Understanding John Chapter One
By Joel Hemphill
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
The wide spread misunderstanding of this verse among Christians is the source of much of the confusion that exists regarding who the One Most High God of the Bible is. It is a serious mistake for Christians to read John 1:1 as if it says: “In eternity past was the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was God,” thus making Jesus the eternal God.
It should be read and understood as:
“In the beginning (some certain beginning) was the word (Greek - logos - speech, something said), and the word was with God, and the word was God” (the breath of His mouth).
Note: John uses the word “beginning” 23 times in his writings and not once does he mean “eternity past.” It is always some certain beginning.
Note: The word “word” in John chapter one is not capitalized in the original Greek, and in many older translations.
Here are the proof texts:
“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth....for he spoke and it was done” (Ps. 33:6, 9).
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God” (Heb. 11:3).
“By the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water” (II Peter 3:5).
“These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God” (Jesus speaking) (Rev. 3:14). Trust Jesus!
Now please look at John 1:3.
“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
Is the word “him” in this verse translated properly? First of all it does not harmonize with a true understanding of the two prior verses. (The “word” - logos - “something said” is not a “him”).
Second, it is important to note that of eight prominent English translations that preceded the King James Version of 1611, not one used the word “him.” Seven of the eight rendered John 1:3, “By it all things were made. Without it nothing was made” (Tyndale Bible, 1526; Matthew, 1535; Tavener, 1539; The Great (Cranmer’s) Bible, 1539; Whittingham, 1557; Geneva, 1560; Bishop’s Bible, 1595). One, the famous Coverdale Bible of 1550 says “the same” rather than “it.” None of these eight say “him.” Why did the King James translators render “it” as “him,” as if it were a person? They were influenced by Greek philosophy through the “logos doctrine” which came from Plato and Philo, and made its way into Christian thought by way of Justin, Origen, Athanasius and Augustine, and was promoted by 1300 years of false Catholic tradition. Their error has helped to lead millions of sincere Christians astray in their understanding of who the one true God is!
A challenge made in love. Go to your library and find any book, encyclopedia, Bible concordance or dictionary that deals with the doctrine of the Trinity. Look in the subject index under “Divine logos doctrine” and it will refer you to Plato, Philo, and other Greek philosophers. Thus our understanding was corrupted!
What John meant in John 1:14.
“And the word (logos - something said) was made flesh (Jesus, the Son of God), and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” What God said became flesh!
These verses in John chapter one are at the heart of the debate as to Jesus’ deity, and the key to a true Biblical understanding of who he is.
Words of truth from Professor James Dunn.
The noted Trinitarian scholar Professor James Dunn correctly states in his exhaustive study “Christology In The Making:”“There is no clear indication anywhere in Paul that he ever identified Christ (pre-existent or otherwise) with the Logos (Word) of God” (p. 39). “Similarly in Acts there is no sign of any christology of pre-existence” (p. 51). “In Matthew and Luke Jesus’ divine sonship is traced back specifically to his birth or conception...he was Son of God because his conception was an act of creative power by the Holy Spirit” (p. 61). “In the earliest period of Christianity ‘Son of God’ was not an obvious vehicle of a christology of incarnation or pre-existence. Certainly such a christology cannot be traced back to Jesus himself with any degree of conviction...it is less likely that we can find such a christology in Paul or Mark or Luke or Matthew” (p. 64). “There is no indication that Jesus thought or spoke of himself as having pre-existed with God prior to his birth or appearance on earth. We cannot claim that Jesus believed himself to be the incarnate Son of God” (p. 254). “There is always the possibility that popular pagan superstition became popular Christian superstition by a gradual assimilation and spread of belief” (p. 251). 1 Yet, after making these statements Professor Dunn closed out his book with a “Trinitarian Confession” (p. 268). This proves again that even though a doctrine is not taught in Scripture it does not bother some theologians. But is does bother me and it should trouble every Christian who loves the truth!