is an ancient Greek word meaning presence, arrival, or official visit.
- Physical presence, arrival – The main use is the physical presence of a person, which where that person is not already present refers to the prospect of the physical arrival of that person, especially the visit of a royal or official personage and sometimes as an extension of this usage, a formal "occasion". In astrological usage it refers to the presence of a planet at a point on the zodiac.
- Property – A less common and distinct secondary meaning is to refer to a person's material substance, property, or inheritance, including contribution in money.
The term occurs only twice in the Septuagint
(2 Maccabees 8:12 and 15:21) in its ordinary meaning of arrival.
New Testament usage
The word is used 24 times in the New Testament. Of these, 6 uses refer to the coming of individuals: Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus (1Co.16:17), Titus (2Co.7:6 & 7) the physical "presence" of Paul himself (2Co.10:10, Php.1:26, 2:12), and a 7th use to the "coming of the lawless one" (2Thess.2:9). The other 17 times refer 16 times to the Second Coming of Christ, and in one case to the coming of the "Day of God" (2Pe.3:12).
New Testament verses
The word parousia is found in the following verses: Matthew 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 8, 9; James 5:7, 8; 2 Peter 1:16; 3:4, 12; 1 John 2:28.
These verses are translated as "presence" in the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures
published by Jehovah's Witnesses
and Young's Literal Translation (YTL)
The main use in theology is to refer to the second coming of Christ. However Karl Barth
Karl Barth was a Swiss Reformed theologian whom critics hold to be among the most important Christian thinkers of the 20th century; Pope Pius XII described him as the most important theologian since Thomas Aquinas...
considered that category of parousia includes Resurrection Sunday
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...
and the Acts 2 Pentecost
Pentecost is a prominent feast in the calendar of Ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai, and also later in the Christian liturgical year commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ after the Resurrection of Jesus...
as well, and therefore that the New Testament parousia is not limited to his final return.
See also / Related terms
The following Greek-English words may be related to, and can be distinguished from, parousia
Epiphany may refer to:* Epiphany , a Christian holiday on January 6 celebrating the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus* Epiphany , a sudden realization of great truth...
"appearing": The Greek word epiphaneia was often used by Greeks to describe the glorious manifestation of the gods, and by the Romans as a title for the Emperor.
An Apocalypse is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted. The Apocalypse of John is the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament...
, "revealing", "revelation": To disclose what is invisible.