Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

What is Life?

What is life?

What is life?

“What is life?” Have you ever asked yourself this question?

…Possibly when you were plagued by troubles and frustrations in your human life, family life or profession.

Or…maybe it was just a deep, inner sense of emptiness that caused you to consider—“what is life?”

You’re not alone. Even some of the most successful, famous, and wealthy people have reached the top only to find that they’ve missed out on that which is “really life.” They were not satisfied.

To get to the heart of the issue, we’ll first have to realize that “life” is profound. We’re complex beings and there are different kinds of life that contribute to our total life experience.

 So what is the real life that makes the human life meaningful?

 We need to see that the Bible speaks of three kinds of “life:”

 Physical life—Greek, bios

We’re all familiar with our physical life. It’s the life of our body that includes our five senses. This life enables us to contact the material world. In the Bible, this life in Greek is called bios. It’s the root for the word “biology”—the study of physical life, the knowledge of living organisms.

In Luke 8:14, the Lord Jesus referred to bios when He spoke of “the pleasures of this life” as being one of the things that can choke out the growth of God’s word  in our hearts.

 Psychological life—Greek, psuche

Concealed within our physical body we also have our distinct personality—our soul with our mind, emotion, and will. The life in our soul or “soul-life” is called psuche in Greek. It’s the root from which we get the word “psychology”—the study of mind and behavior.

In Mark 10:45, Jesus spoke of this life saying, “For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life (psuche, His soul)  as a ransom for many.”

But the good news in the Bible is that there is yet another life for us to receive and live by…

Eternal life—Greek, zoe

The focus of the Bible is on a deeper life—the eternal life. In the Bible, this eternal life is called zoe in Greek. It’s this life that we’ll focus on in this post. It’s also this life that the Lord Jesus promised to give to those who believe into Him (John 3:15).

 What is this “eternal life” that God wants to give to us?

Some people might think, based on their limited understanding of the King James Bible, that this life is simply “everlasting life” (John 3:16 KJV)—a blissful hereafter. Yes, eternal life is everlasting, but it is much more than this. It’s definitely not something that we have to wait for until we die.

Here are a few points that describe the life that God wants us to receive and experience:

The life God desires to give us is not just a better, richer, longer, physical or psychological life. Rather, it is a life of a higher nature, a life that is:


God intends that we would receive His own life—the life of God (Eph 4:18). It is only this life that can be considered “real life.” Every other life is temporary, mortal and corruptible. The divine life is actually God Himself and possesses the nature of God.

In 2 Pet. 1:4, Peter says that we can become “partakers of the divine nature.” This is similar to parents bringing forth children. Since the children receive their life, they also share their nature with all its characteristics.


Since the life God gives us is divine, it is also eternal. In The Knowledge of Life, Witness Lee says,

What does eternal mean? Eternal means uncreated, without beginning or ending, existing by itself and ever, unchangeably existing. Only God is uncreated; only He is “from eternity to eternity” (Ps. 90:2, original text), that is, without beginning or ending. He is “I am that I am” (Ex. 3:14), and always “the same” (Ps. 102:27). Since God Himself is such, so also is the life which is God Himself. The life of God, just as God Himself, is uncreated, without beginning or ending, self-existing and ever existing, and never changing; therefore, the life of God is eternal. Hence the Scriptures speak of God’s life as eternal life. (p. 10)

So the life God desire to give us is not only divine in nature but eternal in it characteristics. It’s like a gold cup. The nature of the cup is gold and the characteristic is rust-resistant. Because the life of God is divine it is also eternal, because God Himself is eternal.

 God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit

 As I mentioned already, this life is firstly God Himself—the life of God. When Jesus Christ came, He was the embodiment of God who is life (Col. 2:9), so God as eternal life was in Him. As such, the Apostle John could say,

In Him [Christ] was life [zoe], and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)

Later, the Lord Jesus told one of His disciples,

I am the way, the reality and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

 So our Lord Jesus IS this “zoe-life.” We just need to receive Him!

But how is it possible for us to receive the Lord Jesus as this eternal life?

Another step was needed. Christ, who was the embodiment of the eternal life had to become a life-giving Spirit to impart this life. So, through the process of His death and resurrection, the life in Him, is now able to reach us as the Spirit.

In 1 Cor. 15:45b, it says,

“…The last Adam [Christ], became a life-giving Spirit.”

Christ today, in resurrection, is such a “life-giving” Spirit.

How can we practically receive the eternal life?

What is so wonderful is that as the life-giving Spirit, Christ as the eternal life is now receivable.

To contact and receive the eternal life is not something that you have to wait for until you die. It is something that you can experience and enjoy right now.

…And not just once for all, but continually, moment-by-moment. Receiving this life is like breathing, drinking and eating.

You can start by praying,

 “Lord Jesus, I believe that You are God come in the flesh to be life to me. Thank you for dying on the cross to take away all my sins. Praise you that You resurrected from the dead to give me eternal life. Lord Jesus, I receive You right now as my Savior and life.”

 But don’t stop here. This eternal life in Christ is available for you to live by. You can:

References and Further Reading:


About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

6 Replies

  1. Davidson Banda

    I so much enjoyed this Tom, right from the beginning you asked, “what is life? And you went on to find out the answer from the Bible, and our need to see that the Bible reveals to us 3 kinds of life. The first 2, the physical and psychological both natural, mortal and even imperfect all human beings born in Adam partake and live buy, this life though may appear real and satisfying to us, but its not and one day it will come to an end as the wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee (cfJohn 2:1-11). May The Lord open our eyes to see the third Life the bible reveals, that is not only eternal but higher and richer in quality, Life that is uncreated even God Himself in the Son, processes and realized by us as the Spirit!

    vs 3” And when the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, They have no wine.
     2:4   And Jesus said to her, Woman what do I have in this that concerns you?

    Today we turn to you Lord, in the midst of our human life with all that it offers and say “Lord to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life” John6:68

    1. Tom Smith

      Your reference to the wine running out at the wedding at Cana of Galilee in John 2:1-11 is a great picture to illustrate the point of this post. “What is life…really?” should be the normal question for people to ask when the “wine” in their human life runs out. In fact, the human life of our body and soul, is only the container to receive the “best wine,” the eternal life.

      It’s so good to see that when we ask this question, God has already provided the answer—the eternal life in His Son, Jesus Christ. When we believe His word, He, as the life-giving Spirit, comes into us. Then we enjoy the “best wine” filling our human life with real meaning.

      Yes, may we come to Him. The Lord Jesus is the One with words of eternal life.

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