In the Beginning Was the Word – Part 2

This is the second installment of a two-part series on John 1:1-18. If you have not read part one yet, please do so now. 😉 

Since we already explored the foundation laid for chapter 1 of John in Part 1 of In the Beginning Was the Word,  let’s consider the structural base that is built upon it by delving into verses 6-18.

The Structural Base of the Book of John

1-JohnThere was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word Saying was made 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 bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (John 1:6-18 KJV, revised by me)

OVERVIEW: First we’ll be looking intently at each segment, and then putting them together with refined understanding.

  • A Connection is Made Between the Light and Man (verses 6-13)
  • The Saying was Made Flesh and Dwelt Among Us (verses 14-18)

A Connection is Made Between The Light and Man

The author transitions from laying the foundation in John 1:1-5 to building a base structure by first making a connection between the Light and man in verses 6-13. Let’s look at verses 6-9 first.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man [all mankind] that cometh into the world. (John 1:6-9 KJV)

There Was a Man Sent From God

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

The Greek word translated as “man” here is “anthropos” (G444) and primarily means “a human being, whether male or female” according to Thayer, and the Greek word translated as sent is “apostello” (G649) and primarily means “to order (one) to go to a place appointed“.

I have heard some suggest that since it is said elsewhere that Jesus was sent from God (John 8:42), that it proves his physical nature to be different than other men. However, we see this expression being used here in reference to John (often referred to as “John the Baptist”), and clearly he was a human being.

A Witness, to Bear Witness of the Light

The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

A connection is being made between John and the Light. However, the author is saying that John is not that Light, but rather simply a witness, to bear witness of it.

The Greek word translated as “witness” (G3141) is marturia, which means a testifying; it comes from “martus” (G3144), which means a witness. The Greek word translated as “bear witness” in this passage is “martureo” (G3140); it also comes from “martus” (G3144). According to Thayer’s Greek definitions “martureo” means:

to be a witness, to bear witness, i.e. to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something, or that he knows it because taught by divine revelation or inspiration.”

The author uses this word more than any other author in the New Testament, and it seems to me that his focus in introducing John the Baptist in this passage was on the testimony John gave concerning the true Light.

But I want to point out that Jesus/Yeshua referred to John as a light as well, a burning and a shining light in John 5:35.

There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. (John 5:32-36 KJV)

But we can see that even Jesus/Yeshua identifies himself as having a greater witness than John, given the greater works the Father gave him to finish. Both men sent from God. Both men, we’ll see connected with the Light.

The True Light

That was the true Light, which lighteth every man [all mankind] that cometh into the world.

It is my understanding that light naturally gives light to those around it, but I think the author is distinguishing an ordinary light from the True Light by indicating that this Light gives light to all mankind that comes into the world.

Whereas in the case of John, for example, his appointment to give light was more limited.

Now let’s look at verses 10-13, expounding on the true Light.

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:10-13 KJV)

Who is He?

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Throughout this passage we see the pronouns “he”, “him” and “his”, but to whom is the author referring in this particular text?

While the previous verses suggest a connection between a man and the Light, they clearly indicate that the Light is not John the Baptist. So it seems to me that these pronouns are referring to Yeshua/Jesus, given the verses that follow.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:16-21 KJV)

I don’t know if the author is declaring Yeshua to literally be “the Light” or simply making a comparison between the two. Regardless of which, it is clear the connection is being made between Yeshua and the Light.

Having established that connection in verses 6-13, let’s look at verses 14-18.

And the Saying was made 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 bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (John 1:14-18 KJV, revised “Word” to “Saying” by me)

And the Saying Was Made Flesh

And the Saying was made 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.

This is the verse that so many lay hold of, in conjunction with John 1:1, and claim it as proof that Jesus is God. But, as I established in part one of this series, I understand the reference to the Saying in John 1:1 is specifically referring to the Saying in Genesis 1:3, Let there be light.

Building on that foundation, the author of John proceeds to make a connection between Yeshua and that “light” in the verses that lead up to verse 14 in John 1.

The Greek word translated as “flesh” is “sarx” (G4561), which means “1) flesh (the soft substance of the living body, which covers the bones and is permeated with blood) of both man and beasts; 2) the body; 3) a living creature (because possessed of a body of flesh) whether man or beast;…”

So when the author says, And the Saying was made flesh, it seems to me that he is simply saying, “And Let there be Light was made flesh.” That it came to be in bodily form.

And Dwelt Among Us

And the Saying was made 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.

The Greek word translated as “dwelt” is “skenoo” (G4637) and primarily means “to fix one’s tabernacle, have one’s tabernacle, abide (or live) in a tabernacle (or tent), tabernacle“, coming from “skeno” (G4636) which primarily means “a tabernacle, a tent”. Thayer goes on to say, “metaphorically of the human body, in which the soul dwells as in a tent, and which is taken down at death“.

Interestingly, the notion of a tabernacle or tent is that it is a temporary dwelling place.

We Beheld His Glory

And the Saying was made 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.

The Greek word translated as “glory” is “doxa” (G1391), which means “1) opinion, judgment, view; 2) opinion, estimate, whether good or bad concerning someone; 3) splendour, brightness; 4) a most glorious condition, most exalted state.”

The Hebrew counterpart is likely “kabad” (H3513), which means “to be heavy, be weighty, be grievous, be hard, be rich, be honourable, be glorious, be burdensome, be honoured”.

Full of Grace and Truth

And the Saying was made 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.

