The Extraordinary Meaning Of John 1:1 (in the beginning was the word)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 

These are the opening words of John’s Gospel and he starts off with a bang. There is SO much packed into this verse and we often miss the depth of the meaning of John 1:1. This verse should be the foundation for our beliefs. 

In this blog post we are going to unpack this verse and I think your faith will grow by what you see. Let’s start by looking at the context of John 1:1. 

The Context Of John 1:1

Of the four Gospels, John’s account is the most unique. We see this from the very beginning as he takes a poetic approach to introducing Jesus in John 1:1-18. This introduction reflects the wisdom literature popular in his culture. 

Mark Moore notes that “some scholars believe this prologue was not only a poem, but an early Christian hymn which sets the tone or even the outline for the rest of the book.” 

While not long, this prologue is complex and theologically dense. But the main point is clear, Jesus is unified with God. 

In this introduction John describes Jesus as “the word.” This is translated from the Greek word logos. What’s clear from the beginning is that Jesus was present. Not only was Jesus present but he is identical to God and everything was created through him. 

Shortly after John introduces Jesus we see a glimpse of what he came to do; he is light in the darkness. This illustration is seen throughout John’s Gospel. Jesus even claims to be the light in John 8:12, one of his seven I Am Statements

From the introduction we see the beginning stages of Jesus’ ministry unfold and how John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for Jesus. 

All this is launched off with this incredible statement, “In the beginning was the word.” So, let’s back up and take a closer look at the meaning of John 1:1 and see what we can learn. 

John 1:1

The Meaning Of John 1:1 

We are going to take a closer look at this verse. To help you better see the John 1:1 meaning we are going to break this verse down into three sections. 

In The Beginning Was The Word

These are the very first words in John’s Gospel and he goes back to the beginning. The beginning that John speaks of here isn’t the beginning of something new. Rather he’s going back to the very beginning, before anything had come into existence. 

The opening of John ties this book to the creation story itself. “In the beginning” is also how the book of Genesis begins. John is making the statement that Jesus was not only present, but the creator of life. He was in the beginning and without him nothing would exist. 

The Word Was With God

Here John adds to his opening statement, the word was with God. This implies not just in God’s presence but co-equal with him. 

This opening verse in John is helping his readers understand who Jesus is. He’s God in flesh. He existed before the creation of the world and has been walking with his people ever since. 

In The Chronological Life Of Christ Mark Moore says this, “Prior to Jesus’ incarnation, he existed as God in this “logos” state. Not only do John and Paul claim preexistence for Jesus; Jesus himself makes that claim (Jn 6:38; 8:42; 16:27; 17:5) in the presence of both friend and foe. He was with God at the beginning of creation (Jn 1:1–3, 18; 1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:16; 1 Jn 1:1) and shared in God’s ministry to the Israelites (1 Cor 10:3–4). Although he was equal with the Father in glory, power, and riches (Jn 17:5; 2 Cor 8:9; Phil 2:6), he was in submission to God and thus sent from God as his representative from heaven (Jn 6:38, 51; 8:42; 13:3; 16:27, 30; Rom 8:3; Gal 4:4; 1 Jn 4:9–10). In this obedient act of incarnation he stripped himself in order to accomplish his Father’s will. He was humbled by taking the form of a human being (Rom 8:3; Phil 2:7–8) and dying as the embodiment of sin (2 Cor 5:21).”

There’s a lot packed into John 1:1, it’s a theologically dense verse. But main point is still Jesus is God and that’s about to be abundantly clear. 

The Word Was God

The word was God, in other words Jesus is God. John has established a foundation for which the rest of his Gospel shall be built upon. 

John opens his Gospel with bold claims and then throughout the rest of his book he gives evidence for these claims. John 1:1 sets the tone for what is to follow and we ought to read John in light of this introduction. 

Jesus, the word, doesn’t just represent God, he is God incarnate.

How The John 1:1 Meaning Applies To Our Lives Today

So, how does John 1:1 apply to our lives today? 

For many passages in the Bible there’s a more practical application. Love your neighbor, treat your spouse with respect, or place your trust in God. That’s not really the case with John 1:1, instead the application is theological. It gives us a foundation for which to build our faith. 

These words teach us about who Jesus is, he’s not just some guy. He’s God in flesh. This is the lens through which we should read the rest of the Gospel accounts through. John tells us the true nature of who Jesus is. 

This foundational belief makes the words that follow in John’s gospel even more incredible. John was an eyewitness to Jesus’ life and ministry. But he didn’t just watch Jesus, he was his close friend. He was the only disciple that stayed at the cross as the others abandoned him. John had a kinship with the creator of the universe. 

Think about this: though omnipotent, God is a personal God who desires a relationship, a friendship, with us. 

This should be the foundation of our faith. Jesus is God and he came after us so that we can walk with him. What a life-changing truth. 

Jeffery Curtis Poor
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