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νος, καινς  both mean "New"  - NOT "Renewed"



Synonyms of the New Testament- Richard C. Trench [c1880]

online here

Begin excerpt from TRENCH:


lx. νος, καινς

Some have denied that any difference can in the N. T. be traced between these words. They derive a certain plausible support for this denial from the fact that manifestly νος and καινς, both rendered ‘new’ in our Version, are often interchangeably used; thus νος νθρωπος (Col. 3:10), and καινς νθρωπος (Eph. 2:15), in both cases “the new man”; να διαθκη (Heb. 12:24) and καιν διαθκη (Heb. 9:15), both “a new covenant”; νος ονος (Matt. 9:17) and καινς ονος (Matt. 26:29), both “new wine.” The words, it is contended, are evidently of the same force and significance. This, however, by no means follows, and in fact is not the case. The same covenant may be qualified as να, or καιν, as it is contemplated from one point of view or another. So too the same man, or the same wine, may be νος, or καινς, or may be both; but a different notion is predominant according as the one epithet is applied or the other.

            Contemplate the new under aspects of time, as that which has recently come into existence, and this is νος (see Pott, Etymol. Forschung. vol. i. pp. 290–292). Thus the young are ο νοι, or ο νετεροι, the generation which has lately sprung up; so, too, νοι θεο, the younger race of gods, Jupiter, Apollo, and the other Olympians (aeschylus, Prom. Vinct. 991, 996), as set over against Saturn, Ops, and the dynasty of elder deities whom they had dethroned. But contemplate the new, not now under aspects of time, but of quality, the new, as set over against that which has seen service, the outworn, the effete or marred through age, and this is καινς: thus compare πβλημα ῥάκους γνφου (Matt. 9:16) with πιβλημα π ματου καινο (Luke 5:36), the latter “a new garment,” as contrasted with one threadbare and outworn; καινο σκο, “new wine-skins” (Matt. 9:17; Luke 5:38), such as have not lost their strength and elasticity through age and use; and in this sense, καινς ορανς (2 Pet. 3:13), “a new heaven,” as set over against that which has waxen old, and shows signs of decay and dissolution (Heb. 1:11, 12). In like manner the phrase καινα γλσσαι (Mark 16:17) does not suggest the recent commencement of this miraculous speaking with tongues, but the unlikeness of these tongues to any that went before; therefore called τεραι γλσσαι elsewhere (Acts 2:4), tongues unwonted and different from any hitherto known. The sense of the unwonted as lying in καινς comes out very clearly in a passage of Xenophon (Cyrop. iii. 1. 10): καινς        ρχομνης ρχς, τς εωθυας καταμενσης. So too that καινν μνημεον, in which Joseph of Arimathea laid the body of the Lord (Matt. 27:60; John 19:41), was not a tomb recently hewn from the rock, but one which had never yet been hanselled, in which hitherto no dead had lain, making the place ceremonially unclean (Matt. 23:27; Num. 11:16; Ezek. 39:12, 16). It might have been hewn out a hundred years before, and could not therefore have been called νον: but, if never turned to use before, it would be καινν still. That it should be thus was part of that divine decorum which ever attended the Lord in the midst of the humiliations of his earthly life (cf. Luke 19:30; 1 Sam. 6:7; 2 Kin. 2:20).

