The meaning of John Chapter 1 is quite fascinating, as it encapsulates the importance of Jesus and establishes the fact that Christ has always been one with God. The bulk of the chapter, which is filled with beautiful proclamations about the core of the gospel, also speaks about John the Baptist.
To truly understand the meaning of John Chapter 1, we must start at verse one, which speaks about Jesus’ nature. It reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
READ ALSO: 8 Lessons from the Life of John the Baptist
The Meaning of John Chapter 1: Jesus Was With God in the Beginning
As we understand the meaning and significance of John 1:1, we learn that Jesus was always one with God. John 1:2-5 (NIV) continues, speaking deeper into the meaning of this reality and the idea that “Jesus is the Word.”
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Clearly, Jesus was always united with God, with creation flowing through him. This reality makes Christ’s decision to descend and become man that much more meaningful and significant. But while exploring the meaning of John Chapter 1 some might still wonder why Jesus is the “Word.”
According to GotQuestions.org’s John 1 commentary, the use of “Word” in John 1:1 has a fascinating purpose:
By starting out his gospel stating, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” John is introducing Jesus with a word or a term that both his Jewish and Gentile readers would have been familiar with. The Greek word translated “Word” in this passage is Logos, and it was common in both Greek philosophy and Jewish thought of that day. For example, in the Old Testament the “word” of God is often personified as an instrument for the execution of God’s will (Psalm 33:6; 107:20; 119:89; 147:15-18). So, for his Jewish readers, by introducing Jesus as the “Word,” John is in a sense pointing them back to the Old Testament where the Logos or “Word” of God is associated with the personification of God’s revelation. And in Greek philosophy, the term Logos was used to describe the intermediate agency by which God created material things and communicated with them.
The Greek understanding, GotQuestions.org explained, would have sparked the idea that Jesus, when referred to as Logos, was a mediator between God and the world.
Jesus Is the Word: Christ Brings Grace and Truth
This description of Jesus is essential to understanding the core of the gospel, with additional verses in John 1 delving deeper into the reality of Christ’s being.
We’re again reminded of the fact that Jesus is the Word, when verse 10 proclaims that the world was made through Christ, yet the world failed to recognize him.
Moving on just a few verses and John 1:14 again refers to Jesus as the “Word,” with verses 17-18 drawing an interesting distinction between the Old Testament law given through Moses and the grace that came through Christ:
“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”
When we think back to the words “in the beginning was the word” and then explore these latter verses, the interchangeable relationship between God and Christ is made clear.
John 1 Meaning: The Emergence of John the Baptist
While we learn essential truths about Christ, the majority of John Chapter 1 meaning is focused on John the Baptist. In fact, by the time we reach John 1:6, we learn that John the Baptist was sent by God to testify about Jesus.
Emphasizing that John the Baptist wasn’t more important than Christ, John 1:8 notes, “He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.” We see later in John 1:20 that John the Baptist also made it clear to Jewish leaders that he wasn’t the Messiah.
He even said a few verses later that he wasn’t fit to untie the straps of Christ’s sandals, making it clear that he is not to be regarded in the same light as Christ.
As the chapter progresses, John the Baptist sees Jesus and proclaims that he is the “Lamb of God” who will take away people’s sins.
The chapter concludes with Jesus beginning to call his followers, including Peter. If you’re looking for more about the meaning of John Chapter 1, read it on Biblica.
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