The Greek word translated as “grace” is “charis” (G5485). It’s Hebrew counterpart is “chen” (H2580), which means “favour, grace, charm” according to Brown Driver Briggs.

The word translated as “truth” is “aletheia” (G225). It’s Hebrew counterpart is “emeth” (H571), which means “firmness, faithfulness, truth“.

It seems to me that John is simply saying that the man Yeshua, with whom he has already established a connection to the Light, is the bodily product of Let there be light, and that he temporarily dwelt among them, (and they beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace/favour and truth/faithfulness.

John Bare Witness of Him

John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, “This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (v 15-18)

The author then finishes laying the Structural Base of the book of John by explaining how John bore witness of the true Light, Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ. Then verses 19 and onward give the testimony of John the Baptist.

The Light of the World

Later the author records:

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12 KJV)

Again he says:

I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:4-5 KJV)

Yeshua is recorded as not only identifying himself as the light, but also indicating his temporal stay.

Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them. (John 12:35-36 KJV)

Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. (John 12:44-50 KJV)

In Conclusion

There are 36 verses in John that use the word “logos” (G3056), which is translated in John 1:1 as “word”. I have looked at them all, and I cannot find anything that personifies “logos”. However, it is clear to me now that the Light is personified, and that is what this introduction of the book is highlighting.

Sadly, so many take the first and fourteenth verses of John 1 and run with their idea of what they are saying without ever seriously considering all that comes between them. I know, I was guilty of it as well.

Then, for years I just set that passage aside not knowing what to make of it, as I pursued the study of other parts of the New Testament. As I began to unfold these other passages, I was continually being drawn back to John 1. I prayed and prayed for understanding.

light-bulb-yellow-iconAnd then, it was like a light bulb moment for me (or more accurately, a series of them). Something I had been studying for over five years finally clicked.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:3 KJV)

It is clear that Yeshua is the Light of the World from many witnesses, not just John.

However, the notion of Jesus/Yeshua being “The Word Made Flesh”, and therefore the Creator God is an inherited deception. 🙁 I understand that concept is going to be a tough one to shake because it is so pervasive in both the Christian and Messianic communities. But unless someone can present strong evidence outside of John 1, it needs to go.

Exalting Jesus/Yeshua to the position of Creator God when he is not is a very serious offense in my opinion. I think it would serve us well to understand them both in their proper perspective.

I hope this study has proven helpful for you to demonstrate what the author sought to convey in this introduction of his book. If you need to, read through it again starting with the first part. Study it. Pray about it. Test it: read the rest of the book of John and see if this basic concept rings true: Jesus/Yeshua is the Light.

Please share any comments, questions or even objections below. I seek to remain humble and teachable, understanding I don’t have it all figured out, and I still have much to learn.  😉

About Carrie Wigal

Homesteading Wife, Homeschooling Mom and perpetual Bible student, continually taking the road less traveled. (@messyanic)
This entry was posted in 1-Day and Night, Jesus / Yeshua, John the Baptist. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to In the Beginning Was the Word – Part 2

  1. sarah says:

    Yes, I have also come to the same conclusion… I had been a “binitarian” for many years, and was exposed to the concept that there was indeed a Father / Son relationship, and then I spent many hours studying the “Trinity” concept, to see if there were possibly any scriptural support for it (I couldn’t find any passages that definitively supported the concept) but it was devastating to have to admit to “trinitarians” that I don’t worship the same “god” that they do…

  2. Kay says:

    This, in my opinion, is the most challenging and most divisive topic that I’ve encountered in Scripture, so far. It did not only separated us from the Christian community, but from the Messianic as well. It’s interesting how very similar my journey is to Sarah’s, in terms of uncovering this truth…from trinitarian, to binitarian, and now to having the one true Elohim YHWH. It gets more and more difficult to “make disciples” and share Abba’s truth. But shalom (wholeness/completeness) abounds whenever truth is revealed! HalleluYah!

    May I just add something, in case someone finds this verse problematic (as I used to):
    “and the world was made ***by*** him”

    Strong’s Greek 1223 “dia”
    Strong’s Concordance
    dia: through, on account of, because of
    Original Word: διά
    Part of Speech: Preposition
    Transliteration: dia
    Phonetic Spelling: (dee-ah’)
    Short Definition: through, on account of
    Definition: (a) gen: through, throughout, by the instrumentality of, (b) acc: through, on account of, by reason of, for the sake of, because of.

    As you’ve mentioned in your other blogs, prepositions (as well as pronouns, punctuations, capitalizations, and grammar) contribute to many of the errors in translations, interpretations, and understanding of Scripture, esp. in the NT.

    Thanks, Carrie!

  3. Julia says:

    Very good! This has been an area of ‘concern’ amongst our fellowship. It is difficult to lay down all the paradigms we learned in church. I really like the site: hethathasanear.com. His study on Whose Word is It? is related to this commentary and I return to it often. It is difficult, and I am so happy to find someone on the same ‘page’ as I am. Still seeking to clarify and discern the truth and unlearn the lies. Thanks.

    • Kay says:

      Hi Julia!

      Would you like to join the Wigals and other like-minded believers in the Shabbat Zoom Room (online) for Scripture study, discussion, and fellowship? It’s every Saturday at 11am EST. Check out this link for more details:
      http://messyanic.com/events/

      Hope to see you there! Yah bless!

      • Julia says:

        Perhaps. We have a home fellowship that we do on Saturdays. We leave the house by noon and don’t get home til sundown, usually. If I can, I will stop by. Blessings to you! J

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