A detailed exegesis of John chapter one dealing with the literal meaning of the Greek word “Logos.”
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the
Word was God.”
The words, “in the beginning” hark back to Genesis chapter one verse one which says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” How did God create the heavens and the earth? God created all things by His spoken Word.
Genesis 1:3 “Then God SAID, Let there be light; and there was light.”
Genesis 1:6 “Then God SAID, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters; and let it divide the waters from the waters.”
Genesis 1:9 “Then God SAID … Let the dry land appear; and it was so.”
Genesis chapter one indicates that God created the heavens and the earth by His spoken Word. There is no scriptural evidence in the book of Genesis to lead us to believe that God created all things by the Word of a god (a created angelic being) or by the Word of another separate and distinct God Person beside Himself.
When we read the entire Bible we find other scriptures to prove that God the Father created the heavens and the earth by His own spoken Word.
Psalm 33:6-9 “By the word of Yahweh the heavens were made, And all the host of them BY THE BREATH OF HIS MOUTH. 7 He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses … 9 For HE SPOKE, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”
2 Peter 3:5 “… by THE WORD OF GOD the heavens were of old …”
Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by THE WORD OF GOD …”
Psalm 33:6 proves that Yahweh God created the heavens “by the breath of His mouth.” Now to determine which alleged Divine Person did the creating we need to search the scriptures to find out whose mouth actually did the creative speaking.
Isaiah 64:8 “O Yahweh, you are OUR FATHER. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Malachi 2:10 “Have we not ONE FATHER, has not One God created us?”
Isaiah 44:24 goes on to prove that our One God the Father created all things “ALONE” and BY HIMSELF.
“I am Yahweh who makes all things; who stretches forth the heavens ALONE; who spreads abroad the earth BY MYSELF.”
Now let us return to John 1:1 - “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Who’s Word actually did the creating? Isaiah 64:8 and Malachi 2:10 proves that it was God the Father who “created all things ALONE” and by Himself. Since Psalm 33:6 says, “By the Word of Yahweh were the heavens made, and all the host of them BY THE BREATH OF HIS MOUTH” there can only be One God and Father who created us all.
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God [Theos = the Father], and the Word was God [Theos = the Father].”
Since John 17:3 states that God the Father is “THE ONLY TRUE GOD” we can conclude that the Word which was with God the Father from the very beginning was the selfsame Word which was God the Father Himself. John’s use of the Greek conjunction “kai” [and] in between the words “theos” [used twice for God] confirms that each use of the word “theos” for God is speaking about the same God [the Father]. Therefore we can correctly interpret John 1:1 as follows: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God (the Father), and the Word was God (the Father).
Trinitarians and Arians have to believe that the Greek word “theos” (used twice in John 1:1) has to be speaking of two different God Persons rather than only One true God the Father. Yet there is no evidence in the text to suggest that the word “Theos” for God is speaking about two God Persons. Trinitarians have to believe that the second use of the word “theos” [God] in John 1:1 has to be referring to another equal “theos” [God Person] who is not God the Father. Likewise, Arians (Jehovah’s Witnesses) have to believe that the second use of the word “theos” (for God) has to be a lesser theos [God] who is not God the Father. However, it is absurd to believe that the word “theos”, used twice for God with the conjunction “kai” [and] in between them is speaking about another equal or lesser “theos” (God Person). If another god person was intended, then we should read something like this, “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was another God.” Trinitarian and Arian apologists are left with only their personal bias when they insist that another theos (God Person) is intended beside God the Father.
Both Trinitarians and Arians have to twist the clear meaning of John 1:1 by inserting another god person into the text because the clear meaning of John 1:1 supports modalism (the belief that the Word of God is the Word of God the Father). According to Trinitarians and Arians, there are two different God Persons and two different meanings for the word “Word” in scripture. They must believe in the Word of God which is not personal and in another Word which is personal. Since the Word which proceeded forth out of God’s mouth could not be another god person apart from God Himself, they must insist that the use of the Word (Logos) in John 1:1 has to be a reference to another divine person beside God the Father Himself. Therefore they have to twist the scriptures into believing in both two god persons and in two uses of the word “logos,” one for a divine god apart from God the Father, and one for the impersonal Word which proceeds forth out of the mouth of God the Father.
