John 1:1
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

King James Bible
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

American Standard Version
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Douay-Rheims Bible
IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

English Revised Version
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Webster's Bible Translation
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Weymouth New Testament
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:1 Parallel
Commentary
Vincent's Word Studies

In the beginning was (ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν)

With evident allusion to the first word of Genesis. But John elevates the phrase from its reference to a point of time, the beginning of creation, to the time of absolute pre-existence before any creation, which is not mentioned until John 1:3. This beginning had no beginning (compare John 1:3; John 17:5; 1 John 1:1; Ephesians 1:4; Proverbs 8:23; Psalm 90:2). This heightening of the conception, however, appears not so much in ἀρχή, beginning, which simply leaves room for it, as in the use of ἦν, was, denoting absolute existence (compare εἰμί, I am, John 8:58) instead of ἐγένετο, came into being, or began to be, which is used in John 1:3, John 1:14, of the coming into being of creation and of the Word becoming flesh. Note also the contrast between ἀρχή, in the beginning, and the expression ἀπ' ἀρχῆς, from the beginning, which is common in John's writings (John 8:44; 1 John 2:7, 1 John 2:24; 1 John 3:8) and which leaves no room for the idea of eternal pre-existence. "In Genesis 1:1, the sacred historian starts from the beginning and comes downward, thus keeping us in the course of time. Here he starts from the same point, but goes upward, thus taking us into the eternity preceding time" (Milligan and Moulton). See on Colossians 1:15. This notion of "beginning" is still further heightened by the subsequent statement of the relation of the Logos to the eternal God. The ἀρχή must refer to the creation - the primal beginning of things; but if, in this beginning, the Logos already was, then he belonged to the order of eternity. "The Logos was not merely existent, however, in the beginning, but was also the efficient principle, the beginning of the beginning. The ἀρχή (beginning), in itself and in its operation dark, chaotic, was, in its idea and its principle, comprised in one single luminous word, which was the Logos. And when it is said the Logos was in this beginning, His eternal existence is already expressed, and His eternal position in the Godhead already indicated thereby" (Lange). "Eight times in the narrative of creation (in Genesis) there occur, like the refrain of a hymn, the words, And God said. John gathers up all those sayings of God into a single saying, living and endowed with activity and intelligence, from which all divine orders emanate: he finds as the basis of all spoken words, the speaking Word" (Godet).

The Word (ὁ λόγος)

Logos. This expression is the keynote and theme of the entire gospel. Λόγος is from the root λεγ, appearing in λέγω, the primitive meaning of which is to lay: then, to pick out, gather, pick up: hence to gather or put words together, and so, to speak. Hence λόγος is, first of all, a collecting or collection both of things in the mind, and of words by which they are expressed. It therefore signifies both the outward form by which the inward thought is expressed, and the inward thought itself, the Latin oratio and ratio: compare the Italian ragionare, "to think" and "to speak."

As signifying the outward form it is never used in the merely grammatical sense, as simply the name of a thing or act (ἔπος, ὄνομα, ῥῆμα), but means a word as the thing referred to: the material, not the formal part: a word as embodying a conception or idea. See, for instance, Matthew 22:46; 1 Corinthians 14:9, 1 Corinthians 14:19. Hence it signifies a saying, of God, or of man (Matthew 19:21, Matthew 19:22; Mark 5:35, Mark 5:36): a decree, a precept (Romans 9:28; Mark 7:13). The ten commandments are called in the Septuagint, οἱ δέκα λόγοι, "the ten words" (Exodus 34:28), and hence the familiar term decalogue. It is further used of discourse: either of the act of speaking (Acts 14:12), of skill and practice in speaking (Acts 18:15; 2 Timothy 4:15), specifically the doctrine of salvation through Christ (Matthew 13:20-23; Philippians 1:14); of narrative, both the relation and the thing related (Acts 1:1; John 21:23; Mark 1:45); of matter under discussion, an affair, a case in law (Acts 15:6; Acts 19:38).

As signifying the inward thought, it denotes the faculty of thinking and reasoning (Hebrews 4:12); regard or consideration (Acts 20:24); reckoning, account (Philippians 4:15, Philippians 4:17; Hebrews 4:13); cause or reason (Acts 10:29).

John uses the word in a peculiar sense, here, and in John 1:14; and, in this sense, in these two passages only. The nearest approach to it is in Revelation 19:13, where the conqueror is called the Word of God; and it is recalled in the phrases Word of Life, and the Life was manifested (1 John 1:1, 1 John 1:2). Compare Hebrews 4:12. It was a familiar and current theological term when John wrote, and therefore he uses it without explanation.

