The Evangelical Universalist Forum

What Lexicons/Dictionaries/Concordances Out There

That defines αἰώνιος/αἰών as age/eon/age lasting?

There’s some listed here:


Well, according to BibleHub, Strong’s concordance defines αἰωνιος as “age-long” as well as “eternal.”

However, how a majority of lexicons define the word doesn’t settle what the true meaning is. Truth is never settled by majority opinion.

We can best gain an understanding of the meaning of a Greek word by examining texts in which it is used.

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” or “enduring.”

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

Jonah says God delivered him from the pit which held him for three days. Yet he described that period as “αἰωνιος” according to the translation into Greek by the Septuagint translators.

Paul wrote to Philemon concerning the latter’s slave Onesimus:

Here “αἰωνιος” perhaps refers to the remaining part of a man’s life—either that of Philemon, or that of Onesimus.

Here “αἰωνιος” in the first instance refers to a long period in the past, and in the second to God Himself who is eternal.

So we can see that “αἰωνιος” is not used to describe any particular period of time, long, short, or eternal. Duration of time is NOT part of the meaning of the word. As I see it, the word is best translated as “lasting” or “enduring.” To describe something as “lasting” or “enduring” doesn’t assign any particular period of time to it, either short, long, or infinite, and yet the word can be used to describe that which endures a short time, or a long time, or an infinite time.

That is true. The reason however that “age” is sometimes attached (apart from the basic structure of the noun from which the adjective is derived—although that is not always a concrete rule either) to lasting or enduring is that “age” (irrespective of length) is the context wherein such lasting or enduring is attached.

We can speak of lasting love or lasting friendship, or even of a lasting hopethese things however speak of quality or excellence not quantity or length. These things have an endurance in and of themselves where “age” isn’t the context nor focus; but that is not always the case with αἰωνιος <aiōnios>.

How should OLAM/AIONIOS in Jonah 2:6 be translated? Most versions render OLAM (AIONIOS, LXX) as “forever”:

I went down to the very bottoms of the mountains; the gates of the netherworld barred me in forever; but you brought me up from the Pit, O LORD, my God. (NET)

To the cuttings of mountains I have come down, The earth, her bars are behind me to the age. And Thou bringest up from the pit my life, O Jehovah my God. (YLT)

I go down to the fashioning points of the mountains; the earth, its bars are about me for the eon, yet You wilt bring up my life from ruin, Yahweh, my Elohim. (CLV)

to the clefts of the mountains; I went down into the earth, whose bars are the everlasting barriers: yet, O Lord my God, let my ruined life be restored. (Brenton LXX)

I have gone down to a land, the bars of which are everlastingly fixed: let my soul now, corrupted as it is, ascend, Lord, my God. (CTT, LXX)

to the clefts of the mountains; I went down into the earth, whose bars are the everlasting barriers: yet, O Lord my God, let my ruined life be restored. (CAB, LXX)

All three LXX translations above describe the earth’s “barriers” or “bars” as everlasting, not (as the translations from the Hebrew say) the duration of time that Jonah was barred in the netherworld.

One interpretation is that Jonah, apart from rescue by God, would have been in the “underworld” (NET) for the age or eon (as per the CLV & YLT), until his resurrection after Christ’s return, or at the great white throne resurrection of Revelation 20. If Jonah was living in the same age/eon as Christ spoke of as ending when He returns to rasise the dead, this view seems to make sense. Jonah, or at least his body, would have been dead & buried in the sea “for the eon” (CLV) or “to the age” (YLT) of Christ’s return & his resurrection.

For comments in support of this perspective, compare Koine Lingua’s remarks on Jonah 2:6 at:

For concordances & a viewpoint of the meanings of the ages (i.e. eons) in the Scriptures: