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Chronos is interpreted as "world" in the KJV in a few places, such as Titus 1:2 KJV — In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Since it generally means "time", does this usage mean that time began when the world began (and will end when the world ends, per Rev 10:6)?

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    – Dottard
    Commented May 19 at 22:36

3 Answers 3

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The Greek word for 'world' - kosmos - is not in the text. However, in Young's concordance (of the K.J.V.), under 'World' is included the Greek for age, indefinite time, dispensation - aion. Also the plural, Ages, dispensations - aionon.

Listed is, for example Titus 2:12: "should live soberly... in this present world" which could equally read, "...in this present age." But Young nowhere lists Titus 1:2 under 'World', or 'age' or 'dispensation' words. Interesting.

His literal translation of Titus 1:2 is: "upon hope of life age-during, which God, who doth not lie, did promise before times of ages."

The literal Greek of Stephens (1550) gives Titus 1:2 as "in [the] hope of life eternal which promised the who cannot lie God before the ages of time."

It would seem that Bible translators of old kept chronos as 'time'. Yet translators of old also knew that this world exists in time, and likely thought in terms of the pre-deluvian age, or world, the pre-Christian age, or world, and the pre-end-of-the-world age. Or, as another word used in some Christian circles has it - dispensations.

To answer your question, then, Revelation 10:6 KJV has chronos translated as "time" - not "world". It is modern translations that translate it as "delay", for which there is no warrant in the text. I would agree, however, that where the KJV says "world" in Titus 1:2, they have no warrant for that! So, "No" is my answer to the main question. As for your subsidiary question, the Bible does not say when time began. It does say there will come a point when time (as we know it!) shall end - Revelation 10:6.

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  • Some very good points. Yet it seems as tho time begins and ends when the world began and ends: 1. The measurement of time is given in Genesis 1:5 as a day, described as a dark period followed by a light period. 2. So the beginning of the first day is necessarily the beginning of time. 3. The last day (John 6:39,40,44,54,12:48) is the end of time. These days closely correspond to the beginning and end of the this present world. I accept your argument that "Chronos" is not the same as world, but it appears to be a property, similar to gravity, which was created when the world was created.
    – BrianG
    Commented May 24 at 21:53
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It is a matter of how you express "before time began" or 'before time of the ages."

πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων (NA28); the same in TR

αἰώνιος ... ① pert. to a long period of time, long ago χρόνοις αἰ. long ages ago Ro 16:25; πρὸ χρόνων αἰ. before time began 2 Ti 1:9; Tit 1:2 (in these two last pass. the prep. bears the semantic content of priority; on χρόνος αἰ. cp. OGI 248, 54; 383, 10). ... ③ pert. to a period of unending duration, without end ... in the Reign of God: ζωὴ αἰ. (Orig., C. Cels. 2, 77, 3) Mt 19:16, 29; 25:46; Mk 10:17, 30; Lk 10:25; 18:18, 30; J 3:15f, 36; 4:14, 36; 5:24, 39; 6:27, 40, 47, 54, 68; 10:28; 12:25, 50; 17:2f; Ac 13:46, 48; Ro 2:7; 5:21; 6:22f; Gal 6:8; 1 Ti 1:16; 6:12; Tit 1:2; 3:7; 1J 1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11, 13, 20; Jd 21; D 10:3; 2 Cl 5:5; 8:4, 6; IEph 18:1;... -- Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). In A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 33). University of Chicago Press.

This phrase is also in 2 Timothy 1:9.

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The KJV translation is a complete mystery and highly interpretive. The TR Greek text of the Titus 1:2 is simply:

ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αἰωνίου, ἣν ἐπηγγείλατο ὁ ἀψευδὴς Θεὸς πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων = on the hope of life eternal, which the non-lying God promised before time eternal. (Dottard's literal translation)

The KJV translation of the last three words is "before the world began". "World" and "began" do not appear anywhere in the text. Most modern versions translate this correctly and fairly literally:

  • BLB: in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before time eternal
  • NASB: in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,

The same phrase, πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων (before time eternal) is also used in:

  • 2 Tim 1:9 - the One having saved us and having called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, having been given us in Christ Jesus before time eternal

There is a similar phrase in:

  • Jude 25 - to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all ages and now and to all the ages
  • 1 Cor 2:7 - But we speak in a mystery, the wisdom of God having been hidden, which God foreordained before the ages for our glory,

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