"Aionio's" - A Lexical Survey
by Tom Logan

Aion, Aionios and the lexicons:

166. aionios; from 165; agelong, eternal:— eternal(66), eternity(1), forever(1).
Thomas, Robert L., Th.D., General Editor, New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries,

166  aionios-

1) without beginning and end, what has always been and always will be
2) without beginning
3) without end, never to cease, everlasting

 2. aionios [166] "describes duration, either undefined but not endless, as in <Rom. 16:25; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2>; or undefined because endless as in <Rom. 16:26>, and the other sixty-six places in the NT.
 "The predominant meaning of aionios, that in which it is used everywhere in the NT, save the places noted above, may be seen in <2 Cor. 4:18>, where it is set in contrast with proskairos, lit., `for a season,' and in <Philem. 15>, where only in the NT it is used without a noun. Moreover it is used of persons and things which are in their nature endless, as, e. g., of God, <Rom. 16:26>; of His power, <1 Tim. 6:16>, and of His glory, <1 Pet. 5:10>; of the Holy Spirit, <Heb. 9:14>; of the redemption effected by Christ, <Heb. 9:12>, and of the consequent salvation of men, <5:9>, as well as of His future rule, <2 Pet. 1:11>, which is elsewhere declared to be without end, <Luke 1:33>; of the life received by those who believe in Christ, <John 3:16>, concerning whom He said, `they shall never perish,' <10:28>, and of the resurrection body, <2 Cor. 5:1>, elsewhere said to be `immortal,' <1 Cor. 15:53>, in which that life will be finally realized, <Matt. 25:46; Titus 1:2>.
 "Aionios is also used of the sin that `hath never forgiveness,' <Mark 3:29>, and of the judgment of God, from which there is no appeal, <Heb. 6:2>, and of the fire, which is one of its instruments, <Matt. 18:8; 25:41; Jude 7>, and which is elsewhere said to be `unquenchable,' <Mark 9:43>.
 "The use of aionios here shows that the punishment referred to in <2 Thes. 1:9>, is not temporary, but final, and, accordingly, the phraseology shows that its purpose is not remedial but retributive."
 From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp 232, 233.  (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
(Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

67.96  aji>vdio", on; aijwvnio", on: pertaining to an unlimited duration of time - ‘eternal.’

aji>vdio"ò h{ te aji>vdio" aujtou` duvnami" kai; qeiovth" ‘his eternal power and divine nature’ Ro 1.20.

aijwvnio"ò blhqh`nai eij" to; pu`r to; aijwvnion ‘be thrown into the eternal fire’ Mt 18.8; tou` aijwnivou qeou` ‘of the eternal God’ Ro 16.26.
The most frequent use of aijwvnio" in the NT is with zwhv ‘life,’ for example, i{na pa`" oJ pisteuvwn ejn aujtw/` e[ch/ zwh;n aijwvnion ‘so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life’ Jn 3.15. In combination with zwhv there is evidently not only a temporal element, but also a qualitative distinction. In such contexts, aijwvnio" evidently carries certain implications associated with aijwvnio" in relationship to divine and supernatural attributes. If one translates ‘eternal life’ as simply ‘never dying,’ there may be serious misunderstandings, since persons may assume that ‘never dying’ refers only to physical existence rather than to ‘spiritual death.’ Accordingly, some translators have rendered ‘eternal life’ as ‘unending real life,’ so as to introduce a qualitative distinction.
Louw, Johannes P. and Nida, Eugene A., Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains, (New York: United Bible Societies) 1988, 1989.

aionios. An adjective meaning “eternal,” and found in the LXX in Pss. 24; 77:5; Gen. 21:33, aionios in the NT is used 1. of God (Rom. 16:26), 2. of divine possessions and gifts (2 Cor. 4:18; Heb. 9:14; 1 Pet. 5:10; 1 Tim. 6:16; 2 Th. 2:16, and 3. of the eternal kingdom (2 Pet. 1:11), inheritance (Heb. 9:15), body (2 Cor. 5:1), and even judgment (Heb. 6:2, though cf. Mt. 18:8; 2 Th. 1:9, where the sense is perhaps “unceasing”). For a more temporal use, see Rom. 16:25; Phlm. 15.
Kittel, Gerhard, and Friedrich, Gerhard, Editors, The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) 1985.

aionios ", ov and a, ov, lasting for an age (aion 3), Plat.: ever-lasting, eternal, Id.
Liddell, H. G., and Scott, Abridged Greek-English Lexicon, (Oxford: Oxford University Press) 1992.

