The Agora
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The Greek for "Word" is, of course, "logos". As this phrase occurs in the Gospel records. it doesn't mean the whole Bible. It means clearly enough and without any dispute the Gospel message (eg Mar 2:2; 4:33; 16:20; Luk 3:2; Joh 12:48; 14:24; Acts 4:4; 11:19). The Gospel was preached to Abraham in that it comprises the promises to Him and their fulfillment in Jesus (Gal 3:8). That word of promise was "made flesh" in Jesus; "the word of the oath" of the new covenant, of the promises made to Abraham, "maketh the son" (Heb 7:28). This is just another way of saying that the word of the promises, of the Gospel, was made flesh in Jesus. Note how in Rom 9:6,9 "the word" is called "the word of promise" -- those made to Abraham. John's Gospel tends to repeat the ideas of the other gospel records but in more spiritual terms. Matthew and Luke begin their accounts of the message by giving the genealogies of Jesus, explaining that His birth was the fulfillment, the making flesh, of the promises to Abraham and David. And Mark defines his "beginning of the gospel" as the fact that Jesus was the fulfillment of the OT prophets. John is really doing the same, in essence. But he is using more spiritual language. "In the beginning" there was the word -- the word of promise, the word of prophecy, all through the OT. And that word was "made flesh" in Jesus, and on account of that word, all things in the new creation had and would come into being. Luke's prologue states that he was an "eyewitness and minister of the word from the beginning"; he refers to the word of the Gospel that later became flesh in Jesus. John's prologue is so similar: "That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld -- the word of life" (1Jo 1:1 RV). Joh 1:14 matched this with: "The word was made flesh, and we beheld his glory".

"Was made flesh"

"The word" is often put for the preaching of the word (Acts 6:2,4,7; Tit 2:5; Rev 1:9; 6:9; 20:4). The man Christ Jesus was the word of the Gospel made flesh. He was and is the epitome of what He and others preached. This is why another title for Jesus was "the Kingdom" -- he thus described himself when He said that he, the Kingdom, was amongst them in 1st century Israel (Luk 17:21). "The word of the Kingdom" is paralleled with "the word" (Mat 13:19; cp Mat 13:20-23). The things of the Kingdom and the things of Jesus are inextricably linked. Likewise John calls Jesus "the eternal life" (1Jo 1:2). The life that he lived was the quality of life which we will eternally live in the Kingdom. The personality of Jesus was the living quintessence of all that he preached -- as it should be with the living witness which our lives make. To preach "Christ" was and is therefore to preach "the things concerning the Kingdom of God", because that Kingdom will be all about the manifestation of the man Christ Jesus (Acts 8:5,12). So Jesus was "the word" in the sense that He epitomized the Gospel. This is why Jam 1:18 says that we are born again by the word of the Gospel, and 1Pe 1:23 says that the word who begets is the Lord Jesus.

"The word was God"

"The word", the "word of the Kingdom", "the Gospel", "the word of God" are all parallel expressions throughout the Gospels. The records of the parable of the sower speak of both "the word of God" (Luk 8:11-15) and "the word of the Kingdom" (Mat 13:19). The word / Gospel of God refers to the message which is about God, just as the "word of the Kingdom" means the word which is about the Kingdom, rather than suggesting that the word is one and the same as the Kingdom. "The gospel of God" means the Gospel which is about God, not the Gospel which is God Himself in person (Rom 1:1; 15:16; 2Co 11:7; 1Th 2:2,8,9; 1Pe 4:17). So, the word of God, the Gospel of God, was made flesh in Jesus. "The word of Jesus" and "the word of God" are interchangeable (Acts 19:10,20; 1Th 1:8; 2:13); as is "the word of the Gospel" and "the word of Jesus" (Acts 15:7,35). The word was not directly equivalent to Jesus; rather, he manifested the word, he showed us by his life and words and personality what the Kingdom was like, what God is like; for the word which he "became" was about God, and about the Kingdom. He was the entire Gospel, of God and of His Kingdom, made flesh. And our witness should be modeled on his pattern -- we should be the living embodiment of the doctrines we preach.

