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What Does the Bible Say About...Life Span?

The bible says that no one will live longer than 120 years, but the world record for oldest person alive so far is 125. Is that verse meant to be taken literally or what?


The verse that mentions 120 years is Genesis 6:3. “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” This passage is part of the introduction to the story of Noah and the ark. If you read the context of the passage it becomes clear that he is not saying that he is putting a 120 year limit on people’s lifespans. What he is saying is that he will destroy all of mankind in 120 years. A few verses later it adds that Noah found favor in God’s eyes, and so not all were destroyed. That passage about 120 years is, therefore, simply saying how long there would be before the flood.

The only passage that gives a lifespan is in the Psalms, and it even says that one could live beyond 70 years in some circumstances. It doesn’t put an absolute top limit but an average.