The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Aionios in 2Tim 1:9, Titus 1:2 and Rom 16:25


The right grammar makes a big difference :exclamation: :exclamation:


yup…exactly !..well done !


I don’t know where Randy’s head is half the time but I love it… :laughing:


‘Unto’ is simply a slightly more formal version of ‘to’ and when related to “ages” plural is simply presented as ‘into’ with the thought of “beyond to present” which often (and wrongly IMO) is then read ‘otherworldly’ instead of simply meaning future ages.

Actually ‘aidios’ <ἀΐδιος> likewise carries the connotation “enduring” – thus the two places it’s used in the NT can be understood as meaning “enduring power” (Rom 1:20) and “enduring chains” (Jude 1:6); but this again can be “within” any unspecified timeframe… in the case of Romans, the timeframe relative to those who “are without excuse” OR, in the case of Jude, the timeframe relative to those “messengers who did not keep their proper domain” and so were consequently “bound” UNTO judgment, i.e., there WAS an end in view. THAT in itself should show that “enduring” is confined to ‘the ever-present’ (to the degree that given present is in view) as opposed to our modern understanding of “eternal”.

As for other Gk. words meaning ‘eternal’ in the sense of un-ending or endlessness as we view it then yes, there were other words to choose from. There are a number of examples to draw from: Lk 1:33…and of His kingdom there will be no end.ouk estai telos <οὐκ ἔσται τέλος>; Heb 7:16…according to the power of an endless life.akatalutou <ἀκαταλύτου>; 1Tim 1:4…nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies…aperantois <ἀπεράντοις>. Not one of these specific words are ever used in the context of the likes of punishment beyond the grave, and certainly these could have been used IF such was the case; they were not for there is not… IMO.


yes…true…there really is not ‘eternal suffering’ beyond the grave…speaking as someone who for many years believed there was such a thing as ‘eternal separation’ from God or ‘eternal suffering’ it is a great relief and another evidence of God’s goodness…now, instead of worshiping God out of fear (as I used to do most of the time ) I worship God out of true love for Him and his wisdom, glory and goodness.


I keep thinking the same thing. Usually, I’m busy trying to find it.:exclamation: :laughing:

Anyway, here’s another example of using the proper words and correctly understanding them:


I have no explanation for the three scriptures in the original post.

However “αἰωνιος” (aiōnios) DOES NOT mean “eternal”. Indeed, it never means “eternal”. Time is not an element of its meaning. Though the word is sometimes applied to that which is eternal (for example “αἰωνιος God”), it is also applied to things temporal. It is the adjectival form of the noun “αἰων”, which means “age”. So, I suppose we could translate “αἰωνιος” as “agey”, but as far as I know, the latter is not an English word.

The word was used in koine Greek (the Greek spoken from 300 B.C. to 300 A.D.) to refer to anything which is enduring. The word was used by Diodorus Siculus to describe the stone used to build a wall. The word seems to have been used as meaning “lasting” or “durable”.

Josephus in “The Wars of the Jews” book 6, states that Jonathan was condemned to “αἰωνιος” imprisonment. Yet that prison sentence lasted only three years.

Consider the following passage in which most translations render the word “αἰωνιος” as “eternal”. Jesus said:

If the word means “eternal” here, that would seem to imply that if you make friends of yourself with money, you will be received into heaven. But we all know that is not the way to be “saved”! I think Jesus meant for this to apply to this present life. If you make friends with money now, then when you go broke, some of those friends will receive you for a long time to live with them in their houses.

An interesting use of the word is found in the Homily of the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Ephesians, written by Chrysostom. He wrote that the kingdom of Satan “is αἰωνιος (agey), in other words it will cease with the present αἰων (age).” So Chrysostum apparently believed that “αἰωνιος” meant exactly the opposite to “eternal”! ---- that is “temporary.”


Thank you Paidion for your honesty. It encourages me that at least I am not the only one who has some difficulties. :slight_smile:

You have often written that aionios can best be understood as “lasting” or “enduring”. What do you see as the main difficulty in understanding aionios in this way in the 3 verses in the OP?


I wrote earlier in this thread concerning the meaning of “times aionios”,

I asked a friend who has studied a bit of Greek this question. Although no expert, he understood that times aionian referred to the mystery having been kept secret rather than the revelation of the mystery. If he is correct, I don’t think the mystery could be said to be secret in the “age to come” so this would rule out that as a possible meaning for aionios in Rom 16:25. Can anyone else confirm my friends understanding of the Greek here?


