Just Life – the theme


The New Testament uses three words for ‘life’: bios, psychē and zōē.

Where bios occurs it describes one’s state of existence (Lk 8:14; 1 Tim 2:2; 2 Tim 2:4; 1 Pet 4:2; 1 Jn 2:16)

Psychē describes ‘self’ – we use it today to describe the totality of the human mind, conscious, and unconscious. The word soul is sometimes used synonymously. The scientific study of the psyche is known as Psychology .

Holistic Growth

Luke252Zōē occurs 134 in the NT as a way to describe vitality.  Zōē is what makes us physically alive, the state of happiness or enjoying life, the total sum of all our activities. Which is why ‘life’ is such an apt theme for a conference on ‘integral mission’ – a Latin American phrase that means having it all, a whole life / mission nothing left out!  Our mission is our life and our life is our mission – all our heart, soul, mind, strength, wisdom, stature and favour (Mt 22:37;  Mk 12:30; Lk 10:27; 2:52).

What Jesus did was to transform human life holistically: to create a new world where God is supreme & human beings relate to each other according to his original purpose of love & justice -  the kingdom. [1]  

Zōē is the word used in the New Testament phrase ‘eternal life,’ a quality of life that every believer already has access to in the present, rather than something that they will have in the future (Jn 3:36; 6:47); 1 Jn 5:1-13; 16).

[Eternal life] means more than mere everlastingness.  It is a life of new quality – the God-type life. [2]

Jesus says, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (Jn 17:3).  Life is about knowing God and having fellowship with God through his Son, Jesus Christ.



What God sees as His-type of life has been covered above, it’s about living in a way that loves God, loves self and loves others with a totality – God’s command for life in a nutshell, Jesus said so Himself (Mt 22:37;  Mk 12:30; Lk 10:27).


2014′s National Conference will explore how we just live a just life: a life based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair; well founded; justifiable; precise; bare; everyday; no more than; normal; only; simple; absolute; real; possible; complete; everything; fuller; holistic; total; whole; integral. [3]

Where we spend most of our time – at home, at work, in the neighbourhood – matters to God and to his mission in and for the world. Far from restricting our faith to the ‘personal’ sphere, disengaged from everyday living, Scripture encourages us to take the Lord of life into the whole of life. [4]


[1] Padilla R 1985. Mission between the times, 198. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

[2] McDonald HD 1995. Life, In Elwell WA (ed.), Evangelical dictionary of theology, 641. Michigan: Baker.

[3] http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/just

[4] Billington A 2012. Whole Life, Whole Bible: 50 readings on living in the light of Scripture. Abingdon: BRF.

About admin

Phil Bowyer is one of the founders of Integral Mission and Soul Action South Africa. He creates space for people who are exploring how to respond to various forms of poverty to connect with one another and God's mission. He is the author of several books on Integral Mission, incl. A Different World, Express Community and The Whole Wide World.