When I was looking for into a concordance the verb πληρόω, I found the following verses:

Mark 1:14-15 (NASB)

14 Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

What is the meaning of the phrase "The time is fulfilled"?

9 Answers 9


The popular distinction is between χρόνος = chronological span and καιρός = opportune moment, and the latter is used in Mark 1:15. The word "Πεπλήρωται" quite often means "accomplished". So "it's time!" would be a fine contemporary meaning.

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The fulfillment of time that Jesus is referring to is the completion of the time of the Law, and the beginning of the time of the Gospel.

Paul wrote to the Galatians (4:4) that

when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law

According to what he wrote the Ephesians (1:10), this redemption of those under the law was existential and not merely judicial:

In the dispensation of the fullness of times, He might recapitulate all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, in Him

I know of no translation other than The Orthodox New Testament (and a translation of a Greek commentary on Ephesians 1:10) that choose to translate ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι as "recapitulate", but that is closer to the literal meaning - κεφαλαιώσασθαι is an extremely rare verb related to κεφαλή (head), with the prefix ἀνα- equivalent to our English "re-" in this context. The sense is to gather (back) all things under Christ as the head.

After telling that the time is fulfilled, the very next thing Jesus does is not only to call the hearer to repentance, but to believe the gospel. We think of repentance in terms of regret or sorrow, but this is not really what the Greek μετάνοια means. It too reflects an existential and not a juridical change: the root of μετάνοια is νοῦς, which is sometimes translated as "mind", but which would later be described as one's spiritual core.

So to "recapitulate", I would say the "fulfillment of time" here corresponds directly to what Paul explains in Galatians and Ephesians: an ending of the time of the Law, and a gathering of all under Christ as their head. The accompanying call to repentance should not, I think, be understood as a chastisement, but rather as an invitation.

One Greek commentator explained Mark 1:14-15 as follows:

It may appear that the Lord is preaching the same things as John, "Repent" and "The kingdom of God is at hand." But it is not so. For John said, "Repent", meaning "Turn away from sins." But Christ says, "Repent," meaning "flee from the letter of the law." This is why He also added the words, "Believe in the Gospel, the Good Tidings." For he who is about to believe through the Gospel, has in fact finished the law. The Lord says that the very time of the law has been fulfilled. Up until now, He says, the law governed, but form now on there is the kingdom and rule of God, that is, a life governed by the Gospel, and such a life is rightly compared to the kingdom of heaven.*

* Theophylact of Ohrid (11th c. Byzantine), The Explanation of the Holy Gospel According to Mark (tr. from Greek, Chrysostom Press, 1993), p.17

  • That commentary of Theophylact of 11th century looks like Luther or Lutheran commentary, very disappointing and blasphemous to say Christ meant repent from the law of God. Blasphemy.
    – Michael16
    Aug 14, 2021 at 14:08

The imagery is of something being filled until it is full and can't have anything else added to it, like a cup full with water. So while the jews were living with the concept that the kingdom will come sometime in the future, after MORE time will have passed - Jesus is saying, there have been enough time. Whatever time we will add to this trough waiting, will not bring the kingdom any more than it is now. The cup of time is full, so the kingdom is not in the future but it is now.

One interesting aspect of this is that we would assume there was a period when the time was not fulfilled - like all the time from Adam to Jesus. But that does not have to be true for this saying to meaningful. If the gospel is eternal then after ANY time has passed, the time will be fulfilled. So what he simply is saying, "the time is now, have always been now and will always be now".

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    – ThaddeusB
    Oct 20, 2015 at 23:46

"The time is fulfilled" means that the Messiah in the Person of Jesus has been properly announced and introduced as prophesied in Isaiah chapter 40, by John the Baptist, whose role ended up to his death in jail, having fulfilled the role as "the one crying out in the wilderness" to present the LORD who has come in the flesh. He had introduced The Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). Thus, the role of John having been clearly defined as the one who fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah chapter 40, also clearly defined who Jesus Christ is: He was the One who is the YHWH of the Old Testament and is Jesus of the New Testament who came to start the promised Kingdom. Hence, whoever recognizes Him as Lord and believes in Him as Saviour becomes a member of the Kingdom of God which is already at hand, having been started by the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ and eventually fulfilled by His sacrificial death at the cross. The gospel, the good news is Christ's death, burial and resurrection from the grave having been finally accomplished when He ascended and entered into the Holy of Holies in the Heavenly Tabernacle, His Blood having been accepted by the Father evidenced by the return of Jesus to earth after His blood offering.

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What is the meaning of “The time is fulfilled” in Mark 1:15

"Appointed time" for Jesus to begin his ministry.

