165. aiōn
Lexical Summary
aiōn: a space of time, an age
Original Word: αἰών
Transliteration: aiōn
Phonetic Spelling: (ahee-ohn')
Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
Short Definition: a space of time, an age
Meaning: a space of time, an age
Strong's Concordance
age, course, eternal, forever

From the same as aei; properly, an age; by extension, perpetuity (also past); by implication, the world; specially (Jewish) a Messianic period (present or future) -- age, course, eternal, (for) ever(-more), (n-)ever, (beginning of the, while the) world (began, without end). Compare chronos.

see GREEK aei

see GREEK chronos

Thayer's Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 165: αἰών

αἰών, (ῶνος, (as if Αιε — poetic for ἀείὤν, so teaches Aristotle, de caelo 1, 11, 9, vol. i., p. 279{a} 27; (so Proclus book iv. in Plato, Timaeo, p. 241; and others); but more probable is the conjecture (cf. Etym. Magn. 41, 11) that αἰών is so connected with ἄημι to breathe, blow, as to denote properly that which causes life, vital force; cf. Harless on Ephesians 2:2). (But αἰών ( = αἰϝών) is now generally connected with αἰεί, ἀεί, Sanskrit evas (aivas), Latinaevum, Goth. aivs, German ewig, English aye, ever; cf. Curtius, § 585; Fick, Part i., p. 27; Vanicek, p. 79; Benfey, Wurzellex, i., p. 7f; Schleicher, Compend. edition 2, p. 400; Pott, Etymologicum Forsch., edition 2, 2:2, p. 442; Ebeling, Lex. Homer under the word; Liddell and Scott, under the word ἀεί; Cremer, edd, 2, 3 ,4 (although in edition 1 he agreed with Prof. Grimm); Pott and Fick, however, connect it with Sanskrit ayus rather than evas, although both these forms are derived from i to go (see Pott, Sehleicher, Fick, Vanicek, as above).) In Greek authors:

1. age (Latinaevum, which is αἰών with the Aeolic digamma), a human lifetime (in Homer, Herodotus, Pindar, Tragic poets), life itself (Homer Iliad 5, 685 με καί λίποι αἰών etc.).

2. an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity, (Plato, Tim., p. 37 d. 38 a.; Tim. Locr., p. 97 d. (quoted below); Plutarch, others). With this signification the Hebrew and rabbinical idea of the word עולָם (of which in the Sept. αἰών is the equivalent) combines in the Biblical and ecclesiastical writings Hence, in the N. T. used:


a. universally: in the phrases εἰς τόν αἰῶνα, לְעולָם (Genesis 6:3), forever, John 6:51, 58; John 14:16; Hebrews 5:6; Hebrews 6:20, etc.; and strengthened εἰς τόν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος, Hebrews 1:8 (from Psalm 44:7 () Alexandrian LXX, cf. Winer's Grammar, § 36, 22 (Tobit 6:18; Psalm 82:18 (), etc.); εἰς αἰῶνα, Jude 1:13; εἰς ἡμέραν αἰῶνος unto the day which is eternity (genitive of apposition), 2 Peter 3:18 (cf. Sir. 18:10 (9)); with a negation: never, John 4:14 (Lachmann in brackets); ; 1 Corinthians 8:13; or not for ever, not always, John 8:35; εἰς τούς αἰῶνας, unto the ages, i. e., as long as time shall be (the plural denotes the individual ages whose sum is eternity): (Luke 1:33); Romans 1:25; Romans 9:5; Romans 11:36; ( R G Tr WH); 2 Corinthians 11:31; Hebrews 13:8; εἰς πάντας τούς αἰῶνας, Jude 1:25; εἰς τούς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων (in which expression the endless future is divided up into various periods, the shorter of which are comprehended in the longer (cf. Winers Grammar, § 36, 2; among the various phrases to express duration composed of this word with preposition or adjuncts (which to the number of more than fifteen are to be found in the Sept., cf. Vaughan on Romans 1:25), this combination of the double plural seems to be peculiar to the N. T.)): (Romans 16:27 L T); Galatians 1:5; (Philippians 4:20); 1 Timothy 1:17; (2 Timothy 4:18; 1 Peter 4:11); Revelation 1:6, 18; Revelation 4:9; Revelation 5:13; Revelation 7:12; Revelation 10:6; Revelation 11:15; Revelation 15:7; Revelation 19:3; Revelation 20:10; Revelation 22:5; εἰς αἰῶνας αἰώνων, Revelation 14:11; αἰών τῶν αἰώνων the (whole) age embracing the (shorter) ages, Ephesians 3:21 (cf. Meyer (or Ellicott) at the passage); ἀπό τῶν αἰώνων from the ages down, from eternity, Colossians 1:26; Ephesians 3:9; πρό τῶν αἰώνων before time was, before the foundation of the world, 1 Corinthians 2:7; πρόθεσις τῶν αἰώνων eternal purpose, Ephesians 3:11.