166 aionios { ahee-o’-nee-os}

from 165; TDNT - 1:208,31; adj

AV - eternal 42, everlasting 25, the world began + 5550 2, since the world began + 5550 1, for ever 1; 71

GK - 173 { aionios }

1) without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be
2) without beginning
3) without end, never to cease, everlasting
Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.

  CL The Gk. word aion, which is probably derived from aei, always, is distinguished from its Indo-European parallels (Lat. aevum and Eng. aye are cognate) in that it is thought of not so much from the point of view of an abstract period of time as from the point of view of the time in which one has lived. In Hom. aion is often parallel with psyche, soul, life (e.g. Il. 16, 453); in Hesiod (Frag. 161, 1) it denotes a life-span, and in Aeschylus (Sept. 742) a generation. Thence it can mean the time which one has already lived or will live, i.e. it can relate to past as to future. It thus appeared appropriate to later philosophers to use the word both for the dim and distant past, the beginning of the world, and for the far future, eternity (e.g. Plato, Tim. 37d).

[Plato (Timoeus, ed. Steph. 3, 37, or ed. Baiter, Orell. et Winck. 712) says, speaking of the universe: "When the father who begot it* perceived that the image made by him of the eternal (aidion) gods moved and lived, he was delighted with his work; and, led by this delight, thought to make his work much more like that first exemplar." Inasmuch therefore as it (the intelligible universe) is an eternal (aidion) animal (living being), so he set about to make this (the sensible) universe such with all his power. The nature therefore of the animal (living being) was eternal (aionios, before aidios), and this indeed it was impossible to adapt to what was produced (to genneto, to what had a beginning); he thinks to make a moveable image of eternity (aionos), and in adoring the heavens he makes of the eternity permanent in unity a certain eternal image moving in number, that which in fact we call time; that is, days and nights, and months and years, which did not subsist before the heaven began to be, then with its being established he operates their birth" (beginning to be, genesin auton). And after unfolding this, he says (p. 38): "But these forms of time imitating eternity (aiona), and rolling round according to number, have had a beginning (gegonen).... Time therefore began with heaven. that they having begun with it may be dissolved with it, if there be indeed any dissolution of them, and according to the pattern of eternal (diaionias, in some MSS. aionion or -as) nature that it might be as like as possible to it. For that pattern exists for all eternity (panta aiona estin on), but on the other hand, that which is perpetual (dia telous) throughout all time has had a beginning, and is, and will be." And then he goes on to speak of stars and planets, etc., as connected with what was created in time. It is impossible to conceive any more positive statement that aion is distinct, and to be contrasted with what has a beginning and belongs to the flux of time. Aion is what is properly eternal, in contrast with a divine imitation of it in ages of time, the result of the creative action of God which imitated the uncreate as nearly as He could in created ages. It is a careful opposition between eternity and ages; and aion and also aionios mean the former in contrast with ages. ]

  In Plato the term is developed so as to represent a timeless, immeasurable and transcendent super-time, an idea of time in itself. Plutarch and the earlier Stoics appropriate this understanding, and from it the Mysteries of Aion, the god of eternity, could be celebrated in Alexandria, and gnosticism could undertake its own speculations on time.

    (a) A long time, duration of time, where both a specifically limited period of time as well as an unlimited period can be meant; chiefly linked with a preposition. The meaning "eternity" is only appropriate with certain qualifications, in that the OT idea of time, which predominantly conditions the NT, does not regard eternity as the opposite of temporality.

  (b) An age, epoch, era (of the world), especially in Matt. with reference to the end of the world (Matt. 13:39; 28:20). This denotes the course of world-events, world history. It is also used in the plural with this meaning (e.g. Heb. 9:26; 1 Cor. 10:11). The underlying idea is that the world runs its course in a series of successive ages.

