How Long Did People Live In The Bible

For many centuries, people have looked to the biblical texts for answers to life’s many questions. While we know that the Bible is not a scientific document, by studying its verses, we can gain insight into such topics as life expectancy. Many people are curious about how long people lived in the Bible and what factors might have influenced those numbers. It may come as a surprise that life expectancy in biblical times was vastly different from the numbers we see today.

Most people in the Bible typically lived to be between 70 and 80 years old. An analysis of the genealogies provided in the Bible reveals that a man’s average life expectancy was close to 70 but God granted some individuals a longer life, like Methuselah who lived to be 969 years old.

In biblical times, life expectancy was negatively impacted by a number of factors. Those living in ancient times had to contend with the risks associated with a lack of modern healthcare, poor nutrition and sanitation, inadequate housing and infrastructure, and many other difficulties. It wasn’t unusual for people to die at relatively younger ages due to diseases or other conditions that are easily treated today.

Since the Bible doesn’t provide much information about life expectancy in ancient times, scholars turn to other sources such as archaeological evidence and records of other societies from the same period. Analysis of these sources can provide insight into how people lived and how various factors might have influenced their life expectancy. In addition, the Bible does provide some clues about how long people might have lived by noting when individuals were born and when they died.

For example, the oldest documented human in the Bible was Methuselah who was recorded to have lived for 969 years. While this might seem like an extraordinary number, it is likely that his lifespan was extended due to his relationship with God. When we look beyond Methuselah, the biblical numbers become more reasonable. For example, Abraham’s father Terah was recorded to have lived 205 years and Abraham himself lived to be 175 years old.

It appears, then, that the combination of environmental factors, physical risks and religious reasons could have influenced life expectancy in biblical times. Although we cannot draw definitive conclusions about the specific factors that affected life expectancy, the numbers provided in the Bible indicate that human life expectancy at the time was likely lower than it is today.

Healthcare in Biblical Times

Healthcare in biblical times was rudimentary at best. People in ancient societies had no understanding of modern medical practices, and as a result, illnesses often spread unchecked and could quickly become fatal. In addition, many ancient societies lacked access to preventive health care, which could have addressed issues such as poor nutrition, sanitation, and access to clean water.

For many, healthcare in ancient societies often meant seeking remedies from healers or turning to religious or superstitious treatments. This could have put many people at greater risk of injury or even death due to the lack of reliable medical advice. As a result, life expectancy in the Bible was significantly lower than it is today.

In addition to a lack of medical care, ancient societies also lacked understanding of basic hygiene. Due to the inability to access clean water, sanitation was often low. This meant that illnesses such as cholera and dysentery were common and could easily become fatal.

In addition to the lack of basic health care, ancient societies were extremely susceptible to epidemic disease. Disease often spread quickly and could have had a severe impact on life expectancy. In some cases, entire cities or regions could have been wiped out due to a rapidly spreading illness.

Although the Bible isn’t specific about the causes of death in biblical times, it is clear that poor health care and lack of sanitation likely contributed to the overall life expectancy being much lower than it is today.

Social Factors in the Bible

Social factors could have had a significant impact on life expectancy in biblical times. The social and economic structures of the different societies in the Bible could have shaped the lives of individuals in many ways.

In ancient societies, individuals were typically subject to a great deal of power and control from those in authority. This could have had an impact on their ability to access health care, food and other resources that could have improved life expectancy. In addition, the political and economic systems of ancient societies could have also had an impact on the lives of individuals.

For example, in biblical times, slavery was common. In many societies, slaves were subjected to harsh treatment and long working hours, which could have negatively impacted their life expectancy. In addition, the trade of slaves could have also had a significant impact on their wellbeing.

In addition, in many societies, women lacked basic rights and were often not viewed as equal to men. This could have also had an effect on their overall well-being, including their life expectancy.

It is important to remember that these social and economic factors might have had a significant impact on the life expectancy of individuals in the Bible. Although the numbers provided in the Bible may be skewed due to religious considerations, it is possible that social factors may have played a role in the average life expectancy of individuals in the biblical era.

Nutrition in Ancient Times

Nutrition in ancient times played an important role in how long people lived. Access to good food was limited in many societies in biblical times, which meant that people were often malnourished. Poor nutrition could have had a significant impact on life expectancy by weakening individuals and making them more susceptible to diseases.

In addition to a lack of food, those in biblical times might have also had to contend with the hazards associated with food production. Illnesses such as malaria, poor water conditions and even contaminated food could have all had an impact on life expectancy. In addition, poor farming practices could have also contributed to poor nutrition.

Another concern in biblical times may have been the limited access to clean water. In many societies, water supplies could have been contaminated due to a lack of understanding of modern sanitation methods. This could have further lowered life expectancy by making people more susceptible to illnesses.

While the Bible does not provide much detail about the nutrition of its characters, it is likely that good nutrition and access to clean, safe water were in short supply in many societies. This could have had a significant impact on life expectancy, which was likely lower in the biblical era compared to today.

Religious Factors in the Bible

Religious factors may have had an influence on life expectancy in the Bible. In many of the societies documented in the Bible, God was viewed as the source of life and death. This belief could have impacted life expectancy in several ways.

First, individuals may have viewed death as a natural part of life. This could have made them more accepting of their eventual demise, rather than viewing death as a tragedy or something to be feared. As a result, individuals may have been less hesitant to take risks in pursuit of their dreams.

In addition, religious factors may have also influenced the average lifespan in the Bible. In the Old and New Testaments, some characters were granted extended lifespans due to their relationship with God. This could have skewed the average life expectancy in the Bible, as those who were granted such blessings were likely outliers or exceptions to the norm.

Regardless, it is clear that religious considerations played a significant role in the society documented in the Bible. These religious factors are likely to have had some impact on the average lifespan of its characters.


In conclusion, life expectancy in the Bible was likely lower than it is today. A number of factors, such as poor healthcare, nutrition, sanitation, and religious beliefs all contributed to the lower life expectancy of ancient times. Although the numbers provided in the Bible may be skewed due to religious factors, these numbers indicate that the average life expectancy in biblical times was shorter than our own.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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