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What is the meaning of abundant life? Most of us, if we are believers, have read John 10:10 and understood the message that Jesus was portraying in the verse. Do you happen to remember it? “The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure.” (CBJ) This verse, while simple, also poses a question to us. Is He talking just about spiritual life? It sounds like more. Could it be?
Other translations use the word, ‘abundant’. The definition of abundant is simply, ‘Present in great quantity; more than adequate; oversufficient,’ (Dictionary.com). The thing that I have come to learn about studying the scripture, though, is that it is literal and figurative!
The Lord’s Challenge to Me and Concern For His People
The Lord posed this question to me. As I sat with Him, I listened to Him explain His reasoning for posing it. His concern was that we, as Christians, limit Him so much. We don’t believe what He says fully or trust what He says in scripture a lot of the time. John 10:10 is just one example of this.
He reminded me that scripture is full of layers and is multifaceted like a cut gemstone. Each different facet also teeming with much more revelation than is seen on the surface level alone. It’s living! He challenged me to delve deeper into John 10:10, looking closely at what the word ‘life’ means. So, without further ado, let’s dig in!
The Search for Abundant Life
We will begin our analysis by looking at chapter 9 of John (right before our verse-John 10:10). We are looking to see what the word ‘life’ truly means in these passages. When there is uncertainty in the meaning of a verse, it always helps to see what was happening all around the verse, so we don’t take it out of context.
John chapter 9 begins with Jesus just having healed the blind man by putting mud on his eyes. (I will point out that it was exactly what was done to form Adam in Genesis!) Jesus then tells His disciples that He is the Light of the World. (This is also another direct correlation to the creation story when God said, “Let there be light!”) In the book of John, this ‘I Am’ statement was just one of the seven that Jesus ultimately made. Jesus was laying out all the things He was and is for abundant life, by first comparing them to something understandable for life in the natural:
- “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51)
- “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12)
- “I am the door of the sheep.” (John 10:7,9)
- “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25)
- “I am the good shepherd.” (John 10:11, 14)
- “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)
- “I am the true vine.” (John 15:1, 5)
Now Entering John 10:10
Jesus then talks to His disciples about a subject most of them already know about: sheep herding and care. John 10:7-11 TPT says:
So, Jesus went over it again, “I speak to you eternal truth: I am the Gate for the flock. 8 All those who broke in before me are thieves who came to steal, but the sheep never listened to them. 9 I am the Gateway. To enter through me is to experience life, freedom, and satisfaction. 10 A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect — life in its fullness until you overflow! 11 I am the Good Shepherd who lays down my life as a sacrifice for the sheep.”John 10:17-11 TPT
Verse 10 in the Complete Jewish Bible reads another way:
“The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure.“John 10:10 CBJ
The Spiritual Component of Abundant Life
We can plainly see the spiritual component of these verses for sure. We can see that those who believe on Him, like the former blind man, would have eternal life. He ultimately believed on Jesus and those Pharisees that didn’t see, would not have eternal life because they didn’t believe. So, let’s delve further into the word—Life—and see what else we can glean from it to help us in our discovery.
Greek Words for Life
There are three Greek words used for life translated in the New Testament. John was written in Greek-Aramaic language: bios, psuche, and zoe. These words have different meanings, but they’re all translated into English as life. So if we want to know which meaning life has in a particular verse, we need to know which Greek word is being used.
Bios-Strong’s#979 (1) “The period or duration of earthly life; (2) the means by which life is sustained; (3) the manner in which that life is spent.” We get our word, “Biography” from this definition.
Psuche-Strong’s#5590- (1) the vital breath, breath of life, (2) the human soul, (3) the soul as the seat of affections and will, (4) the self, (5) a human person, an individual.
Zo’e’-Strong’s#2222-life (physical and spiritual). All life throughout the universe is derived—i.e., it always (only) comes from and is sustained by God’s self-existent life. The Lord intimately shares His gift of life with people, creating each in His image, which gives all the capacity to know His eternal life.
So, What Type of Life Describes John 10:10?
After a little more research, I discovered that John 10:10 uses the Greek word Zo’e’ to explain life. Meaning, this life more abundantly that Jesus describes is indeed physical and spiritual! So why are we, as Christians, quick to downplay the physical abundant life that He promises? God’s reasoning to me about this when He first raised this whole question was unbelief.
