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3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.


3 And this is eternal life,

Jesus now defined eternal life, not temporal life. It is a life that relates to God Himself.

that they may know You,

Eternal life is to “know” the Father. The word “know” is to know Him by experience, by personal relationship, and not by cognitive knowledge only. To “know” here is more than knowing the way to eternal life; it is life itself. Eternal life is far more than endless existence; it is an eternally rich fellowship with God.

This prayer is that people would know both (1) the Father as the exclusive and genuine God and that (2) He sent the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, as His special messenger. Eternal life is more than endless existence. Even those without Christ will live forever, but they will do it in a Christless eternity.


Knowing God is the fullest experience a person can have.


Eternal life is to know God personally, not just knowing about Him. It is not simply factual knowledge about Him but a kind of knowledge regarding Him. Eternal life is more than knowing something academically about God; it is to know by experience who God is.

It is not how much we know but the type or brand of knowledge that saves our soul and gives us a radically new quality of life. Becoming a Christian means that we share God’s life, eternal life. We have a shared quality of life together.

Eternal life is more than endless existence. The biblical view is that it is a quality of life rather than endless extension of time; it is to know personally the Father and Son. Their person and character are wonderful, majestic. Believers are yet to experience their fullest experience with them (2 Ti 1:12).

It is an inspiration to know some human beings. It stimulates possibilities in ourselves. This is far more the case with knowing the Father and the Son. It is to engage with ultimate truth and reality without distortions of sin.