John 1:1-4: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. There is nothing more helpful in curing loneliness than a family circle. He is referring to a definite matter here for he uses this phrase many times. The Word Became Flesh. It is poetic prose—prose with the soul of poetry—prose that, like poetry, packs layers of meaning in a word or phrase. Now he goes on to say, in Verse 2, that this life was made manifest, made visible. Look at the earthly life of Jesus and this is exactly what you see. Negatively: that there is nothing in existence that owes its existence to any other agency than the Word; there is nothing that exists that exists independently, nothing that came into being apart from the creative action of the Word. While we deny this utter dependence, and even while we deny his existence, the Word, in his overwhelming and compassionate grace, remains the source of our existence, indeed of all existence. How do we know what is true? There is not only the horizontal relationship but that, in turn, depends upon a vertical one. We have something in common. Life does not exist apart from him. For the article with the predicate see Robertson, Grammar, pp. They are together in will, in purpose, in choice of action. The Word ‘was’ – the Word was in a state of continual existence, the Word existed continually, in the beginning. God is using you to do his eternal work. You will remember that from Paul we learned it was the task of the apostles to lay the foundation of the church, the only foundation which men can lay, which is Jesus Christ. There is a dear girl in this congregation that cannot relate what the Lord does without literally bouncing as she tells it. EXEGESIS: JOHN 1:1-18. Read Psalm 36:9. How far back it goes no one knows. Three things are highlighted for us in this introduction: A relationship, a fellowship, and a joy that follows. That Gospel begins with these words, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," (John 1:1 RSV). He said this in a context in which he was attempting to impart to them the secrets of life. Website © 2021 by Ray Stedman Ministries. In focusing on the Logos concept we must also be careful not to overlook the word ‘was’ which speaks of continuity of existence. It relates to him who is from the beginning. suggests that these three ministries of John, Peter, and Paul can be distinguished by, and are characterized by, the tasks that each of these men were performing when they were called of God: Peter, for instance, was called as a fisherman, and we are told in the Gospels that the moment of his call occurred when the Lord found him casting a net into the sea. We do not get ‘light’ – real spiritual truth – from any other source; we cannot get ‘light’ – real spiritual truth – from any other source, because it has one source only: the Word, Jesus Christ. We will find that to be his ministry particularly in these letters. To the Apostle Paul, however, was committed a different task. But John is different than both of these. He is not a distant, remote God, but a God who comes and speaks to us. The Persic version reads in the plural number, "lives". That is what this letter is written for, that we might be free from deception. It really takes two English words to bring out what this really means. John makes this crystal clear at the beginning of his letter, calling us back to these fundamental things. We shall read the first four verses, which constitute his introduction to this first letter: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life -- the life was made manifest and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us -- that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. Again John refers to the eternal existence of the Word, and his close and eternal association and relationship with God, indicating at the one time an essential distinction and a perfect unity. Firstly, from seeing Jesus, the Word, merely as an expression, emanation or manifestation of God, in any Unitarian sense. I replied, "It's very simple. B. ... John reminded his readers that the Man about Whom he was speaking existed from the beginning, and yet He lived with His disciples for three amazing years, and walked with them day by day. A chapter by chapter and verse by verse study of John taught by Pastor Paul LeBoutillier of Calvary Chapel Ontario, Oregon. There are things I know I want to do, things I would like to do because it is his will, what he wants. It was Peter's task to talk about the kingdom of God, Paul about the church of God, but John is concerned with the family of God. John and Peter and Paul all have different ministries, as I have suggested. It is into the intimacy of the family circle, now, that the Apostle John takes us. You cannot have the fellowship until you first come to Christ and receive him. It is not that here is Jesus Christ and there is something which he created as a living thing which can now exist apart from him. We all have things in common. The term ‘the Word’ – ho logos – was a term rich with meaning: John takes hold of the Logos concept and fills it with ultimate meaning. All of us are related to someone. ‘In the beginning …’ immediately brings to the reader’s mind the ‘in the beginning’ of Genesis 1:1, where God is assumed to exist in unique, independent, absolute, unconditional, eternal self-existence. Home, to the family! Believe in me.’