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George Lamsa Translation of the Peshitta
John 1:1

THE Word was in the beginning, and that very Word was with God, and God was that Word.

Bible Study Resources

Commentaries:

- Clarke Commentary;   Abbott's New Testament;   A.W. Pinks's Commentary;   Birdgeway Bible Commentary;   Coffman Commentaries;   Barne's Notes;   Box's Commentaries on Selected Books;   Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes;   Calvin's Commentary;   Cambridge Greek Testament;   Lapide's Commentary;   Chuck Smith Commentary;   Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible ;   Constable's Expository Notes;   Daily Study Bible;   Darby's Synopsis;   Ellicott's Commentary;   Expositor's Greek Testament;   Family Bible New Testament;   Hole's Commentary;   Meyer's Commentary;   Gaebelein's Annotated;   Golden Chain Commentary;   Morgan's Biblical Exposition;   Gill's Exposition;   Godbey's NT Commentary;   Everett's Study Notes;   Geneva Study Bible;   Alford's Commentary;   Haydock's Catholic Commentary;   Meyer's Commentary;   Mahan's Commentary;   The Bible Study New Testament;   Ironside's Notes;   Bengel's Gnomon;   Commentary Critical and Explanatory;   Commentary Critical and Explanatory - Unabridged;   Gray's Commentary;   Lightfoot's Commentary;   The People's Bible;   Sutcliffe's Commentary;   Trapp's Commentary;   Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the Bible;   Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures;   Grant's Commentary;   Wells of Living Water;   MacLaren's Expositions;   Henry's Complete;   Henry's Concise;   Poole's Annotations;   Pett's Bible Commentary;   Peake's Bible Commentary;   Preacher's Homiletical Commentary;   Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary;   People's New Testament;   Benson's Commentary;   Robertson's Word Pictures;   Ryle's Exposiory Thougths;   Sermon Bible;   Schaff's New Testament Commentary;   Horae Homileticae;   Spurgeon's Verse Expositions;   Scofield's Notes;   Biblical Illustrator;   Coke's Commentary;   Expositor's Bible;   Fourfold Gospel;   Pulpit Commentaries;   Treasury of Knowledge;   Vincent's Studies;   Burkitt's Notes;   Wesley's Notes;   Whedon's Commentary;  

Concordances:

- Nave's Topical Bible - Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Wisdom;   Word;   Scofield Reference Index - Christ;   John;   Logos;   Word;   Thompson Chain Reference - Christ;   Divine;   Divinity;   Divinity-Humanity;   Eternal;   Names;   Pre-Existence of Christ;   Titles and Names;   Word the, Christ as;   The Topic Concordance - Belief;   Creation;   Giving and Gifts;   Jesus Christ;   Life;   Light;   Power;   Rebirth/being Born Again;   Receiving;   Word of God;   World;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Christ Is God;   Excellency and Glory of Christ, the;   Titles and Names of Christ;  

Dictionaries:

- American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Creation;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jesus christ;   John, gospel of;   Preaching;   Son of god;   Trinity;   Word;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Anthropomorphism;   Image of God;   Israel;   Jesus Christ;   Jesus Christ, Name and Titles of;   Life;   Miracle;   Old Testament in the New Testament, the;   Time;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Jesus Christ;   Quakers;   Universalists;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Christian;   Communicatio idiomatum;   Hypostatic union;   Incarnation;   Jesus;   Logos;   Mediation, mediator;   Salvation;   Trinity;   Word, the;   Worship;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Son of God;   Word, the;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Creation;   Jesus Christ;   John, the Epistles of;   Mystery;   Revelation of John, the;   Simeon;   Son of God;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ascension of Christ;   Beloved Disciple;   Christ, Christology;   Hope;   Imagery;   Immutability of God;   Incarnation;   Jesus Christ;   Jesus, Life and Ministry of;   John, the Gospel of;   John, the Letters of;   Logia;   Logos;   Love;   Names of God;   Revelation of God;   Trinity;   Witness, Martyr;   Word;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Dualism;   Image;   Jesus Christ;   John, Gospel of;   Logos;   Revelation, Book of;   Trinity;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Apocrypha;   Assumption of Moses;   Atonement (2);   Attributes of Christ;   Bosom ;   Claims (of Christ);   Communion (2);   Creator (Christ as);   Enoch Book of;   Eschatology;   Gospel (2);   Humanity of Christ;   Immanence ;   Insight;   Light;   Living (2);   Man (2);   Manuscripts;   Messiah;   Monotheism;   Names and Titles of Christ;   Originality;   Philo;   Pre-Existence;   Providence;   Trinity (2);   Union with God;   Voice (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Beginning;   God;   Versions of the Scripture, English;   14 Word Words;   1910 New Catholic Dictionary - names of our lord;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Christ;   Face;   Fellowship;   God;   Word;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Genealogy;   God;   Jesus christ;   Names titles and offices of christ;   Scripture;   Word;   Smith Bible Dictionary - John, Gospel of;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Word;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Urim and Thummim;   Word;  