It will follow from what has been said that καινς will often, as a secondary notion, imply praise; for the new is commonly better than the old; thus everything is new in the kingdom of glory, “the new Jerusalem” (Rev. 3:12; 21:2); the “new name” (2:17; 3:12); “a new song” (5:9; 14:3); “a new heaven and new earth” (21:1; cf. 2 Pet. 3:13); “all things new” (21:5). But this not of necessity; for it is not always, and in every thing, that the new is better, but sometimes the old; thus the old friend (Ecclus. 9:10), and the old wine (Luke 5:39), are better than the new. And in many other instances καινς may express only the novel and strange, as contrasted, and that unfavourably, with the known and the familiar. Thus it was mentioned just now that νοι θεο was a title given to the younger generation of gods; but when it was brought as a charge against Socrates that he had sought to introduce καινος θεος, or καιν δαιμνια into Athens (Plato, Apol. 26 b; Euthyphro, 3 b; cf. ξνα δαιμνια, Acts 17:18), something quite different from this was meant—a novel pantheon, such gods as Athens had not hitherto been accustomed to worship; soo too in Plato (Rep. iii. 405 d): καιν τατα κα τοπα νοσημτων νματα. In the same manner they who exclaimed of Christ’s teaching, “What new doctrine [καιν διδαχ] is this?” intended anything but praise (Mark 1:26). The καινν is the τερον, the qualitatively other; the νον is the λλο, the numerically distinct. Let us bring this difference to bear on the interpretation of Acts 17:21. St. Luke describes the Athenians there as spending their leisure, and all their life was leisure, ‘vacation,’ to adopt Fuller’s pun, ‘being their whole vocation,’ in the marketplace, λγειν κοειν τι καιντερον. We might perhaps have expected beforehand he would have written τι νετερον, and this expectation seems the more warranted when we find Demosthenes long before pourtraying these same Athenians as haunting the market-place with this same object and aim—he using this latter word, πυνθανμενοι κατ τν γορν ε τι λγεται νετερον. Elsewhere, however, he changes his word and describes them as St. Luke has done, demanding one of another (Philip. i. 43), λγετα τι καινν; But the meaning of the two passages is not exactly identical. The νωτερον of the first affirms that it is ever the latest news which they seek, ‘nova statim sordebant, noviora quaerebantur,’ as Bengel on Acts 17:21 has it; the καινν of the second implies that it is something not only new, but sufficiently diverse from what had gone before to stimulate a jaded and languid curiosity.

If we pursue these words into their derivatives and compounds, the same distinction will come yet more clearly out. Thus νετης (1 Tim. 4:12; cf. Ps. 103:5: νακαινισθσεται ς ετο νετης σοι) is youth; καιντης (Rom. 6:4) is newness or novelty; νεοειδς, of youthful appearance; καινοειδς, of novel unusual appearance; νεολογα (had such a word existed) would have been, a younger growth of words as distinguished from the old stock of the language, or, as we say, ‘neologies’; καινολογα, which does exist in the later Greek, a novel anomalous invention of words, constructed on different laws from those which the language had recognized hitherto; φιλνεος, a lover of youth (Lucian, Amor. 24); φιλκαινος, a lover of novelty (Plutarch, De Mus. 12).

There is a passage in Polybius (5:75, 4), as there are many elsewhere (aeschylus, Pers. 665; Euripides, Med. 75, 78; and Clement of Alexandria, Poedag. i. 5, will furnish such), in which the words occur together, or in closest sequence; but neither in this are they employed as a mere rhetorical accumulation: each has its own special significance. Relating a stratagem whereby the town of Selge was very nearly surprised and taken, Polybius remarks that, notwithstanding the many cities which have evidently been lost through a similar device, we are, in some way or other, still new and young in regard of such like deceits (καινο τινες αε κα νοι πρς τς τοιατας πτας πεφκαμεν), ready therefore to be deceived by them over again. Here καινο is an epithet applied to men on the ground of their rawness and inexperience, νοι on that of their youth. It is true that these two, inexperience and youth, go often together; thus νος and πειρος are joined by Plutarch (De Rect. Rat. Aud. 17); but this is not of necessity. An old man may be raw and unpractised in the affairs of the world, therefore καινς: there have been many young men, νοι in respect of age, who were well skilled and exercised in these.

