There are two prominent Greek words interpreted ‘renewal’ in the New Testament.
The first is ‘anakainoo’ meaning to make new again by an act of God.
The following Scripture passages apply to the renewal of an individual.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”
2 Corinthians 4:16
While our physical body is subject to daily decay, the invisible part of the believer is being renewed daily into the image of Christ by an act of God.
“…put off…the old man which grows corrupt… and be renewed in the spirit…put on the new man which was created according to God…” Ephesians 4:22-23
Paul again was telling the church at Ephesus to abandon the old man which is subject to corruption (decay) and be renewed in the spirit to return to that which was originally created in God’s image.
This teaching was also shared with the church at Colosse.
“Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” Colossians 3:9-10
The renewal of a man is initiated by God Himself and day by day brings the renewed man to the very image of God. Renewal is always a change for the better, and man is totally impotent to renew himself.
A similar Greek word for renewal is ‘kainan’ meaning a change from the old to be renewed to the better. It implies the difference in a man from evil to the Spirit of God, again initiated by God.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
The word ‘new’ in this verse is actually ‘kainan’ or renewed.
‘Kainan’ is the word used to describe the New Covenant.
Remember when Jesus instituted the ‘Lord’s Supper.’ After He had broken and gave the bread, He did likewise with the wine.
“In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’” 1 Corinthians 11:25
The ‘new covenant’ was actually the renewal of the original which was ratified with the blood of animals. The new was ratified with the blood of Christ.
Similarly the word ‘remembrance’ means to ‘put in mind again.’ The ‘re’ words that we’ve studied all have that in common, i.e. again.
The writer of Hebrews provided additional details on the ‘new covenant.’
“He says: ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel…not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers…’” Hebrews 8:7-9
The ‘new’ covenant was a renewal of the ‘old.’ The ‘old’ was meant to be temporary until Christ would ratify the new with His own blood. Also the new covenant could be honored inasmuch as God would write His laws in the minds and hearts of His covenant people.
One similar word to mention is ‘regeneration’ from the Greek ‘paliggenesia’ meaning ‘again, renew, and restore.’ It can apply to individuals as well to all things.
“So Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His gory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones…’” Matthew 19:28
Paul writes of the regenerative works of God on His people.
“…but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ…” Titus 3:5-6
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…” Revelation 21:1
The physical earth will remain forever; however, it will be renewed to fulfill the purpose for which it was originally intended.
Stay tuned for several unpopular ‘re’ words.