Todays readings.. I chronicles 27, Ezekiel 36, John 1
Today we start to read the Gospel of John. “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” This is a most challenging gospel to understand. But the Bible would lose our continuing interest if its meaning was immediately plain as we read it. Often we have to carefully think about what we have read, and compare other passages, before we grasp its full meaning. This is God’s wisdom in causing it to be written in this way.
The problem in this passage is made greater because the translators have had a fixed idea in their minds as to the Church doctrine – formulated in later centuries – which it is expected to support. Note the word “WORD”. “In the beginning was the WORD.” In the Greek this is the word Logos. It is sometimes translated as saying [eg John 4 v.47,49] when Jesus was “saying” this and that to the people – the lexicon says it primarily means ‘spoken word’
Our thoughts go back to the first chapter in the whole Bible, Genesis 1. This is all about what God said to create life on earth. God spoke – and creation followed as the hosts of angels did his bidding, see Psalm 103 v.20,21.
All that the people heard in the wilderness was God speaking from the top of the mountain. God was known only by his WORD; no one saw God he was known by his voice. Now the translators confuse us in John 1 when they start to use the word “Him” as the pronoun for ‘WORD. The earliest translations (Tyndale) use the word “it.”
The best way is to use the noun instead of the pronoun, then it would read. “All things were made through a word, and without a word was not anything made that was made” [v.3] and that is what happened in Creation.
But there is a greater meaning here, a spiritual meaning – that is, that the words of Jesus had the power to bring eternal life to those that genuinely accepted them in their hearts. The Jews [v.11] did not accept his words “But to all who did receive him, who believed his name, he gave the right to become ‘children of God’ [v.12] Let us all aim to become children of God?