Age - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words


[ A-1,Noun,G165, aion ]
an age, era" (to be connected with aei, "ever," rather than with ao, "to breathe"), signifies a period of indefinite duration, or time viewed in relation to what takes place in the period. The force attaching to the word is not so much that of the actual length of a period, but that of a period marked by spiritual or moral characteristics. This is illustrated in the use of the adjective [See Note
(1) below] in the phrase "life eternal," in John 17:3, in respect of the increasing knowledge of God.

The phrases containing this word should not be rendered literally, but consistently with its sense of indefinite duration. Thus eis ton aiona does not mean "unto the age" but "for ever" (See, e.g., Hebrews 5:6). The Greeks contrasted that which came to an end with that which was expressed by this phrase, which shows that they conceived of it as expressing interminable duration.

The word occurs most frequently in the Gospel of John, the Hebrews and Revelation. It is sometimes wrongly rendered "world." See COURSE, ETERNAL, WORLD. It is a characteristic word of John's Gospel.


(1) Aionios, the adjective corresponding, denoting "eternal," is set in contrast with proskairos, lit., "for a season," 2 Corinthians 4:18. It is used of that which in nature is endless, as, e.g., of God, Romans 16:26, His power, 1 Timothy 6:16, His glory, 1 Peter 5:10, the Holy Spirit, Hebrews 9:14, redemption, Hebrews 9:12, salvation, Hebrews 5:9, life in Christ, John 3:16, the resurrection body, 2 Corinthians 5:1, the future rule of Christ, 2 Peter 1:11, which is declared to be without end, Luke 1:33, of sin that never has forgiveness, Mark 3:29, the judgment of God, Hebrews 6:2, and of fire, one of its instruments, Matthew 18:8; Matthew 25:41; Jude 1:7. See ETERNAL, EVERLASTING.

(2) In Revelation 15:3, the RV has "King of the ages," according to the texts which have aionon; the AV has "of saints" (hagion, in inferior mss.). There is good ms. evidence for ethnon, "nations," (AV, marg.), probably a quotation from Jeremiah 10:7.

[ A-2,Noun,G1074, genea ]
connected with ginomai, "to become," primarily signifies "a begetting, or birth;" hence, that which has been begotten, a family; or successive members of a genealogy, Matthew 1:17, or of a race of people, possessed of similar characteristics, pursuits, etc., (of a bad character) Matthew 17:17; Mark 9:19; Luke 9:41; Luke 16:8; Acts 2:40; or of the whole multitude of men living at the same time, Matthew 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 1:48; Luke 21:32; Philippians 2:15, and especially of those of the Jewish race living at the same period, Matthew 11:16, etc. Transferred from people to the time in which they lived, the word came to mean "an age," i.e., a period ordinarily occupied by each successive generation, say, of thirty or forty years, Acts 14:16; Acts 15:21; Ephesians 3:5; Colossians 1:26; See also, e.g., Genesis 15:16. In Ephesians 3:21 genea is combined with aion in a remarkable phrase in a doxology: "Unto Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, unto all generations for ever and ever (wrongly in AV 'all ages, world without end')." The word genea is to be distinguished from aion, as not denoting a period of unlimited duration. See GENERATION, NATION, TIME.

[ A-3,Noun,G2244, helikia ]
primarily "an age," as a certain length of life, came to mean
(a) "a particular time of life," as when a person is said to be "of age," John 9:21, John 9:23, or beyond a certain stage of life, Hebrews 11:11;
(b) elsewhere only "of stature," e.g., Matthew 6:27; Luke 2:52; Luke 12:25; Luke 19:3; Ephesians 4:13. Some regard Matthew 6:27; Luke 12:25 as coming under
(a). It is to be distinguished from aion and genea, since it has to do simply with matters relating to an individual, either his time of life or his height. See STATURE.

[ A-4,Noun,G2250, hemera ]
"a day," is rendered "age" in Luke 2:36, "of a great age" (lit., "advanced in many days"). In Luke 3:23 there is no word in the original corresponding to age. The phrase is simply "about thirty years." See DAY, JUDGMENT, TIME, YEAR.

[ B-1,Adjective,G5230, huperakmos ]
in 1 Corinthians 7:36 is rendered "past the flower of her age;" more lit., "beyond the bloom or flower (acme) of life."

[ B-2,Adjective,G5046, teleios ]
"complete, perfect," from telos, "an end," is translated "of full age" in Hebrews 5:14, AV (RV, "fullgrown man").

Note: In Mark 5:42, RV, "old," AV, "of the age of," is, lit., "of twelve years." For "of great age," Luke 2:36, See STRICKEN. For "of mine own age," Galatians 1:14, RV, See EQUAL, B, No. 2.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words