The Book of Life – What is it?

The Book of Life is described in Revelation 20:15 with these words: “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” It is also mentioned in Revelation 3:5 as a book from which believers will never be removed. This book will be opened on the final day of judgment (Revelation 20:12) and those not found in it will be thrown into the lake of fire.

In Philippians 4:3 the apostle Paul also seems to refer to this same book, stating, “Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.” Paul referred to these believers as people whose names are in the Book of Life.

The most important place your name could ever be written is in this book. How can you make sure your name is included in the Book of Life? This takes place by believing in Jesus Christ as Savior: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). No amount of works can earn a spot in the Book of Life. It is a gift that comes through faith in Jesus.

Once a person believes in Christ, he or she becomes an overcomer and will never have their name removed from the Book of Life: “The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels” (Revelation 3:5). Nothing will separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39).

Also important to note is Psalm 69:28: “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous.” Some have used this verse as an example of people being removed from the Book of Life. However, the context of this passage is far different. In it, David is speaking against his enemies. He poetically asks the Lord to put his enemies to death or to stop their threat against him. This is not speaking of the Book of Life mentioned in Revelation but instead about rescue from physical enemies in the context of war.

A proper understanding of the Book of Life should serve as a great encouragement to believers and as a stern warning to unbelievers. Believers can take comfort in knowing their salvation is secure, their future is in heaven, and their eternity is with Christ. Those whose names are not written in the Book of Life are encouraged to believe in Christ today, knowing that eternal doom awaits those whose lives end without salvation in Christ.