Abundant Life

Life. What do you know about life?

How do you define life?

How do you describe a successful, fulfilling, purposeful life?

Jesus described it this way: And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3 ESV)

The following chart lists some of the words used in the Bible to explain and describe life.

Bios Flesh Zoe Psuche
The period or duration of life Death came through sin, rebellion against God, the forfeiting of the Life Life as a principle, in the absolute sense, as God has life Heart, mind, soul
The manner of life, life in regard to its moral conduct. There is an ethical sense Imparting Life to the sinner must be by a death caused by the shedding of blood which is the life of the flesh Character, nature, like holiness and righteousness, is inseparable from this Life. It does not possess an ethical sense Breath of life, the natural life
The means of life, livelihood, maintenance, living Separation from God caused by forfeiting Life could be removed only by a sacrifice in which victim and offerer became identified. Life that is the common possession of all animals and people by nature The seat of personality
To spend one’s life, to live, a manner of life, conduct, behavior The shedding of blood involves the taking or the giving of the Life. Life is the present sojourn of humankind upon the earth with reference to its duration The individual life, the living being; zoe is the Life of that being
Cares that pertain to this life, matters of this world, business, ordinary life Being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. Though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we no longer regard him that way. To make alive, cause to live, quicken. Preserve life. Christ is the bestower of resurrection Life. The changing or fashioning anew. Impartation of spiritual Life.  The power of reproduction inherent in seed, which presents analogy with resurrection.

(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

Do you relate to all these various meanings and experiences of life?

[Jesus said,]”I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 ESV) What did he mean by that?

Saul/Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, described his life experience in its various meanings as follows:

1. Bios: The means of life, livelihood, cares that pertain to this life and matters of this world.
I am of the people of Israel
Offspring of Abraham
Of the tribe of Benjamin
Circumcised on the eighth day according to the law
A Hebrew of Hebrews
As to the law, a Pharisee
A son of Pharisees
According to the strictest party of our religion
As to zeal, a persecutor of the church
As to righteousness, under the law blameless (Acts 23:6; Acts 26:4-6; Phil 3:4-6)

2. Psuche: Heart, mind, soul, seat of personality, breath of the natural life, the living being, the individual life
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God
The natural person is not able to understand the things of the Spirit of God because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor 2:14)

It is the Spirit who gives life…The words that I [Jesus] have spoken to you are spirit and life. (Jn 6:63)

3. Flesh: Following the course of this world, the passions and addictions of our old nature and our own thoughts.
We know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.
I don’t understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Ro 7:14-25)

I walk in the ways and course of the world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among the disobedient, who are unable to carry out what is right

We all once lived this way, following the passions of our old nature, obeying the wishes of our old nature and our own thoughts.

In our natural condition we were all headed for God’s wrath. (Eph 2:2-3)
Having bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in my heart, I am false to the truth.
This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. (James 3:14-16)

4. Zoe: The Life of the living being. Life as a principle, in the absolute sense as God has Life in himself. The changing or fashioning anew. Impartation of spiritual Life.

Through one individual sin and death entered the world, passing death through to the whole human race, forfeiting Life (Ro 5:12). Forfeiting, giving up, losing, deprived of Life because of some crime, fault, mistake, or neglect of duty.

Yet that forfeited Life is redeemable by a specific action. Through one individual, the Son, whom the Father has given to have Life in himself just as the Father does, the whole human race is being redeemed. (Jn 5:26)

For in bringing many sons to glory, it was only fitting that God, the Creator and Preserver of everything, should bring the Initiator of their deliverance to the goal through sufferings. For both Yeshua [Jesus], who sets people apart for God, and the ones being set apart have a common origin (Heb 2:10-11 CJB)

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the Life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)

For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the Life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2 Cor 4:11)

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Phil 3:7-11)

May you discover the abundant life that results from knowing the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent.

