September 17, 2019

What is New ? // The New Doctrine

What is New ? // The New Doctrine

How we perceive the meaning of a word influences our belief system. For example, the Greek word “autarkes” is translated in English as sufficiency. When the term is thus used in the English language, one may be tempted to think it means “just enough”. But in the Greek language, “autarkes”, means over, above and beyond. It describes an economy known as “autarkeia”, a nation that has a policy whereby they only export and don’t import, because they are not in need of anything. In the grace of Christ Jesus, we have been made an “autarkeia” economy. We don’t have to make policies based on need. Our agenda is not dictated by need but in the Son, we have possessions with the intent to distribute.


When it comes to the term “new”, most often, an understanding has been attributed to it that affects our interpretation of the Gospel. What is new? Newness is mostly spoken of in relation to time, referring to two different time frames, before and after. With such an understanding, one may think that the transition between these time frames is determined by their decision. This is newness as translated from the Greek term “neos”. “Neos” speaks of an age that would age.


You are not new because you’ve been refurbished in your behavior. What then do the authors of the New Testament refer to when they employ the term “new”? 

But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

Hebrews 8:6-7

The term translated as “better” in the passage above is the Greek word “kreitton”, which is a terminology of comparison. The old is being compared with the new. Within the compendium called the Bible, there are messages God sent to different peoples at different times that, in view of the Christ event, are now obsolete. They have been fulfilled and surpassed by what has now come in their place. The fact that there is the terminology “old and new” implies that there is a supplanting of what is called old, because it had fault. But the new replacing it is perfect and complete.

In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Hebrews 8:13

Old and new do not exist simultaneously. Whenever God calls something new, just like in the case of our text of focus (Heb. 8:13), referring to the new covenant, then He has made the first old. Whatever preceded the new is out of use. In this light, the old man in view of the new man is that man who has already vanished away. There is no old man being simultaneously the new man. There is no dualism. The transition from old to new does not have its source at a certain point of your decision in time. God is the Initiator and Consummator of all that He terms new. None of the old is involved in the new. Nothing old is incorporated in the design of what is new.

Mark’s gospel records the account of Jesus teaching in the Synagogue in Capernaum. It says Jesus taught as one who had authority (Mark 1:21-22). This is the Greek word “exousia”, which means out of the substance of one’s being. Jesus didn’t teach as the Scribes in that He didn’t quote a source material; He taught out of Himself as the Word. There in the Synagogue was a man said to be with an unclean spirit. The term “spirit” is the Greek word “pneuma”, which speaks of a principle that animates one’s belief system. The Apostle Paul uses the same term in 2 Corinthians 4:13, where he says:

“We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak”

 He was saying the record of what is documented by the Spirit of God is what animates our faith and our confession is our verbal agreement with God. Pneuma does not always imply an entity. In some cases, it refers to an angelic being, or to the innermost nature of man, or breath, or the Spirit of God, or to that which animates our belief system as is the case in Mark’s account. This man sitting under Jesus reacts to His teaching because Jesus exposed to him that what was animating his belief system was impure; in other words, he had things that were not of God; He had an opinion of God that was contaminated. He, therefore, had an unclean pneuma. When he cried out, he exposed what his impure pneuma was, which was that the Holy one of God would come to destroy the unrighteous (Mark 1:23-24).

Jesus rebuked him, stopping the utterance that came out of his pneuma. The unclean spirit came out of him (Mark 1:25-26). This event was not in reference to exorcism. The people were all amazed and questioned: “What new doctrine is this?” (Mark 1:27). There is thus such a thing as new doctrine. Everything that had been taught up to that point had to be obsolete. The Jews interpreted the prophecies of the Old Testament in the light that God would come and destroy the unrighteous. But Jesus brought the new doctrine to rebuke, to muzzle that unclean pneuma: that which animated our minds with the impure opinion of God; that which, by the traditions of men has rendered the word of God of non-effect. The ministry of Jesus brought the new doctrine. The new make obsolete what came before it.





This article is extracted from the series, “What is New?” by Dr. Shawn Smith. For the complete message, visit or write to


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