Word study on life, zoe

by Matt Slick
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The word ζωή, zoe occurs 135 times in the Greek New Testament. It is used in a singular sense it is just "life" (John 5:26; Acts 8:33; Rom. 8:38; James 4:14; 1 Pet. 3:10) as well as modifying another word such as eternal life (Matt. 7:14; Mark 9:43; John 3:16), bread of life (John 6:35, 48), and the crown of life (Rev. 2:10).  The Spirit gives life (John 6:63).  There is the book of life (Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5). There are references where life can be either physical or spiritual (Luke 12:15; John 10:10; Rom. 8:6; 11:15; 2 Cor. 5:4; Col. 3:3, etc.).  In the context of annihilationism, life (zoe) derives its meaning from context and I saw no necessary support for the idea that a person's life will cease to exist on the day of judgment.


  • Greek word: ζωή, zoe
  • Meaning: life, soul
  • Strong's #: 2222
    Frequency:  135 occurrences

Summary of the meaning of the Greek word ζωή, zoe in all verses where it occurs in the New Testament.

  1. Book of life, 7 occurrences
    1. Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27
  2. Bread of life, 2 occurrences
    1. John 6:35, 48
  3. Crown of life, 1 occurrence
    1. Rev. 2:10
  4. Divine life, 1 occurrence
    1. John 5:26
  5. Eternal life, 70 occurrences
    1. Matt. 7:14; 18:8, 9; 19:16, 17, 29; 25:46; Mark 9:43, 45; 10:17, 30; Luke 10:25; 18:18, 30; John 1:4; 3:15, 16, 36; 4:14, 36; 5:24, 26, 29, 39, 40; 6:27, 33, 40, 47, 53, 54, 68; 10:28; 11:25; 12:25, 50; 14:6; 17:2, 3; 20:31; Acts 11:18; 13:46, 48; Rom. 2:7; 5:17, 18, 21; 6:4, 22, 23; 7:10; 8:2; 2 Cor. 2:16; Gal. 6:8; 1 Tim. 1:16; 6:12; 2 Tim. 1:1; Titus 1:2; 3:7; James 1:12; 1 John 1:2; 2:25; 3:14, 15; 5:11, 12, 13, 20; Jude 21; Rev. 22:17
  6. Jesus, 4 occurrences
    1. Acts 3:15; 5:20; Rom. 5:10; 1 John 1:1
  7. Jesus' life, 2 occurrences
    1. 2 Cor. 4:10, 11
  8. Life of the world, 1 occurrence
    1. John 6:51
  9. Light of life, 1 occurrence
    1. John 8:12
  10. Physical and spiritual life, 11 occurrences
    1. Luke 12:15; John 10:10; Rom. 8:6; 11:15; 2 Cor. 5:4; Col. 3:3, 4; 1 Tim. 6:19; 2 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 7:16; 1 John 5:16
  11. Physical life, 9 occurrences
    1. Acts 8:33; 17:25; Rom. 8:38; 1 Cor. 3:22; 15:19; 1 Tim. 4:8; Heb. 7:3; James 4:14; 1 Pet. 3:10
  12. Spiritual truth, 1 occurrence
    1. John 6:63
  13. Tree of life, 4 occurrences
    1. Rev. 2:7; 22:2, 14, 19
  14. Water of life, 2 occurrences
    1. Rev. 7:17; 21:1


