The Gospel of John: A Commentary by Presbyter Paul Slish

“In beginning was the Word and the Word was with the God, and God was the Word. This one was in beginning with the God.  All things through him came into being, and apart from him came into being not one thing that has come into being.” (John 1:1-2)

The above is a fairly literal translation of the first two verses of the gospel of John.

We see that the Word was pre-existent to creation. “In beginning” the Word was already there. He was in existence before creation.  “In beginning” is how Genesis begins in the ancient Greek translation (the Septuagint) of the Hebrew Bible.  So when God “In beginning made the heaven and earth, the Word was there also.

The Word was with God.  Now the preposition translated “with” is not one of the two common Greek prepositions for “with.” This preposition (pros) is generally translated “to” and in particular means “to” in the sense of “came to” or “at”, often indicating position.  I put ‘to’ for ‘pros’ in the following. Mark 4:1 reads literally “And again He began to teach by the sea, and gathers ‘to’ Him a great crowd, such that He into a boat embarked sitting on the sea. And all the crowd ‘to’ the sea upon the land was.”  The crowd gathered “to” him.  The crowd was “to” the sea. That is, positioned at the edge of the sea.

So the Word is “to” God.  He is “with” God in the sense that they are face to face in close communication.  What a beautiful description of the intimate relation between the Word and God.

Who is this Word? The gospel tells us “God was the Word!”  So the Word is God.  Thus the Word is eternal as God is eternal. This is a teaching about two persons of the Trinity: God and the Word.  Now Genesis 1:1 tells us “In beginning God made the heaven and the earth.”  We will see clearly later that God is also called the Father.  The Word is called the Son.  Two persons but both are God. We’ll also learn about the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity.

“All things through him [the Word] came into being, and apart from him came into being not one thing that has come into being.”  The Word created all things.  Not a single thing came into being apart from the Word.  He created all things.  Again this demonstrates the Word is eternal and He is God. Not a thing came into being apart from the Word.  This means the Word did not come into being.  He already existed.  Therefore he must be eternal and thus he must be God.  Why? Because only God is eternal.

Now since the Word created all things that has implications for us personally.  It means he created us.  We did not come into being because of random processes.  Through Him, the Word, we came into being. The Word uses the means of our mother and father, but ultimately we came into being through the Word.  Consequently there is meaning and dignity to your life.  If you are discouraged for any reason, call to mind that you came into being through the Word.  That is a comforting thought.

Let’s look a little more at the encouragement this gives to us.

We “have received the spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’”  We are now in God’s family!  In speaking of the Lord Jesus, the Word, Hebrews 2:11-12 reads, “For both He [the Word] who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one; for which reason He [the Word] is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, ‘I will proclaim Your name to my brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.’”

The Lord Jesus calls us his brothers and sisters.  We are part of His congregation.  That is of great encouragement when we experience difficult times.

Lastly, hear Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him [the Word] freely give us all things.”

Think about it.  God the Father loves us so much He did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all! He makes perfect provision for our sin, and He is with us through every step of our lives. Let us rejoice in these truths and trust God for opportunities to share them with others.

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