recorded about 8 minutes … and then we kept talking and I turned on the recorder again. I inserted the sound of a Shofar in between the two separate recordings. Hope you get something out of it! Jot down in your Course Journal anything you found of particular interest.

M3U5-Learning Task 5: Watch and Respond to Video: “Repentance unto Shalom” (45 min)

M3U5-Learning Task 5: Watch a Chalkboard Chat: “Shalom-Righteousness-Law-Repentance” (1:35)

If you have completed all the Learning Tasks with good intent

you may “Mark Complete” and move forward!

Thoughtful Lives by Virginia Wiles is licensed under a Creative Commons 4.0 International LicenseBased on a work at https://goodwaylearning.com