The Two Kinds of Time

Hours and Minutes vs. Moments

Aaron Charles
3 min readApr 16, 2016


Photo credit: Murray Campbell —

When I was in college, I had a mentor who had a profound impact on my life. We would meet together for lunch every week. I learned so much from him. One lesson especially will stay with me until the day I die. He taught me about two different kinds of time — kairos and chronos.

Chronos Time

When someone asks you for the time, they’re talking about chronos. It’s a Greek word for time. According to Strong’s Greek Concordance, chronos is defined in the Greek as “time, a particular time, season.”

Days, months and years. Hours, minutes and seconds. Passing the time. I don’t have enough time for that. I need more time in the day.

So often we talk about chronos. We probably don’t even realize it.

Chronos is good. In many ways, our world revolves around time. It’s how we make sense of things. We need the “chronological” (See anything familiar there?) conception of time.

But there is another conception of time that is even more powerful. It’s emotional. I’m talking about kairos.

Kairos Time

Kairos is another Greek word for time. Its definition is slightly different though. Kairos means “fitting season, season, opportunity, occasion, time.” Another definition for kairos is “a propitious moment for decision or action.” Kairos is a moment in time.

Remember that time when…

Once upon a time…

I had the time of my life…

These are the moments we always remember. The times when we made a decision or experienced something new and spectacular.

Kairos is very good as well. It’s how we experience things. We need the “opportunity” definition of time.

Musée d’Orsay

Take the two pictures in this post for example. The featured image at the top was one that I did not personally take. I was not there. I might know the location from having seen it in popular culture, but my initial conception…



Aaron Charles

Christ-follower. Husband to @SarahLCharles. Simple moments hold great power. Connect with me at my website: