confession

In this post I wish to survey you, our blog readers, to discover what you understand the English word “confess” to mean, as you ordinarily use the word. In Comments to this post please give short answers to the following questions:

1. “John confessed” would normally mean that John _____.

2. Complete the sentence “Bertha confessed that ____” with one or more phrases that sound to you that they fit well in the blank.

3. When, if ever, would the following sentence sound appropriate to you: “Fred confessed that he is a monotheist”?

In a followup post I’ll relate your answers to English Bible translation.

21 thoughts on “confession

  1. Tim Worley says:

    1) “John confessed” – i.e., John was confronted about a wrongdoing and “fessed up” to it
    2) “Bertha confessed that she was perplexed by all the attention given to Robbie over his recent statements”
    3) “Fred confessed that he is a monotheist” would probably sound most appropriate if Fred belonged to a non-monotheistic group and had previously presented himself as disbelieving in monotheism, but upon investigation was now forced to acknowledge his hidden monotheism

  2. Mark Denning says:

    1. “John confessed” would normally mean that John admitted wrongdoing.

    2. Complete the sentence “Bertha confessed that she was unaware of the complexity of the situation.

    3. When, if ever, would the following sentence sound appropriate to you: “Fred confessed that he is a monotheist”?
    Only in some sort of religious institution context where people make “confessions of faith”. Meaning to declare faith in or adherence to a belief system.

    confess

  3. Theophrastus says:

    (1)John confessed and denied not, and said plainly, I am not Christ. (John 1:20, Tyndale)

    (2) Bertha confessed that parliaments are fallible. (Junius letters)

    (3) Whereupon, the examiners promptly failed Fred’s grammar examination, because as everyone knows, Fred’s use of “that” in his sentence was completely inappropriate. Fred should have said, “I confess myself to be a monotheist”, because when “confess” is used as a form of self-identification, “confess” normally takes an object (alternatively, a reflexive pronoun) and (as appropriate) an infinitive complement, normally “to be” with the reflexive pronoun. Fred lived the rest of his life in well deserved ignominy.

  4. Peter Kirk says:

    1. “John confessed” would normally mean that John _____.

    John had done something wrong and he owned up to it.

    2. Complete the sentence “Bertha confessed that ____” with one or more phrases that sound to you that they fit well in the blank.

    “Bertha confessed that she had had an affair with another man.”

    3. When, if ever, would the following sentence sound appropriate to you: “Fred confessed that he is a monotheist”?

    I suppose it might work if Fred was supposed to be a Hindu but confessed to a Hindu priest the “sin” of being a montheistic Christian, Muslim or Sikh.

    (Written before reading the other replies.)

  5. J. K. Gayle says:

    1. … means John admitted to doing something wrong.

    “There was just one moment of real warmth between us and that was, ironically, when John confessed to me that he had been unfaithful.” — Cynthia Lennon, John, her biography of her husband John Lennon, page 211.

    2. “After the war, however, Bertha confessed that, although she has never lost complete faith, she ‘sometimes feel[s] there is no God.'” Jutta T. Bendremer, Women Surviving the Holocaust: In Spite of the Horror, page 40.

    3. “Fred confessed that he is a monotheist just as all of the others questioned did.”

  6. LeRoy says:

    And he (John) professed not and denied; and acknowledged: That I am not the Anointed.
    “Bertha conceded that she was the one”
    “Fred allowed that he is a monotheist”

  7. Peter Kirk says:

    Sorry, Theophrastus, I should indeed have included “practitioner of Judaism” (I could hardly have put “Jew”) in my tongue in cheek list of monotheistic “sins”.

  8. David Dewey (UK) says:

    1. John owned up

    2. Bertha confessed that she took the chocolate.

    3. When Fred was with a group of polytheists

  9. bibleshockers says:

    Does the prefix “CON” (“homo” in Greek) suggest an agreement? I mean, others said something and he agreed: “I ain’t the Christ.”

    No?

  10. Bruce Prince says:

    If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Rom 10.9

  11. bibleshockers says:

    I meant that I agree with the sense of “agree” (in case that came out that I was disagreeing with that position).

  12. Gary Simmons says:

    Confessing Christ before men does not mean “agreeing,” no. If that were the case, then we’d only need to confess before other believers (which serves no evangelistic purpose). Confessing Christ before unbelievers is what we do — and they certainly DISagree with us.

  13. bibleshockers says:

    As I thought more on this, I think I must confess that we see various usages:

    * agree
    * admit
    * proclaim allegiance to
    * verbalize

    And probably more.

  14. Kirsty says:

    1.John admitted he had done wrong.

    2.Bertha confessed that she had eaten all the cake

    3. He was embarrassed or ashamed about it, because no-one else is, and they’ll think he’s weird

  15. WoundedEgo says:

    I notice that there are two words that the KJV translates as “confess”:

    1843 exomologew exomologeo ex-om-ol-og-eh’-o

    from 1537 and 3670; TDNT-5:199,687; v

    AV-confess 8, thank 2, promise 1; 11

    1) to confess
    2) to profess
    2a) acknowledge openly and joyfully
    2b) to one’s honour: to celebrate, give praise to
    2c) to profess that one will do something, to promise, agree, engage

    and

    3670 omologew homologeo hom-ol-og-eh’-o

    from a compound of the base of 3674 and 3056; TDNT-5:199,687; v

    AV-confess 17, profess 3, promise 1, give thanks 1, confession is made 1, acknowledgeth 1; 24

    1) to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, assent
    2) to concede
    2a) not to refuse, to promise
    2b) not to deny
    2b1) to confess
    2b2) declare
    2b3) to confess, i.e. to admit or declare one’s self guilty of what one is accused of
    3) to profess
    3a) to declare openly, speak out freely
    3b) to profess one’s self the worshipper of one
    4) to praise, celebrate

    And these words are rendered by *many* different words.

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