How Long Is A Generation In The Bible? Biblical Meanings & References

How Long Is A Generation In The Bible
How Long Is A Generation In The Bible

How long is a Generation in the Bible? A generation in the Bible is typically thirty years since one generation will serve as the parents of the next. Nevertheless, a “generation” can also refer to a more extended age range or a group of people in some biblical contexts.

At least three different words that are interpreted as “generation” in English were used in the Bible’s original text. A standard, physical generation can be described by the Hebrew word dor.

However, it can also be interpreted symbolically to identify specific types or characters of people. Toledot is another Hebrew word that is now used to refer to a generation in English. This refers to how an age evolved or came into being, not to the characteristics of a cohort or an age.

Genesis 2:4 refers to the period that began with the earth’s creation and developed naturally afterward as “generations of the heavens and the earth.”

Genesis 5:1 refers to the civilization or population that evolved from Adam and Eve as the “generations of Adam.”

The “generation” after that is that of Noah, which includes the flood and his progeny’s civilizations.

The Meaning Of Generation In Context With The Bible

The word “generation” appears in the Bible in various contexts. The term “generation” typically refers to everyone alive at the same time, so when we use the terms “Generation X” or “Millennial Generation,” we are using the exact definition as in modern usage.

A generation typically lasts thirty years, and one generation elevates the following. A “generation” can also refer to an extended age or a group of individuals who span a longer time frame in specific biblical contexts.

The phrase “generations of the heavens and the earth” (ESV) in Genesis 2:4 appears to refer to the entire period of human history, which began with the creation of the universe.

Everyone who lived during the period that Joseph and his brothers did is referred to as the “generation” in Exodus 1:6. The term “generation” is only used in Numbers 32:13 to refer to the group of Israelites who were twenty years of age or older at the period of their rejection to access the Promised Land. 

Apart from Joshua and Caleb, that generation was destined to stray in the wilds until they all perished. The Bible uses the word “generations” in the plural to refer to many successive generations over an indefinite time, as in Isaiah 51:9 and Acts 14:16.

Also read: What Does Montero Mean In The Bible?

At a minimum, three words converted as “generation” in English were used in the Bible’s original languages. As in Exodus 1:6, the Hebrew word dor can also mean a typical, physical generation. But it can also be applied metaphorically to denote the presence of a particular kind of person.

They ought not to resemble their fathers, who were a stubborn and unruly generation whose heart was not unwavering and whose spirit was not trustworthy with God, according to Psalm 78:8, for instance (ESV). Here, the word “dor” is used multiple times to denote a group of individuals who were distinguished by sin and rebellion over a lengthy time frame.

The term “generation” in Psalm 78:8 refers to a group of people who were obstinate against God throughout Israel’s history, not just an average thirty-year span.

Toledot is the other Hebrew word that is translated as “generation.” This is a reference to how an age was generated rather than the personality of a cohort or an age. The periods that began with creation and continued naturally afterward are what Genesis 2:4 refers to as “generations of the heavens and the earth.”

According to Genesis 5:1, the “generations of Adam” refer to the human civilization that started with him. The “generation” after that is that of Noah, which also includes the post-flood civilizations.

As the parent of the Semites, Shem has a “generational” impact on society (Genesis 11:10). Terah’s as well, since he left Ur with his kid Abram (Genesis 11:27). Later, the progenitors of new generations were Ishmael (Genesis 25:12) and Isaac (Genesis 25:19).

Each time, the men either went through a life-changing experience or were directly responsible for one that did. They caused a culturally significant event.

Also read: What Does Raca Mean In The Bible?

The Meaning Of Generation In The New Testament Of The Bible

The word “generation” in the Greek New Testament is “genea.” It resembles both of the Hebrew words. Literally, it refers to a genetic line and means “fathered, birthed, nativity.” However, it can refer to the period characterized by a given cultural attitude and the individuals who make up that culture. 

The generations in Matthew 1:17 are delineated by notable figures and events, such as the Hebrew toledot, Abraham, David, and Babylonian captivity. But Jesus refers to the culture that the Pharisees and scribes supported when He calls them a “wicked and perverse generation” (Matthew 12:39; see also Matthew 17:17 and Acts 2:40).

A generation in the Bible typically lasts thirty years or the people who lived during that time, similar to how we typically define a generation.

However, the term “generation” is occasionally used in a poetic sense to refer to a group of individuals distinguished by characteristics other than age. Thus, context is essential when reading the word “generation” in the Bible.

Also read: What Is A Reed In The Bible?

How Long Is A Generation In The Bible

How long Is A Generation In The Bible: Related Common Questions

Q1: What is the Bible’s take on 70 years?

A1: Humans have an average life expectancy of 70 years. Moses mentions the exact age of man in Psalms 90:10.

Q2: How many generations have been mentioned in the Bible?

A2: According to Luke 3:23, The total number of generations from Adam to Jesus was 76, with ten from Adam to Noah and 66 from Noah to Jesus.

Q3: How many generations are there in a century?

A3: Three generations are assumed to exist in 100 years, assuming a 30-year average lifespan from one generation to the next.


So how long is a generation in the Bible? The age range for a generation is always between 27 and 100, even though the definition varies from verse to verse. Most stanzas that notice genesis relate to the person’s future descendants. This query is not directly addressed in the Bible. Scripture demonstrates that the duration of a generation varies based on how it uses the phrase and the time.

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