“In the Beginning Was the Word” - What does this Verse Tell Us about God?
- Meg Bucher
- 2019 May 10
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
The Bible is the story of God’s plan to redeem His people. It reveals who He is and who we truly are in Him.
The whole of Scripture tells the story of Jesus Christ, the ultimate expression of God’s love for us. When John refers to Jesus as “the Word,” he speaks of the Word that was made flesh, and came to live among us (John 1:14). This Word, manifested in the person of Jesus Christ, is the fulfillment of the covenant God made with His people, giving them and all who believe the promise of life with Him.
God is not a God of coincidence or chaos, and Jesus was no coincidence. John’s words show us that Jesus was with God in the beginning. He is God, one with God, and the life He came to live on this earth was a part of a glorious plan from the beginning.
The Greek word John used here means “the first to do something, to begin.” This teaches us that God is the great initiator of all we know. As the Creator of the World, God was there in the beginning, making a way for us.
“Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.” (John 13:5)
Another understanding of the Greek origin of the word ‘beginning’ is “to be chief, to lead, or to rule.” Jesus flipped preconceived notions of leadership when He, the teacher, knelt to wash His followers’ feet. The daily accumulation of dust on the soles of our feet is rinsed and removed by the tender care of Christ. From the beginning, God planned to renew and restore us through His Word, Jesus. The most important cleansing, the war for our souls, required a spotless sacrifice.
Jesus Christ alone lived a spotless, sinless life. To be lifted high by the Father, He bent low. John the Baptist humbly baptized the one he had been preparing the way for! Jesus led with an assertive humility, confident in who He was.
From the beginning, God went before us. He aims to gather each precious sheep, shepherding us home to heaven—a path we could never pave for ourselves.
"The Word was with God"
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield…” (Psalm 84:11a)
“Philosophers employed logos, or ‘word,’ for the divine reason that orders the universe” (NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible).Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12), forever removed from the shadows.
The Greek translation of ‘word’ is logos, meaning word, message, or report. “According to John, this logos was in the beginning, was with God, and was God himself” (Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary).
The Spirit of God hovered over the waters (Genesis 1:2), and “the Word was with God”(John 1:1). The triune God, from the very beginning, was present at Creation. The NIV Study Bible Notes say this of Genesis 1:1-6: “God’s ‘separating’ and ‘gathering’ on days 1-3 gave form, and his ‘making’ and ‘filling’ on days 4-6 removed the emptiness.”
He who made us fills us, removing our emptiness through salvation in Christ. Every note of creation reflects God’s love for us.
Jesus, the ultimate expression of that love, is evident from the very beginning. Matthew Henry’s Commentary states that “The plainest reason why the Son of God is called the Word, seems to be, that as our words explain our minds to others, so was the Son of God sent in order to reveal his Father’s mind to the world.”
“Light is necessary for making God’s creative works visible and life possible.”(NIV Study Bible Notes, Genesis 1:3)
“Light has come into the world.” (John 3:19)
Jesus, the Word, illuminates the Truth of Scripture, by which we learn the character of God. Jesus, Himself, said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). The Holy Spirit, available to us through Jesus’ death on the cross, allows a brightened perspective, enlightened by the Word of God—Jesus.
“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of the darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6) Through us, the light of life shines to others! We stand out, shine bright, and illuminate. Each life is purposed for work in the furthering of the gospel. The gifts written on our hearts by the Word bring God’s love and light to the world. All we are and all we do is to honor Him.
"The Word was God"
“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17)
God is omnipotent and sovereign, two characteristics addressed in the cross-reference in John 1:1. The Word, Logos, Jesus Christ, is before all things and holds all things together. The Son of God is the fulfillment of God’s covenant with His people:
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be by people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and his brother, saying ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33-34)
The law within us, written on our hearts, is the Word of God—Jesus Christ. By Him, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us from salvation, we interpret God’s law. Through our Christ-centered lives, the Great Commission to spread the gospel truth (Matthew 28:16-20) illuminates the world. The Word is before all things, holding all things together.
John 1:1 powerfully inaugurates John’s eyewitness and Holy Spirit-inspired account of Christ’s life. “In the beginning” is “a deliberate echo of Genesis 1:1 to link God’s action on behalf of the world through Jesus Christ with his first work, the creation of the world” (NIV Study Bible Notes).John’s testimony is especially tender, because of his friendship with Christ. He was the only one left at the foot of the cross with Mary and Christ’s best friend on this earth. John’s kinship with the one, triune God seeped into his bones and leapt out of his heart. Though omnipotent and sovereign, our God is a personal God.
In the words of John Piper, “Christ was not made. That is what it means to be God. And the Word was God.”
“Megs” writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. She stepped out of her comfort zone, and her Marketing career, to obey God’s call to stay home and be “Mom” in 2011. From that step of obedience her blog, Sunny&80, was born, a way to retain the funny everyday moments of motherhood. Meg is also a freelance writer and author of Friends with Everyone. She loves teaching God’s Word and leading her Monday morning Bible study, being a mom, distance running, and photography. Meg resides in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and Golden-Doodle—all avid Cleveland Browns fans.
This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin and history of specific verses within Scripture context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.
"Be Still and Know that I Am God"
"Pray Without Ceasing"
"Fearfully and Wonderfully Made"
"Faith Without Works is Dead"
"Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart"
"All Things Work Together for Good"
"Be Strong and Courageous"
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Denis Degioanni