The time is fulfilled -- repent and believe in the gospel. This refers to the time as prophesied in the scriptures (Malachi 3:1, Isaiah 40:3) for Jesus' earthly ministry to begin. Giving people the opportunity to repent and exercise faith in the good news (gospel).

Mark 1:14-15 (NASB)

14 Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

"Appointed time" of his death

Matthew 26:18 NIV

18 He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’”


Eschatology ἔσχατος The End Times

The phrase indisputably refers to the end times of destruction and deaths, which happened in the coming few decades after 70 AD. There is a sense of urgency given, the reason for repenting and believing. The rescue ship came and says: Hurry up, death is near, the completion of time has comes, the time for indulgence and sluggishness is over, repent and be saved. Christ wants to save as many sinners among the children in the end times, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wing. The same urgency of the apocalypse as it was in the days of Noah and Lot, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. The phrase of end time, the day of the Lord/Son of Man, the Kingdom of God/Messiah refers to the end times of Israel. Another imperative for repenting and believing is given by Peter in Acts 3:19-21 that the times of refreshing and the times of restoration of all things may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send Christ Jesus, which refers to the final coming of the Lord for the restoration of Israel and the judgment.

Most commentators say it merely refers to the fullness of times of the covenant dispensation. But there is absolutely no imperative and urgency for his audience on the ending of the covenant, as it is with their looming death under the Romans.

[Mark 13:32-37 ESV] 32“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33​Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34​It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35​Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

[Rom 13:11-12 ESV] 11Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

[Heb 1:1-2 ESV] Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

[1 Peter 1:20] "He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times ἐσχάτου τῶν χρόνων for the sake of you"
Ellicott comments: In these last times—i.e., not merely “in modern times,” “lately,” but “at the end of the times,” showing St. Peter’s belief that the end of the world was not far distant. (Comp. once more Dan. 12:4; Dan. 12:9; Dan. 12:13.) Almost exactly the same phrase is used in Heb. 1:2; 2Pe. 3:3.

[Gal 4:4] But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,
[Eph 1:10] as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

[Dan 2:44-45 ESV] 44And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, 45just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”


What is the meaning of “The time is fulfilled” in Mark 1:15?

The web article series "Bible Verses Explained" has the following for Mark 1:15:

Mark 1:15​—“The Kingdom of God Is at Hand”

“The appointed time has been fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God has drawn near. Repent, and have faith in the good news.”—Mark 1:15, New World Translation.

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”—Mark 1:15, English Standard Version.

Meaning of Mark 1:15

Jesus Christ said that the Kingdom of God was “at hand,” or had “drawn near,” because he, as the future King of that Kingdom, was present on the scene.

Jesus did not mean that the Kingdom had already begun ruling. In fact, he later indicated to his disciples that the Kingdom was still in the future. (Acts 1:6, 7) However, he had arrived right on schedule, in the very year that the Bible had foretold he would appear as the future King. For this reason, Jesus could say: “The appointed time has been fulfilled”​—the time for him to begin his public ministry of preaching the gospel, or good news, regarding the Kingdom.—Luke 4:16-21, 43.

For people to benefit from the good news about the Kingdom, they needed to repent, that is, to feel regret over past sins and to live by God’s standards. Those who repented showed that they had faith in the good news about that future Kingdom.

Context of Mark 1:15

Jesus said these words at the start of his ministry in Galilee. “From that time on,” states the parallel account at Matthew 4:17, Jesus preached about the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom was the theme of Jesus’ ministry. In fact, the Kingdom is mentioned over 100 times in the four Gospels, most often in statements that Jesus made. In the Bible record, Jesus spoke more about the Kingdom of God than he did about any other subject.


Mark 1:14-15 (ASV) Now after John was delivered up, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe in the gospel.

I believe this is to be understood as follows.

Acts 17:30 [note mine] The times of ignorance [of the world pertaining to the true God] therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent.


I saw that Mark 1:14-15 matches Luke 4:14-21.

Luke 4:18-19 (being after Isaiah 61:1-2) is about the jubilee year mentioned in Leviticus 25:8-13.

Leviticus 25:8, And you shall count for yourself seven sabbatical years, seven years seven times.

v. 10, And you shall sanctify the fiftieth year

to count = "safar"

you count up until it is full 49 years.

So that must be the meaning of "the time has been fulfilled"

Also of Luke 4:21, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

Jubilee year = "shanat hayuval" = year of the ram's horn blown at Yom Kippur , the tenth day of the 50th year, Paul's "last trumpet" (1 Corinthians 15:52)

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