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Meaning of the Word in John 1:1

The verse John 1:1 has sparked different conversations and debates regarding the meaning of the "Word." What did Apostle John mean in this verse?


Meaning of the Word in John 1:1

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Darlene Stewart: My question is: In Genesis it speaks of Jesus Christ as the Word and it said the Word was ours with the Father? So how do you separate Him when you say that He’s just that Christ was just a man after He descended here was born of Mary and is He’s still not Holy is He still not part of the Godhead.

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Darlene Stewart

Landover, Maryland

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Brother Bob Pellien: Welcome everyone to this program That’s in the Bible. Thank you as well Darlene for that wonderful question, thank you much. You mentioned Darlene about Jesus being with God, and you mentioned that you noticed that in the first book in the Bible, the book of Genesis, said that Jesus is the word that was with God. So let’s take a good look at that. 

Darlene, you may actually be referring to the writing of Apostle John, which is not really the first book, the book of Genesis, but rather what you are referring to is in the first chapter of the book of John in fact verse 1, and they often read as well verse 14. They read those verses together in order to make the particular point that you were referring to in your question. 

John 1:1 explained

Brother Bob: So let’s start our discussion there and turn to the book of John chapter 1 and read those verses that led you to make the conclusions that you have made and mentioned. John chapter 1 I’ll read 1 as well as 14:

In the beginning there was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.     

[John 1:1,14 New King James Version]

Brother Bob: So this mentions that the Word was with God, and being with God clearly proves Darlene that the Word is different from God Himself because then God would be with God, God with God. And then of course that would make two Gods, and the Bible clearly teaches us about only one true God

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One True God

Brother Bob: It also mentions that the Word became flesh and dwelled among us. So why did the Apostle John say that the Word, first of all, why did he say that the word was with God? What does it mean if it’s not Jesus already pre-existing with God in the beginning? Does Apostle John refer really to a pre-existent Christ in those verses?

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Does Apostle John refer to a PRE-EXISTENT Christ?

Brother Bob: So many are wrongly teaching that it does and that Jesus is therefore Himself is God who became flesh and dwelled among us. That’s what so many are teaching. We’re going to turn to the Bible for a response but before we do that lets take a look at what authorities in the Roman Catholic Church have to say about this. What’s their explanation? 

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What does the Catholic Church say?

Brother Bob: It’s worth noting. Here, let’s take a look at what they said. It’s in a footnote from the Catholic Bible the Douay-Rheims Translation edition of The Bible. They wrote in the footnote of John 1:1 the following: 

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To represent His eternal existence with the Father, St. John employs the term Word. It is so used only by St. John and designates the Son as a kind of intellectual emanation from the Father. 

[Douay-Rheims fraternity footnote of John 1] 

Brother Bob: So the explanation here, Darlene, of the Catholic authorities regarding Apostle John’s use of the term Word, not as Jesus being pre-existing with God in the beginning, but rather simply the Word, or as they describe it the Thought, a Plan emanating from God in the beginning. 

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The Word

The Thought

A Plan

Brother Bob: Why did Apostle John say that in the beginning the Word was with God? Let’s go to the Bible now. The Bible now gives us the truth, the truth to believe. Here’s the writings of Apostle Peter in I Peter 1:20:

He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you.

[1 Peter 1:20 English Standard Version]

Brother Bob: The answer of the Bible, Darlene, Christ had no pre-existence in the beginning, but rather it was foreknown. He was the idea. God had that foreknown idea or plan about Him already in the beginning. It was in His mind, it was the plan of God as what? As a Word. As we all know it did not remain just a Word. When did Christ, who was only a plan, a logos, a Word with God in the beginning, when did that Word no longer be simply a Word or plan, but actually materialize and come into existence? Galatians 4:4: 

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

[Galatians 4:4 New King James Version]  

What does “the Word was God” mean?

Brother Bob: So Darlene, if it was the Word which became flesh and not God who spoke the word that became flesh, then why does the text say that the Word was God? Consider Luke 1:37 the Bible response this way:

For no word from God shall be void of power. 

[Luke 1:37 American Standard Version]

Brother Bob: What does the Bible say, Darlene, about the Word of God? It is not void of power. How about God Himself? Does The Bible give that kind of description about God?” Genesis 35:11: 

Also God said to him: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; …

[Genesis 35:11 New King James Version]

Brother Bob: So Darlene what does the Bible say concerning God and His power? In Genesis 35:11 God is Almighty God. He is all powerful just like what we read from Luke 1:37 about the Word of God. The Word is not void of power or it’s all powerful. God is Almighty, not void of power, all powerful. Thus it’s not shocking that Apostle John made such a statement that the Word was God, describing the Word, not that the word is, in fact, God Himself. It’s an adjective, not a noun. And as an adjective it’s used to describe the term Word, which is why in fact why, Darlene, other Bible translators in fact even translated more clearly such as, for example the James Moffatt translation of the Bible which renders it:

The Logos existed in the very beginning, the Logos was with God, the Logos was divine.

[John 1:1 Moffatt Translation]

Brother Bob: Logos being the Greek for Word. Darlene you also asked why we separate Jesus from the Godhead. It’s not that we do such things actually. There may be as you witness many preachers who preach so many things about the term Godhead and they may say, “Well it means a triune god such as God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.” 

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God the Father

God the Son

God the Holy Spirit

Brother Bob: But Darlene, everyone, that is simply not in the Bible and there is no basis to embrace such an unscriptural stand.

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That is simply NOT in the Bible

Brother Bob: What is in the Bible however is the teaching of Jesus regarding who the true God is. Believe Jesus, what did He say? Let’s conclude with His words in the book of John 17:1 as well as verse 3:

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that your Son also may glorify You,  And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

[John 17:1,3 New King James Version]

Brother Bob: Allow me to pause, Darlene. Who’s speaking? Jesus. He’s praying to the Father. What did He include in His prayer? Jesus Himself referred only to the Father as God, not Himself. He didn’t say, “The Father, and also me together, and also our companion the Holy Spirit. The three of us make up the Godhead triune, trinitarian god.” It didn’t say anything like that. That is why here, Darlene, inside the Church Of Christ, we believe and we teach the truth concerning the one true God is The Father. Why? Because That’s in the Bible.

Dear friends there is no question that is too basic, no question that cannot be answered by the Bible when it comes to our lives and to our salvation. So, if you’d like to learn more about these basic fundamental teachings found inside the Church Of Christ please visit

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Brother Bob: There you’ll find a variety of programs just like this, dedicated to answering your spiritual questions.

For now, thanks for joining us! We’ll see you again next time here in That’s in the Bible.

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Meaning of the Word in John 1:1