  (c) Occasionally there occurs the meaning of world in the spatial sense, probably going back to the influence of Jewish apocalyptic (e.g. Mk. 4:19; 1 Cor. 2:6; especially (plur.) Heb. 1:2; 11:3).  NIDNTT Colin Brown

Aristotle peri ouranou, 1, 9 (ed. Bekker, 1, 279): "Time," he says, "is the number of movement, but there is no movement without a physical body. But outside heaven it has been shewn that there is not, nor possibly can come into existence, any body. It is evident then that there is neither place, nor void, nor time outside. Wherefore neither in place are things there formed by nature; nor does time cause them to grow old: neither is there any change of anything of those things which are arranged beyond the outermost orbit; but unchangeable, and subject to no influence, having the best and most independent life, they continue for all eternity (aiona). For this expression (name) has been divinely uttered by the ancients; for the completeness which embraces the time of the life of each, outside which there is nothing, according to nature, is called the aion of each. According to the same word (logon) the completeness of the whole heaven, and the completeness which embraces all time and infinitude is aion, having received this name from existing for ever (apo tou aei einai), immortal (athanatos, undying), and divine." In 10 he goes on to shew that that beginning to be (genesthai) involves the not existing always, which I refer to as shewing what he means by aion. He is proving the unchangeable eternity of the visible universe. That is no business of mine; but it shews what he means by eternity (aion). It cannot be aidion and genesthai at the same time, when, as in Plato, aidios is used as equivalent to aionios. Aristotle has not the abstract thoughts of Plato as to ideas, and the paradeigma of what is visible, the latter being a produced image of the eternal paradeigma. He rests more in what is known by the senses; and makes this the eternal thing in itself. But the force of aion for both is a settled point; and Aristotle's explanation of aion as used for finite things, I have long held to be the true one; that is, the completeness of a thing's existence, so that according to its natural existence there is nothing outside or beyond it. It periechei the whole being of the thing. 126

Philo, the sentence is in De Mundo, 7, en aioni de oute pareleluthen ouden, oute mellei, alla monon iphesteken. Such a definition needs no explanation: in eternity nothing is passed, nothing is about to be, but only subsists. This has the importance of being of the date and Hellenistic Greek of the New Testament, as the others give the regular, and at the same time philosophical force of the word, aion, aionios. Eternity, unchangeable, with no 'was' nor 'will be,' is its proper force, that it can be applied to the whole existence of a thing, so that nothing of its nature was before true or after is true, to telos to periechon. But its meaning is eternity, and eternal. To say that they do not mean it in Greek, as Jukes and Farrar and S. Cox, and those they quote, is a denial of the statements of the very best authorities we can have on the subject. If Plato and Aristotle and Philo knew Greek, what these others say is false. That this is the proper sense of aionios in Scripture, is as certain as it is evident. In 2 Corinthians 4: 18, we have ta gar blepomena proskaira, ta de me blepomena aionia. That is, things that are for a time are put in express contrast with aionia, which are not for a time, be it age or ages, but eternal. Nothing can be more decisive of its positive and specific meaning.

0166 aionios

without beginning  or end,  eternal, everlasting
LEH lxx lexicon

UBS GNT Dict. # 169 (Str#166)
aionios eternal (of quality rather than of time); unending, everlasting, for all time

