Luke 16:8 (ASV):

  1. {cf6 And his lord commended the unrighteous steward because he had done wisely: for the sons of this world are for their own generation wiser than the sons of the light.}

Luke 16:8 (DRB):

And the lord commended the unjust steward, forasmuch as he had done wisely: for the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.

Luke 16:8 (LV):

  1. et laudavit dominus vilicum iniquitatis quia prudenter fecisset quia filii huius saeculi prudentiores filiis lucis in generatione sua sunt

The phrase: "sons of this world" has the following variations:

  • sons, children and people.
  • world and age.

What is the most accurate translation?

For example:

  • Sons of this world.
  • Sons of this age.
  • children of this world.
  • children of this age.
  • people of this world.
  • people of this age.

Thus, what is the most accurate translation according to the original Greek manuscripts?

  • 1
    There won't be a single translation. 'World' is usually from the Greek word kosmos and 'age' is from the Greek word aion. One draws attention to the place of habitation (among humanity in civilisation) and the other draws attention to the mortal and timely aspect of the humanity.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 5, 2020 at 8:07
  • @NigelJ what about the original Greek manuscripts, they stated "kosmos" or "aion"?
    – salah
    Apr 5, 2020 at 8:12
  • Well you are asking someone to undertake a study of all the texts involved. Quite a lot of work :) I have just come off a 12 hour night shift (Security). And I really don't feel like doing it right now :)
    – Nigel J
    Apr 5, 2020 at 8:14
  • 1
    @NigelJ you can answer later.
    – salah
    Apr 5, 2020 at 8:19
  • My profile has my website. My website has my email address. Now I am off to bed. God be with you, @salah.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 5, 2020 at 8:21

1 Answer 1


The operative word in Luke 16:8 which is translated either "world" or "age" is αἰῶνος (aiōnos) from the root αἰών (aión). The primary meaning of this word is "age" or "aeon", a period of time. The NAS concordance gives the following meaning:

Word Origin: from a prim. root appar. mean. continued duration Definition: a space of time, an age

BDAG gives four basic meanings for this word, the second of which is the one allocated to Luke 16:8, namely, "a segment of time as a particular unit of history, age", eg, 1 Cor 3:18, Matt 12:32, Mark 4:19, Luke 16:8, etc.

The phase (literally) "sons of this age", is common Hebrew idiom for "people of the present time" or equivalent. See also Luke 20:34.

In a very few places it is also capable (according to BDAG) of meaning, "the world as a special concept, the world", eg, Heb 1:2.

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