Old Testament Usage of the Term

The word here points directly to Genesis 1, where the act of creation is effected by God speaking (compare Psalm 33:6). The idea of God, who is in his own nature hidden, revealing himself in creation, is the root of the Logos-idea, in contrast with all materialistic or pantheistic conceptions of creation. This idea develops itself in the Old Testament on three lines. (1) The Word, as embodying the divine will, is personified in Hebrew poetry. Consequently divine attributes are predicated of it as being the continuous revelation of God in law and prophecy (Psalm 3:4; Isaiah 40:8; Psalm 119:105). The Word is a healer in Psalm 107:20; a messenger in Psalm 147:15; the agent of the divine decrees in Isaiah 55:11.

(2) The personified wisdom (Job 28:12 sq.; Proverbs 8, 9). Here also is the idea of the revelation of that which is hidden. For wisdom is concealed from man: "he knoweth not the price thereof, neither is it found in the land of the living. The depth saith, It is not in me; and the sea saith, It is not with me. It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air" (Job 28). Even Death, which unlocks so many secrets, and the underworld, know it only as a rumor (Job 28:22). It is only God who knows its way and its place (Job 28:23). He made the world, made the winds and the waters, made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning of the thunder (Job 28:25, Job 28:26). He who possessed wisdom in the beginning of his way, before His works of old, before the earth with its depths and springs and mountains, with whom was wisdom as one brought up with Him (Proverbs 8:26-31), declared it. "It became, as it were, objective, so that He beheld it" (Job 28:27) and embodied it in His creative work. This personification, therefore, is based on the thought that wisdom is not shut up at rest in God, but is active and manifest in the world. "She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors" (Proverbs 8:2, Proverbs 8:3). She builds a palace and prepares a banquet, and issues a general invitation to the simple and to him that wanteth understanding (Proverbs 9:1-6). It is viewed as the one guide to salvation, comprehending all revelations of God, and as an attribute embracing and combining all His other attributes.

(3) The Angel of Jehovah. The messenger of God who serves as His agent in the world of sense, and is sometimes distinguished from Jehovah and sometimes identical with him (Genesis 16:7-13; Genesis 32:24-28; Hosea 12:4, Hosea 12:5; Exodus 23:20, Exodus 23:21; Malachi 3:1).

Apocryphal Usage

In the Apocryphal writings this mediative element is more distinctly apprehended, but with a tendency to pantheism. In the Wisdom of Solomon (at least 100 b.c.), where wisdom seems to be viewed as another name for the whole divine nature, while nowhere connected with the Messiah, it is described as a being of light, proceeding essentially from God; a true image of God, co-occupant of the divine throne; a real and independent principle, revealing God in the world and mediating between it and Him, after having created it as his organ - in association with a spirit which is called μονογενές, only begotten (7:22). "She is the breath of the power of God, and a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty; therefore can no defiled thing fall into her. For she is the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness" (see chapter 7, throughout). Again: "Wisdom reacheth from one end to another mightily, and sweetly doth she order all things. In that she is conversant with God, she magnifieth her nobility: yea, the Lord of all things Himself loved her. For she is privy to the mysteries of the knowledge of God, and a lover of His works. Moreover, by the means of her I shall obtain immortality, and leave behind me an everlasting memorial to them that come after me" (chapter 9). In 16:12, it is said, "Thy word, O Lord, healeth all things" (compare Psalm 107:20); and in 18:15, 16, "Thine almighty word leaped from heaven out of thy royal throne, as a fierce man of war into the midst of a land of destruction, and brought thine unfeigned commandment as a sharp sword, and, standing up, filled all things with death; and it touched the heaven, but it stood upon the earth." See also Wisdom of Sirach, chapters 1, 24, and Baruch 3, 4:1-4.

Later Jewish Usage

continued...

John 1:1 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

the beginning.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Proverbs 8:22-31 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old...

Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God...

Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Hebrews 1:10 And, You, Lord, in the beginning have laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of your hands:

Hebrews 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like to the Son of God...

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Revelation 1:2,8,11 Who bore record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw...

Revelation 2:8 And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things said the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

Revelation 21:6 And he said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end...

Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

the Word.

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory...

1 John 1:1,2 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked on...

1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Revelation 19:13 And he was clothed with a clothing dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

with.

John 1:18 No man has seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.

John 16:28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify you me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world was.

Proverbs 8:22-30 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old...

1 John 1:2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show to you that eternal life, which was with the Father...

the Word was.

John 10:30-33 I and my Father are one...

John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said to him, My LORD and my God.

Psalm 45:6 Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the scepter of your kingdom is a right scepter.

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful...

Isaiah 40:9-11 O Zion, that bring good tidings, get you up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bring good tidings...

Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is...

Romans 9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels...

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;

Hebrews 1:8-13 But to the Son he said, Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom...

2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ...

*Gr:

1 John 5:7,20 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one...

Cross References
Genesis 1:1
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Proverbs 8:23
Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.

Luke 24:53
and were continually in the temple blessing God.

John 1:2
He was in the beginning with God.

John 1:14
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 8:58
Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."

John 17:5
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

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