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The Doctrine of Repentance

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  723 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Knowing what repentance is, and actually repenting, are essential to true Christianity. Few better guides have existed in any area of spiritual experience than Thomas Watson.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published March 1st 1988 by Banner of Truth (first published 1688)
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4.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  723 ratings  ·  91 reviews

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Douglas Wilson
Apr 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
On the plus side of good. Listened to it again in April of 2017, and thought it improved a star, from three to four. Listened to it again in November of 2017.
Philip Mcduffie
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living
I am thankful to have picked this up when I did. Watson is both biblical and theological in persuading you to repent. Also, this is probably one of the most quotable books I have ever read. Here is just a taste!

"Smite your soul, said Chrysostom, smite it; it will escape death by that stroke. How happy it would be if we were more deeply affected with sin, and our eyes did swim in their orb."

"Repentance is pure gospel grace."

"A wicked man may be troubled for scandalous sins; a real convert laments
Peter Jones
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
A really good book on repentance. Uncovers all the false ways we repent, gives a picture of what true repentance looks like, as well as motivations to repent. The only drawback is one can leave feeling like they have never really repented at all. As with most Puritans, they uncover our the deceitfulness of our heart, which can leave someone feeling unsure that they are even saved. I am not sure that is such a bad thing. Carl Trueman said when he was in England he had to convince folks they reall ...more
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What mattered then matters now

I thought this was a very accessible book. There were times where it felt repetitive but then it also made me realize how nuanced repentance is. Also, from reading this book, I realized that what I'm being reminded today was also important back then.

Thankful for the reminders and also new lenses that this book provided me.
Chris Land
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great book on repentance that all Christians must read.
Shaina Herrmann
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I just realized that I started this book on April 15th and ended it on the same day a year later. This was totally unintentional. This book was so rich that I had to read it slowwwly. God changed my whole life in the course of reading this and I have no doubt that God used this book to bring me to where I needed to be in order to understand his grace more than ever before.
Noel Burke
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was very good. A book on repentance sounds like something hung you might want to avoid, but what treasure there is in this little book. I was convicted and also sharpened to better understand repentance and how I might go about doing that before my God and King. Short book and well worth your time.
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challies-2018
As soon as I finish a book by a Puritan writer, I always want to go back and re-read it right away. They are so full of rich doctrine and practical application that I know I will get more out of it the second time.
Rebeca Salazar
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Livro maravilhoso! Com certeza irá mudar seu pensamento sobre arrependimento!
Rex Blackburn
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great. Will refer back anytime I need counsel on repenting. Thorough, discouraging, heart-warming, Puritan.
Michael Eckhardt
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
There were a lot of good things in this book, and I know it's a classic so who am I to criticize and all that. But I really struggled to get past the fact that Watson teaches that you ought to try and feel as bad as possible for good repentance, and I just think that's crazy. Your repentance isn't going to be more effective if you beat yourself up more, because that's you interacting with you, and repentance is an act between you and God. Good repentance is when the Holy Spirit brings conviction ...more
Scott Head
Jul 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-themes
Watson's "Doctrine of Repentance" is my go-to work on the subject. Exceptionally practical, it is a master-work of Puritan applied theology. This book, in the Puritan Paperback edition, is accessible, rich, reverent and complete. Watson breaks down true repentance into seven major steps, all of which are immensely useful for today's Christian who finds himself in need of such grace and mercy as repentance. In ministry, this book makes a great hand out to those struggling with sin, much more usef ...more
Matt Crawford
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thx s book hit me hard. The reasons for repentance. The reasons repentance is contrary to our nature. Why it is necessary. Watson of resents it in such a way you would not realize his original audience was a few hundred years ago. He is a master of language and i finished every chapter doing self evaluation
Baylee King
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"How happy it would be if we were more deeply affected with sin..."

This book does just that. It deeply affects the reader with their sins. Showing them the bitterness of sin compared to the sweetness of the blood of Christ that can be had for all who would repent.
Josh Miller
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Once I started reading, I could not put the book down. Written so simply yet so profoundly! I found myself underlining, marking, and meditating on the quips, quotes, and Scriptures woven together by this Puritan work of nearly 350 years ago.

I recommend this small book for any minister of the Gospel as well as any person wanting to learn more of the doctrine of repentance found in the Word of God. Having my heart stirred, I will be recommending this book to many of my friends!

Here are a few line
Mikeandamy Galdamez
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Repentance has fallen on hard times among American evangelicals. Churches would rather hear a message free of God's wrath and filled with a pseudo-love. If pastors would read and take to heart Thomas Watson's The Doctrine of Repentance we might see a heaven-sent revival. Watson reveals the absolute need for repentance in the life of the sinner. This repentance is a grace of God that consists of six elements: 1. Sight of sin 2. Sorrow for sin 3. Confession of sin 4. Shame for sin 5. Hatred for si ...more
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Never have I underlined a book so much!

