Menu

NLT Study Bible, ESV Study Bible, and The Word (John 1:1)

One of the more complex concepts in scriptures is John’s use of the word logos in his gospel. Below is how each study Bible offers explanation concerning the logos.

NLT Study Bible:

John 1:1-18
The beginning of this prologue (1:1-5) might be a poem or hymn sung by the earliest Christians. The prologue’s themes–the coming of the light into the world, the rejection of the light, and its gift of new life to believers–prepares readers for the story that follows.
John 1:1
Echoing Gen 1:1, John’s Gospel introduces Jesus Christ, through whom God created everything (1:3); Jesus also creates new life in those who believe (1:12-13). The Gospel opens with its central affirmation, that Jesus Christ, the Word (Greek logos), not only revealed God but was God. In Greek thought, the logos was the rational principle guiding the universe and making life coherent. For Jewish people, the logos was the word of the Lord, an expression of God’s wisdom and creative power. By Jesus’ time, the logos was viewed as coming from God and having his personality (see Ps 33:6, 9; Prov 8:22-31); John affirmed this understanding (1:14).

The NLTSB also has a supplemental article on The Word:

The Word
John raises the curtain on his Gospel with a stunning description of Jesus Christ as “the Word” (Greek logos, 1:1). Both Greek and Jewish listeners in the first century would immediately recognize the profound meaning of this title. Greeks would have thought of the seminal forces that sustain the universe. Jewish minds would have thought back to God creating the world with his word (Gen 1:3-28). In Jesus’ day, the word of God took on creative personal attributes (Ps 33:6, 9). Jews viewed God’s word as personifying divine wisdom. Through Wisdom, God extended himself into the cosmos, creating the world (Prov 8:22-31).
In John’s drama, Jesus shares the same essence as God; the Son existed before time, and he was the agent of all creation. John anchors the divinity of Jesus in this ancient Jewish concept of Wisdom. The divine Wisdom that has existed from before time with God can now be known in Jesus Christ. In perhaps the most outrageous verse penned by an apostle, John writes that this Logos, this Wisdom, became flesh and lived among us as a human (1:14). What God is, the Logos is. The Logos is Jesus Christ.

ESV Study Bible:

John 1:1—18 Prologue: The Incarnate Word. In the prologue John presents Jesus as the eternal, pre-existent, now incarnate Word (vv. 1, 14) and as the one-of-a-kind Son of the Father who is himself God (vv. 1, 18). God’s revelation and redemption in and through Jesus are shown to form the culmination of the history of salvation, which previously included God’s giving of the law through Moses (v. 17), his dwelling among his people in the tabernacle and the temple (v. 14), and the sending of the forerunner, John the Baptist (vv. 6—8, 15). The prologue also introduces many of the major themes developed later in the Gospel, such as Jesus as the life (v. 4), the light (vv. 5—9), and the truth (And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he…”>vv. 14, 16—17); believers as God’s children (vv. 12—13); and the world’s rejection of Jesus (vv. 10—11).
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word echoes the opening phrase of the book of Genesis, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” John will soon identify this Word as Jesus (v. 14), but here he locates Jesus’ existence in eternity past with God. The term “the Word” (Gk. Logos) conveys the notion of divine self-expression or speech and has a rich OT background. God’s Word is effective: God speaks, and things come into being (Gen. 1:3, 9; Ps. 33:6; 107:20; Isa. 55:10—11), and by speech he relates personally to his people (e.g., Gen. 15:1). John also shows how this concept of “the Word” is superior to a Greek philosophical concept of “Word” (logos) as an impersonal principle of Reason that gave order to the universe. And the Word was with God indicates interpersonal relationship “with” God, but then and the Word was God affirms that this Word was also the same God who created the universe “in the beginning.” Here are the building blocks that go into the doctrine of the Trinity: the one true God consists of more than one person, they relate to each other, and they have always existed. From the Patristic period (Arius, c. AD 256—336) until the present day (Jehovah’s Witnesses), some have claimed that “the Word was God” merely identifies Jesus as a god rather than identifying Jesus as God, because the Greek word for God, Theos, is not preceded by a definite article. However, in Greek grammar, Colwell’s Rule indicates that the translation “a god” is not required, for lack of an article does not necessarily indicate indefiniteness (“a god”) but rather specifies that a given term (“God”) is the predicate nominative of a definite subject (“the Word”). This means that the context must determine the meaning of Theos here, and the context clearly indicates that this “God” that John is talking about (“the Word”) is the one true God who created all things (see also John 1:6, 12, 13, 18 for other examples of Theos without a definite article but clearly meaning “God”).
__________________________________
I thought for study Bibles these did a really good job with a deep and complex concept.