The Gospel of John introduces and presents Jesus as the Word of God.
The use of the above title is to affirm the divine identity of Jesus – Jesus is described as the personification of the Word of God in the flesh (John 1:14). John 1:1 provides us with the divine genealogy of Christ, who has eternally existed. John 1:14 further clarifies, giving us the human introduction of Jesus, as the “Word” became “Flesh.”
So, what do we mean by the “Word” in a biblical sense?
The “Word” is a common translation of the Greek word “logos,” from the root word to lay forth something said (which included the idea of thought). It means a single word or speech uttered by a living voice embodying a concept or idea. It can take the form of:
The Philosophical and Personal Aspect of the Word
Both the Jews and the Greeks were familiar with the concept of the Word. Among the Greeks, the word was regarded as a philosophical concept involved in creation. To the Jews, the Word was a personal divine revelation. The Greeks viewed the Word as a living entity which creates and sustains the world and has a deity’s essence. The Jews viewed the Word as God’s direct and divine revelation, both in spoken and written forms. The Greeks also viewed the Word as wisdom, a mere concept of understanding the world, rather than a personal entity – philosophical in nature and reality visible in creation. The Word was an abstract principle, order, and structure of reasoning to the Greeks – a non-personal force in the universe. For the Jews, the Word was the knowledge, information, law, divine oracles and will of God expressed and communicated both verbally and in written form.
As Christians, the Word for us is a person named Christ, not a philosophical concept.
The Divinity of the Word
(John 1:1 NKJV) 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
“In the beginning was the Word” describes the eternal and pre-existence of the Word. It speaks of the time and the origin of creating the heavens and earth and their inhabitants. The self-existing, uncreated, and timeless Word was around before anything was started or formed. The Word existed before anything else. The Word was prior to creation. (Proverbs 8:22-23) The Word, in fact, was the pre-existent agent of creation. The Word was a partaker of creation, along with God. In the process of creation, the Word was alongside God (Proverbs 8:30). The Word was present at creation. The Word was not created; instead, it was the creating agent. According to Genesis, it was the spoken Word of God that created the heavens and the earth. The Word was before creation, at the beginning of creation, and beside creation, present with God in the beginning. As God was in the beginning prior to the world’s creation, so too was the Word (John 1:1) “He was in the beginning with God” confirms and asserts the Word’s presence, partnership, and participation in the creation process. (John 1:2)
“And the Word was with God,” describes the co-existence of the Word. This phrase here describes the Word’s relationship with God. It emphasizes the unique and intimate relationship between the Father and the Son, as the one who is closest to the Father’s heart. This is like having a face-to-face relationship with God, a heart-to-heart relationship with an intimate companion.
1 John 1:2 (NKJV) 2 the life was manifested and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us
John 1:18 (NKJV) No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
“And the Word was God” describes both the self-existence and distinction of the Word. This phrase describes the Word as God and his own self-existence from the Father as God the Son.
1 John 5:7 (NKJV) For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.
Additionally, what God is and does, the Word also is and does. The Word is God – a personal divine being. The Word is God because He bears and shares all the aspects of divine nature, worth, authority, sovereignty, supremacy, essence, and attribute, and He also receives worship.
The Humanity of the Word
John 1:14 (NKJV) 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” The Word made flesh (the material and visible Word) carries the embodiment of the abstract Word). Fully God in human flesh born with blood. (1 John 5:6)
The Word became flesh describes the embodiment and representation of God. It expresses the expression of the nature and attributes of God, in a bodily and visible form, who physically came here on earth. The Word personifies Jesus, the God-man, who is the Word. The Word became flesh (John 1:14) describes Jesus as the God-man (fully God and fully man), sometimes referred to as the Son of Man. The Word, therefore, existed before the Word became flesh, and the body of the Word does not exist currently. However – and this is the crucial part – the Word still exists in the hearts and minds of those who believe in Him. The Word will soon appear, and all eyes and nations will see the resurrected God-man named Jesus.
As we have observed, John 1:1 highlights the pre-existence of the Word before and alongside the beginning of creation, as the co-existence with God and self-existence (distinction) of the Word as God. The Word is infinite, has an intimate fellowship and relationship with God the Father and shares similar divine:
John 1:18 (NKJV) 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
What Qualifies Jesus as the Word?
He was at the beginning, which means he knew everything even before the beginning of the heavens, the earth, and their inhabitants. He was alongside God, side by side in the process of creation.
He knows God more than Abraham and Moses as Himself said before Abram, I Am (John 8:58) The Word was bodily manifested as a messenger who once came to declare God to all people. (John 1:18)
Only Jesus is given the name, and “His name is called The Word of God,” according to Revelation 19:13. He is the only incarnate Word of God – personifying, portraying, and presenting God’s ultimate and absolute communication and revelation of the truth about Himself to humanity. Therefore, He is the truest and most trustworthy source of knowing God, more so than any other source.
The God-man Jesus is the divine, manifested, revealed, visible and tangible Word who came to demonstrate the ways of God, display the works of God, define the worth or worship of God, and describe the words of God to both Jews and Gentiles.
This is an established truth in our Christian faith for us to believe and view Jesus as the Word of God. Jesus is the true message of God:
- The right message of God
- The pure message of God
- The life-given message of God
- The holistic message of God
- The specific message of God
- The revealed message of God
The importance and impact of the Word: The Word brought about creation, the Word gives life, and the Word saves lives. All creation was done through the Word. Faith comes through the Word. Salvation comes through believing in the Word. Encouragement can be found in the Word. Also, training in righteousness comes through the Word. The Word is the sole source of our faith and the absolute example of everyday godly living for us to follow.
Therefore, we are called to believe in the Word and instructed to obey the Word.