Two Kinds of Time

Our worship service yesterday was such a blessing! ROOTED youth led every aspect of it, and sure did a wonderful job helping us grow closer to God as we reflected on God’s timing. This lead me think about a few things. When we talk about God’s timing, what exactly do we mean? Are we hoping God accommodates our schedule? Are we talking about a specific event? Does God even abide by our chronological order of time (i.e. “deadlines” and “planning” for the future)?

In the bible there are many words for time. As with language translation, there are always nuances and complicated meanings to discern.

A common Greek word for time is chronos. This is where we obviously get English words like chronology, meaning a sequence of events. Chronos time is often used to signify ordinary happenings. Days pass, people grow older, and chronos marches on. Time in this sense is something to be measured. It “adds up” and can be counted. Chronos isn’t a “bad” sort of time. Hopefully we can honor God with our daily living! But that’s another blog post for another day.

On the other hand, another word with a lot of theological significance is the Greek word kairos. When the bible talks about kairos, this usually means God’s special time. It is different than chronos because it is out of the ordinary. It does not adhere to human planning or scheduling. Kairos means God directly touches our world and stirs up something new. Sometimes in your bible, you might read kairos as the right time or appointed season. Here are a few examples:

  • In Mark 1 at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, it notes that the time is fulfilled. God is about to do something wonderful with the person and work of Jesus Christ! The gospels begin at just the right time.
  • Romans 13:11 reads: “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” Paul here is encouraging the Romans to wake up to God’s special time. Kairos requires us to respond to God!
  • 2 Corinthians 6:2 speaks of “the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” God’s timing presents an opportunity to accept God’s grace. It is more than human events. It is God intervening in creation.

So when you reflect about time in your own life, which sort of time are you thinking about?

Are you just concerned with events happening in sequential order? Are you just focused on tomorrow and making sure everything goes according to your plan? Do you have a chronos view of time?

Or do you seek God’s special time? Do you understand that your plan is not necessarily God’s plan? Do you seek those opportunities for God to touch your life? Do you realize that there are countless kairos moments everyday?

When we read the bible we notice two different words for time. It is my prayer that Concord would recognize God’s “right time” when the opportunity presents itself. God is more than a scheduled item on your personal calendar. Hopefully God shapes your life.

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