AIWN in 1 Tim. 1.17

Polycarp66 at Polycarp66 at
Sat May 4 10:03:43 EDT 2002

While checking my memory regarding usage of the word AIWN in both the LXX and 
NT due to a comment that implied that AIWN most properly referred to "age" 
(thereby rejecting the meaning "eternal", "eternity", "world") I ran across 
this comment in Louw & Nida:

67.143 AIWN, WNOS m:  a unit of time as a particular stage or period of 
history -- 'age, era.'  . . .

In 1 Tm 1.17 (TWi DE BASILEI TWN AIWNWN literally 'to the king of the ages') 
the genitive phrase TWN AIWNWN is better understood as an abstract of 
unlimited extent of time, and accordingly, one may translate more accurately 
as 'the eternal king.'  Compare . . .

Generally I would agree with this statement.  There is, however, one problem 
with regard to this particular usage.  The phrase reminds me of a section of 
the Jewish blessing of the bread

B.fRW.K )fT.fH ): YY eLoH"YNW. MeLeK Ha(oLaM Mo+iY) LeXeM MiN Hf)fRe+
Blessed are you YY our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from 
the earth.

This brings up the question of the use of quotations from the OT / Jewish 
liturgy and how they should be understood.  AIWN is frequently used in the 
LXX for (oLaM in the sense of "eternal."  Pehaps it could as well be so 
understood in this blessing and I may be a victim of the Jewish prayer book 
through which I was introduced to this.  On the other hand, perhaps it should 
be understood as "King of the Universe."  It is certain, however, that AIWN 
does not exclusively refer to "age."



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