. John will spend much more time later in his gospel explaining Jesus' role in bringing life to mankind. When you are confident in yourself all that you accomplish is what you can see. When we know him, we know God. Jesus said to his disciples, "I have not called you servants, but I have called you friends," (John 15:15). That work of fishing for men is characteristic of the Apostle Peter. While the spiritual, eternal dimension of life is not absent from this verse, John is here writing primarily of physical life. This means that he makes available to me that which I desperately lack, wisdom and power, the ability to do. Our Father, we pray that thou will take our eyes that have been so befuddled by false concepts, superficial, childish, teddy-bear concepts of Christianity, and help us to see the truth. When we discover that God is actually using us, it is the most exciting and joy-producing experience possible to men. We cannot believe merely in ideas, doctrinal statements. The writers of the New Testament began it when they came to know him, and John began it when he first knew him. 3. This is the point to which all objections to Christianity are ultimately directed, an attempt to destroy this basis of fact. Jesus, the Word, existed in intimate relationship with God, distinct in himself, yet in such a unity that, as we learn later in this Gospel, what the Father says the Son says, what the Father does the Son does. Who of us is not concerned with that? As you look at the life of Jesus you will see this secret relationship, this lost secret of humanity, this new way by which man is intended to live -- a continual dependence upon the life of the Father. But, also, …. When Paul was called he was a tentmaker. In particular John here introduces a concept that dominates his entire Gospel: that God is a self-revealing God, a God who speaks, a God who makes himself known to us. 1. ANSWER: John 1:1 read: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Now that is about as far as we can go in understanding that, for this is a timeless beginning that is right now, an eternal now. Any such erroneous redefinition here, right at the beginning of John’s Gospel, has the potential to affect our understanding of the claims of Christ made consistently throughout this Gospel. The Jew will remember that ‘by the Word of the Lord were the heavens made’; the Greek will think of the rational principle of which all natural laws are particular expressions. Our Christian faith does not rest simply on ideas, or doctrinal statements. The Word Of Life Series. Now fellowship there means exactly the same thing it means elsewhere. Here John comes to the most beautiful thing about family life -- fellowship, companionship: ...that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us... (1 John 1:3a RSV). Most of us share American citizenship in common. Because this is what results when we really experience the fellowship that John is talking about. It is evident he is talking about a person, whom, he says is "from the beginning." That is worth listening to, is it not? The apostle John spends his first eighteen verses introducing Jesus Christ, and preparing us for the highly disturbing and confrontational core truth about Jesus Christ that he is about to put before us, a truth that challenges us at the very roots of our belief system, at the very centre of our concept of God. Make us to understand what these words are describing. Here we come to the most remarkable thing about Christian life, communion, or fellowship with Christ. In other words, Christian faith rests upon great facts, the acts of a human being in history. By this simple introductory phrase John throws us right into the debate which permeates his Gospel: Did Jesus Christ have the right to make the claims he made, or did he not? That is what John is writing about. These are tremendously important verses. For him the Logos concept was a bridge between the transcendent God and this material universe. He tells us what he himself experienced. That Word was a Person, and he was with God, and he was God. Say to them, "Keep it. That simply means "the beginning I am experiencing right now." So John writes, "I write this that your joy may be full," answering the fear and problem of loneliness. Then he says that this life will result in two wonderful things: First, fellowship. By it he introduces Jesus as nothing less than God, as we shall see in the rest of the verse. The explanation of that one unforgettable life is that he demonstrated what it means to walk in continual dependence upon a God who dwelt within him.". John 1:1 means that, unlike all other mortals, whose life begins when semen fertilizes an egg, Jesus lived … This is one of the favorite phrases of the Apostle John "from the beginning." For permission to use this content, please review He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. If the vertical is not right, the horizontal one will be wrong, and, if it is wrong, it is because something is wrong between us and the Father. So in 1 John 4:16 ho theos agape estin can only mean “God is love,” not “love is God” as a so-called Christian scientist would confusedly say. Make a list of the truths from John 1:1-4 that are significant for you. And in Chapter 2, Verse 26, he gives us the third reason: "I write this to you about those who would deceive you." John will mention this further here in his introduction, and he will mention it repeatedly, in various ways, later in his Gospel. Here we move from the ‘all things’ of verse 3 specifically to ‘men’, and we understand that this life that is in the Word, has, in respect to human beings, an additional dimension that John calls ‘light’. But it will be as you are able to bear these secrets. | 5,381 … I have seen men, familiar with the world of high finance who work continually in the great marts of trade, get so excited over the fact that God was using them in some simple way that they literally trembled as they told it. As you grow along with him you will discover that your eyes are continually being opened to things you never saw before. And in this is a miracle and a manifestation of incredible and unexpected grace: that the Word, Jesus Christ, continues to sustain our physical existence, despite the fact that we, from Genesis 3 onwards, have insisted that we exist and live apart from him, independent of him, as autonomous, self-supporting, self-sustaining, self-determining beings. That is the basis of fellowship for essentially this word means "to have all things in common." There is nothing more exciting than that. The disciples were aware of Jesus' conflict with Jewish authorities and the danger that it presented. John and Peter and Paul all have different ministries, as I have suggested. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. "This life was manifest," John says, "and we are going to tell you about it, we are going to proclaim it to you." They all have a very important task, but God commits something original to each of these men to be passed along to us. The Old Testament teaches clearly that God is the creator of all things, yet here is John stating boldly, and in such a way that he cannot be misunderstood, that the Word, whom he will soon identify as Jesus Christ, gave existence to everything single thing that exists. The Incarnation of Jesus: 1 John 1:1-4 Part one In Blogs by David M. Levy December 22, 2017 Leave a Comment I t’s Christmas time and many of us are busy with last minute gifts, family get-togethers, and for Christians, remembering the reason we celebrate this holiday: God coming down and dwelling among us. The expression indicates ‘accompaniment and relationship’ – ‘the whole existence of the Word was oriented towards the Father’ [Morris, p76]. We have to start with A in order, eventually, to arrive at Z, and it is that A which John is describing in the Gospel. God's Word For You is a free Bible Study site committed to bringing you teaching and studies firmly grounded in the Bible, and the Bible's answers to your questions. I have seen young people get so excited over this that they literally jump up and down. The relationship between my existence and Jesus Christ is one of absolute dependence, irrespective of whether I am aware of or acknowledge that dependence. and the Word was God. When you have the Son you are related to the him, and when you are related to him, you can have fellowship with him. And that is what makes a Christian, to share the life of God by relationship to a Person, the only Person who has that life, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. That's tremendously different." Now you tell me that this is not the way, that I'm not to have confidence in myself but to have confidence in God in me. It is only God who is eternal. All rights reserved. In this verse, the “word” and “wisdom” are seen as the creative force of God, but without being a “person.”. True, these are gifts of God, but they are put at my disposal to do with as I please. When you get lonely where do you want to go? "And we are writing this that your joy may be complete." The first reason he puts very bluntly and unmistakably: Jesus is God! Is he God or is he not? When we see him, we see God. It is that simple. But when God is at work in you, you not only accomplish what you can see but far more that you can't see. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 1 John 4:1-21—Read the Bible online or download free. It is a grand introduction to the Son of God and the Savior of the world. He calls men back to truth. Indeed Christ is the life. God delights 'to set the solitary in families.' Then I discover that I can do what I want to do. Then he says, "I am writing this so that you may not sin." John is really referring to the continuous experience of the Christian life, which is contemporary all the time, new and fresh and vital, a continuous beginning which is eternal. What do all of these facts about Jesus mean? The logos, that is, the plan, purpose and wisdom of God, “became flesh” (came into concretion or physical existence) in Jesus Christ. Over and above all, this site affirms that God, in a manner totally contrary to how we would think and act, has provided in and through Jesus Christ his eternal Son, a way of forgiveness in which we can live in his presence guilt free, acquitted and at peace. In doing this he expressed exactly the mind of God. (1 John 1:1-4 RSV) Three things are highlighted for us in this introduction: A relationship, a fellowship, and a joy that follows. They are overwrought with excitement, with joy. Children are related to their parents, and parents to their children. That is what John is talking about, life, as life was intended to be lived, filled with joy. 2 He was with God in the beginning. John is a mender. God's Word For You acknowledges that God exists, that He loves us with an incredible love, and that He has spoken and continues to speak to us in the Bible, his written Word. No matter how religious you may be, you do not have life if you do not have the Son, you are not a Christian. The sum total of the eternal, omnipotent, infinite glory of God was reflected in Jesus Christ. 