Encyclopedias:

- Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Creation;   Law of Moses, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Begin;   Beginning;   Children of God;   Christ, Offices of;   Comparative, Religion;   Image;   Johannine Theology, the;   John, Gospel of;   Light;   Logos;   Messiah;   Ostraca;   Person of Christ;   Prologue;   Providence;   Sabbath;   Truth;   Wisdom of Solomon, the;   Word;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Revelation (Book of);  

Devotionals:

- Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for March 20;   Every Day Light - Devotion for November 30;  

Parallel Translations

The Amplified Bible
IN THE beginning [before all time] was the Word ( Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.

The Complete Jewish Bible
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

American Standard Version
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Bible in Basic English
From the first he was the Word, and the Word was in relation with God and was God.

English Revised Version
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Contemporary English Version
In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God.

English Standard Version
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Easy-to-Read Version
Before the world began, the Word was there. The Word was there with God. The Word was God.

The Geneva Bible (1587)
In the beginning was that Word, and that Word was with God, and that Word was God.

The Bishop's Bible (1568)
In the begynnyng was the worde, & the worde was with God: and that worde was God.

Darby's Translation
In [the] beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

King James Version (1611)
In the beginning was the Word, & the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

New Revised Standard
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Douay-Rheims Bible
In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God: and the Word was God.

New Century Version
In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

James Murdock Translation of the Peshitta
In the beginning, was the Word; and the Word was with God; and the Word was God.

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

Holman Christian Standard
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Miles Coverdale Bible (1535)
In the begynnynge was the worde, and the worde was with God, and God was ye worde.

Mace New Testament (1729)
In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.

J.P. Green Literal Translation
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

New King James
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

New Living Translation
In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God.

New International Version
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

King James Version
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

New Life Version
The Word (Christ) was in the beginning. The Word was with God. The Word was God.

Hebrew Names Version
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

International Standard Version
In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John Etheridge Translation of the Peshitta
IN the beginning was the Word, [Meltho.] and the Word himself was with Aloha, and Aloha was the Word himself.

New American Standard Version
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Emphasised Bible
Originally, was, the Word, and, the Word, was, with God; and, the Word, was, God.

Revised Standard Version
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Tyndale Bible
In the beginnynge was the worde and the worde was with God: and the worde was God.

Updated Bible Version 1.9
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Webster Bible
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

World English Bible
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Wesley's New Testament (1755)
In the beginning existed the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Weymouth New Testament
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Wycliffe Bible (1395)
In the bigynnyng was the word, and the word was at God, and God was the word.

Young's Literal Translation
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God;

The Message
The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The Word was God,

Lexham English Bible
JohnChapter 1The Prologue to John's Gospel In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Contextual Overview

1THE Word was in the beginning, and that very Word was with God, and God was that Word. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3Everything came to be by his hand; and without him not even one thing came to be of what was created. 4The life was in him, and the life is the light of men.

Verse Review

from
Treasury of Scripure Knowledge

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
the beginning
2; Genesis 1:1; Proverbs 8:22-31; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:10; 7:3; 13:8; Revelation 1:2,8,11; 2:8; 21:6; 22:13
the Word
14; 1 John 1:1,2; 5:7; Revelation 19:13
with
18; 16:28; 17:5; Proverbs 8:22-30; 1 John 1:2
the Word was
10:30-33; 20:28; Psalms 45:6; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; 40:9-11; Matthew 1:23; Romans 9:5; Philippians 2:6; 1 Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8-13; 2 Peter 1:1; *Gr:; 1 John 5:7,20

Cross-References

Genesis 1:4
And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.

