Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “Logos” as:
1: the divine wisdom manifest in the creation, government, and redemption of the world and often identified with the second person of the Trinity
2: reason that in ancient Greek philosophy is the controlling principle in the universe
John 1:1-4 (KJV) – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
John 1:14 (KJV) – And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
The Gospel of John begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Here John clearly states that this “Word” was not only with God, but this “Word” was God. Then in verse 14 John states that this “Word” was “made flesh, and dwelt among us.” John here argues that Jesus was the “Word.” This same Jesus was not only eternal but was God. Furthermore, all of creation, came about by and through Jesus. Jesus was and is the source of all life.
The Greek word which is translated “Word” in these texts is the word “logos”. Greek influence and philosophy were great during the first century A.D. The term “logos” was coined about five hundred years before Christ. To the ancient Greeks, the term “logos” meant the principle of cosmic reason. The Hebrews had a similar concept that they referred to as “wisdom” which they believed was God’s helper in creation. The Greek philosopher Philo, who was Jewish, combined these two themes when he described the “Logos” as God’s creator and mediator of the material world. In the Gospel of John we see John adopting Philo’s description of the “Logos” by applying it to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ then is the incarnation of the “Logos”.
John, while clearly appealing to Greek philosophy, may have used the word “logos” in reference to divine reason, his real point was that Jesus was the “logos”. The power of John’s words couldn’t make it clearer for us:
– “In the beginning was the Word” – Jesus is Eternal!
-“The Word was with God” – Jesus was with God prior to coming to earth!
-” The Word was God” – Jesus is God!
-“All things were made by Him” – Jesus is the Creator!
-“In Him was life” – Jesus is the Giver of Life!
-“The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” – Jesus (as God) manifested or revealed himself in human form to live among us!
The first chapter of John reminds us of the first chapter of Genesis. The direct resemblance of John 1:1 to Genesis 1:1 is striking. Compare John 1:1 with Genesis 1:1.
Genesis 1:1 (KJV) – In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
John 1:1 (KJV) – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
While the term “logos” may be used in many ways, John makes the term a clear reference to Jesus. This same Jesus was God almighty who both created us and lived among us. John’s use of the Greek word “Logos” became an important theological term to the early Christian church. Likewise, it remains a concept of significant influence today. However, unlike the Greeks, who thought of the “Logos” as an impersonal ordering force, John declares that the “Logos” (Word), as the creative force of God, became flesh and dwelt amongst us. The power and majesty of John’s words were meant to teach both the Jews and Greeks the truth about who Jesus really is – “the Word made flesh”!