When John identifies Jesus as "the Logos," is he referring to the Logos in Greek philosophy?

I think John is writing intentionally to communicate with Jews and Gentiles. Therefore, he knows that as he begins his gospel and says, “In the beginning,” all the Jews will sit up and think, “We’re back in Genesis.” Then he’ll surprise them because he’s taking them back before the beginning of Genesis. Then, when he says Jesus was the Logos, he’s going to capture the attention of at least well-educated Gentiles who know something about logos philosophy in the ancient world.

So, I think John is intentionally drawing both groups to himself. The Jews know that it was the Word of God that created in the beginning, and the Gentiles know that logos is important to thinking about how the world is put together. I don’t think John is intending for us to pause in that first verse for all sorts of philosophical speculation. Rather, he is making the point that however you think about the beginning, God is there, the Word is there, and the Word becomes flesh in Jesus, who redeems us. That’s the critical thing happening, it seems to me.

 

This transcript is from a live Ask Ligonier event with W. Robert Godfrey and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, just visit Ask.Ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.