Genesis 1:5
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Genesis 1:11
And God said, Let the earth bring forth vegetation, the herb yielding seed after its kind, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, wherein is their seed, upon the earth; and it was so.

Genesis 1:12
And the earth brought forth vegetation, the herb yielding seed after its kind, and the tree hearing fruit, wherein is its seed, after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:16
And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the smaller light to rule the night; and the stars also.

Genesis 1:17
And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth,

Genesis 1:19
And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

Genesis 1:20
And God said, Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let fowl fly above the earth in the open firmament of the heaven.

Genesis 1:22
And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply on the earth.

Genesis 1:30
And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creeps upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food; and it was so.

Gill's Notes on the Bible

In the beginning was the word,.... That this is said not of the written word, but of the essential word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, is clear, from all that is said from hence, to John 1:14 as that this word was in the beginning, was with God, and is God; from the creation of all things being ascribed to him, and his being said to be the life and light of men; from his coming into the world, and usage in it; from his bestowing the privilege of adoption on believers; and from his incarnation; and also there is a particular application of all this to Christ, John 1:15. And likewise from what this evangelist elsewhere says of him, when he calls him the word of life, and places him between the Father and the Holy Ghost; and speaks of the record of the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus, as the same thing; and represents him as a warrior and conqueror, 1 John 1:1. Moreover this appears to be spoken of Christ, from what other inspired writers have said of him, under the same character; as the Evangelist Luke, Luke 1:2, the Apostle Paul, Acts 20:32 and the Apostle Peter, 2 Peter 3:5. And who is called the word, not as man; for as man he was not in the beginning with God, but became so in the fulness of time; nor is the man God; besides, as such, he is a creature, and not the Creator, nor is he the life and light of men; moreover, he was the word, before he was man, and therefore not as such: nor can any part of the human nature be so called; not the flesh, for the word was made flesh; nor his human soul, for self-subsistence, deity, eternity, and the creation of all things, can never be ascribed to that; but he is the word as the Son of God, as is evident from what is here attributed to him, and from the word being said to be so, as in John 1:14 and from those places, where the word is explained by the Son, compare 1 John 5:5. And is so called from his nature, being begotten of the Father; for as the word, whether silent or expressed, is the birth of the mind, the image of it, equal to it, and distinct from it; so Christ is the only begotten of the Father, the express image of his person, in all things equal to him, and a distinct person from him: and he may be so called, from some action, or actions, said of him, or ascribed to him; as that he spoke for, and on the behalf of the elect of God, in the eternal council and covenant of grace and peace; and spoke all things out of nothing, in creation; for with regard to those words so often mentioned in the history of the creation, and God said, may Jehovah the Son be called the word; also he was spoken of as the promised Messiah, throughout the whole Old Testament dispensation; and is the interpreter of his Father's mind, as he was in Eden's garden, as well as in the days of his flesh; and now speaks in heaven for the saints. The phrase, מימרא דיי, "the word of the Lord", so frequently used by the Targumists, is well known: and it is to be observed, that the same things which John here says of the word, they say likewise, as will be observed on the several clauses; from whence it is more likely, that John should take this phrase, since the paraphrases of Onkelos and Jonathan ben Uzziel were written before his time, than that he should borrow it from the writings of Plato, or his followers, as some have thought; with whose philosophy, Ebion and Cerinthus are said to be acquainted; wherefore John, the more easily to gain upon them, uses this phrase, when that of the Son of God would have been disagreeable to them: that there is some likeness between the Evangelist John and Plato in their sentiments concerning the word, will not be denied. Amelius, a Platonic philosopher, who lived after the times of John, manifestly refers to these words of his, in agreement with his master's doctrine: his words are these,

"and this was truly "Logos", or the word, by whom always existing, the things that are made, were made, as also Heraclitus thought; and who, likewise that Barbarian (meaning the Evangelist John) reckons was in the order and dignity of the beginning, constituted with God, and was God, by whom all things are entirely made; in whom, whatsoever is made, lives, and has life, and being; and who entered into bodies, and was clothed with flesh, and appeared a man; so notwithstanding, that he showed forth the majesty of his nature; and after his dissolution, he was again deified, and was God, as he was before he descended into a body, flesh and man.