May you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18 ESV)


A. Nouns.
1. zoe (zwh/, NT:2222) (Eng., “zoo,” “zoology”) is used in the NT “of life as a principle, life in the absolute sense, life as God has it, that which the Father has in Himself, and which He gave to the Incarnate Son to have in Himself, John 5:26, and which the Son manifested in the world, 1 John 1:2. From this life man has become alienated in consequence of the Fall, Eph 4:18, and of this life men become partakers through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, John 3:15, who becomes its Author to all such as trust in Him, Acts 3:15, and who is therefore said to be ‘the life’ of the believer, Col 3:4, for the life that He gives He maintains, John 6:35,63. Eternal life is the present actual possession of the believer because of his relationship with Christ, John 5:24; 1 John 3:14, and that it will one day extend its domain to the sphere of the body is assured by the Resurrection of Christ, 2 Cor 5:4; 2 Tim 1:10. This life is not merely a principle of power and mobility, however, for it has moral associations which are inseparable from it, as of holiness and righteousness. Death and sin, life and holiness, are frequently contrasted in the Scriptures.
“Zoe is also used of that which is the common possession of all animals and men by nature, Acts 17:25; 1 John 5:16, and of the present sojourn of man upon the earth with reference to its duration, Luke 16:25; 1 Cor 15:19; 1 Tim 4:8; 1 Peter 3:10. ‘This life’ is a term equivalent to ‘the gospel,’ ‘the faith,’ ‘Christianity,’ Acts 5:20.”
From Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine. pp. 324-325.
Death came through sin, Rom 5:12, which is rebellion against God. Sin thus involved the forfeiting of the “life.” “The life of the flesh is in the blood,” Lev 17:11. Therefore the impartation of “life” to the sinner must be by a death caused by the shedding of that element which is the life of the flesh. “It is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life” (id. RV). The separation from God caused by the forfeiting of the “life” could be removed only by a sacrifice in which the victim and the offerer became identified. This which was appointed in the typical offerings in Israel received its full accomplishment in the voluntary sacrifice of Christ. The shedding of the blood in the language of Scripture involves the taking or the giving of the “life.” Since Christ had no sins of his own to die for, His death was voluntary and vicarious, John 10:15 with Isa 53:5,10,12; 2 Cor 5:21. In His sacrifice He endured the divine judgment due to man’s sin. By this means the believer becomes identified with Him in His deathless “life,” through His resurrection, and enjoys conscious and eternal fellowship with God.
2. bios (bi/o$, NT:979) (cf. Eng. words beginning with bio), is used in three respects (a) of “the period or duration of life,” e. g., in the KJV of 1 Peter 4:3, “the time past of our life” (the RV follows the mss. which omit “of our life”); Luke 8:14; 2 Tim 2:4; (b) of “the manner of life, life in regard to its moral conduct,” 1 Tim 2:2; 1 John 2:16; (c) of “the means of life, livelihood, maintenance, living,” Mark 12:44; Luke 8:43; 15:12,30; 21:4; 1 John 3:17, “goods,” RV (KJV, “good”). See GOODS.
Note: “While zoe is ‘life’ intensive… bios is ‘life’ extensive…. In bios, used as manner of ‘life,’ there is an ethical sense often inhering which, in classical Greek at least, zoe does not possess.” In Scripture zoe is “the nobler word, expressing as it continually does, all of highest and best which the saints possess in God” (Trench, Syn. Sec. xxvii).
3. psuche (yuxh/, NT:5590), besides its meanings, “heart, mind, soul,” denotes “life” in two chief respects, (a) “breath of life, the natural life,” e. g., Matt 2:20; 6:25; Mark 10:45; Luke 12:22; Acts 20:10; Rev 8:9; 12:11 (cf. Lev 17:11; Est 8:11); (b) “the seat of personality,” e. g., Luke 9:24, explained in v. 25 as “own self” See list under SOUL. See also HEART, MIND.
Notes: (1) “Speaking generally, psuche, is the individual life, the living being, whereas zoe, is the life of that being, cf. Ps 66:9, ‘God… which holdeth our soul (psuche in life (zoe),’ and John 10:10, ‘I came that they may have life (zoe),’ with v. 11, ‘The Good Shepherd layeth down His life (psuche) for the sheep.'” (2) In Rev 13:15, KJV, pneuma, “breath,” is translated “life” (RV, “breath”). (3) In 2 Cor 1:8, “we despaired even of life,” the verb zao, “to live,” is used in the infinitive mood, as a noun, and translated “life” (lit., “living”). In Heb 2:15 the infinitive mood of the same verb is translated “lifetime.”
From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, p. 325.
4. biosis (bi/wsi$, NT:981), from bioo, “to spend one’s life, to live,” denotes “a manner of life,” Acts 26:4.
5. agoge (a)gwgh/, NT:72), “a manner of life,” 2 Tim 3:10; see CONDUCT.
6. anastrophe (a)nastrofh/, NT:391), “behavior, conduct,” is translated “manner of life” (KJV “conversation”) in the RV of Gal 1:13; 1 Tim 4:12; 1 Peter 1:18; 3:16; “living,” in 1 Peter 1:15. See BEHAVIOR.
B. Adjectives.
1. biotikos (biwtiko/$, NT:982), “pertaining to life” (bios), is translated “of this life,” in Luke 21:34, with reference to cares; in 1 Cor 6:3 “(things) that pertain to this life,” and v. 4, “(things) pertaining to this life,” i. e., matters of this world, concerning which Christians at Corinth were engaged in public lawsuits one with another; such matters were to be regarded as relatively unimportant in view of the great tribunals to come under the jurisdiction of saints hereafter. Moulton and Milligan (Vocab.) illustrate the word from phrases in the papyri, e. g., “business (documents)”; “business concerning my livelihood”; “(stories) of ordinary life.”
2. apsuchos (a&yuxo$, NT:895) denotes “lifeless inanimate” (a, negative, and psuche, see A, No. 3), “without life,” 1 Cor 14:7.
C. Verb.
zoopoieo (zwopoie/w, NT:2227), “to make alive, cause to live, quicken” (from zoe, “life,” and poieo, “to make”), is used as follows:
“(a) of God as the bestower of every kind of life in the universe, 1 Tim 6:13 (zoogoneo, to preserve alive, is the alternative reading adopted by most editors; see LIVE, No. 6), and, particularly, of resurrection life, John 5:21; Rom 4:17; (b) of Christ, who also is the bestower of resurrection life, John 5:21 (2 nd part); 1 Cor 15:45; cf. v. 22; (c) of the resurrection of Christ in “the body of His glory,” 1 Peter 3:18; (d) of the power of reproduction inherent in seed, which presents a certain analogy with resurrection, 1 Cor 15:36; (e) of the ‘changing,’ or ‘fashioning anew,’ of the bodies of the living, which corresponds with, and takes place at the same time as, the resurrection of the dead in Christ, Rom 8:11; (f) of the impartation of spiritual life, and the communication of spiritual sustenance generally, John 6:63; 2 Cor 3:6; Gal 3:2. See QUICKEN, and cf. sunzoopoieo, “to quicken together with,” Eph 2:5 and Col 2:13.
From Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine pp. 154, 155.
Notes: (1) For the verb diago, “to lead a life,” see LIVE, No. 7. (2) For politeuo, in Phil 1:27, RV, “let your manner of life be,” see LIVE, No. 8. (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

