The controversy of the Word, Logos in John 1:1,14 How to do a word study in the Bible.
Words are powerful. We use them to get attention, make a statement, and prove a point. The words we choose are important. John’s words had to be important to be preserved in the most powerful book ever written. Knowing the meanings behind his words helps us to understand what the Bible is telling us. One way to do that is to do a word study. In the same way that a character study adds depth, a word study will add understanding to a passage of scripture. This will open up another layer of the Truth contained in the Bible.
John 1:1, 14 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. (14) The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John chose to call Jesus the Word. I wondered why he would do that. I thought that if I could find out what the word was in its original language, I might be able to find a clearer understanding of what it means. Knowing that the Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic led me to my concordance. A good Bible Concordance is a very useful tool to use when studying the Bible. It is simply a reference book that takes the words in a certain translation and provides the corresponding Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew word for almost every English word found in the Bible. Strong’s Concordance is very popular and probably the most widely used. I prefer the New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, since that is my favorite translation.
From my Concordance, I learned that the Greek term that is translated into English as the “Word” is “Logos ”. In order to see what I could learn about Logos, I typed it in to my favorite internet search engine and discovered it was full of meaning. Both the Greeks and the Jews had their own opinions about whom or what the Logos was. The idea that Logos would or could take on a human form would have been new to both of them.
In Greek philosophy, Logos was the ultimate reason that animated and ordered the universe. The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, said “all things occur according to Logos” He believed that the universe was constantly changing and that the Logos was the underlying reason behind the change. He pictured Logos as an intelligent, eternal fire. For the Stoics, Logos was the universal, eternal Reason; it was the divine fire that is in everything.
To the Jews, Logos was the spoken word of God. It was Logos that spoke to the prophets. Jeremiah 1:4 – “The word of the LORD came to me…”, Jonah 1:1 -“The word of the LORD came to Jonah…”, and so on. It was God’s logos that spoke the world into creation. Psalms 33:6 – “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.” Logos was simply the words God spoke, His revelation, His creativity.
The truth is that Jesus is the Logos. He has always existed. He was with God in the beginning because He is God. Neither the Greeks nor the Jews had the total picture. Yes, God is the ultimate intelligence behind the universe and yes His words spoke creation into existence. He was the one who spoke prophesy to the Prophets and gave order to our world. But He is so much more than that. He created us and he loves us so much that he was willing to come to earth and live among us. He is not an impersonal, intangible fire, idea or thought. He is an actual being. The people who lived in that first century had the privilege of seeing him and knowing him as a physical person. How fortunate we are to have a God who cares so much about us!
The words we choose reflect on who we are. John’s introduction to his gospel is bold. He knew the truth and he wasn’t afraid to share it. I don’t believe he feared being controversial any more than he feared the storms on the Galilee. His personality was perfect to reach the world he was in. This is a challenge to me. I am often shy about sharing the truth with others. Fear of saying the wrong thing, being rejected and looked at as a “know it all” often keeps me quiet. But I know that God has a purpose for me. The personality He has given me is perfect for the job He wants me to do. Knowing this sometimes gives me the courage to speak up and I hope will someday help me to become all He wants me to be.
Thank you for reading my hub. If you would like to read the next one on John 1:3, click on Jesus is creator, how to study the Bible.
- The Controversy of the Word, Logos in John 1; Part 1
Imagine what it was like as the opening statement of the apostle John's book shocked their world. Find out what Logos means to the Greeks and the Jews and why it was so controversial to hear it applied to Jesus.
Read more on this subject from hubber Teacherjoe52