1 aIn the beginning was bthe Word, and cthe Word was with God, and dthe Word was God. To him was committed the keys of the kingdom by which he could open the door to the new things God was introducing. Oh yes, with many pressures! What do these references teach us about the eternality of God? I told him, "I know you do. John 1:4. ἐν αυτῷ ζωὴ ἦν. (1 John 1:1-4 RSV). If you have nothing in common, you have no fellowship. That is what we are called to. First, he is talking about a relationship: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life -- (1 John 1:1 RSV). 767f. We shall discover, as we go on as Christians, that the horizontal relationship is directly related to the vertical one. In Verse 14, he says, "I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning." The Son, the Logos, is distinct from the Father. There was never a time when he did not exist. And here John anticipates a highly important truth: that ‘light’ – that is, revelation, knowledge of God, knowledge of absolute, objective, spiritual truth, – is ‘in him’, in the Word. Compare it with John 1:4 How does this verse confirm the deity of Christ? John 1:1 – Was the Word = “the news spread” (eén ho lógos) 3. Convey to us, Lord, something of the richness and the glory of this relationship of life in Jesus Christ, the warmth of fellowship with him when everything that we are is made available to him and we are experiencing all the wonderful joy of everything that he is made available to us. of all mankind. Paul does not do the same thing as John, Peter has a different task than Paul or John, and Jude is called to yet another ministry. Neither science nor Scripture answers. This verse identifies the Logos, the Word, as the agent of creation, and in doing so again identifies the Word as God. In between the prologue (1 John 1:1-4) and the conclusion (5:13-21) these two major themes appeared repeatedly in three major sections: A. At the close of this letter John tells us, "He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life," (1 John 5:12 RSV). People are affected permanently and you leave an impression behind that is not forgotten. The greatness of God, the wisdom, the power, the glory of his might -- all is made available to me, when I make myself available to him. This site affirms that God has provided in and through Jesus Christ his eternal Son, a way of forgiveness in which we can live in his presence guilt free, acquitted and at peace. The revelation of Jesus Christ is spiritually manifested. He was there ‘in the beginning’; his existence did not commence at some point after the beginning. When John was called he was found mending his nets. In John 1:1–4, John clearly identifies Jesus as the Word: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. “Word” here is translated from the Greek logos. Philo sometimes spoke of the Logos as a ‘second God’, and sometimes as the one God in action. "That your excitement may be complete." We need to notice here that John does not say ‘and the Word was divine’ or ‘the Word was like God’. What is fellowship? Twice he says it. Because we share life together. This verse also refers to Jesus using the second of John's seven names for Jesus: "The Light." In other words he is writing to protect us, in order that we might be free from deception. The first beginning is the beginning of creation. It is what we might call the contemporary beginning, or, to use a very popular phrase these days that few really understand, the existential beginning. It has been available for all time, but you only began it when you came to know Jesus Christ. And here we must stop and ask: is John alone in this perception that the Word, Jesus Christ, is the Creator of all things, upon whom all things depend for their existence? God and I, working together, a partnership. I have seen it happen many, many times. What do you do with a friend? This is that same truth that Paul taught in Athens when he said, in reference to God: ‘In him we live and move and have our being’ [Acts 17:28 ], and in reference to Christ in his letter to the Colossians ‘In him all things hold together’ [ 1:17 ]. He goes on, "and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ." When I do I discover something most remarkable. He built things. Now he says this one from the beginning is a Person, and he has been seen and heard and handled. Both agree that this Logos is the starting-point of all things.’ [Quoted by Morris (p.123) from Temple. You tell him secrets. Why? Not because we are inherently wonderful people or remarkable personalities, or that we are naturally gracious, kind, loving, and tender all the time -- for at times we are grouchy, scratchy, and irritating to others. He was in the beginning with God. If you think about these four reasons for a moment you will find something remarkable about them. Everything that he is, is put at my disposal. But it must all begin with this matter of relationship, for John is concerned first about the family of God. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the only way to have joy is to be free from pressures or problems. You must renounce your confidence in yourself and recognize that God, working through you, can do far more than you could ever do by confidence in yourself; that there would be an eternal effect if it is God at work in you. IN JOHN'S GOSPEL. That beginning goes back before creation. In the Navy we used to say it was two fellows on the same ship, and there is a sense in which that is true. He means that this eternal life was visible in the relationship of the Father and the Son. Here we find the ultimate answer to the question ‘Where does life come from?’ – it comes from Jesus Christ, the Word. THE PROLOGUE TO THE GOSPEL OF JOHN. Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.a. The Gospel of John weds theology to poetry. He is a builder. In him was life. John is not alone in this perception of Jesus Christ. But it is not only partnership, there is also friendship. But John is talking about that unique fellowship which is only the possession of those who share life in Jesus Christ together, who have this different kind of life, this new relationship. He not only lays the foundation, but he builds upon it. He is continually reminding people that he says only what the Father is saying through him that they are not his words, he simply looked to God and trusted God to be working through him, leading him to think the thoughts and to say the things that God wanted him to say. This is what that wonderful word, fellowship, means. John 1:18 – The only begotten God = “The Only Begotten Magistrate” (Monogeneés Theós) John 1:1 “At first … En archeé . If he withdrew, if he distanced himself from the creature, all life would cease. © 2001 - 2020 Copyright God's Word For You - Rosemary Bardsley. How do we know we are not going to fail? He lived this way. 4 f In him was life , 1 and g the life was the light of men . There was need of a voice to call people back to the original foundations and that is the ministry of the Apostle John. That verse encompasses the very dawn of creation and it is impossible for us to tell how far back it is. But each of the apostles has a specific function in laying this foundation. That is what friends are for. There was life in the word with respect to himself; a divine life, the same with the life of the Father and of the Spirit; and is in him, not by gift, nor by derivation or communication; but originally, and independently, and from all eternity: indeed he lived before his incarnation as Mediator, and Redeemer. This half of 1:4 leads us to realise that John has more than physical existence in mind. Now God will do this, he wants to do it. This ‘with’ infers a relationship, an interface, an interaction, between two distinct persons. We live in families. This is who I am. We knew him, we had fellowship with him, we lived with him, we ate with him, we slept with him, we heard his words, we have never forgotten them. The cults today say, "Look, we have something different, additional, something that has come along much later in history than the Bible; we have as additional revelation to give you." This makes them one and that is the basis for the appeal of Scripture to live together in tenderness and love toward one another. In Verse 24, he says, "Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. It must be from the beginning. But we are still to love one another. It seems to shift from time to time. I have my mind, my body. godswordforyou.com acknowledges that God exists, that He loves us with an incredible love, and that He has spoken and continues to speak to us in the Bible, his written Word. The Word was, and is, nothing less than God. A. John 1:1-3. Without this verse the rest of the story has no meaning. Rather it is this: that here is Jesus Christ, and if he did not exist, neither would, neither could, anything else exist. How do you find your way through life successfully? What does John 1:4 mean? All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. But now, in this letter, there is still a third beginning, "that which was from the beginning." It is here that the Arian controversy of the early church and some contemporary pseudo-Christian cults deviate from the biblical perspective. I became one of the top players in my league, and I did it by being self-confident. Though a text may have different individual applications, it can only have one universal meaning. In Jesus' name, Amen. Here in John 1:1 John repeats this divine ‘in the beginning’, affirming the eternity and the deity of Jesus Christ. (1-2) John begins with the center of relationship: Jesus Christ. Before there was anything at all, there was the Word. These things we are writing, he says, "that your joy may be full." But it must all begin with this matter of relationship, for John is concerned first about the family of God. We have many things in common. In Jewish thought, it relates to the ‘and God. THE LIFE OF JESUS AS COVERED BY GOSPEL OF JOHN (shaded area) Click chart to enlarge. It is difficult to locate this beginning, is it not? He is an historical being. Rather he was already there, already in a state of eternal existence, ‘with God’, ‘in the beginning’. To the mind steeped in the Old Testament John’s statement here is just as confrontational and disturbing as his previous statements affirming the eternal existence of the Word.
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