How Long Is A Generation In The Bible
When it comes to the Bible, there are many questions that arise. One of which is how long is a generation in the Bible? What does this mean, exactly? Let’s explore what a Biblical generation means, when it’s used, and why it’s important for us today.
How long is a generation in the Bible?
The word “generation” is used in the Bible to refer to a period of time. It can be long, it can be short—it depends on who you are and what you’re doing.
The Old Testament uses the word “generation” as a time frame when describing the duration of a specific event or series of events. There are many examples of this usage throughout scripture, but here are some highlights:
- “And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain [Mount Sinai], saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob… I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of [their enemies], that they may serve me… Gather yourselves together… And it shall come to pass when all these things are come upon thee… Then shalt thou say unto thy son, Why hast thou done thus? And he shall say, Because I was afraid… Then shalt thou say [to him], Thy blood be upon thy head; for thine own words have justified thee … And he said unto Abram… in blessing I will bless thee.” (Exodus 19:1-13)
Psalms, Chapter 90, Verse 10
“The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass away and we fly away.”
This verse describes the brevity of life in general, but it also speaks specifically to the fleeting nature of a person’s own life. The Bible tells us that our lives are short compared to God’s timelessness; there’s no way we could ever fully understand how long God has been around or will be around in comparison to our brief existence on this earth. We can’t even fathom what eternity is like! Our lives compare unfavorably with God’s lasting power because they are so brief in comparison (#Kindle).
Deuteronomy 34:7 is a good example of this. The verse reads, “So Moses [died], at a hundred and twenty years old. His eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.”
The verse indicates that the span between Moses’ birth and death was 120 years, but it says nothing about how long he lived after the Exodus or when he died.
In fact, according to the Bible Dictionary (published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), while this verse may be interpreted as saying that Moses lived 120 years after leaving Egypt (during which time he wrote Deuteronomy), other interpretations are possible:
1 Thessalonians 2:15
Thessalonians 2:15 is a verse that refers to the time frame within which Jesus Christ will return. The Greek word translated as “generation” in this verse, genea, literally means “race” or “stock.” It has been used in several ways through history, but has also been associated with a period of time that lasts roughly 40 years.
The first instance of it being used in this way was by King David when he said: “My days are like a shadow that lengthens; And I wither away like grass.” (Psalm 39:5). In this proverb he tells us he’s getting old and doesn’t have long left on earth – so it would seem that one generation lasts around 40 years!
A second example comes from the book of Daniel where an angel tells him: “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city” (Daniel 9:24). In this context, “weeks” refers to periods of 7 years (or 483 days), so if you do the math here you’ll find that one generation would last about 42-43 years – very close to what we see elsewhere!
A generation is a time period. It can be defined as a period of years between the birth of parents and their children. A generation in the Bible is forty years, according to Exodus 1:6:
“So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, into a land flowing with milk and honey–the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.”
A Biblical generation is roughly forty years.
In the book of Psalms, chapter 90, verse 10 it says “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years’ so is it with the Most High. For He causes to die and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up.”
In Deuteronomy 34:7 it states “Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died; his eye was not dim nor his natural vigour abated.”
In 1 Thessalonians 2:15 Paul referred to Paul’s generation as those who had heard Jesus directly. He said that they would not pass away until all things had been fulfilled.
Exodus 1:6 records how many children were born during Israel’s 400 year journey from Egypt until they entered Canaan: “Now Joseph died at the age of 110 years old… So Joseph died at the age of 110 years old. And all his brothers also grew old and died.”
The Bible is written in such a way that it can be read and understood by anyone. Whether you’re new to studying the Scriptures or have spent years studying them, there are always new things to discover. The more we learn about God’s Word, the more it brings us closer to Him. With this information, we hope that you’ll be able to learn more about how long is a generation in the Bible!