Address Verse Meaning
Matt. 7:14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Eternal life
Matt. 18:8 “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. Eternal life
Matt. 18:9 If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell. Eternal life
Matt. 19:16 And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” Eternal life
Matt. 19:17 And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Eternal life
Matt. 19:29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. Eternal life
Matt. 25:46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Eternal life
Mark 9:43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, Eternal life
Mark 9:45 If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell, Eternal life
Mark 10:17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Eternal life
Mark 10:30 but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. Eternal life
Luke 10:25 And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Eternal life
Luke 12:15 Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” Physical and spiritual life
Luke 16:25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. Physical life
Luke 18:18 A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Eternal life
Luke 18:30 who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.” Eternal life
John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. Eternal life
John 3:15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. Eternal life
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Eternal life
John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Eternal life
John 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Eternal life
John 4:36 Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. Eternal life
John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Eternal life
John 5:26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; Divine life
John 5:29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. Eternal life
John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; Eternal life
John 5:40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. Eternal life
John 6:27 Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” Eternal life
John 6:33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” Eternal life
John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. Bread of life
John 6:40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” Eternal life
John 6:47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. Eternal life
John 6:48 I am the bread of life. Bread of life
John 6:51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” Life of
the world
John 6:53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. Eternal life
John 6:54 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. Eternal life
John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. Spiritual truth
John 6:68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. Eternal life
John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not waLuke in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” Light of life
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. Physical and spiritual life
John 10:28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. Eternal life
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, Eternal life
John 12:25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. Eternal life
John 12:50 I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” Eternal life
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. Eternal life
John 17:2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. Eternal life
John 17:3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. Eternal life
John 20:31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. Eternal life
Acts 3:15 but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. Jesus
Acts 5:20 “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this life.” Jesus
Acts 11:18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” Eternal life
Acts 13:46 Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. Eternal life
Acts 13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. Eternal life
Acts 17:25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; Physical life
Rom. 2:7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; Eternal life
Rom. 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Jesus
Rom. 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Eternal life
Rom. 5:18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. Eternal life
Rom. 5:21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Eternal life
Rom. 6:4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Eternal life
Rom. 6:22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. Eternal life
Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Eternal life
Rom. 7:10 and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; Eternal life
Rom. 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Eternal life
Rom. 8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, Physical and spiritual life
Rom. 8:10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. Spiritually alive
Rom. 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, Physical life
Rom. 11:15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? Physical and spiritual life
1 Cor. 3:22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, Physical life
1 Cor. 15:19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. Physical life
2 Cor. 2:16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? Eternal life
2 Cor. 4:10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. Jesus' life
2 Cor. 4:11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. Jesus' life
2 Cor. 4:12 So death works in us, but life in you. Spiritual life
2 Cor. 5:4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Physical and spiritual life
Gal. 6:8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Eternal life
Eph. 4:18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; Spiritual life
Phil. 1:20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. Physical life
Phil. 2:16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. Spiritual life
Phil. 4:3 Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Book of life
Col. 3:3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Physical and spiritual life
Col. 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Physical and spiritual life
1 Tim. 1:16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Eternal life
1 Tim. 4:8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. Physical life
1 Tim. 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. Eternal life
1 Tim. 6:19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. Physical and spiritual life
2 Tim.1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus, Eternal life
2 Tim. 1:10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, Physical and spiritual life
Titus 1:2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, Eternal life
Titus 3:7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Eternal life
Heb. 7:3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually. Physical life
Heb. 7:16 who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. Physical and spiritual life
James 1:12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Eternal life
James 4:14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Physical life
1 Pet. 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. Spiritual life
2 Pet. 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. Earthly life
1 John 1:1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of life Jesus
1 John 1:2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— Eternal life
1 John 2:25 This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. Eternal life
1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Eternal life
1 John 3:15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. Eternal life
1 John 5:11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Eternal life
1 John 5:12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. Eternal life
1 John 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. Eternal life
1 John 5:16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. Physical and spiritual life
1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Eternal life
Jude 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. Eternal life
Rev. 2:7 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’ Tree of life
Rev. 2:10 ‘Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Crown of life
Rev. 3:5 ‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. Book of life
Rev. 7:17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” Water of life
Rev. 11:11 But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them. Physical life
Rev. 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. Book of life
Rev. 16:3 The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died. Physical life
Rev. 17:8 “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. Book of life
Rev. 20:12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. Book of life
Rev. 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Book of life
Rev. 21:6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. Water of life
Rev. 21:27 and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Book of life
Rev. 22:1 Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, Water of life
Rev. 22:2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Tree of life
Rev. 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Tree of life
Rev. 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. Eternal life
Rev. 22:19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. Tree of life


Dictionaries and Lexicons consulted

  • "ζωή zōḗ; gen. zōḗs, fem. noun from záō (2198), to live. Life. (I) Generally, physical life and existence as opposed to death and nonexistence. Particularly and generally of human life (Luke 16:25; Acts 17:25; 1 Cor. 3:22; 15:19; Heb. 7:3; James 4:14; Rev. 11:11)....In the sense of existence, life, in an absolute sense and without end (Heb. 7:16).
    • Zodhiates, Spiros. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000
  • ‘ζάωa; ζωή, ῆς f; ψυχήb, ῆς f—‘to be alive, to live, life.’ ζάωa: ὁ νόμος κυριεύει τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐφ’ ὅσον χρόνον ζῇ ‘the law rules over a person as long as he or she lives’ Ro 7:1. ζωή: μήτε ἀρχὴν ἡμερῶν μήτε ζωῆς τέλος ἔχων ‘without beginning of days or the end of life’ He 7:3.
    • Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. New York: United Bible Societies, 1996.
  • ζωή [zoe /dzo·ay/] n f. From 2198; TDNT 2:832; TDNTA 290; GK 2437; 134 occurrences; AV translates as “life” 133 times, and “lifetime” once. 1 life. 1A the state of one who is possessed of vitality or is animate. 1B every living soul. 2 life. 2A of the absolute fullness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God, and through him both to the hypostatic “logos” and to Christ in whom the “logos” put on human nature. 2B life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever. Additional Information: For synonyms see entry 979, bios.See entry 5821 for comparison of synonyms.
    • Strong, James. Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1995.





About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.