“In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1 NASB)
The Strong’s numbers for John 1:1
“In the beginningG746 was R2the WordG3056, and the WordG3056 was R3with GodG2316, and R4the WordG3056 was GodG2316.”
“In the beginning,” The single Gk word is archē; It denotes an order, time, place, or rank, and an act, in this case, the beginning. It can also indicate a cause, as in Col_1:18;
A comparative verse is Genesis 1:1 from the OT.
Genesis 1:1 NASB “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
Much like the Apostle John’s gospel, this one Hebrew word, rê’shı̂yth, conveys the phrase “In the beginning.” It, too, carries the meaning of the first, in place, time, order, or rank.
Likewise, Colossians 1:17 tells us that “He is before all things.” Interesting how the definitions include the idea that things were happening in order. We see a comparable assertion when we consider Genesis 1:1.
Since John’s gospel defines the context as Jesus, we could walk away, shake the dust off our feet, and call it done. But the terminology “He” also applies to God. Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae also conveys the idea that Jesus’ Words hold all things together, and if you were honest, you would admit that you, too, think of God as He.
What evidence do we have that confirms this relationship between God and Jesus?
“In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1 GNB)
This Good News Bible is quite simplistic, but it opens with a telling statement, when this all began, the Word already existed, and it seems He was standing next to Abba when He spoke the universe into existence.
This opens the door to another mystery.
Had Jesus, knowing how things would turn out, already submitted Himself to take on the form of a man?
One piece of evidence that fuels such a thought comes from the many pre-incarnate appearances of Jesus Christ throughout the Old Testament. If the Messiah created with a human inclination, then you would think he would have done so with a concern for the beauty of nature, which we humans are so enamored with, as it would have become a part of His thinking. Although I am getting ahead of myself, John 1:14 clearly tells us that the Word became flesh.
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
(John 1:14 NASB)
The word became is the Greek word ginomai. The Word Study Dictionary gives us the meaning: to begin to be, to come into existence or into any state, or simply to be.
1 John 1:1 NASB “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life–”
John and many other disciples unashamedly testified to some essential things that many feel comfortable denying or ignoring.
- We heard. Many events have sounds and memorable sayings associated with them.
- We have seen with our eyes. We saw people’s lives change because of the miracles.
- And, we touched with our hands. While touching has some wide latitude, it could be taken to mean they touched the Son of God.
In a translation such as the LITV, the word “the” is italicized, indicating that it was added for clarity.
“In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1 LITV)
I could read this, “In beginning.” A read like this applies no parameters to how this should be understood. The Septuagint, where it reads “en arche,” conveys the idea of a point of commencement, simply to begin, or it is indicative of a process.
Since John seems to lean heavily upon Genesis 1:1 as a prophetic witness, you would think that we would see the same treatment of the word “the” in the Genesis record. However, a proper study of the Genesis account proves that it could be read in the same manner but through the usage of a singular Hebrew word, rê’shı̂yth.
Now let’s ponder the phrase “the Word” for a moment.
The phrase is simple enough. It is (as Strong’s dictionary points out) “The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article.” In other words, it is pointed to one thing, the person of Jesus in all His forms.
I already pointed out how John 1:14 tells us that the Word became flesh, and yet, suddenly, I find my thoughts a little cloudy, and here is why. Here we are in January 2023, and lately, one of the current trends is to ask some artificial intelligence application to provide an image of God. Some results are effeminate, homogeneous, ethereal beings with a single eye where the forehead should be.
When people try to play the race card and say that “we” have created a white God, I point out that there is the possibility that God is nuclear energy. I say that because Moses was NOT allowed to look at the face of God, as it would kill the man. Instead, Moses was allowed a fleeting glimpse of the backside of God as He moved away. As a result of that moment, Moses glowed for quite a while, so much so that the people asked him to cover his head.
“It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses’ hand as he was coming down from the mountain) that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him.” (Exodus 34:29 NASB)
We know that Moses was on that mountain for 40 days and nights, longer than a human can live without water and food, but we have no chronological timeline of when specific things occurred. So the point here is we do not know how long Moses glowed.
And yet, when the Pharisees demanded that Jesus show them the Father, He merely responded by saying, if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. Today, we see Jesus primarily through the Word of God – the Bible.