10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
In verse 10 Jesus assumed the role of provider and guardian of eternal life.
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.
The “thief” here is the shepherd who steals someone else’s sheep. He will kill the sheep and destroy the flock. The thief in this context is the Pharisee. The Pharisees wanted to take advantage of the flock.
I have come that they may have life [eternal, God’s kind of life],
Jesus came to impart eternal life. He does not take lives but gives His own. He gives the same kind of life that God has, a quantitative and qualitative life.
and that they may have it more abundantly.
The life that Jesus gives is abundant life, a life rich with meaning. He does not destroy the sheep but benefits them by His overflowing grace. This is a rich life that no one can have without Christ.
The word “abundantly” means that which goes beyond necessity. Jesus provides in a way that goes far beyond what is necessary when it comes to eternal life and its operating assets. This goes farther than what would normally have been expected from Him. It is abundant in the sense that it is inexhaustible, not that it is free from problems.
Jesus provides life to the fullest.
Jesus’ genuine disciples enjoy not only eternal life, but life at its best. He came that they might relish this and the coming eternal life to the full. The life that Jesus gives is more than an extension of this mortal life. It is a new quality of eternal life that begins at the moment of salvation.
The promise of life abundant does not refer to material riches but to spiritual abundance. This deals with rich spiritual life and living.
The end of this verse is divided into two simple parts.
I came that they may “HAVE life” … and have it more abundantly.
So how would you explain the… that they may “HAVE” LIFE part?
As far as I can tell, there can only be two options: “HAVE” LIFE or “NOT HAVE” LIFE.
James, Both terms for “have” are ἔχω, to have or to hold. The idea is to possess. The grammar in Jn 10:10 is present (linear aktionsart, implying continued action}, active, subjunctive, third person, plural.
The words “eternal life” occurs 35 times in John but only 12 times in the synoptics. “Life” occurs 52 times, therefore, there is a significant usage of the term “life” in John. This is more than physical life; it is the impartation of a new nature, an element that restores one to fellowship with God. This divine life comes to the person who places his trust in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died for him and rose again. Life is probably the most important word in John’s gospel. It is more basic than love, for love cannot exist without life. John’s emphasis on belief is only a means to the end—life, Jn 20:31.
Bios is physical life whereas ZOJ carries an ethical connotation implying all that is the highest and best in the association of the saints with God; they possess the life of God. It is this term that is usually associated by contrast with death. The ethical content of ZOJ derives from the fact that it is the opposite of death. Since in the Bible death is linked with sin, life implies victory over sin and freedom from its power. The term often means spiritual life
PSUCHJ: its meanings are complex:
(1) the animating principle in physical organisms,
(2) earthly life as distinct from spiritual life,
(3) the soul as center of the inner life that transcends the earthly,
(4) that which possesses life.
Compare John 12:25: contrast use of ZOJ and PSUCHJ. The former is a higher type of life.
It is the concept of eternal life that John’s contribution is most distinctive and important.
AIWNIOS is used 150 times and usually means age-lasting rather than endless.
The contribution of the fourth gospel is that life eternal is thought of in qualitative terms, not merely as a continuation but rather as a superior quality of life that begins with the believer now (Jn 5:24-26; 6:54; 17:3).
Eternal life is not a matter of time alone but is a new kind of life, different in nature, which will last beyond the dissolution of the body. It was “life from above,” from God, and given only through Christ (Jn 3:5; 5:26; 1 Jn 5:19).
This life becomes available to the believer as he enters into an experiential “knowledge” of God through the Son (Jn 17:3;1 Jn 3:14; 5:11,12). The issues of life and death are settled not simply as a final day of reckoning, therefore, but are determined momentarily according as one believes or disbelieves (5:24).
Animal life can reproduce its own kind; spiritual life must come from above, from God (3:5). Hence, the Spirit is the regenerative principle in human life. Worship of a spiritual being is impossible apart from the Spirit of God (4:25). The Spirit is linked with life. Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (Jn 6:63). Words are “life” in this context. The Holy Spirit causes life to flourish and grow (7:38).
Eternal life begins at the point of belief (John 5:24; 3:36; 10:28). In Jn 5:24 the “has” is present, active, indicative indicating that eternal life begins at salvation, that is, eternal life for the believer begins immediately upon salvation. The words “has passed from [out of] death into life” is perfect, active, indicative. That is, the believer passed at one point in the past from death to life (perfect tense), active voice= he transferred from an eternal death to eternal life, indicative = it is a reality that it happened at one point in the past (the point of his salvation). The same concept is indicated in 1 Jn 3:14.
