“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).- John 1:1–18
The various names for Jesus tell us a great deal about who He is and what He came to do. Thus far we have looked at three different titles used for Jesus in the New Testament: “Christ,” “Lord,” and “Son of Man.” Today we will look at the title given to Jesus in the prologue to John’s gospel: “Logos.”
In English translations, John 1:1 reads, “in the beginning was the Word.” The Greek term translated “Word” in this verse is the word logos. We see this word incorporated into a variety of technical terms such as biology (a word about living things) and theology (a word about God).
Though the translation of the term logos is the simple term word, it must be noted that logos carried a lot of philosophical baggage in the ancient Greek world. Ancient Greek philosophy was concerned with answering the ultimate questions of reality. They were seeking to find ultimate truth. They wanted to find the ultimate reality that lies behind all other things.
Over time, as the ancient philosophers pondered these questions, they came up with a term to describe this ultimate reality, and the term they came up with was logos. The logos came to be understood as that which gave life and meaning to the universe. Within the realm of Greek philosophy, however, this logos was largely understood to be an impersonal force, not a personal being.
When we come to John 1, we see that the apostle has done two things with the term that would have been unthinkable to Greek philosophers. Rather than an impersonal force, the logos of John’s gospel is a personal being who can be received or rejected by other people (vv. 11–12). This logos also became incarnate as a human being and manifested the glory of God (v. 14).
The logos is the personal God revealed to us in the Old Testament. John, moved by the Holy Spirit, tells us this indirectly by starting 1:1 with “in the beginning,” just as Genesis 1:1 begins. He also tells us this more directly when in 1:1 he writes, “the Word was God.” This logos, which gives meaning and purpose to all things, is far from being an impersonal principle. Rather, this logos is Jesus Christ, the very God of the universe.
Eastern religions point to a god who is a nebulous force or impersonal substance. However, the Bible tells us that God is a personal God who gives meaning and purpose to all things. Pray that you would not let our culture’s infatuation with Eastern religions make you forget that we serve a personal God.
Passages for Further Study
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you do not make more than 500 physical copies. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred (where applicable). If no such link exists, simply link to www.ligonier.org.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved. Website: www.ligonier.org | Phone: 1-800-435-4343