If you are a believer, this post may be more difficult for you than it will be for those who are still seeking God, or even those who do not believe in God at all. Therefore, I pray that those believers who happen upon this post will read it in its entirety and give my case careful consideration before drawing any conclusions. If believers will do me this one favor, I suspect they will find that nothing I am about to say diminishes Jesus in any way. In fact, they may find that what I am about to say will expand their understanding of Who and What Jesus is. In other words, this post may make the reader’s image of Jesus much bigger than it already is. And for those who may not believe… Well, please, just read this post and see what you get out of it. It might surprise you 🙂
What does it mean when a believer says that Jesus is ‘The Word?’ I confess, I never really understood this phrase until I read John 1:1 in the original Greek. The moment I did that, my understanding of who Jesus was exploded in my mind! It was like the Big Bang going off in my head. My understanding of Who and What Jesus is suddenly couldn’t fit in my feeble human brain, and I am still struggling to come to grips with the way I have come to see and understand my Savior. Now, I readily admit that I may be new to this understanding. It could be that everyone has known and understood this all along. But if I am late to the party, if all the believers around me have always understood what I now understand, then I have to wonder why no one ever shared it with me before I stumbled across it on my own? Why didn’t they explain this to me in detail? Because this is amazing! And it explains so much of what Scripture says about Jesus that cannot be understood from any other perspective.
So, what did I find when I read John 1:1 in the Original Greek? I found this:
John 1:1 Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament (MOUNCE)
En archē eimi ho Logos kai ho Logos eimi pros ton Theos kai Logos ēn ho Theos.
John 1:1 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Deity of Jesus Christ
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Now, I’m sure many people have heard the English version of these words before; even people who do not believe have heard them. But what did I see that caused my image of Jesus to explode in my head? Well, I had always heard that Jesus is ‘The Word,’ but I never really and truly understood what it meant — until I saw that the original Greek says ‘Logos!’ That changed everything for me. It was at that moment that I realized the Jesus I had always had in my head was way, way too small, and that the Jesus Who John was describing was too big to be contained in any human mind — to big to be contained even by the entire universe! And it all hinges upon understanding what ‘Logos’ means.
If we were to just look up the meaning of the word, ‘logos,’ we will find something like this:
- the Word of God, or principle of divine reason and creative order, identified in the Gospel of John with the second person of the Trinity incarnate in Jesus Christ.
- (in Jungian psychology) the principle of reason and judgment, associated with the animus.
For most people — believers and non-believers alike — we stop at ‘The Word.’ Unfortunately, this does not actually explain what John was trying to tell us. To truly understand what John means by ‘Logos,’ we need to read the rest of the definition, and then have a look at how the Greek philosophers understood this term:
Logos, (Greek: “word,” “reason,” or “plan”)plural logoi, in Greek philosophy and theology, the divine reason implicit in the cosmos, ordering it and giving it form and meaning. Though the concept defined by the term logos is found in Greek, Indian, Egyptian, and Persian philosophical and theological systems, it became particularly significant in Christian writings and doctrines to describe or define the role of Jesus Christ as the principle of God active in the creation and the continuous structuring of the cosmos and in revealing the divine plan of salvation to man. It thus underlies the basic Christian doctrine of the preexistence of Jesus.
It is one thing to know that John called Jesus, ‘The Word.’ In my head, that means that Jesus was… Well — essentially — the Scriptures (which are often referred to as, ‘God’s Word.’) But ‘Logos?’ Well, that is actually much, much more than just the Scriptures. To the Greeks, ‘logos’ was the mind of the creator. Therefore, when John appropriated the term and turned it around so that it pointed to the One true God, John pointed it at the Mind of God, the Father!
‘The Logos’ includes God’s moral laws; His system of justice; His Natural Laws; His eternal laws and principles, such as those governing mathematics, reasoning and language; His judgment and decisions; even His agape and phileo love for each and every one of us. In other words, ‘Logos’ is the sum total of all the Creator’s attributes through and by which He created, sustains and governs this universe and everything in it. Which means, among other things, that Jesus is the sum total of all these things made into the form of a flesh-and-blood human being!
Again, the reader may have already known and understood this, maybe even for years. But it was new to me, and it greatly expanded the way I understand and relate to Jesus in my mind. Before I understood that Jesus was not just ‘The Word,’ but ‘The Logos,’ the Jesus in my head was infinitely too small. But now that I know He is ‘The Logos,’ He is infinitely too big to remain in my human mind. For anyone to claim they can keep ‘The Logos’ in their head is to claim they understand every possible thing there is to know about the nature of this universe, how it was made, how it works and how it will end. In short, one would be claiming to be God — something no human is or will ever be.
Once I read John 1:1 in Greek, I suddenly found that I also understood what Scripture means when it says that everything that has been created was created through Jesus. Since Jesus is the sum total of the laws, principles and means by which God creates, anything God creates is done through His ‘Logos’ — Jesus. When God creates by speaking things into existence, it does not change this meaning, it expands it. This is because both understandings apply equally, and at the same time: Jesus is both the spoken Word and the sum total of the Father’s Laws by which His Word is put into action.
Likewise, when Scripture tells us that this universe is sustained by the conscious will of Jesus (i.e. Logos),…? Well, that suddenly makes perfect sense, as well. Jesus, as ‘The Logos,’ is the sum total of all God’s Natural and Eternal Laws. These are the principles by which the universe is held together and by which it operates. Therefore, it is a natural conclusion that the universe would be sustained by these Laws — Jesus. What’s more, if the reader is familiar with the latest thinking in quantum physics, then this also explains the modern notion that this universe is the result of… Well, essentially, a neuro-net or brain! Put another way, John told us that this universe is the result of Jesus’ mind and will long before our modern ‘science’ discovered that the best explanation for this universe may well be to describe it as the product of a infinitely vast mind or conscience.
‘The Logos’ is also God’s ultimate plan for this world — and for humanity. This includes Jesus’ role as our Savior (see, I told you my understanding of Jesus got v-e-r-y big). Well, once we understand that Jesus is ‘The Logos,’ this passage takes on a new meaning:
Matthew 5:17-20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not [a]the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
We are not talking about the Law of Moses here. As ‘The Logos,’ Jesus is the law!!! And as ‘The Savior,’ Jesus is the fulfillment of the law (God’s plan of redemption — which is also part of the Logos). And because He is one with the Father, and God is eternal, and does not change, then nothing of Jesus (‘The Logos’) will pass away or change.
I’ll end here by saying that this discovery — that Jesus is ‘The Logos’ — has not only strengthened my faith, but it has also helped me to harmonize a great many passages in Scripture that, honestly, did not make any sense until now. Now that I know Jesus is ‘The Logos,’ and because I know what that means, many of the questions I had about Scripture have fallen smoothly into place. It has all left me with an inner awe and excitement that I cannot explain, and with an image of Jesus that I cannot contain — not in my mind, anyway. However, the best part is that nothing I now understand about Jesus changes anything I was taught before my discovery. My understanding of the core principles of my faith and of sound doctrine have not changed. My understanding of how we are saved has not changed. My understanding of Christ’s Gospel has not changed. Nothing has changed except that my image of Jesus has grown beyond my ability to comprehend or explain. But in doing so, it has helped me to understand and explain many of the things that seem to cause so man people — believers and non-believers alike — so much trouble. It is my hope and prayer that the Lord will now use my new understanding to help me show others Who He truly is, and that they will then accept Him as their Lord and Savior, as well.