Furthermore, the use of the Greek words “pros ton theon” translated as “was with God” literally means “pertaining to God.” Dr. Luginbill (a Greek scholar) admitted that the words “pros ton theon” in John 1:1 “can mean … ‘related to’ and often does have this meaning …” The words “pros ton theon” are also used in Hebrews 2:17 and they were translated as “pertaining to God.” Hebrews 2:17 “that he might become a merciful and faithful high-priest, in the things pertaining unto God.” Examination of the Greek text will show that the phrase pros ton theon is here rendered, “in [the things] pertaining unto God.” This casts a much different light on John 1:1. Almost all Bible translations were translated by Trinitarian scholars who insist that the words, “was with God” is the best translation from the original Greek; yet we must at least take into consideration the fact that the original Greek words are literally translated as “pertaining to God.” Therefore just as a man’s word pertains to himself, so God’s Word pertains to Himself.
The first century historian Flavius Josephus used the Greek words “pros ton theon” in his Antiquities (9:236) which was later translated as follows: “that righteous King Jotham was pious in the things pertaining to God (pros ton theon).” The translation “was with God” in John 1:1 does not accurately convey the same meaning as “pros ton theon” (pertaining to God) because Trinitarian translators had to alter the text in order to deceive people away from it’s clear modalistic theology. The original Greek words clearly speak of the Word [Logos] as God’s own Word which pertains to God Himself. Therefore just as a man’s own word pertains to himself, so God’s own Word also pertains to Himself.
I have heard Trinitarian apologists say that the Greek grammar in John 1:1 can actually be interpreted to say that the Word and the God in John 1:1 are “face to face” with each other. Dr. Luginbill (a Trinitarian Greek scholar) commented on the “face to face” argument used by many Trinitarian apologists in John 1:1. “ … I don’t much like “face to face” because it is so anthropomorphic, and because John could easily have said prosopon pros prosopon (literally, “face to face”) had he wanted to (it is a very common NT usage). After all, we too who are most definitely not divine will “see Him face to face (prosopon pros prosopon)”: 1Cor.13:12; cf. 1Jn.3:2).
Paul used the Greek words “prosopon pros prosopon in 1 Corinthians 13:12 which literally means “face to face.” If the words “face to face” is what God wanted to convey in the divine revelation then why did He not use these Greek words? Both Trinitarians and Arians have abused the Greek language and Greek grammar to twist the clear meaning of John 1:1 because this passage proves Oneness theology. If Trinitarian and Arian scholars did not add their personal bias into the text then most of us would probably be modalistic (Oneness) in our theology today.
The Greek word “Logos” translated as “Word” literally means, “reasoning, logic, thought, or speech.” How could God the Father be face to face with logic or speech as another god person? If the Word of God was a pre-existent Son Person then why did not the divine revelation just say, “In the beginning was the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was God?” The clear meaning of the original Greek text proves that the logic, thought, or speech” of God pertains to God the Father (pros ton theon) Himself just as a man’s own logic, thought, or speech pertains to himself.
Furthermore, the word “LOGOS” is used in many other passages of scripture which clearly prove that the word “logos” refers to God’s logical plan and purpose rather than to a person. For example, Matthew 13:18-19 (ESV):
“Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word [logos] of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.”
The original Greek word for “WORD” was translated from the Greek word “LOGOS” in the above passage of scripture. This same Greek word “LOGOS” is also used in John 1:1. Could anyone say that “the WORD (logos) of the kingdom” is another person beside God? Obviously not! The WORD of the kingdom is the “reasoning, logic, or thought” of God which includes His purpose and plan of the kingdom - as demonstrated by the fact that people might “not understand it.” Similarly, in John 1:1, the word “logos” also refers to God’s reasoning, logical purpose, and thoughtful plan which God had already possessed before He created all things. Therefore the Word of God could not have been another coequal God Person (Trinitarianism) or smaller god person (Arianism) beside Himself.
