The Two Word Aspects of "New."

Omicron (T. Oliver).

There are two Greek words kainos and neos translated in our New Testament by the word "new." Kainos is new in kind and in contrast to what previously existed, so taking the place thereof. In that sense kainos looks backward, while its synonym neos looks forward. Kainos is equivalent to "not yet having been": neos is "not having long been." The conjunction of the two words occurs in Matt. 9:17. Luke 5:38, where new (neos) wine is put into new (kainos) skins and both are presented. Kainos looks backward (retrospective) in that the skins had never been used before, opposed to those which had lost their strength and elasticity through age: the new (neos) wine was of that vintage or harvest looking forward (prospective) for future use. In Luke 5:36 a new piece of cloth (kainos) is opposite to old garment. This receives emphasis in Mark 2:21 where the new unmilled piece of cloth was unsuited to patch the old, for even then the new by the grace of God was being wrought out; not for the old garment of a legal system or for the first man, but for those who by virtue of divine power were fitted to receive the blessing. In Matt. 27:60, the new (kainos) tomb had never been made ceremonially unclean by a dead body. It might have been hewn out of the rock years before, therefore it is not called neos. In Heb. 12:24, a new (neos) covenant is fresh and perennially new by virtue of the link with its mediator Jesus, looking forward it will retain eternally that youthful character. While kainos is the word mostly used for New Covenant, neos is the word here, but not in contrast to the old; it is not the old, but what God had recently given.

Kainos is the typical word in the Revelation as in name, song, heaven, Jerusalem, etc., and finally "all things new." The antithesis which kainos bears to the past is in evidence in Rev. 21:1. The new (kainos) heaven and earth supersede the first (protos), again Heb. 8:13, in saying new (kainos) covenant, he has made the first old (protos). On the other hand, neos does not express opposition to what already existed, so in Col. 3:10, having put on the new (neos) man, who is being renewed (anakainoo, compound of kainos), in the character and spirit of the ideal, i.e., according to the image of Him who created him thus excluding and supplanting the old. The compound ananeoo is simply to renew in youth; has nothing to do with the old (Eph. 4:23). Hence the same subject may be kainos or neos: if contemplated under aspects of time as recently given or inaugurated, it is neos: if contemplated as a new and specific kind in contrast to the old as outworn and effete and taking its place, it is kainos. In their derivatives and compounds as above, the same distinction is clear as in 1 Tim. 4:12. "Let no man despise thy youth" (neotees), but (kainotees) newness of life in Rom. 6:4, is newness as being entirely different according to the resurrection life in Christ thus supplanting the other.