b. in hyperbolic and popular usage: ἀπό τοῦ αἰῶνος (מֵעולָם Genesis 6:4, cf. Deuteronomy 32:7) from the most ancient time down (within the memory of man), from of old, Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21; Acts 15:18 (Tobit 4:12 οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν ἀπό τοῦ αἰῶνος; Longinus, 34 τούς ἀπ' αἰῶνος ῥήτορας); also ἐκ τοῦ αἰῶνος, John 9:32 (1 Esdr. 2:19, 22 (23); Diodorus 4:83 of the temple of Venus τήν, ἐξ αἰῶνος ἀρχήν λαβόν, 17, 1 τούς ἐξ αἰῶνος βασιλεῖς (excerpt. de legat, xl.), p. 632 τήν ἐξ αἰῶνος παραδεδομένην ἐλευθερίαν).

2. by metonymy of the container for the contained, οἱ αἰῶνες denotes the worlds, the universe, i. e. the aggregate of things contained in time (on the plural cf. Winers Grammar, 176 (166); Buttmann, 24 (21)): Hebrews 1:2; Hebrews 11:3; and (?) 1 Timothy 1:17; (Revelation 15:3 WH text; cf. Psalm 144:13 (); Tobit 13:6, 10; Sir. 36:22; Philo de plant. Noe § 12 twice;de mundo § 7; Josephus, Antiquities 1, 18, 7; Clement of Rome, 1 Cor. 61, 2 [ET]; 35, 3 [ET] (πατήρ τῶν αἰώνων); 55, 6 [ET] (Θεός τῶν αἰώνων); Apostolic Constitutions 7, 34; see Abbot in Journal Society for Biblical Literature etc. i., p. 106 n.). So αἰών in Wis. 13:9 Wis. 14:6 Wis. 18:4; the same use occurs in the Talmud, Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic; cf. Bleek, Hebraerbr. ii., 1, p. 36ff; Gesenius, Thesaurus ii., p. 1036; (cf. the use of οἱ αἰῶνες in the Fathers, equivalent to the world of mankind, e. g. Ignatius ad Eph. 19, 2 [ET]):

3. As the Jews distinguished הַזֶּה הָעולָם the time before the Messiah, and הַבָּא הַעולָם, the time after the advent of the Messiah (cf. Riehm, Lehrb. d. Hebraerbr., p. 204ff; (Schürer, § 29, 9)), so most of the N. T. writers distinguish αἰών οὗτος this age (also simply αἰών, Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:19 G L T Tr WH; ἐνεστὼς αἰών, Galatians 1:4; νῦν αἰών, 1 Timothy 6:17; (2 Timothy 4:10); Titus 2:12), the time before the appointed return or truly Messianic advent of Christ (i. e., the παρουσία, which see), the period of instability, weakness, impiety, wickedness, calamity, misery — and αἰών μέλλων the future age (also αἰών ἐκεῖνος, Luke 20:35; αἰών ἐρχόμενος, Luke 18:30; Mark 10:30; οἱ αἰῶνες οἱ ἐπερχόμενοι, Ephesians 2:7), i. e., the age after the return of Christ in majesty, the period of the consummate establishment of the divine kingdom and all its blessings: Matthew 12:32; Ephesians 1:21; cf. Fritzsche on Romans, vol. 3:22f. Hence, the things of 'this age' are mentioned in the N. T. with censure: αἰών οὗτος, by metonymy, men controlled by the thoughts and pursuits of this present time, Romans 12:2, the same who are called υἱοί τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου in Luke 16:8; Luke 20:34; κατά τόν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου conformably to the age to which this (wicked) world belongs, Ephesians 2:2 (cf. Trench, § 59 under the end); ἀγαπᾶν τόν νῦν αἰῶνα, 2 Timothy 4:10 (see ἀγαπάω); ἀρχόντων τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου, 1 Corinthians 2:6 (see ἄρχων); Θεός τοῦ αἰ. τούτου, the devil, who rules the thoughts and deeds of the men of this age, 2 Corinthians 4:4; αἱ μέριμναι τοῦ αἰῶνος, the anxieties for the things of this age, Mark 4:19; πλούσιος ἐν τῷ νῦν αἰῶνι, rich in worldly wealth, 1 Timothy 6:17; σοφία ... τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου such wisdom as belongs to this age — full of error, arrogant, hostile to the gospel, 1 Corinthians 2:6; συζητητής τοῦ αἰ. τούτου, disputer, sophist, such as we now find him, 1 Corinthians 1:20; συντέλεια τοῦ αἰ. τούτ., the end, or rather consummation, of the age preceding Christ's return, with which will be connected the resurrection of the dead, the last judgment, the demolition of this world and its restoration to a more excellent condition (cf. 4 Esdr. 7:43 []), Matthew 13:39f, 49; Matthew 24:3; Matthew 28:20; it is called συντέλεια τῶν αἰώνων in Hebrews 9:26 (so Test xii. Patr., test. Levi 10, test. Benj. 11 (cf. Vorstman, p. 133)); τά τέλη τῶν αἰώνων the ends (last part) of the ages before the return of Christ, 1 Corinthians 10:11; δυνάμεις τοῦ μέλλοντος αἰῶνος, powers which present themselves from the future or divine order of things, i. e., the Holy Spirit, Hebrews 6:5; τοῦ αἰῶνος ἐκείνου τυχεῖν, to partake of the blessings of the future age, Luke 20:35. Among the N. T. writers James does not use the word αἰών. (On the word in its relation to κόσμος see Trench, § 59: Its biblical sense and its relation to עולָם are discussed by Stuart, Exeget. Essays on Words relating to Future Punishment, Andover, 1830 (and Presbyterian Publishing Committee, Philadelphia); Tayler Lewis in Lange's Commentary on Ecclesiastes, pp. 44-51; J. W. Hanson, Aion-Aionios (pp. 174), Chicago, 1880. See especially E. Abbot, Literature of the Doctrine of a Future Life, etc. (New York, 1867), Index of subjects, under the word For its meanings in ecclesiastical writings see Suicer, Thesaurus Eccl. i. col. 140ff, cf. ii. col 1609; Huet, Origeniana (Appendix to Vol. iv. of De la Rue's Origen) book ii. c. ii. quaest. 11, § 26. Its use in Homer, Hesiod, Pindar, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristotle, Plato, Tim. Locr., is exhibited in detail by E. S. Goodwin in the Christ. Exam. for March and May, 1831, March and May, 1832. "On αἰών as the complete period, either of each particular life or of all existence, see Aristotle, cael. 1, 9, 15; on αἰών and χρόνος, cf. Philo (quis rer. div. her. § 34) i. 496, 18f; (de mut. nom. § 47) i. 619, 10f." Liddell and Scott, edition 6; see also Philo de alleg. leg. iii. 8;quod deus immut. § 6 at the end;de secular § 11;de praem, et poen. § 15; and (de mund, opif. § 7) especially J. G. Muller, Philo's Lehre v. d. Weltschopfung, p. 168 (Berl. 1864). Schmidt (chapter 44) gives the distinction, for substance, as follows: both words denote the abstract idea of time and with special reference to its extent or duration; χρόνος is the general designation for time, which can be divided up into portions, each of which is in its turn a χρόνος; on the other hand, αἰών, which in the concrete and simple language of Homer (Pindar and the Tragedians) denotes the allotted lifetime, even the life, of the individual (Iliad 4, 478 μινυνθάδιος δέ οἱ αἰών etc.), in Attic prose differs from χρόνος by denoting time unlimited and boundless, which is not conceived of as divisible into αἰῶνες (contrast here biblical usage and see below), but rather into χρόνοι. In philosophical speech it is without beginning also. Cf. Tim. Locr. 97 c. d. χρόνῳ δέ τά μέρεα τάσδε τάς περιόδως λέγοντι, ἅς ἐκόσμησεν Θεός σύν κόσμῳ. Οὐ γάρ ἦν πρό κόσμῳ ἄστρα. Διόπερ οὐδ' ἐνιαυτός ὀυδ' ὠρᾶν περίοδοι, αἷς μετρηταί γεννατὸς χρόνος οὗτος. Ἑικών δέ ἐστι τῷ ἀγεννάτω χρόνῳ, ὅν αἰῶνα ποταγορεύομες. ὡς γάρ ποτ' ἀΐδιον παράδειγμα, τόν ἰδανικὸν κόσμον, ὅδε ὠρανός ἐγεννάθη, οὕτως ὡς πρός παράδειγμα, τόν αἰῶνα, ὅδε χρόνος σύν κόσμῳ ἐδαμιουργήθη — after Plato, Timaeus, p. 37 d. (where see Stallbaum's note and references); Isocrates 8, 34 τούς εὐσεβείας καί δικαιοσύνης ζῶντας (ὁρῶ) ἐν τέ τοῖς παροῦσι χρόνοις ἀσφαλῶς διάγοντας καί περί τοῦ σύμπαντος αἰῶνος ἡδίους τάς ἐλπίδας ἔχοντας. The adjective ἄχρονος independent of time, above and beyond all time, is synonymous with αἰώνιος; where time (with its subdivisions and limitations) ends eternity begins: Nonnus, metaph, evang. Johan. 1:1, ἄχρονος ἦν, ἀκίχητος, ἐν ἀρρήτω λόγος ἀρχή. Thoroughly Platonic in cast are the definitions of Gregory of Nazianzus (orat. xxxviii. 8) αἰών γάρ οὔτε χρόνος οὔτε χρόνου τί μέρος. Οὐδέ γάρ μετρητόν, ἀλλ' ὅπερ, ἡμῖν χρόνος ἡλίου φορά μετρούμενος, τοῦτο τοῖς ἀϊδίοις αἰών, τό συμπαρεκτεινόμενον τοῖς οὖσιν οἷον τί χρονικὸν κίνημα καί διάστημα (Suicer as above). So Clement of Alexandria, strom., i. 13, p. 756 a., Migne edition, γ' οὖν αἰών τοῦ χρόνου τό μέλλον καί τό ἐνεστὼς, αὐτάρ δή καί τό παρωχηκος ἀκαριαιὼς συνίστησι. Instances from extra-biblical writings of the use of αἰών in the plural are: τόν ἀπ' αἰώνων μύθον, Anthol. vol iii., part ii., p. 55, Jacobs edition; εἰς αἰῶνας, ibid. vol. iv. epigr. 492; ἐκ περιτροπῆς αἰώνων, Josephus, b. j. 3, 8, 5; εἰς αἰῶνας διαμενεῖ, Sextus Empiricus, adv. Phys. i. 62. The discussions which have been raised respecting the word may give interest to additional references to its use by Philo and Josephus. Philo: πᾶς (ἅπας, σύμπας) or πᾶς (etc.) αἰών:de alleg. leg. iii. § 70;de cherub. § I (a noteworthy passage, cf.de congressu ernd. § 11 and references under the word θάνατος);de sacrif. Ab. et Caini § 11;quod det. pot. § 48;quod deus immut. § 1, § 24;de plantat. § 27;de sobrietate § 13;de migr. Abr. § 2;de secular § 9;de mut. nom. § 34;de somn. ii., § 15, § 31, § 38;de legat. ad Gaium § 38; () μακρός αἰών:de sacrif. Ab et Caini § 21;de ebrietate § 47;de secular § 20; αἰών μήκιστος:de sobrietate § 5;de secular § 21; ἄπειρος αἰών:de legat, ad Gaium § 11; ἔμπροσθεν αἰών:de praem, et. poen. § 6; αἰών πολύς:de Abrah. § 46; τίς αἰών:de merc. meretr. § 1; δἰ αἰών:de cherub. § 26;de plantat. § 27; εἰς τόν αἰών:de gigant. § 5; ἐν (τῷ) αἰώνω:de mut. nom. § 2 (twice) (note the restriction);quod deus immut. § 6; ἐξ αἰών:de somn. 1 § 3; ἐπ' αἰῶνος:de plantat. § 12 (twice);de mundo § 7; πρό αἰῶνος:de mut. nom. § 2; πρός αἰ.:de mut. nom. § 11; () αἰών:de secular § 18;de alleg. leg. iii. § 70;de cherub. § 22;de migr. Abr. § 22;de somn. i., § 18, § 22;de Josepho § 5;de vita Moys. ii. § 3;de decalogo § 14;de victimis § 3; fragment in Mang. 2:660 (Richter vi., p. 219);de plantat. § 12 (bis);de mundo § 7. Josephus: () πᾶς αἰών: Antiquities 1, 18, 7; 3, 8, 10; contra Apion 2, 11, 3; 2, 22, 1; μακρός αἰών: Antiquities 2, 7, 3; πολύς αἰών: contra Apion 2, 31, 1; τοσοῦτος αἰών: contra Apion 1, 8, 4; πλῆθος αἰῶνος: Antiquities prooem. § 3; ἀπ' αἰῶνος: b. j. prooem. § 4; δἰ αἰῶνος: Antiquities 1, 18, 8; 4, 6, 4; b. j. 6, 2, 1; εἰς (τόν) αἰωνον: Antiquities 4, 8, 18; 5, 1, 27; 7, 9, 5; 7, 14, 5; ἐξ αἰωνον: b. j. 5, 10, 5; () αἰών: Antiquities 19, 2, 2; b. j. 1, 21, 10; plural (see above) 3, 8, 5. See αἰώνιος.)


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