The Son of God clearly had a beginning (Revelation 3:14) and a begetting (Psalm 2:7). The Son is called “the FIRSTBORN OVER ALL CREATION (Colossians 1:15)” because He was “firstborn” in the mind and plan of God (LOGOS) to be the ruler over all creation before the world was actually created. Romans 4:17 proves that “God calls those things which be not as though they were.” Therefore Jesus was already the firstborn in the LOGOS [Logic, thought, reason] of God before anything else was conceived by God in His creative thought. Revelation 13:8 proves that this LOGIC of God was already with God as His plan and purpose because the Lamb of God was already spoken of as being “slain from the creation of the world.” This plan and purpose of God had already existed before the world was actually created. Therefore Christ was “foreknown before the creation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20) to be the ruler and inheritor over all of God’s creation before the world was actually created.
Hebrews 1:3 “… has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things …”
Hebrews 1:7-8 “You have made him a little while lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And have appointed him over the works of Your hands; You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.”
Ephesians 1:3-10 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … He chose us in Him before the creation of the world …. Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself … He made us acceptable in the beloved [acceptable in Christ before creation] … having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure WHICH HE PURPOSED IN HIMSELF (God the Father speaks of Christ as Himself), that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are in earth – in Him.”
The LOGOS in John 1:1 is the logic, reason, purpose, and plan of God which God possessed before the world was created. This logic included God’s redemptive plan and purpose to gather together all things in Christ. It is hard for finite man to comprehend the ways of the infinite God who “calls those things which be not as though they were (Romans 4:17).” God spoke of creating all things through Christ because God’s own LOGOS/WORD included His logic, reason, purpose, and plan which “HE PURPOSED IN HIMSELF” before the world was actually created. For in God’s mind, Christ already existed as His purpose and plan before the heavens and the earth were actually created.
Oneness theology teaches that God created all things with the preeminence of Christ in view. “All things were created by Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16)” because He who became the Son is the Word/Logic/Reason/Purpose/and Plan of God the Father. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God (the Father), and the Word was God (the Father – John 1:1).” Since the Father is “the only true God (John 17:3)” He must be that Word which later became flesh (John 1:14) as “the arm of Yahweh revealed” to us as a man (Isaiah 53:1).
If Jesus is another Word Person who is not the Word of God the Father made flesh then how is it that the words which Jesus spoke were not His own?
John 14:10 “the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he doeth the works.”
If the Son of God is a separate and distinct coequal God Person, then he would possess all of the divine attributes of a true God Person. Therefore he would never have had to depend upon God the Father for His Words because He would have been able to speak His own Words by His own authority as a true God Person. Thus Trinitarian thought leads to Arianism!
John 1:2-3 2 He [houtos = THIS/IT] was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him [autos = THIS/IT], and apart from Him [autos = THIS/IT] nothing came into being that has come into being.
The Greek words “houtos” and “autos” function the same as the English word “THIS.” Like the English word “THIS”, they can refer to either an inanimate object or a person. The context in which these words are used will determine if the words should refer to a person or to an inanimate object. The Greek words “houtos” and “autos” can also be translated as the English word “IT” but they are more accurately translated with the English word “THIS.” Here are a few examples.
1 John 5:20 “This [houtos] is the true God and eternal life.”
John 2:20 “Then the Jews said, It has taken forty six years to build this temple, and will you raise IT [autos] up in three days?”
