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Eternal

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The Greek word aionios, which is usually translated "eternal" (meaning "forever and ever" or "without end") as it relates to "life" in the New Testament, actually conveys an incorrect meaning.  In most cases, especially when it refers to soul-salvation (not spirit-salvation), which is most often the case (since this is the primary salvation discussed in all the books of the New Testament), it should be translated as "age-lasting" (meaning an age with a beginning and an end).

 

And example of which is found in Titus (taken from Salvation of the Soul by Arlen L. Chitwood):

 

The Greek word aionios appearing in Titus 1:2; 3:7, translated “eternal” in most English versions, does not itself mean “eternal.”  The Greek language actually contains no word for “eternal.”  Aionios can be, and many times is, used in the sense of “eternal”; but this meaning is derived from its textual usage, not from the word itself.  Aionios refers to “a period of time,” usually thought of as “an age.”

 

The only way the Greek language can express “eternal,” apart from textual considerations, is by using the noun form of aionios (aion) in the plural (“ages” [e.g., Luke 1:33; Hebrews 13:8]), or by using aion twice in the plural (“unto the ‘ages [aionas]’ of the ‘ages [aionon]’” [e.g.,  Revelation 1:6, 18; 4:9, 10; 5:13, 14; 7:12; 10:6; 11:15; 14:11; 15:7; 19:3; 20:10; 22:5]).  A person using the Greek language thinks in the sense of “ages,” with eternity being thought of in the sense of “endless ages,” i.e., aeons,” or “the aeons of the aeons.”

 

Aionios life in Titus 1:2; 3:7a hope associated with an inheritance set before the believer — must be understood contextually to mean “age-lasting,” referring to the coming age, the Messianic Era.  “Eternal life” cannot be in view at all.  Neither “hope” nor “inheritance” is used pertaining to eternal life that Christians presently possess;  but both words are used numerous times concerning Christians and their relationship to the coming kingdom (with its glory), which is what is in view in the book of TitusThe hope (the blessed hope) set before every Christian is simply that he/she may, at the judgment seat of Christ, be found qualified to occupy one of the numerous, proffered positions with Christ in His kingdom.  A Christian — already in possession of eternal life — may or may not realize this hope, for such depends entirely upon one’s faithfulness during his present pilgrim walk.