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  • Writer's pictureScott Carr, Jr.

Exegesis of John 1:1-5. 14

John 1:1-5, 14 Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν. πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. ὃ γέγονεν ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων· καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν….Καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ ἐθεασάμεθα τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, δόξαν ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός, πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας·

Translation: In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. This one was with God in the beginning. By him all things were created, and separate from him not one thing was created. In him was life, and the life was the light of humanity. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not seized it….And the word became flesh and encamped with us, and we beheld his glory, a glory of its own kind, from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Consistently, λόγος has been interpreted in light of ancient Greek philosophy, drawing on an assumed Hellenistic background for John’s Gospel. An assumed Hellenistic origin for John has recently come into question, with multiple scholars recognizing a sophisticated Judaism standing behind the text. The background of the λόγος must also be questioned in light of these recent developments, a word which makes 36 appearances in John’s Gospel. The “word” of God plays a foundational role in the Old Testament. The Scriptures begin with a description of God speaking and the universe mysteriously springs to life as a direct result. John takes the creation image onto λόγος. The first item created in Genesis 1 is light, bursting forth, ready to illuminate the soon-to-be universe. The λόγος is described as light which brings life and which the darkness cannot overcome. John presents the λόγος as a creative force, not just in the creation story of Genesis 1, but continuing to enlighten humanity. He then describes the λόγος as not merely an impersonal force or an angel, but God Himself. It is God who creates, not just in Genesis 1, but continues to create and bring life to humanity. And this creating, enlightening God does not stay in the heavens, throwing words out to the universe, but keeping his distance. “The word became flesh and encamped with us.” The λόγος is God, continually present within His creation in the person of Jesus, continuing to bring light and life to His people.

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