The above passages of scripture reveal to us that the Greek words “houtos’ and “autos” should not be translated as a “he” unless the context of scripture actually refers to a “he.” Since John 1:1 only mentions the WORD [LOGOS] which is a reference to the inanimate “Thought, logic, reason, or speech” of God, we cannot reasonably argue that “in the beginning” the impersonal WORD of God should be called a HE. If a HE was intended by John he should have wrote, “In the beginning was the Son, and the Son was with God …” Since John chose to use the Greek word LOGOS [WORD] of God; which is impersonal, we cannot automatically assume that another God Person should be interpolated into the text.
4 In Him [THIS] was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
John 1:5 references the supernatural light of God’s glorious presence which shined on the darkness of our planet before the sun was created. Genesis 1:3 “Then God SAID, Let there be light; and there was light.” Therefore John 1:4 should not refer to the spoken Word as a “Him” prior to the incarnation.
The Historic Translation of John 1:3-4
The following evidence was taken from John Cordaro’s web site, “The Everlasting Good News of Yahweh.”
Our English Bible gradually developed over the last six hundred years. John Wycliffe is credited with the first English translation of the New Testament which was completed about 1380 C.E. Until that time the Word of Yahweh was locked up in the Latin tongue which was unknown to the common people. The Latin Vulgate translated by Jerome about 400 C.E. was the standard Bible used in the Roman Catholic Church.
Wycliffe’s translation is based upon the Latin Vulgate, not the Greek. It is therefore a “translation of a translation.” In Wycliffe’s translation, John 1:3-4 uses the word “him” in reference to the “Word” of verse 1 and is a translation of the Latin “ipsum” and “ipso” (he, she, or it).
The next great English translator was William Tyndale. He was an excellent Greek scholar who had access to the Greek text of Erasmus which Wycliffe did not have. The hand of the Almighty was upon Tyndale as He used him to give us our first English translation based upon the Hebrew and Greek. His New Testament was published in 1526 and revised to its final state in 1534.
Tyndale’s translation of John 1:3-4 reads, “All things were made by it, and without it, was made nothing that was made. In it was life, and the life was the light of men.” As you can see, Tyndale used “it” instead of “him.” “It” or “This” is a translation of the Greek word “autou” meaning “This” or “It.” What this tells us is that Tyndale did not read a pre-incarnate Messiah into the “logos” or “word” of verse 1 and he was not influenced by the Latin Vulgate or Wycliffe. Miles Coverdale, a friend of Tyndale, gave us the first complete Bible printed in English in 1535. It was not a firsthand translation from the Hebrew and Greek, but was based on the Latin Vulgate and Tyndale’s translation. Coverdale used “him” in John 1:3-4.
In 1537, John Rogers, using the pseudonym “Thomas Matthew,” published a translation based largely on Tyndale and Coverdale which became known as Matthew’s Bible. He uses “it” in John 1:3-4. The Great Bible followed in 1539 and was a revision of Matthew’s Bible. The first edition was prepared by Miles Coverdale. For some reason Coverdale decided “it” was more correct than “him” which appeared in his 1535 version based on the Latin Vulgate and left John 1:3-4 as it was in Matthew’s translation, “it” instead of “him.”. The Great Bible was the first authorized English version and was ordered to be placed in every church.
Under Queen Mary the printing of the English Bible ended and its use in the churches was forbidden. This gave rise to a version completed in Geneva. The Geneva Bible of 1560 was the first Bible to have numbered verses, each set off as a separate paragraph. This Bible became the “household Bible of the English-speaking nations.” It held that position for about 75 years. It was Shakespeare’s Bible and that of the Puritans who settled New England. Once again, the translation of John 1:3-4 follows Tyndale’s example, “it” instead of “him.”
Queen Elizabeth eventually reinstated the order that a copy of the Bible be placed in every church and she encouraged its reading. Since there were not enough copies of the Great Bible, the bishops themselves made a new revision known as the Bishop’s Bible. It was published in 1568. It was used mostly by the clergy, not being very popular with the common people. It, too, renders John 1:3-4 using “it,” not “him.”