In which words it is easy to observe plain traces of what the evangelist says in the first four verses, and in the fourteenth verse of this chapter; yet it is much more probable, that Plato had his notion of the Logos, or word, out of the writings of the Old Testament, than that John should take this phrase, or what he says concerning the word, from him; since it is a matter of fact not disputed, that Plato went into Egypt to get knowledge: not only Clemens Alexandrinus a Christian writer says, that he was a philosopher of the Hebrews, and understood prophecy, and stirred up the fire of the Hebrew philosophy; but it is affirmed by Heathen writers, that he went into Egypt to learn of the priests, and to understand the rites of the prophets; and Aristobulus, a Jew, affirms, he studied their law; and Numenius, a Pythagoric philosopher, charges him with stealing what he wrote, concerning God and the world, out of the books of Moses; and used to say to him, what is Plato, but Moses "Atticising?" or Moses speaking Greek: and Eusebius, an ancient Christian writer, points at the very places, from whence Plato took his hints: wherefore it is more probable, that the evangelist received this phrase of the word, as a divine person, from the Targums, where there is such frequent mention made of it; or however, there is a very great agreement between what he and these ancient writings of the Jews say of the word, as will be hereafter shown. Moreover, the phrase is frequently used in like manner, in the writings of Philo the Jew; from whence it is manifest, that the name was well known to the Jews, and may be the reason of the evangelist's using it. This word, he says, was in the beginning; by which is meant, not the Father of Christ; for he is never called the beginning, but the Son only; and was he, he must be such a beginning as is without one; nor can he be said to be so, with respect to the Son or Spirit, who are as eternal as himself; only with respect to the creatures, of whom he is the author and efficient cause: Christ is indeed in the Father, and the Father in him, but this cannot be meant here; nor is the beginning of the Gospel of Christ, by the preaching of John the Baptist, intended here: John's ministry was an evangelical one, and the Gospel was more clearly preached by him, and after him, by Christ and his apostles, than before; but it did not then begin; it was preached before by the angel to the shepherds, at the birth of Christ; and before that, by the prophets under the former dispensation, as by Isaiah, and others; it was preached before unto Abraham, and to our first parents, in the garden of Eden: nor did Christ begin to be, when John began to preach; for John's preaching and baptism were for the manifestation of him: yea, Christ existed as man, before John began to preach; and though he was born after him as man, yet as the Word and Son of God, he existed before John was born; he was in being in the times of the prophets, which were before John; and in the times of Moses, and before Abraham, and in the days of Noah: but by the beginning is here meant, the beginning of the world, or the creation of all things; and which is expressive of the eternity of Christ, he was in the beginning, as the Maker of all creatures, and therefore must be before them all: and it is to be observed, that it is said of him, that in the beginning he was; not made, as the heavens and earth, and the things in them were; nor was he merely in the purpose and predestination of God, but really existed as a divine person, as he did from all eternity; as appears from his being set up in office from everlasting; from all the elect being chosen in him, and given to him before the foundation of the world; from the covenant of grace, which is from eternity, being made with him; and from the blessings and promises of grace, being as early put into his hands; and from his nature as God, and his relation to his Father: so Philo the Jew often calls the Logos, or word, the eternal word, the most ancient word, and more ancient than any thing that is made. The eternity of the Messiah is acknowledged by the ancient Jews: Micah 5:2 is a full proof of it; which by them is thus paraphrased,

"out of thee, before me, shall come forth the Messiah, that he may exercise dominion over Israel; whose name is said from eternity, from the days of old.