Apply the distinction here drawn, and it will be manifest that the same man, the same wine, the same covenant, may have both these epithets applied to them, and yet different meanings may be, and will have been intended to be, conveyed, as the one was used, or the other. Take, for example, the νος νθρωπος of Col. 3:10, and the καινς νθρωπος of Ephes. 2:15. Contemplate under aspects of time that mighty transformation which has found and is still finding place in the man who has become obedient to the truth, and you will call him subsequently to this change, νος νθρωπος. The old man in him, and it well deserves this name, for it dates as far back as Adam, has died; a new man has been born, who therefore is fitly so called. But contemplate again, and not now under aspects of time, but of quality and condition, the same mighty transformation; behold the man who, through long commerce with the world, inveterate habits of sinning, had grown outworn and old, casting off the former conversation, as the snake its shrivelled skin, coming forth “a new creature” (καιν κτσις), from his heavenly Maker’s hands, with a πνεμα καινν given to him (Ezek. 11:19), and you have here the καινς νθρωπος, one prepared to walk ‘in newness of life’ (ν καιντητι ζως, Rom. 6:4) through the νακανωσις of the Spirit (Tit. 3:5); in the words of the Epistle of Barnabas, 16, γενμεθα καινο, πλιν ξ ρχς κτιζμενοι. Often as the words in this application would be interchangeable, yet this is not always so. When, for example, Clement of Alexandria (Poed. i. 6) says of those that are Christ’s, χρ γρ εναι καινος Λγου καινο μετειληφτας, all will feel how impossible it would be to substitute νους or νου here. Or take the verbs νανεον (Ephes. 4:23), and νακαινον (Col. 3:10). We all have need νανεοσθαι, and we have need νακαινοθαι as well. It is, indeed, the same marvellous and mysterious process, to be brought about by the same almighty Agent; but the same regarded from different points of view; νανεοσθαι, to be made young again; νακαινοσθαι, or νακαινιζσθαι, to be made new again. That Chrysostom realized the distinction between the words, and indeed so realized it that he drew a separate exhortation from each, the following passages, placed side by side, will very remarkably prove. This first (in Ep. ad Ephes. Hom. 13): νανεοσθε δ, φησ, τ πνευματι το νος μν .... τ δ νανεοσθα στιν ταν ατ τ γεγηρακς νανεται, λλο ξ λλου γινμενον.... νος σχυρς στιν, νος υτδα οκ χει, νος ο περιφρεται. The second is in Ep. ad Rom. Hom. 20: περ π τν οκιν ποιομεν, παλαιουμνας ατς ε διορθοντες, τοτο κα π σαυτο ποει. μαρτες σμερον; παλαωσς σου τν ψχην; μ πογνς, μηδ ναπσς, λλ νακανισον ατν μετανοίᾳ. The same holds good in other instances quoted above. New wine may be characterized as νος or καινς, but from different points of view. As νος, it is tacitly set over against the vintage of past years; as καινς, we may assume it austere and strong, in contrast with that which is χρηστς, sweet and mellow through age (Luke 5:39). So, too, the Covenant of which Christ is the Mediator is a διαθκη νεα, as compared with the Mosaic, confirmed nearly two thousand years before (Heb. 12:24); it is a διαθκη καιν, as compared with the same, effete with age, and with all vigour, energy, and quickening power gone from it (Heb. 8:13; compare Marriott’s Ερηνικ, part ii. pp. 110, 170).

A Latin grammarian, drawing the distinction between ‘recens’ and ‘novus,’ has said, ‘Recens ad tempus, novum ad rem refertur;’ and compare Döderlein, Lat. Syn. vol. iv. p. 64. Substituting νος and καινς, we might say, ‘νος ad tempus, καινς ad rem refertur,’ and should thus grasp in a few words, easily remembered, the distinction between them at its central point.1

1 Lafaye (Dict. des Synonymes, p. 798) claims the same distinction for ‘nouveau’ (== νος), and ‘neuf’ (== καινς): ‘Ce qui est nouveau vient de paraître pour la première fois: ce qui est neuf vient d’être fait et n’a pas encore servi. Une invention est nouvelle, une expression neuve.’

[The following Strong's numbers apply to this section: G2537, G3501.]

End excerpt from Trench.



Contemplate the new under aspects of time, as that which has recently come into existence, and this is νος (neos).

But contemplate the new, not now under aspects of time, but of quality, the new, as set over against that which has seen service, the outworn, the effete or marred through age, and this is καινς (kainos)


Both neos and kainos mean new:

            NEOS means new as to time.

            KAINOS means new as to quality.


Neither neos or kainos mean "renewed".