Sisters in Scripture
Chronos/Kairos    9/9/2015
 
 
"TIME”—We have only one word in English to describe what we mean by time.  But in Greek there are two words for time, chronos and Kairos.  Greek, of course, is the language of the New Testament and uses both terms in various places—81 times Kairos is used; 54 times it is chronos.  Yet, we will never read anything other than "time” in our Bible as that is the only English word available for translation.  What are we missing?
 
For one, we are missing an important distinction about the nature of time itself.  In the Western world we are almost exclusively inheritors of the chronos version of time.  Chronos, from where we get chronology, means the time of minutes and seconds, days and months and years, the time of watches, calendars and clocks, time on the move, passing from present to future and so becoming past. Chronos time is quantitative; it can be measured.  Kairos time is less literal and has to do with significance.  It is a moment, a significant occasion, an immeasurable quality that signifies a time lapse, a moment of indeterminate time in which everything happens.  Kairos time is qualitative; it cannot be measured but only experienced.
 
Thus, Acts 27:9, uses the noun chronos, "Since much time had been lost and sailing was now dangerous...” whereas Mk 1:15 uses the noun Kairos, "Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near.”
 
Within the pages of the New Testament, we mark the footsteps of an alternate way of viewing time.  Did the ancients see something we have somehow missed in our modern, technological age?
 
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