Jarchi upon it only mentions Psalm 72:17 which is rendered by the Targum on the place, before the sun his name was prepared; it may be translated, "before the sun his name was Yinnon"; that is, the Son, namely the Son of God; and Aben Ezra interprets it, יקרא בן, "he shall be called the son"; and to this agrees what the Talmudisis say, that the name of the Messiah was before the world was created; in proof of which they produce the same passage,

And the word was with God; not with men or angels; for he was before either of these; but with God, not essentially, but personally considered; with God his Father: not in the Socinian sense, that he was only known to him, and to no other before the ministry of John the Baptist; for he was known and spoken of by the angel Gabriel before; and was known to Mary and to Joseph; and to Zacharias and Elisabeth; to the shepherds, and to the wise men; to Simeon and Anna, who saw him in the temple; and to the prophets and patriarchs in all ages, from the beginning of the world: but this phrase denotes the existence of the word with the Father, his relation and nearness to him, his equality with him, and particularly the distinction of his person from him, as well as his eternal being with him; for he was always with him, and is, and ever will be; he was with him in the council and covenant of grace, and in the creation of the universe, and is with him in the providential government of the world; he was with him as the word and Son of God in heaven, whilst he as man, was here on earth; and he is now with him, and ever will be: and as John here speaks of the word, as a distinct person from God the Father, so do the Targums, or Chaldee paraphrases; Psalm 110:1 "the Lord said to my Lord", is rendered, "the Lord said to his word"; where he is manifestly distinguished from Jehovah, that speaks to him; and in Hosea 1:7 the Lord promises to "have mercy on the house of Judah", and "save them by the Lord their God". The Targum is, "I will redeem them by the word of the Lord their God"; where the word of the Lord, who is spoken of as a Redeemer and Saviour, is distinguished from the Lord, who promises to save by him. This distinction of Jehovah and his word, may be observed in multitudes of places, in the Chaldee paraphrases, and in the writings of Philo the Jew; and this phrase, of "the word" being "with God", is in the Targums expressed by, מימר מן קדם, "the word from before the Lord", or "which is before the Lord": being always in his presence, and the angel of it; so Onkelos paraphrases Genesis 31:22 "and the word from before the Lord, came to Laban", &c. and Exodus 20:19 thus, "and let not the word from before the Lord speak with us, lest we die"; for so it is read in the King of Spain's Bible; and wisdom, which is the same with the word of God, is said to be by him, or with him, in Proverbs 8:1 agreeably to which John here speaks. John makes use of the word God, rather than Father, because the word is commonly called the word of God, and because of what follows,

and the word was God; not made a God, as he is said here after to be made flesh; nor constituted or appointed a God, or a God by office; but truly and properly God, in the highest sense of the word, as appears from the names by which he is called; as Jehovah, God, our, your, their, and my God, God with us, the mighty God, God over all, the great God, the living God, the true God, and eternal life; and from his perfections, and the whole fulness of the Godhead that dwells in him, as independence, eternity, immutability, omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence; and from his works of creation and providence, his miracles, the work of redemption, his forgiving sins, the resurrection of himself and others from the dead, and the administration of the last judgment; and from the worship given him, as prayer to him, faith in him, and the performance of baptism in his name: nor is it any objection to the proper deity of Christ, that the article is here wanting; since when the word is applied to the Father, it is not always used, and even in this chapter, John 1:6 and which shows, that the word "God", is not the subject, but the predicate of this proposition, as we render it: so the Jews often use the word of the Lord for Jehovah, and call him God. Thus the words in Genesis 28:20 are paraphrased by Onkelos,

"if "the word of the Lord" will be my help, and will keep me, &c. then "the word of the Lord" shall be, לי לאלהא, "my God":

again, Leviticus 26:12 is paraphrased, by the Targum ascribed to Jonathan Ben Uzziel, thus,

"I will cause the glory of my Shekinah to dwell among you, and my word shall "be your God", the Redeemer;

once more, Deuteronomy 26:17 is rendered by the Jerusalem Targum after this manner,

"ye have made "the word of the Lord" king over you this day, that he may be your God:

and this is frequent with Philo the Jew, who says, the name of God is his word, and calls him, my Lord, the divine word; and affirms, that the most ancient word is God,

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

In the beginning - This expression is used also in Genesis 1:1. John evidently has allusion here to that place, and he means to apply to “the Word” an expression which is there applied “to God.” In both places it clearly means before creation, before the world was made, when as yet there was nothing. The meaning is: that the “Word” had an existence before the world was created. This is not spoken of the man Jesus, but of that which “became” a man, or was incarnate, John 1:14. The Hebrews, by expressions like this, commonly denoted eternity. Thus. the eternity of God is described Psalm 90:2; “Before the mountains were brought forth, etc.;” and eternity is commonly expressed by the phrase, before the foundation of the world.” Whatever is meant by the term “Word,” it is clear that it had an existence before “creation.” It is not, then, a “creature” or created being, and must be, therefore, uncreated and eternal. There is only one Being that is uncreated, and Jesus must be therefore divine. Compare the Saviour‘s own declarations respecting himself in the following places: John 8:58; John 17:5; John 6:62; John 3:13; John 6:46; John 8:14; John 16:28.