In fact, I underlined every page but 3! As my first puritan read, I was not at all intimidated by the language/translation. The book is only 60 pages, but it's condensed with much wisdom, scripture, and theology. I highly recommend this for anyone who knows they have unrepentant sin or addiction. This short read took me a month or two to finish due to all the notetaking and chewing. I could hardly make it a page or two before stopping to think. I could not
Brance Gillihan
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderfully helpful treatise on a subject that is the central to the Christian life, repentance. Watson addresses the need for repentance, the marks of counterfeit repentance, the nature of true repentance, etc. the most helpful portion of the book though is the final two chapters in which he highlights the means to repentance.

Throughout, the book is filled with colorful metaphors and delightful turns of phrase.

An easy and helpful introduction to Puritan writing. And a profitable rea
Daniel Toole
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is such a convicting gut punch! Watson really gets at the root of true biblical Repentance . Particularly helpful to me is how he exposes false repentance in our hearts . This is an old puritan book, but don't let that intimidate you. It's a very easy read and the footnotes in the Banner of Truth Puritan Paperbacks version help with unfamiliar terms to modern readers. This book will crush you in a good way by exposing the ugliness of sin, while showing the beauty and grace found only i ...more
Benjamin Messina
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There are few books that I’ve read as theologically rich and immensely practical as this one. This is a book I plan on returning to read many, many times.

Don’t let the old English language scare you. It can be difficult, but you may find it surprisingly readable if you move slowly and patiently through it (some might even say “virtuously”). Thankfully Watson’s chapter lengths are usually only a few pages each, making it extremely conducive to reading at a slower pace over multiple days and taki
Jeremy Counts
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A thorough work on what it means to repent. This is my second time reading through it, and I remembered why it had such a lasting influence on me when I first came to Reformed convictions. Watson is a master exegete of the Bible, and clearly expounds on the words of Jesus in Mark 1:15. He goes into what true repentance is, and how central it is in the life of the Christian, and also goes into warnings for the impenitent. A very sobering work, but very balanced biblically.
Alejandro Ramirez
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a precious jewel that every Christian should read. Watson is pastoral in his writing, and paints a picture of a father speaking to his children. Praise the Lord for providing us with such emissaries of His grace. I echo Watson’s words: “This day I will put a bill of divorce into the hands of my lusts.”
Tessa Simon
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: worth-re-reading
If you’re alive, then this is a skill you need to develop and this book, though short, covers the topic extensively. By the end, you’ll probably realize you have never sufficiently repented of anything. Thinking through the topic at the level this book demands will help you in every context of your life where you interact with people or God. So yeah, all the contexts.
Lisa Bittle
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am never disappointed with Puritan Paperbacks. These books are full of richness in Christ's word, helping the reader fall more in love with God with each word and passage. I have really enjoyed reading from the various puritan writers, and falling in love with God and His Word through their rich writing.
John Yelverton
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing little book which really delved into exactly what repentance of sin actually is. It is chocked full of amazing nuggets of wisdom on nearly every page, and you will find yourself extremely grateful that you picked this book up if you're a Christian.
Allie MacPhail
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Everyone needs to read a Puritan author to discover unashamed writing about faith. More difficult to read but also very cutting and poetic at the same time. My faith is enriched for reading this book
Savio Sebastian
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I never thought about repentance much before reading this. I don't understand repentance and I think this is a good book to go back to again and again to remind me of this very importance facet of the faith
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
amazing book..there are things i never thought of and really good instruction....i am always amazed by the amount of thought and wisdom contained by people of a past era. we assume ourselves wiser but underestimate puritans.
Rickey Dees
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must Read

A great discourse on what true repentance looks like. It is not enough to only acknowledge sin but to have an intense hatred of it. “Til sin be bitter, Christ will never be sweet”
Corey Keast
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A much needed reminder for Christians and heathen alike. Without Christ there would be no repentance. Thank the Lord for His abundant mercies.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Thomas Watson (c. 1620—1686) was an English, non-conformist, Puritan preacher and author. He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he was noted for remarkably intense study. In 1646 he commenced a sixteen year pastorate at St. Stephen's, Walbrook. He showed strong Presbyterian views during the civi
“Either sin must drown in the tears of repentance—or the soul must burn in hell.” 2 likes
“Ingredient 2: Sorrow for Sin “I will be sorry for my sin” (Psa 38:18). Ambrose calls sorrow the embittering of the soul. The Hebrew word “to be sorrowful” signifies “to have the soul, as it were, crucified.” This must be in true repentance: “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn” (Zec 12:10), as if they did feel the nails of the cross sticking in their sides. A woman may as well expect to have a child without pangs as one can have repentance without sorrow. He that can believe without doubting, suspect his faith; and he that can repent without sorrowing, suspect his repentance. Martyrs shed blood for Christ, and penitents shed tears for sin: “she…stood at his [Jesus’] feet…weeping” (Luk 7:38). See how this limbeck[19] dropped. The sorrow of her heart ran out at her eye…” 1 likes
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