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What Does the Bible Say About..Greek Precision?

The Greek word aionas in the Strong’s has four different meanings. Is Greek a precise language or can all these meanings be true? Could you explain this to me?


Part of the problem is that translation is not a precise art. In the case of “aionas” (eons) sometimes the translators of the King James Version (on which Strong’s is based) used the phrase “world to come” when it would have been more accurate to translate it “age to come.” Sometimes people will translate one word using several words with slightly different shades of meaning, just to avoid using the same word over and over. Sometimes, also, translators may use a word that is not a standard translation because it supports their own doctrine rather than what was intended in the Bible. (The best-known example of that is Romans 11:29, where some people put the word “irrevocable” for “unrepented of,” even though it is never used that way anywhere else.)

No language is absolutely precise. That would involve more words than most people could learn or care to invent. In many ways Greek is more precise than English (for example, having four words for different shades of what we simply call love). In some cases it may even be less precise. The precision of a language really depends on how precise they want to be in a certain area. In other areas they may be less precise. An example would be a biologist who may be very precise when speaking of his specialty, but vague in normal conversation.

(See also my article To Be (Im)Precise)