Was the Word - Greek, “was the λόγος LogosThis name is given to him who afterward became “flesh,” or was incarnate (John 1:14 - that is, to the Messiah. Whatever is meant by it, therefore, is applicable to the Lord Jesus Christ. There have been many opinions about the reason why this name was given to the Son of God. It is unnecessary to repeat those opinions. The opinion which seems most plausible may be expressed as follows:

1. A “word” is that by which we communicate our will; by which we convey our thoughts; or by which we issue commands the medium of communication with others.

2. The Son of God may be called “the Word,” because he is the medium by which God promulgates His will and issues His commandments. See Hebrews 1:1-3.

3. This term was in use before the time of John.

(a)It was used in the Aramaic translation of the Old Testament, as, “e. g.,” Isaiah 45:12; “I have made the earth, and created man upon it.” In the Aramaic it is, “I, ‹by my word,‘ have made,” etc. Isaiah 48:13; “mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth.” In the Aramaic, “‹By my word‘ I have founded the earth.” And so in many other places.

(b)This term was used by the Jews as applicable to the Messiah. In their writings he was commonly known by the term “Mimra” - that is, “Word;” and no small part of the interpositions of God in defense of the Jewish nation were declared to be by “the Word of God.” Thus, in their Targum on Deuteronomy 26:17-18, it is said, “Ye have appointed the word of God a king over you this day, that he may be your God.”

(c)The term was used by the Jews who were scattered among the Gentiles, and especially those who were conversant with the Greek philosophy.

(d)The term was used by the followers of Plato among the Greeks, to denote the Second Person of the Trinity. The Greek term νοῦς nousor “mind,” was commonly given to this second person, but it was said that this nouswas “the word” or “reason” of the First Person of the Trinity. The term was therefore extensively in use among the Jews and Gentiles before John wrote his Gospel, and it was certain that it would be applied to the Second Person of the Trinity by Christians. whether converted from Judaism or Paganism. It was important, therefore, that the meaning of the term should be settled by an inspired man, and accordingly John, in the commencement of his Gospel, is at much pains to state clearly what is the true doctrine respecting the λόγος Logosor Word. It is possible, also, that the doctrines of the Gnostics had begun to spread in the time of John. They were an Oriental sect, and held that the λόγος Logosor “Word” was one of the “Aeones” that had been created, and that this one had been united to the man Jesus. If that doctrine had begun then to prevail, it was of the more importance for John to settle the truth in regard to the rank of the Logos or Word. This he has done in such a way that there need be no doubt about its meaning.

Was with God - This expression denotes friendship or intimacy. Compare Mark 9:19. John affirms that he was “with God” in the beginning - that is, before the world was made. It implies, therefore, that he was partaker of the divine glory; that he was blessed and happy with God. It proves that he was intimately united with the Father, so as to partake of his glory and to be appropriately called by the name God. He has himself explained it. See John 17:5; “And now, O Father, glorify thou we with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” See also John 1:18; “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” See also John 3:13; “The Son of man, which is in heaven.” Compare Philemon 2:6-7.

Was God - In the previous phrase John had said that the Word was “with God.” Lest it should be supposed that he was a different and inferior being, here John states that “he was God.” There is no more unequivocal declaration in the Bible than this, and there could be no stronger proof that the sacred writer meant to affirm that the Son of God was equal with the Father; because:

1.There is no doubt that by the λόγος Logosis meant Jesus Christ.

2.This is not an “attribute” or quality of God, but is a real subsistence, for it is said that the λόγος Logoswas made flesh σάρξ sarx- that is, became a human being.

