The Synonymous Words for "Life"
This Is Appendix 170 From The Companion Bible.
There are three principal words translated "LIFE". Their shades of meaning are to be distinguished as follow :-
- zoe = life in all its manifestations; from the life of God down to the lowest vegetable. It is life in activity, and thus especially is the opposite of death. It involves resurrection life and eternal life; and hence, as such, is the "gift of God" (Romans 6:23. 1 John 5:12) For the same reason its verb zao is frequently used of, and put for, resurrection life (Matthew 9:18.
Mark 16:11. Luke 24:5, 23. John 11:25, 26. Acts 1:3; 9:41; 25:19. Romans 6:10;
14:9. 2 Corinthians 13:4. Revelation 1:18; 2:8; 13:14; 20:4, 5.
- bios = life, as lived, manner of life; life as led, etc.; zoe being life as one experiences it; bios as others see it. This is used therefore, only of mankind, who not only live but lead lives. Hence the difference between ZO-ology and BIO-graphy. Zoe is life in its principle; bios is life in its manifestations (Luke 8:14). Bios is also put by Figure of Speech, Metonymy (of Adjunct), Appendix 6, for livelihood, or that which supports animal life (Luke 8:43). It occurs eleven times
(Mark 12:44. Luke 8:14, 43; 15:12, 30; 21:4. 1 Timothy 2:2. 2
Timothy 2:4. 1 Peter 4:3. 1 John 2:16; 3:17).
- psuche = the breath of animal life; one of the manifestations of zoe, common to all living animals. In one passage (Isaiah 10:18, the Hebrew nephesh (Appendix 13), Greek psuche) is applied to vegetable life. It is used of the living individual as such. For its various renderings and usages, see Appendix 110.