As I mentioned earlier, the way of life was never kept secret by God. This knowledge was given to man in the beginning. It is man who tries to hide the truth.


Thanks LLC, but my question is not really about who kept the mystery secret, but rather what “times aionios” means.


Everything God has done is a promise(imo) and He planned that all that has been and will be before th foundation of the world, and sealed it with the lamb slain before the “foundation of the world”.

In my opinion these verses make it absolutely clear.

In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. Eph 1:8-12


Titus 1:2 " In the hope of aionios life, which God, who does not lie, promised before times aionios."

I have not done any research on the use of the word “promised” used in Titus 1:2. Do you have any evidence that the meaning of “promised” can be stretched to include his purposes and plans and “everything God has done” and not just the things he has specifically “promised” in the way we normally understand a promise i.e. some sort of communication to us of his intention to give us aionios life?


Paidion always has good things to say–always very helpful. Let me tag [tag]JasonPratt[/tag] again in the hope he is now finished with his merry-making :wink: and might have time to weigh in on this.

Craig, you’re right. I apologize. I got carried away reading the subsequent conversation and forgot your original question. Let me get briefly carried away again though, before I try to come up with some commentary on your passages. This church leader doesn’t want to talk about the OT? How convenient for him. I’ve never found it helpful to let the other guy scribe out parameters for such discussions. “I’d like us to ‘discuss’ this with one of your hands tied behind your back.” “Really? That’s very honest and honorable of you. Very brave . . . Not.” I don’t blame him for not wanting to consider three fourths of the bible, and the ONLY part of the bible available to the NT writers (and to Jesus). It would be disadvantageous to his argument and we couldn’t have that. He might ask himself whether he’s more interested in reigning in this young “troublemaker,” or in coming to a knowledge of the truth by mutual discussion. Kind of like the Pharisees attempting to school Jesus on the party line and the PC way to think . . . oh wait . . . .

Okay, rant concluded . . . :wink:

If you wanted to keep “from eternity” (as some other translations render it) well, being “from eternity” IS being from God, if you think about it. God doesn’t inhabit eternity. He doesn’t inhabit anything in the sense that we inhabit a house. He is all in all with the exception of a few human hearts who temporarily bar the door. There is no larger reality called “eternity” in which God somehow wanders about as an occupant. Eternity can only BE Him. In Him we live and move and have our being. If the grace is given “from Eternity,” then that simply means that the grace is given from God.

The Concordant has it “before times eonian,” though. I’m assuming that “times” exists in the Greek, but I don’t have all my bible tools moved over to my new computer. If “times” is in there, then this does clearly refer to time. To say it means “eternity” would be contradictory. Today it might be more clear to say “before the ages” or “before this present age,” perhaps.

Here the eonian life is being expected as a future endowment, so you might say it couldn’t be that “God kind of life” which Jesus said belongs to those who know God. I’m not sure that’s the case, though. I know God, but I don’t know God to the extent that I hope to know Him. More “knowing:” more “life,” I think. It is a journey that we will never stop engaging–always coming closer, always something even fuller and better to anticipate. He is infinite. We’ll never come to the end of Him and be able to say, “there is no more life to be discovered.”

As for the second half of v.2, I agree. Again, it’s pretty hard to translate that credibly as anything other than “before the present ages,” especially since “times” is again specified, thus modifying eonian to apply definitely to time. If eonian should have been translated “eternal,” it would say: “times eternal,” which in the present understanding of the word “eternal,” would be an oxymoron.

Again you’re right. Clearly “times eonian” has to refer to time. From the context I’d say this means that the secret has been kept through the ages up until the writer’s present time, and now, the God of those ages (or eternity–both are true) is revealing this secret through Paul.

The first usage can’t be correctly translated “times eternal,” in the modern understanding of “eternal.” Again, that would be an oxymoron. And for modern translations of the bible, modern usage is important. The Greek **should **be translated into modern usage for people of today, not the usage of the 1600’s. The whole point is to tell us what it says to US. Otherwise we could look at the Greek letters and it wouldn’t matter that most of us couldn’t understand it. Old English isn’t the English we speak. Old English for “eternal” means, I’m told, “a long time.” Moderns mean something entirely different from “eternal,” unless we’re being hyperbolic or poetic. We don’t tend to think the bible has any right to be hyperbolic or poetic or even metaphorical (even though it typically is FILLED with these and other linguistic techniques. If we want to interpret the bible as though it were a chemistry text book, we ought to translate “aionios” as “a long time” when it clearly refers to time, because time and eternity are not synonyms or even compatible in the way we use them today.