Be still: OT:7503 hp*r* raphah (raw-faw’); a primitive root; to slacken (in many applications, literal or figurative): KJV – abate, cease, consume, draw [toward evening], fail, (be) faint, be (wax) feeble, forsake, idle, leave, let alone (go, down), (be) slack, stay, be still, be slothful, (be) weak (-en). See OT:7495.
OT:7495 ap*r* rapha’ (raw-faw’); or raphah (raw-faw’); a primitive root; properly, to mend (by stitching), i.e. (figuratively) to cure: KJV – cure, (cause to) heal, physician, repair, thoroughly, make whole. See OT:7503. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Know: OT:3045 ud^y* yada` (yaw-dah’); a primitive root; to know (properly, to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially (including observation, care, recognition; and causatively, instruction, designation, punishment, etc.) [as follow]: KJV – acknowledge, acquaintance (-ted with), advise, answer, appoint, assuredly, be aware, [un-] awares, can [-not], certainly, comprehend, consider, could they, cunning, declare, be diligent, (can, cause to) discern, discover, endued with, familiar friend, famous, feel, can have, be [ig-] norant, instruct, kinsfolk, kinsman, (cause to let, make) know, (come to give, have, take) knowledge, have [knowledge], (be, make, make to be, makeself) known, be learned, lie by man, mark, perceive, privy to, prognosticator, regard, have respect, skilful, shew, can (man of) skill, be sure, of a surety, teach, (can) tell, understand, have [understanding], will be, wist, wit, wot. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

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