What is the Biblical Meaning of Restore and Renew?

There are no two ways around it: life is hard. However, the biblical meaning of restore and renew involves God’s way of bringing about a restored soul, restoration of peace, physical restoration, and even financial restitution. 

Hope abounds in Christ! Both the Old Testament and the New Testament are filled with the process of restoration of God’s people in various ways. Let’s dive in.

What Does Restore Mean Biblically?

God’s restoration of us is a beautiful gift. God’s Word is full of Hebrew and Greek words referencing His restoration process.

The dictionary definition of restoration is the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition. The biblical meaning of the word “restore” is mostly literal. 

biblical meaning of restore and renew

Tangible Restoration

Land, property, health, life, and other tangibles are the subject of restoration:

  • 1 Kings 20:34 – “I will return the cities my father took from your father,” Ben-Hadad offered. “You may set up your own market areas in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria.”
  • Job 20:10 – “His children must make amends to the poor; his own hands must give back his wealth.”
  • Ezekiel 18:7 – “He does not oppress anyone, but returns what he took in pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked.”
  • Mark 3:5 – “Jesus looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.”

We see such restoration throughout the Book of Job. The story of Job is sobering to read because he literally loses everything except his life and faith. Job’s friends only see the turn of Job’s fortunes due to sin. But that wasn’t the case. 

God’s desire was to prove to Satan that a believer’s faith can be stronger than any misery they endure – even the severest afflictions. God restored to Job a double portion of the blessings he had before, including Job’s former condition of health and wealth.

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Figurative Restoration

When we look at the figurative usage of restoration, there are several verses to consider covering two overarching areas. 

1. Spiritual Restoration

First and foremost (since it impacts eternal life) is spiritual restoration. This aspect holds a different value than physical restoration because only our spirit is eternal. It is a return to our proper condition before the loss of Eden — a spiritual reset, if you will.

In Psalm 51:12, David writes: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” After falling headlong into sin with Bathsheba, David turns to our God of restoration. 

In Psalm 23:3, the psalmist calls on the name of the Lord for strength during trials: “He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

In Galatians 6:1, mature believers are also encouraged to identify their spiritual gifts and strengths in order to restore the spiritual health of a wayward believer: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” 

thursday prayers and blessings

2. Eschatological Restoration

The Word of God also references an eschatological restoration, which points to the Last Judgment, the reign of Christ, and times of restoration of all things:

  • Matthew 19:28 – “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel‘.”
  • Acts 3:20-21 – “That times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago.”

Eschatological restoration is a category that garners significant theological discussion and fear fodder for prosperity preachers. But Scripture is clear that the restoration of man comes from God alone through Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

sunrise sunset bible

What Does Renew Mean Biblically?

God sent Jesus into the world not only to restore us but to renew us. Biblically, renewal means that we are remade into something new and better in Christ. 

Renewal references God’s process of sanctification. Sanctification encompasses the work of the Holy Spirit, who leads us into eternal life. It includes the gift of faith, justification, our inner transformation, perseverance in faith, and complete renewal on Judgment Day.

In the process of renewal, God removes us from our former place of spiritual darkness and ushers us into His glorious light.

  • 2 Corinthians 4:16 – “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”
  • Isaiah 40:31 – “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
  • Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

In some places the Bible conveys renewal in a primary sense of literal rather than spiritual. For instance, the kingdom renewal at Gilgal: “Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship” (1 Samuel 11:14). 

prayers for repentance

What is Spiritual Renewal?

In addition to the points and passages above, spiritual renewal means relying on Christ through faith for inner strength and resolve in our pursuit of God. 

Spiritual renewal is not merely a theological concept. In Christ, we are given a clear sense of sin and its damage that is replaced by a fresh sense of God, His grace, and God’s plan for our lives.

  • Lamentations 5:21 – “Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return.” 
  • Ephesians 4:22-23 – “To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds.” 
  • Colossians 3:9-10 – “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” 

Spiritual renewal is also viewed from the perspective of repentance: “…and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt” (Hebrews 6:6). Repentance is key to spiritual renewal.

Spiritual renewal includes renewed vigor and realigning our thoughts with God’s truth as the bedrock of our lives. God’s promise to renew us through Christ leads us to the green pastures of His forgiveness, grace, and mercy. Our cup overflows with His restoring, renewing love!

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About the Author

Donna is a sought-after speaker, multi-published author, and Bible teacher. Her path from unchurched to becoming passionate about sharing Jesus was difficult. Read about her God-breathed journey: “From Unchurched to Becoming a Multi-Published Author and Sought-After Speaker.” If you want to send Donna a quick message, visit her here.

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