So, just my thoughts. I don’t pretend to know ancient Greek at all, though. Hope this helps you think about it, at least. :slight_smile:


Hi, Robert

Yes, I believe that we can and do experience a portion of the eternal life of God in this life. It is, I think, an experience that grows as Father conforms us to the image of His Son through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

I’m not sure which thread you were talking about, since they move around, but I’ll see if I can figure it out. :slight_smile:


There are many who will tell you that because Adam sinned, we are all made sinners. But Adam was a human, no different than the rest of us. Yes, we are all prone to sin. What they leave out is the fact that we are also all born with the divine nature of God. These things are a gift from God and were given to man in the beginning. This seed of God is in all of us and is passed on to our children as an inheritance as well. Genesis 1:11 says that the living creature is brought forth according to it’s kind who’s seed is in itself on the earth. Before time began, there was God. Him being eternal ( existing before time) created man in his own image according to His likeness as stated in Genesis 1:26.
As 2 Timothy says: "who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. God did not create man to live as animals and beasts of the wild, nor did He create us to be slaves. God being the Father and King, created man to be princes and rulers over our own lives and over the earth. This is also our inheritance. But there is only one way in which we can receive this inheritance; that is by recognizing who God is, who we are, and by following the spirit and the word of God. All else fails, as in the story of King Arthur, the sword and the stone. Throughout all of human history, since the world began, there have been those who choose not to follow God, thinking that they will rule according to their own ways. But, this is not so because their ways will only end in destruction. The promise of God is a lasting promise and applies to all men throughout all ages who are willing to pick up the scepter and stand in the truth. There is only one way to life that is lasting, that is God’s way.


The main difficulty for me is my lack of even a conjecture as to what the referent of “lasting times” could be. I find the suggestions offered so far are not convincing. For example, let’s take the notion that “lasting times” refers to all time from the beginning of time until the end of time. In that case, what would “before lasting times” mean? If time had a beginning (and I think it did) there would BE NO “BEFORE.” Also there would be no AFTER, since in my opinion, there is an infinite progression of time into the future.


Thanks Paidion. That is a difficulty I hadn’t thought of for translating “before times aionios" as “before the beginning of time” NIV or "before time began” HCSB. There would indeed be no “before” time because the word “before” assumes that time must still be happening!

If however, a "lasting time” referred to a “long time”, but still within the realm of time, would this problem still apply?
For example, if an aionios imprisonment can last 3 years, then perhaps this could be expressed as an imprisonment for aionios times (a long or lasting time). After his release, the prisoner may refer to the time before his imprisonment as before aionios times. “Before the really long/lasting period of time (before times aionios) that I was in prison….”
So, I am suggesting that aionios times could simply refer to a long or lasting period of time, but may be well within the total period of time from creation to when God is all in all.
I realise I am only speculating, but do you see any problems with this as a possibility for consideration?

I notice that the NASB has “long ages ago” for “before times aionios” in Titus 1:2. This would not necessarily mean “before time”, but just “a long time ago.”


All right, Craig. I see your point in calling an “aiōnios time” a lasting period of time, such as the 3-year jail sentence. However, the scriptural term is “before aiōnios times” (plural). To me that suggests the sum total of all aiōnios times. If that is the case we still have the same problem concerning “before.” However, this may not be the case. “aiōnios times” may refer to a subset of all “aiōnios times.” But in THAT case, to which subset does the scripture refer?

I think “long ages ago” is just a feeble attempt to make sense out of it without taking into account the literal meaning of the phrase.


Yes, I know what you mean about the plural. I have wondered about that too. You have suggested 2 possibilities - that it is the total of all aionios times, or a subset of all aionios times.
I would suggest a third possibility. It is an idiomatic expression rather than one that is trying to be technically accurate. For aionios to be able to mean “lasting" or “durable", then it must be able to be used without referring to any particular age. It is not referring to the age from the creation to the flood, or the flood to the destruction of Jerusalem, or to any particular definite time period or age. It is just referring to a lasting …(whatever the noun is).
We might say these days, “I had to wait in the queue for ages (plural)”, not referring to any particular age. I could also say “I had to wait in the queue for an age (singular)” or “I had to wait in the queue for ages§ and ages§”. All of these expressions mean “a long time”, whether singular or plural.
Aionios times (whether singular or plural) as an idiomatic expression could mean “a long time”. Before aionios times could mean “a long time ago”.

Plausible or busted? :slight_smile: