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What Does the Bible Say about Time?

What does the Bible say about time? Moments, seconds, minutes, hours, days, years, and eons are various ways we measure time... but how does God measure it? What are we called to do with the time we have been given?

Contributing Writer
May 16, 2022
What Does the Bible Say about Time?

What does the Bible say about time? Moments, seconds, minutes, hours, days, years, and eons are various examples of time. How is your time used every day? Is reading the Bible and sharing conversation with the Lord part of your daily activities? God created the world, and each creation has a purpose. When we rush through life on this earth, time goes by at a pace we can’t recreate. The Bible has great insight into how we are called to use our time.

Where Does the Bible Mention Time?

We experience time differently than God experiences time. Humans created clocks and other instruments to keep track of events, activities, and special occasions. One important fact that we as Christians know is that God was, God is, and God always will be. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8 NIV). There was never a time without God.

Scripture tells that the world and its desire will pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Although we use instruments and gauges to measure time on this earth, scientists are constantly looking for ways to be more precise in management and calculation.

We can find comfort that God controls the ultimate time when this world ends and the new one begins.

Another Bible verse tells how no one can fathom what God has done. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart: yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV).

The Bible shares that the Lord knows what He has planned for His people. 

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

In the New Testament, Scripture shares the questioning of when the Lord would restore the kingdom to Israel.

“He said to them: “It is not for you to know times or dates the Father has set by his own authority” (Acts 1:7 NIV).

Numerous times in the Bible, God’s people are told not to concern themselves with specific times. God would answer in His timing and in His way.

Does the Bible Have Special Terms for Time?

The Bible refers to time with unique words. In referring to time today, the context may mean something completely different from how we talk about time. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology observes that the Bible mainly uses three words to talk about time: the Hebrew word et and the Greek words kairos and chronos. These words may not come up in many conversations today.

Chronos is sequential and quantitative time. Et (or ‘eth) is an event or occasion. Kairos is “a propitious moment for decision or action.” Scripture shares that kairos is a time that requires a conversion. “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:14-15 NIV).

Another word used when referring to time is “generation,” people living at the same time. In the Bible, generation may also refer to a certain age group. “His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation” (Luke 1:50 NIV). In this verse, we understand God’s mercy will be for times to come, for those who believe.

“The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed” (Daniel 12:7 NIV).

Some historical scholars have cited “time, times and half a time” as meaning 1260 years. The wording is shared in Daniel 7:25 as well.

In the Old Testament, the people are experiencing a time of looking forward to the coming of the Messiah. In the New Testament, we learn about the birth, life, and death of Jesus Christ. His time on the earth was limited, yet Jesus was here to fulfill his Father’s promises.

Scripture refers to the third hour as when Jesus was crucified on the cross. “From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land” (Matthew 27:25 NIV).

Time is measured in different ways, yet the event’s impact can be more important than the actual time.

What Does the Bible Mean When it Says Something Is Coming Soon?

Scripture tells of the coming of the Messiah. God’s message is shared with many people. Some believe. Others are skeptical or refuse to believe. 

In the Old Testament, Isaiah wrote about the one to come who would be a messenger, crying out in the desert.

“I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way—“a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him” (Mark 1:1-3 NIV).

As John the Baptist began preaching and sharing the gospel’s good news, some people thought perhaps he was the one they were awaiting. He stated adamantly that he was not the Messiah. John was a prophet and preached about the judgment of God. Later, John the Baptist baptized Jesus.

When the Bible says something is coming soon, we must remember God’s time is not calculated the way our time converts. Therefore, we are called to believe, accept, and repent.

Does God Live Outside Time?

Our calculation of time is not the same as how God defines time. There can be comfort in knowing and remembering His timing is always best. When we pray and ask for answers in a quick time, comfort can be found in knowing God hears all prayers. God will answer in His time with a yes, no, or not now. 

Scripture tells us to be ready for the return of Jesus. While we wait, we can continue to deepen our relationship with God and share His message with others.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

Scholars have debated whether or not God uses the planets to record time. Historians have researched how God may view seconds, minutes, hours, days, years, and more. While we can question and research how God thinks about topics like time, only God knows the answer.

Each time we read Scripture, we may glean something new. God knows all answers about time and will reveal what we need to know when we need to know.

When we ask, “What does the Bible say about time?” referring to His Word can reveal the answers. As we look forward to His return, reading Scripture and staying in relationship with the Father can remind us that time is His. 

A special Scripture about time is found in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. These verses remind us that there is a time for everything.

A Prayer to Remember God Has His Own Timing

Heavenly Father, as we prepare each moment of our lives by using elements of time, help us to remember you know the time and place for everything and every situation. With the time you have given us, help us share your message with others and guide them to you. Thank you, Lord. Amen.


Melissa Henderson

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Thomas Bormans

Melissa HendersonAward-winning author Melissa Henderson writes inspirational messages sometimes laced with a bit of humor. With stories in books, magazines, devotionals, and more, Melissa hopes to encourage readers. 

Melissa is the author of Licky the Lizard and Grumpy the Gator. Her passions are helping in the community and church. Melissa is an Elder, Deacon, and Stephen Minister. 

Follow Melissa on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and at http://www.melissaghenderson.com

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