"He came unto his own"

The context here speaks of both the word which was "in the beginning", and of Jesus personally, whom John had witnessed to. Acts 10:36-38 RV puts this in simpler terms: "He sent the word unto the children of Israel, preaching the gospel of peace by [in] Jesus Christ -- that word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; even Jesus of Nazareth". The sequence and similarity of thought between this and Joh 1:1-8 is so great that one can only assume that John is deliberately alluding to Luke's record in Acts, and stating the same truths in spiritual terms: In the beginning was the word of the Gospel which was with God. And then John came witnessing to Jesus, and then the word as it was in Jesus came to the Jews. Paul pleaded with his fellow Jews: "Brethren, children of the stock of Abraham to us is the word of this salvation sent forth" (Acts 13:26 RV). Yet he also wrote that in the fullness of time, God "sent forth His Son, made of a woman" (Gal 4:4). The Son of God was "the word of this salvation" / Jesus.

"All things were made by him"

By the time John was writing his Gospel [somewhat later than the others], the idea of believers being a new creation in Christ would have been developed in the early ecclesia. The Greek translated "made by" occurs often in John's Gospel. It clearly describes how the Gospel of the Lord Jesus made new men and women; lives were transformed into something new. The phrase is used in the immediate context of John 1: "to become [be made] the sons of God" (Joh 1:12), in that grace and truth came [were made] by Jesus (Joh 1:17). "All things" therefore refers to the "all things" of the new creation. Note how Jesus came unto "his own things" (Joh 1:11 RV mg), ie to the Jewish people. "All things" therefore comfortably refers to the "all things" of the new creation -- which is just how Paul uses the phrase (Eph 1:10,22; 4:10; Col 1:16-20). Quite simply all of us, in "all things" of our spiritual experience, owe them all to Gods word of promise and its fulfillment in Christ. This is how totally central are the promises to Abraham!

Consider other occurrences of "made by" in John's Gospel: (a) Joh 4:14: The water of the life of Jesus shall be [made] in the believer "a well of water springing up into everlasting life"; (b) Joh 5:9,14: the lame man "was made" whole; (c) Joh 10:16: the believers shall be made (RV shall become) one flock; (d) Joh 12:36: may be [made], RV become, "the children of light"; (e) Joh 15:8: So shall ye be [made] my disciples; (f) Joh 16:20 Your sorrow shall be turned [made] into joy.

In this sense Jesus can be described as the creator of a "new creation" (2Co 5:17). But in practice, it is the word of the Gospel, the message of Jesus, which brings this about in the lives of those who hear and respond to it. We are born again by the word, the "seed" of the living God (1Pe 1:23 RV mg). In this arresting, shocking analogy, the "word" of the Gospel, the word which was made flesh in the person of Jesus, is likened to the seed or sperm of God. We were begotten again by "the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creations" (Jam 1:18). In God's word, in all that is revealed in it of the person of our Lord Jesus, we come face to face with the imperative: as we know of him, then we should be like him. In this feature of God's word, as it is in the Bible record and therefore and thereby as it is in and of His Son, we have the ultimate creative power, the dynamism so desperately needed by humanity, to transform lives. (DH)

Paraphrase of John 1

Initially there was a pattern for everything. The pattern was God's; God was the pattern. The pattern was always God. Everything came from that pattern. There isn't anything else. The pattern is both the source of life and the meaning of life. It is a way of being alive in opposition to death, and death cannot overcome it.

God sent a man named John to tell people about the possibilities of this way of being alive in opposition to death so everybody would trust the source of life. John wasn't the source of life; he taught how to recognize the pattern. The true pattern, the source and meaning of everybody's life, was coming to people.

To some people, however, life, and what life is all about, is unrecognizable. Some who could be expected to see the possibilities of this way of being alive select death instead. Others embrace life. They trust what life offers.

Life offers something more intense than the strongest family ties: obtaining a new parent, God, the source, the meaning of life itself. The initial pattern for everything that is became a human being and lived among us. We experienced how awesome that is: as awesome as a newborn baby is to its daddy, the gift of life and all its possibilities.

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