The last two words for “have” in Jn 10:10 are present, active, subjunctive. The subjunctive mood means that the “have” is conditioned or has the potential of happening based on the condition of Jesus’ coming.
In summary, eternal life begins at the point of salvation and continues without end into the eternal state.
Note that much of this comment was in the Introduction.
I checked John 12:25 again as you instructed, and I saw that the Greek word for “life” is indeed different.
He who loves his life (psuche) will lose it, and he who hates his life (psuche) in this world will keep it for eternal life (zoen).
And then I saw that this word (zoen) is used 60 times. And in all but one case, it is talking about a superior quality of life or eternal life as you carefully explained.
But in this one case, it is talking about the common person upon the earth who has not yet found God. So why is the Greek word ZOEN used here? This is quite strange. It is talking about all men. (v. 25)
24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything since he himself gives to all men life (zoen) and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us,…
James, the question here is one of the antecedent, to whom is Jesus speaking, the Greeks (unbelievers), or Philip, Andrew, and Philip. Rather than engage Greeks (who now disappear from the story), Jesus offers an extended discourse (12:24–36) that gives insight into the meaning of this hour. The presence of the Greeks was directly responsible for Jesus’ words that follow, but He moves beyond their immediate question in light of the general task the Father placed before Him (His pending death). Verses 25-26 are an “intermezzo,” that is, something that elucidates the relevance of 12:24 for the disciples (whoever loves his life…). Jesus speaks of the distinction in honor given to His followers is different from the honor given by those in the world. Because it is honor bestowed by the Father, it lasts eternally, rather than the fleeting honor of this life. This argument takes the form of a māšāl with two antithetical lines. It is the honor that the Father gives to a disciple. The imperative “let him follow me” carries with it the double implication of peril and reward for the disciple predicated on the prospect of Jesus’ imminent death. The truth enunciated extends beyond the disciple’s earthly life to eternal destiny. It is in eternity when the Father will honor the disciple. It is important to look for honor from God rather than men. Thus, there is a contrast between life in this world and eternal life; life in this world is characterized by sin, rebellion, judgment, and death as opposed to the blessings of eternal life.
Note Leon Morris’ statement:
There is a change from ψυχήν of loving or hating the life, that is, this present, earthly life, to ζωήν of the life proper to the age to come. It may be entered on here and now, but its characteristics concern eternity. McClymont says that ψυχήν here denotes “the natural life of man, with all its appetites, desires, and affections, which seek their gratification irrespective of the will of God. The loving of this life is another name for the spirit of selfishness which is unwilling to spend or be spent for any higher object than self-enjoyment and self-aggrandisement, while the hating of it denotes that spirit of self-sacrifice which counts nothing in this world too dear to be given up in obedience to the Divine will.”
To Dr. Grant: You misread my question. I was asking about the use of the Greek word zao (or zoen) in “Acts 17:24-27.”
(( I accidentally typed Acts 7. )) Your commentary for the book of Acts stops in chapter 5.
Why is it talking about God giving zao (or zoen ) life to ALL men?
Please read again what I wrote.
James, as you can see, Acts is the current book on which I am working. I prefer not to prejudice my interpretation by interpreting Acts 17 at this time. However, in general, all Greek words have multiple uses depending on context, the semantics of the given human author, the culture, the argument of the particular book, the argument of the immediate context. For example, different authors of Scripture use ζωή differently: 1) Paul uses it in the sense of life under the dominion of death, and the liberated life. 2) John’s uses it in the christologial and soteriological content of life. 3) Luke uses it in life as conditioned by breathing. In any case, etymological interpretation is the most dangerous albeit the root usage may give an inkling of meaning.
Arnt and Gingrich give the different uses of ζωή here:
1. life in the physical sense, life ἐν σαρκὶ ζ. Orig., C. Cels. 6, 59, 8)
ⓐ opp. θάνατος (Pind. et al.; Lucian, Tox. 38; Sir 37:18; Pr 18:21; Philo; Just., A I, 57, 3; Mel., P. 49, 355) Ro 8:38; 1 Cor 3:22; Phil 1:20.
ⓑ means of sustenance, livelihood (Hdt. et al.; Sir 4:1; 29:21) Hs 9, 26, 2.
ⓒ the course or mode of one’s life (cp. βίος 1) Hm 8, 4 and 9; 11, 7 and 16; Hs 9, 16, 2 al. In some of these pass. a transition to the moral aspect is apparent.
② transcendent life, life