aijwvnio" (iva Pla., Tim. 38b; Jer 39:40; Ezk 37:26; 2 Th 2:16; Hb 9:12; as v.l. Ac 13:48; 2 Pt 1:11; Bl-D. §59, 2; Mlt.-H. 157), on eternal (since Hyperid. 6, 27; Pla.; inscr., pap., LXX; Ps.-Phoc. 112; Test. 12 Patr.; standing epithet for princely, esp. imperial power: Dit., Or. Index VIII; BGU 176; 303; 309; Sb 7517, 5 [211/2 ad] kuvrio" aij.; al. in pap.; Jos., Ant. 7, 352).
1. without beginning crovnoi" aij. long ages ago Ro 16:25; pro; crovnwn aij. before time began 2 Ti 1:9; Tit 1:2 (on crovno" aij. cf. Dit., Or. 248, 54; 383, 10).
2. without beginning or end; of God (Ps.-Pla., Tim. Locr. 96c qeo;n t. aijwvnion; Inscr. in the Brit. Mus. 894 aij. k. ajqavnato"; Gen 21:33; Is 26:4; 40:28; Bar 4:8 al.; Philo, Plant. 8; 74; Sib. Or., fgm. 3, 17 and 4; PGM 1, 309; 13, 280) Ro 16:26; of the Holy Spirit in Christ Hb 9:14. qrovno" aij. 1 Cl 65:2 (cf. 1 Macc 2:57).
3. without end (Diod. S. 1, 1, 5; 5, 73, 1; 15, 66, 1 dovxa aij. everlasting fame; in Diod. S. 1, 93, 1 the Egyptian dead are said to have passed to their aij. oi[khsi"; Arrian, Peripl. 1, 4 ej" mnhvmhn aij.; Jos., Bell. 4, 461 aij. cavri"=a gracious gift for all future time; Dit., Or. 383, 10 [I bc] eij" crovnon aij.; ECEOwen, oi\ko" aij.: JTS 38, ’37, 248-50) of the next life skhnai; aij. Lk 16:9 (cf. En. 39, 5). oijkiva, contrasted w. the oijkiva ejpivgeio", of the glorified body 2 Cor 5:1. diaqhvkh (Gen 9:16; 17:7; Lev 24:8; 2 Km 23:5 al.) Hb 13:20. eujaggevlion Rv 14:6; kravto" in a doxolog. formula (=eij" tou;" aijw`na") 1 Ti 6:16. paravklhsi" 2 Th 2:16. luvtrwsi" Hb 9:12. klhronomiva (Esth 4:17m) vs. 15; aij. ajpevcein tinav (opp. pro;" w{ran) keep someone forever Phlm 15 (cf. Job 40:28). Very often of God’s judgment (Diod. S. 4, 63, 4 dia; th;n ajsevbeian ejn a{/dou diatelei`n timwriva" aijwnivou tugcavnonta; similarly 4, 69, 5; Jer 23:40; Da 12:2; Ps 76:6; 4 Macc 9:9; 13:15) kovlasi" aij. (Test. Reub. 5:5) Mt 25:46; 2 Cl 6:7; krivma aij. Hb 6:2; qavnato" B 20:1. o[leqron (4 Macc 10:15) 2 Th 1:9. pu`r (4 Macc 12:12.—Sib. Or. 8, 401 fw`" aij.) Mt 18:8; 25:41; Jd 7; Dg 10:7 (IQS 2, 8). aJnavrthma Mk 3:29 (v.l. krivsew" and aJmartiva"). On the other hand of eternal life (Maximus Tyr. 6, 1d qeou` zwh; aij.; Diod. S. 8, 15, 3 life meta; to;n qavnaton lasts eij" a{panta aijw`na; Da 12:2; 4 Macc 15:3; PsSol 3, 12; Philo, Fuga 78; Jos., Bell. 1, 650; Sib. Or. 2, 336) in the Kingdom of God: zwh; aij. Mt 19:16, 29; 25:46; Mk 10:17, 30; Lk 10:25; 18:18, 30; Ac 13:46, 48; Ro 2:7; 5:21 al.; J 3:15f, 36; 4:14, 36 al.; 1J 1:2; 2:25 al.—D 10:3; 2 Cl 5:5; 8:4, 6; IEph 18:1; Hv 2, 3, 2; 3, 8, 4 al. Also basileiva aij. 2 Pt 1:11 (cf. Da 4:3; 7:27; Philo, Somn. 2, 285; Dit., Or. 569, 24 uJpe;r th`" aijwnivou kai; ajfqavrtou basileiva" uJmw`n; Dssm. B 279f, BS 363). Of the glory in the next life dovxa aij. 2 Ti 2:10 (cf. Wsd 10:14; Jos., Ant. 15, 376.—Sib. Or. 8, 410). aijwvnion bavro" dovxh" 2 Cor 4:17; swthriva aij. (Is 45:17; Ps.-Clem., Hom. 1, 19) Hb 5:9; short ending of Mk. Of heavenly glory in contrast to the transitory world of the senses ta; mh; blepovmena aijwvnia 2 Cor 4:18.—carav IPhld inscr.; doxavzesqai aijwnivw/ e[rgw/ be glorified by an everlasting deed IPol 8:1. DHill, Gk. Words and Hebr. Mngs. ’67, 186-201. M-M.
Bauer, Walter, Gingrich, F. Wilbur, and Danker, Frederick W., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press) 1979.