Very quickly, this whole question becomes not just a question for nonbelievers for eternal life, but for believers to shrug off unbelief and to be in faith over what God said He would provide. Take a look at the key phrases of John 10:10 again in The Passion Translation and the Complete Jewish Bible:
“But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect — life in its fullness until you overflow.”John 10:10 TPT
“I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure.”John 10:10 CJB
Jesus Meant What He Said About Abundant Life
So once again, Jesus means what He says. Should this surprise us? Not really, but for those who stumble on the ‘here and now’ part of life that Jesus is referring to in this verse, I have more verses that contain Zo’e’:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation (life) has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”2 Corinthians 5:14 NIV
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore, choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed.”Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV
“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”John 4:14 ESV
“Everything we could ever need for life and godliness has already been deposited in us by his divine power. For all this was lavished upon us through the rich experience of knowing him who has called us by name and invited us to come to him through a glorious manifestation of his goodness.”2 Peter 1:3 TPT
The John 10:10 Abundant Life Is Spiritual and Physical
Are you starting to see the parallel here? Yes, it is physical, and yes, it is spiritual, just as the Strong’s concordance mentioned. However, it is a type of life in the here and now that stays with us unto eternity for those who have trusted in Jesus. He gives us everything we need for life and godliness! It is the divine life we have in union with Jesus Christ. It is life abundant, just like John 10:10 states it is!
The John 10:10 Abundant Life is for Service To and For Others
So many know of this abundant John 10:10 life and it goes no further than accepting Jesus and being ready to go to heaven when they die. But this abundant life in union with our Messiah is supposed to do more than benefit ourselves. It should empower us into good works, service, the spirit filled abundant life, and into much more.
See, He’s not just talking about an abundant life in eternity later, but He’s also talking about an abundant life lavishly supplied to give away (In service to others) and also to enjoy. The abundant life is a life of victory that we can only truly have as we give of ourselves. Jesus wasn’t served while He was on this earth, and neither should we be. Check these verses out:
“For if you choose self-sacrifice and lose your lives for my glory, you will continually discover true life. But if you choose to keep your lives for yourselves, you will forfeit what you try to keep.”Matthew 16:25 TPT
“I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”Galatians 2:20 AMP
“For if you are living according to the [impulses of the] flesh, you are going to die. But if [you are living] by the [power of the Holy] Spirit you are habitually putting to death the sinful deeds of the body, you will [really] live forever.”Romans 8:13 AMP
We can easily see why this life is not embraced by all. You must give of yourself for others. However, in doing that, God promises to supply all we need and even more:
“Yes, God is more than ready to overwhelm you with every form of grace, so that you will have more than enough of everything — every moment and in every way. He will make you overflow with abundance in every good thing you do.”2 Corinthians 9:8 TPT
The John 10:10 Life is Abundant in Our Obedience to God’s Plans
God knew when He created us that we needed a purpose, and it was His delight to prepare things; good works for us to do beforehand. These works were never intended to act as a means of our being saved, but rather, they were intended to be good works we performed as we walked out our new divine creation lifestyles in union with Jesus Christ. This is what some have referred to as Zoe life or the abundant life!
Christ should have His John 10:10 life in each believer. He should be able to do what He sees is fit within each of us as we lay down our agendas and make ourselves available for His use. Now that we know what the Zoe life is, how is it abundant life? It can be. All that it takes is to ask, so we will receive by faith because we are sons:
“Until now you have not asked [the Father] for anything in My name; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy may be full and complete.”John 16:24 AMP
“For when you live controlled by the flesh, you are about to die. But if the life of the Spirit puts to death the corrupt ways of the flesh, we then taste his abundant life.”Romans 8:13 TPT
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”Joshua 1:8 NIV
“This is the reason I urge you to boldly believe for whatever you ask for in prayer—be convinced that you have received it and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24 TPTMark 11:24 TPT
The John 10:10 Abundant Life is Lived by Faith
Our lives in union with Jesus were always meant to be lived by faith, because that’s how we receive Him. The Father gave His own son up for us so that we could live forever with Him, so if our Heavenly Father lovingly sacrificed Him for us, why wouldn’t He also freely give us everything else we could need? (Romans 8:32)
So, if you aren’t receiving from God, you need to take a look at your faith and speak it out! Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God. (Romans 10:17) Take heart, believers. We serve a God that has taken all things into consideration for each of us. He knows what we need, and He stands ready to supply it both now and into eternity.
If you find your faith lacking to receive what He has abundantly promised in John 10:10, get into your Bible and find a promise and begin to declare it for yourself. God is a promise keeper. To Him that is serious business. If you are willing to pray it in, He’s willing to birth it back through you within the abundant life He has so beautifully lavished upon you in Christ! May you live within the John 10:10 life He bled and died for you to have in Jesus’ Mighty Name!
If you need more ideas, check out 21 Ways God Provides to stir up your faith in God! If you’d like to learn more about how to have an abundant life in knowing Jesus in the secret place, check out Intimacy with God by Journaling in the Secret Place.