The Gospel According to John . Part 1 of 49 (Jn 1:1-18)

This is part 1 of 49 parts video series covering the Gospel of John.

About the Gospel of John. The gospel of John was written to persuade people to believe in Jesus (20:30-31). The opening verses declare that Jesus is God, stressing His unique relationship with God the Father. The book focuses on seven of Jesus’ signs (miracles), to show his divinity. Jesus called people to believe in him, promising eternal life. He proved he could give life by raising Lazarus (ch.11) and by his own death and resurrection. John features Christ’s seven “I am” statements, his encounters with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman, his upper room teachings and washing of disciple’s feet (chs. 13-16, and his high priestly prayer (ch. 17. It includes the most well-known summary of the gospel (3:16).

Here it is told that “In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (v.1) and “The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us”(v.14) referring to Jesus Christ.

John 1:1-18 (GNT)

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JOHN 1:1-18 (GNT)

 In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

From the very beginning the Word was with God.

Through him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him.

The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to people.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.

6 God sent his messenger, a man named John,

who came to tell people about the light, so that all should hear the message and believe.

He himself was not the light; he came to tell about the light.

This was the real light—the light that comes into the world and shines on all people.

10 The Word was in the world, and though God made the world through him, yet the world did not recognize him.

11 He came to his own country, but his own people did not receive him.

12 Some, however, did receive him and believed in him; so he gave them the right to become God’s children.

13 They did not become God’s children by natural means, that is, by being born as the children of a human father; God himself was their Father.

14 The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son.

15 John spoke about him. He cried out, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘He comes after me, but he is greater than I am, because he existed before I was born.’”

16 Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another.

17 God gave the Law through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

18 No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is the same as God and is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.


Commentary

A. In the beginning: This refers to the timeless eternity of Genesis 1:19 (In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth). John essentially wrote, “When the beginning began, the Word was already there.” The idea is that the Word existed before creation or even time.

i. John makes it clear that the Word is not just the beginning, but it is the beginning of the beginning. He was there in the beginning, before anything was.

ii. Was the Word: “Had the Word a beginning? John says, ‘No: for if we reach back to any beginning, there already was in existence the Word.’ At once it is evident to John’s vision ‘The Word’ is no other than God the self-existent.” (Trench)

iii. “This description is given in order that we may at once grasp a continuous history which runs out of an unmeasured past, and the identity of the person who is subject of that history.” (Dods)

B. In the beginning was the Word: Word translates the ancient Greek word Logos. The idea of the logos had deep and rich roots in both Jewish and Greek thinking.

i. Jewish rabbis often referred to God (especially in His more personal aspects) in terms of His word. They spoke of God Himself as “the word of God.” For example, ancient Hebrew editions of the Old Testament change Exodus 19:17(Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God) to “Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet the word of God.” In the mind of the ancient Jews, the phrase “the word of God” could be used to refer to God Himself.

ii. The Greek philosophers saw the logos as the power that puts sense into the world, making the world orderly instead of chaotic. The logos was the power that set the world in perfect order and kept it going in perfect order. They saw the logos as the “Ultimate Reason” that controlled all things. (Dods, Morris, Barclay, Bruce, and others)

iii. Therefore in this opening John said to both Jews and Greeks: “For centuries you’ve been talking, thinking, and writing about the Word (the logos). Now I will tell you who He is.” John met both Jews and Greeks where they were at, and explained Jesus in terms they already understood.

iv. “John was using a term which, with various shades of meaning, was in common use everywhere. He could reckon on all men catching his essential meaning.” (Morris)

v. “The word being thus already in use and aiding thoughtful men in their efforts to conceive God’s connection with the world, John takes it and uses us to denote the Revealer of the incomprehensible and invisible God.” (Dods)

Commentary by Enduring Word


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