3.There is no variation here in the manuscripts, and critics have observed that the Greek will bear no other construction than what is expressed in our translation - that the Word “was God.”

4.There is no evidence that John intended to use the word “God” in an inferior sense. It is not “the Word was a god,” or “the Word was ‹like God,‘” but the Word “was God.” He had just used the word “God” as evidently applicable to Yahweh, the true God; and it is absurd to suppose that he would in the same verse, and without any indication that he was using the word in an inferior sense, employ it to denote a being altogether inferior to the true God.

5.The name “God” is elsewhere given to him, showing that he is the supreme God. See Romans 9:5; Hebrews 1:8, Hebrews 1:10, Hebrews 1:12; 1 John 5:20; John 20:28.

The meaning of this important verse may then be thus summed up:

1.The name λόγος Logosor Word, is given to Christ in reference to his becoming the Teacher or Instructor of mankind; the medium of communication between God and man.

2.The name was in use at the time of John, and it was his design to state the correct doctrine respecting the λόγος LogosThe “Word,” or λόγος Logosexisted “before creation” - of course was not a “creature,” and must have been, therefore, from eternity.

4.He was “with God” - that is, he was united to him in a most intimate and close union before the creation; and, as it could not be said that God was “with himself,” it follows that the λόγος Logoswas in some sense distinct from God, or that there was a distinction between the Father and the Son. When we say that one is “with another,” we imply that there is some sort of distinction between them.

5.Yet, lest it should be supposed that he was a “different” and “inferior” being - a creature - he affirms that he was God - that is, was equal with the Father.

This is the foundation of the doctrine of the Trinity:

1.that the second person is in some sense “distinct” from the first.

2.that he is intimately united with the first person in essence, so that there are not two or more Gods.

3.that the second person may be called by the same name; has the same attributes; performs the same works; and is entitled to the same honors with the first, and that therefore he is “the same in substance, and equal in power and glory,” with God.

Clarke's Notes on the Bible

In the beginning - That is, before any thing was formed - ere God began the great work of creation. This is the meaning of the word in Genesis 1:1, to which the evangelist evidently alludes. This phrase fully proves, in the mouth of an inspired writer, that Jesus Christ was no part of the creation, as he existed when no part of that existed; and that consequently he is no creature, as all created nature was formed by him: for without him was nothing made that is made, John 1:3. Now, as what was before creation must be eternal, and as what gave being to all things, could not have borrowed or derived its being from any thing, therefore Jesus, who was before all things and who made all things, must necessarily be the Eternal God.

Was the Word - Or, existed the Logos. This term should be left untranslated, for the very same reason why the names Jesus and Christ are left untranslated. The first I consider as proper an apellative of the Savior of the world as I do either of the two last. And as it would be highly improper to say, the Deliverer, the Anointed, instead of Jesus Christ, so I deem it improper to say, the Word, instead of the Logos. But as every appellative of the Savior of the world was descriptive of some excellence in his person, nature, or work, so the epithet Λογος, Logos, which signifies a word spoken, speech, eloquence, doctrine, reason, or the faculty of reasoning, is very properly applied to him, who is the true light which lighteth every man who cometh into the world, John 1:9; who is the fountain of all wisdom; who giveth being, life, light, knowledge, and reason, to all men; who is the grand Source of revelation, who has declared God unto mankind; who spake by the prophets, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, Revelation 19:10; who has illustrated life and immortality by his Gospel, 2 Timothy 1:10; and who has fully made manifest the deep mysteries which lay hidden in the bosom of the invisible God from all eternity, John 1:18.

The apostle does not borrow this mode of speech from the writings of Plato, as some have imagined: he took it from the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and from the subsequent style of the ancient Jews. It is true the Platonists make mention of the Logos in this way: - καθ 'ὁν, αει οντα, τα γενομενα εγενετο - by whom, eternally existing, all things were made. But as Plato, Pythagoras, Zeno, and others, traveled among the Jews, and conversed with them, it is reasonable to suppose that they borrowed this, with many others of their most important notions and doctrines, from them.

And the Word was God - Or, God was the Logos: therefore no subordinate being, no second to the Most High, but the supreme eternal Jehovah.


Copyright Statement:
George Lamsa Translation of the Peshitta

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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