In 1582, the Roman Catholic version of the New Testament was completed and known as the Rheims New Testament. It was the result of a battle between Papists and Protestants, the former believing the Latin Vulgate to be the standard upon which all translations should be made. It was the work of Roman Catholic scholars based on the Latin. They chose to render John 1:3-4 using “him” as did the previous versions based on the Vulgate. From that point on, many future English versions, beginning with the King James version of 1611, used “him” instead of “it” in their translation of John 1:3-4.
Therefore it is not without historic and linguistic foundation to translate the Greek words “autos” and “houtos” in John 1:3-4 as “this” or “it.” Now let us look at the more literal translation again.
John 1:2-4 This/It [houtos] was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through This/It [autos], and apart from This/It [autos] nothing came into being that has come into being. In this was life, and the life was the light of men.”
The “logos” (Word) of John 1:1 is defined as ‘speech, oral expression, reasoning, spoken word (including thought)’ summarized as “the oral expression, or Logic” pertaining to Yahweh. In that sense, “Word” is an “it” or “this” and not a person. The word “Logos” is an expression without gender or personality (a thing). Stated another way, Yahweh spoke creation into existence, by His oral expression, His spoken word. This understanding agrees perfectly with passages such as Gen.1:3,6,9,11,14,20, and 24, all of which begin, “And Elohim said.” Yahweh spoke and it was done. Ps.33:6,9 says, “By the word (oral expression) of Yahweh were the heavens made; and all the host by the breath of his mouth . . . For He spoke and it was; He commanded, and it stood fast.”
Not only did Yahweh speak creation into existence, but He also spoke His Son into existence; “And the word (Yahweh’s spoken word) was made flesh” (Jn.1:14). Not a single verse of scripture supports a living pre-incarnate Messiah. Therefore Jesus did not exist as the Son until the “Word of Yahweh” was made flesh (John 1:14/Luke 1:35) and dwelt among us as a He.
To say the “logos” of John 1:1 is a reference to the Messiah is to read ‘him’ into the text, which cannot be supported by Scripture. Roman Catholic scholars did this in order to support their unscriptural trinity doctrine. If the Messiah did not pre-exist, the trinity doctrine would collapse, it being based upon the belief that all three members of the deity were co-eternal. However, since the Messiah only pre-existed in Yahweh’s plan of salvation and did not pre-exist literally, it becomes clear that the trinity doctrine is of pagan origin which is not supported by the Scriptures.
John 1:10-14 “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Notice how the above passage of scripture can now be translated as “He” or “His.” After the Word became flesh that Word was no longer an “it” or “this” but a real man person. Since that Word (Logos) of God was the Word of God that pertains to God the Father, “the world was made through” that Word which later became the man Christ Jesus.” Thus it is apparent that God the Father created all things by His Word and that Word (Logos) consisted of God’s “thought, reason, and logic” which was in God’s heart from the very beginning.
Therefore God the Father created all things through His Word which included His predetermined plan to save humanity by the man Christ Jesus who is spoken of in scripture as the “Lamb slain from the creation of the world (Revelation 13:8);” “The firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15);” and “the beginning of the creation of God (Revelation 3:14).” The scriptures prove that the Messiah and His elect were in God’s redemptive plan (Word/Logos = Logic, reason, thought, speech) before the creation of the world (1 Peter 1:20 / Ephesians 1:4 / Romans 16:25).
The opening of the gospel of John reveals the simple truth in a beautiful way. From the very beginning, God chose to create all things by His own Word, which included God’s own logic, reason, purpose, and plan which pertained to Himself just as a man’s own logic, reason, purpose, and plan would pertain to himself. Through God’s reason, purpose, and plan, all things were created and nothing was made outside of this logic. When the fullness of time had come, this logical plan became flesh in the person of Jesus the Messiah who is Immanuel, “God with us” as a man. When we understand the opening of the gospel of John in this way we can clearly see that God and His Word are not two separate and distinct persons but One and the selfsame God.
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word [the logic, thought, reason, purpose, and plan of God the Father], and the Word was with God (the Father), and the Word was God (the Father).”
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