Does the Bible say How Long People Live?

bible-questionsIs there a passage in the Bible which states how long man shall live?

Some have thought Genesis 6:3 to be a comment on the longevity of a person’s life. It says, “And the Lord said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’” However, I don’t believe this passage is discussing God’s shortening the life span of humanity from the long ages of the antediluvian world. Instead, I believe He is talking about the number of years until the flood would destroy sinful man.

There is another passage in Psalms, however, that discusses lifespan. Psalm 90:10, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” However, this is not to say that everyone who lives is going to live to be that old or even that young! The Bible teaches that death is something that can happen to anyone at any time. Hebrews 9:27 states, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” Without getting in the scores of examples of those who died young in the Bible, we know that disease, wars, accidents, and poverty may all be causes of premature death. Other passages hint at the brevity of life and possibility of its cessation, such as James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

On the other hand, the Bible also teaches that we may have an uncharacteristically long life if we will obey God’s word and be pleasing to Him. Paul writes in Ephesians 6:1-3 states, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” God wants his faithful children to have long and productive lives in His service. Hence, he has provided parents to teach children of His ways so that this may be accomplished. 1 Peter 3:10 states, “For ‘He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit.’” God’s ways are the best ways when it comes to living our lives and if we so live them in service to God, we can have a reasonable expectation of a long life.