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John 1 verse 1

28-02-2015 - Posted by Andre Piet

28-2-2015 12-37-28 There are few Bible verses that are theologically so ‘heavy loaded’ as the first verse in the account of John. On this verse, especially, orthodoxy basis the pre-existence of God the Son. Altogether in line therewith, The Bible in simple language, paraphrases:

In the beginning was God’s Son already there He was with God, and He Himself was God.

In departure from this, the New World Translation of the so-called “Jehovah’s Witnesses” translates it:

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was a god.

The difference in both presentations is great. In the first version it is about Someone besides God, who Himself also is God, and in the second version it is about Someone, who besides God, is a god. It is the age-old controversy of the fourth century, between Athanasius and Arius. Athanasius taught that the Son, together with the Father, from eternity, is one being with God. Arius denied this and taught that the Son was the first creature created by God. However great the difference may be between both points of view, both agree to the idea that “the word” in John 1:1 represents Someone. It explains the capital letter wherewith the word “Word” is presented. It suggests that it is all about a personal name. But what is ‘word’? As in the Greek (logos) ‘word’, according to lexicons and dictionaries, it is “the expression of a thought”. It can be a message of truth (2Cor.6:7), a saying (John 4:37), a proposal (Acts 6:5), a testing (John 6:6), a rumor (Acts 28:15) or a question (Mat.22:15). However, in whatever context, it is always the expression of an idea. In John 1:1, “word” refers to “in [the] beginning” of Genesis 1, when God spoke and by which everything came to be (John 1:3). 28-2-2015 12-39-48 From the start, the word was there, i.e., God spoke. All things were made through it (John 1:3). The word was, all things became. Psalm 33:6 says:

By the word of YAHWEH, the heavens were made…

Does the psalmist here, speak about someone besides God, by whom the heavens were created? No, it speaks of God, who through His word made the heavens.

For He spoke, and it came to be; He enjoined, and it stood firm. -Psalm 33:9-

No one, in all of this, stood besides God, because …

Who ALONE is stretching out the heavens… -Job 9:8-

And Isaiah 44:24 says:

“I, YAHWEH, am Maker of all, Who stretched out the heavens ALONE. When stamping out the earth…

John, in his prologue, refers to these known truths from the Hebrew Bible. From the beginning, God has spoken, and through His word, everything came into existence. The second part of John 1:1 then says: 28-2-2015 12-39-58 Most translations express this as: “and the Word was with God.” The Greek ‘pros’ is shown here, as if it said ‘para’, which means ‘next to’ or ‘with’. But ‘pros’ indicates a direction: toward. The word was toward God (reversed). The word comes from God, Yes, but it returns again to Him, as well. Isaiah 55:11 says:

…so shall be My word which shall fare forth from My mouth. It shall not return to Me empty, but rather, it does that which I desire, and prospers in that for which I sent it.

And the third part of John 1: 1 says: 28-2-2015 12-40-10 Usually this part of the sentence is translated to read: “and the word was God”. Or “and the word was a god”. But as well as in the first and second part, the meaning is reversed. For it says, “and God was the word.” Later in the prologue (1:18), John writes “no one has ever seen God…”. God is not seen, but heard. God identifies Himself with His word. And hence: God was the word. John 1: 1 is not about Someone who was with God from the beginning and who helped Him create all that is. No, John 1:1 points us to the glory of the word of God! It is theological projection, to make of “the word”, in John 1:1, a person. Nothing in the text, itself, indicates that idea. There is one God, Who from the beginning, has spoken and that is “the word.” So we know Him. Is “the word” then not a separate person? Yes, but that is only since the word became flesh (John 1:14). God’s word came to Mary, and His power overshadowed her, and so was the Son of God generated (Luke 1:35,38).

And the Word became flesh and tabernacles among us, and we gaze at His glory, a glory as of an only-begotten from the Father-John 1:14-

Several times in the account of John, reference is made to this pre-existence of the “word” (1:15,30; 3:13; 17:5). Where was the Son in creation (see also Col.1:15.16)? He was in the word that sounded, so that everything came into existence!