To most people, ‘Zoe’ is a person’s name…..they haven’t used it in any other context. Even Christians don’t hear sermons on this subject very often.
“Zoe” is one of the Greek words for ‘life’ (there are four altogether).
The New Testament was written in Greek.
In study and learning from others, I discovered these four words.
A simple definition of ‘Zoe’:
LIFE IN THE ABSOLUTE SENSE,
LIFE AS GOD HAS IT IN HIMSELF
AND THAT HE GIVES TO EVERY TRUE BELIEVER TO HAVE IN THEMSELVES
(Vine’s Expository Dictionary).
Here are some examples of how the English Bible uses the word, ‘life’, and then the real word in the Greek of the New Testament:
In the parable of the sower, Luke 8:14, Jesus said that the cares of this life, choke out the Word.
Here the Greek word for the English word, ‘life’, is ‘bios‘. There is a connection between this word and the word ‘biology’…..natural, physical life/existence.
Luke 8:14 with the Greek word would read: “the cares of this bios (natural life) choke out the Word and it becomes unfruitful”.
In John 10:10 (the Gospel of John), Jesus said, “I am come, that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” Here the Greek for the English word, ‘life’ is ‘zoe‘.
Written this way, John 10:10 would read: “I am come that you might have zoe and have it more abundantly.”
Another example is John 14:6: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life….no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me”.
Read, substituting the Greek word: “I am the Way, the Truth and Zoe….”
Note that Jesus said here, “I AM Zoe (life in the absolute sense).”
Contrast this to saying, “I have Zoe”.
To realize the difference and depth of meaning in this statement, say:
“I have water…..”
“I AM water……”
Having water is certainly different from BEING water!
Another verse using ‘life’ and meaning ‘zoe’:
I John 5:11-12 (summarized):
He who has the Son (Jesus) has life (zoe) and he who has not the Son has not life (zoe).
If you have been born again, you are a ‘branch’ in the Vine (Jesus). The same life that flows in the Vine flows in the branch….Jesus used this example of the vine & branches in John 15:
John 15:5: “I AM the Vine and you are My branch; if you abide in Me and I in you, you will bring forth much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing (bear no fruit). (I have put this on a personal level for you).
Just as the sap of a natural vine must flow into its branch in order for the branch to bear fruit, the ‘sap’ of Jesus…His Zoe Life….must flow in you as a believer/disciple in order that you can bear fruit.
Jesus chose this illustration in John 15 for a greater reason than an example to teach us from, He was illustrating the living connection and life flow that pours from Him into His Own.
Think about the ‘sap’ connection between the vine and the branch.
Think about the ‘zoe/life’ connection between you and Jesus.
……abide ‘in‘ Me and I ‘in‘ you.
Prepositions are very important….here, think about what that little preposition ‘in‘ implies.
Or from Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door (the heart’s door) and knock. If any man open the door, I will come INTO him and will sup (share My Life (zoe) with him) and he with me (he will share his life with Me).
“I will come ‘into’ him”….just think of what those words are saying!
When Jesus comes into you, He brings everything He is.
He IS Life and He brings that Life INTO you.
That Life then resides IN You, because He resides IN you!
He brings a new kind of life to the inside of you…a life you haven’t experienced before….Zoe, life in the absolute sense.
That is what it means to be ‘born again’…..you have received Life In The Absolute Sense!!!!!
Romans 8:11 speaks of the “Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, Who will quicken your mortal body.”
That word, ‘quicken’, is directly related to zoe, for that is what the Spirit quickens you with when you are physically healed by supernatural means.
Four kinds of life spoken of in the Greek language are:
1) Zoe….the God-kind of life.
2) Bios….your natural life in its duration, physical life.
3) Psuche….your personality, soul.
4) Anastrophe….your behavior, conduct.
Some more educated than I may differ with me over these definitions (that I have made them too simple), but please bear with me as my purpose here is not necessarily theological but logical….the practical use and enjoyment of Zoe, that life which you received when you were born again.
Here is a link to the Vine’s Dictionary entry for ‘life’:
If you aren’t sure that you have this Life….pray this prayer from your heart, your innermost being:
Jesus, I have sinned against heaven and against You.
I believe that You died to pay the penalty for my sins.
I accept the Sacrifice that You made for me and invite You into my heart.
I receive the New Life…Zoe, that You rose from the dead to give me.
Help me now to live out THAT Life in my life.
In Your Name I pray, Amen.
Thank you for visiting the Zoe Radio Network Blog….where we are exploring “Zoe”, Life as God has it. Until next time…..keep up your explorations!