The Meaning Of Eternal Life

Q. I happened to notice a Catholic commentary on the Scriptures, and I looked up John 3:16 to see what it had to say. What struck me was the book’s claim that the words for “eternal life” stresses the quality of life rather than the duration of life. Can you help us with what the Greek means, and how to respond to this interpretation?

A. The Greek word for “eternal” in John 3:16 means “without end, never to cease, everlasting.” It’s the Greek word for “life” that follows it that carries a connotation of quality. It means “the state of one who is possessed of vitality or is animate,” whose life is “real or genuine.” Therefore whoever believes in Jesus has a real, genuine life that is everlasting and will never cease. Sounds pretty straight forward to me. I would respond by asking how the author came to his conclusion.

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