The Gospel of John's use of
"the Word" (ho logos)
by Robert Nguyen Cramer, BibleTexts.com
There is reason to believe that the writer of the Gospel of John drew upon the creation account in Genesis and portrayed the role of "the Word" (Greek: ho logos) as directly corresponding with "the Spirit of God" as described in Gen 1:2. The Gospel of John further develops the creation account as a means of proclaiming of the good news (gospel) of Jesus Christ, so that God may be glorified and articulated.
Genesis 1:1-4 states:
1 In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while the Spirit of God moved over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
The Gospel of John says that "the Spirit" or "the Holy Spirit" is a "Paraclete" (Greek: Parakletos; English: Advocate, Comforter, Counselor, etc.). 1Jo 2:1 refers to Jesus as "a Paraclete" (Greek: Parakletos; English: Advocate, etc.). In fact Jesus, after speaking of his departure, said that he will pray the Father to send "another Paraclete." He said that this "Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you."
In Genesis the Spirit of God moved over the waters, as light dawned upon creation. As this creation continued to develop, light was followed by the appearance of life.
Joh 1:3-5,9 - All things came into being through him[ the Word], and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it... 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. [NRSV]
In John the Word (the Logos) -- the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit -- is God's means of articulating himself and his creation. It brings the light of life (eternal life!) to humanity, speaks to us in the flesh through Christ Jesus, and continues to speak to us through the Paraclete (the Advocate, Comforter, Counselor, etc.).
Speaking of this Paraclete, Jesus said, "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine." (Joh 16:13-15)
Regarding "the Spirit of God" (Gen 1:2), William Reyburn and Euan Frey (A Handbook on Genesis, NY: UBS, 1997, page 31) comment:
The rendering "spirit of God" (REB, Mft) may be taken in the sense of the person of God, based on parallel expressions such as "spirit of Zerubbabel" (Hag 1.14); this is just another way of speaking of Zerubbabel, and so "spirit of God" can be taken to mean the same as "God." [my italics]
The TEV (1976 edition) translates the last phrase of Joh 1:1 as saying that "the Word" was "the same as God." The REV translates that phrase, "what God was, the Word was." As noted above, the Word speaks to us in the flesh through Christ Jesus. Christ represents the "image" of God (see http://www.bibletexts.com/terms/image.htm), of whom it can be said that 'what God is, Christ is' -- the same in quality, though different in office. (See S&H 331:26.)
The text of John 1:1-14
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
1 Before the world was created, the Word already existed; he was with God, and he was the same as God. 2 From the very beginning the Word was with God. 3 Through him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him. 4 The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.
6 God sent his messenger, a man named John, 7 who came to tell people about the light, so that all should hear the message and believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came to tell about the light.
9 This was the real light -- the light that comes into the world and shines on all mankind. 10 The Word was in the world, and though God made the world through him, yet the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to his own country, but his own people did not receive him. 12 Some, however, did receive him and believed in him; so he gave them the right to become God's children. 13 They did not become God's children by natural means, that is, by being born as the children of a human father; God himself was their Father.
14 The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father's only Son.
Textual commentary and other references
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