The Greek word for “life” is zoe. This is the root of the English words “zoo” and “zoology.” Zoe is used of the state of existing and being animate which is common to all mankind, whether saved or unsaved. For example, Paul says to the idol worshipping Greeks at Athens, “The God who made the world and all things in it…He Himself gives to all life (zoe) and breath and all things…for in Him we live (zao—the verb form) and move and have our being” (Acts 17:25-28 NASV). Zoe also refers to an individual person’s life while on earth (Luke 16:25, Philippians 1:20, James 4:14). But in the Greek New Testament, zoe has a special meaning. It speaks of the life that is given by God through Christ Jesus to those who believe the gospel. In this usage, zoe is often modified by the adjective aionios [English: eon] which means “eternal”, “everlasting”, “of endless duration.”
Scripture reveals that the source or fount of this zoe life is God the Father. Indeed, Jesus calls Him “the living [zao] Father” (John 6:57), indicating that zoe life is the very life that God has in Himself. Having life in Himself, the Father imparted this life to the Son: “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself” (John 5:26 NASV).
In turn, the Son manifested this life to the world. Consider John’s words: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men, and the light shines in the darkness…” (John 1:4-5 NASV). Again, John says: “And the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us” (I John 1:2 NASV). Paul confirms John’s testimony when he says that God’s purpose “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” (II Timothy 1:9-10 NASV).
Jesus’ foremost purpose in coming was to give zoe life to men, that is, to cause men to enter into and partake of the very life of God. “…I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10 NASV). “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I myself will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40 NASV). Again, “…Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life” (John 17:2 NASV).
Even before the ages of time began, God had promised to give zoe life to men: “…In the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago [“before the world began”—KJV], but at the proper time manifested…” (Titus 1:2-3 NASV).