The New Testament uses two words for life. The first one is bios (as in biology). The second is zoe. Bios has to do with physical existence. Zoe, on the other hand, is life as God has it. Max Lucado writes that bios is life “extensive,” while zoe is life “intensive.” As you might have suspected, the word in John 3:16 uses for life is zoe.
Can Jesus really deliver on his promise?
The eternal life that God offers to us begins now, not when we die and get to heaven. The uncomfortable alternative to finding life in Jesus through belief is summed up in one word: perish. The bios we enjoy is a gift from God. It’s our opportunity to discover zoe through Jesus Christ. That’s the purpose of life. Death freezes the moral compass. Wherever death takes you, eternity will keep you.
This is why Jesus extends invitation after invitation to us to believe. In one of his more passionate pleas, he said “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” (John 5:24, NLT)