1:4 In him was life, 1 and the life was the light of mankind. 2
5:26 For just as the Father has life in himself, thus he has granted the Son to have life in himself,
5:39 You study the scriptures thoroughly 3 because you think in them you possess eternal life, 4 and it is these same scriptures 5 that testify about me,
11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live 6 even if he dies,
12:50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. 7 Thus the things I say, I say just as the Father has told me.” 8
1 tn John uses ζωή (zwh) 37 times: 17 times it occurs with αἰώνιος (aiwnios), and in the remaining occurrences outside the prologue it is clear from context that “eternal” life is meant. The two uses in 1:4, if they do not refer to “eternal” life, would be the only exceptions. (Also 1 John uses ζωή 13 times, always of “eternal” life.)
sn An allusion to Ps 36:9, which gives significant OT background: “For with you is the fountain of life; In your light we see light.” In later Judaism, Bar 4:2 expresses a similar idea. Life, especially eternal life, will become one of the major themes of John’s Gospel.
2 tn Or “humanity”; Grk “of men” (but ἄνθρωπος [anqrwpo"] is used in a generic sense here, not restricted to males only, thus “mankind,” “humanity”).
3 tn Or “Study the scriptures thoroughly” (an imperative). For the meaning of the verb see G. Delling, TDNT 2:655-57.
4 sn In them you possess eternal life. Note the following examples from the rabbinic tractate Pirqe Avot (“The Sayings of the Fathers”): Pirqe Avot 2:8, “He who has acquired the words of the law has acquired for himself the life of the world to come”; Pirqe Avot 6:7, “Great is the law for it gives to those who practice it life in this world and in the world to come.”
5 tn The words “same scriptures” are not in the Greek text, but are supplied to clarify the referent (“these”).
6 tn That is, will come to life.
7 tn Or “his commandment results in eternal life.”
8 tn Grk “The things I speak, just as the Father has spoken to me, thus I speak.”