John 1:1 reads as follows:

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

I'm wondering about the "πρὸς τὸν Θεόν", translated as "with god."

But, I'm more asking about the connotative meaning of the word, or the spectrum of meaning it has, other than "with". What is the author trying to say about the relation between the λόγος and the Θεὸς?

  • Is there another dictionary definition for this word that might alter the meaning when we translate his into English? – Jay Jul 20 '15 at 14:13

There isn't much deep meaning here beyond "with". The combination "εἰμί...πρός" appears in plenty of other places meaning simply "to be...with", especially when people are both the subject and object. A few from the NT for flavor:

Mark 14:49 Every day I was with you in the temple teaching...

Luke 9:41 And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you..."

2 Th 3:10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order...

The only (minor) nuance here is that πρός connotes a sense of direction whereas μετά, which is also often translated "with", tends not to:

Mk 3:14 And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him

Php 4:9 ...and the God of peace will be with you.

As you can see from the above examples, πρός is used when the subject is moving/has moved into the space of the object, whereas μετά is used when the subject and object share a more neutral space.

This doesn't seem to affect the meaning of the verse in question much, however. You could make a case that the choice of πρός instead of μετά is due to "the logos" being in "God's space" first, as an opposite to v14 where it "pitched its tent among us", in our space. But there isn't much else in the context to strengthen such a weak connotation. "With" is a fine translation into English.

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Using Logos Bible software, there appear to be 21 instances of the prepositional phrase "πρὸς [τὸν] θεόν" in the New Testament (NA28). In each instance, the idea appears to relate to the presence of God (in either an indirect or direct way depending on the context). For example, in the case of John 1:1, the λόγος would be in the direct presence of God because of the context.

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The question is:

What does the preposition PROS "convey" in John 1:1

Firstly, it would seem to me that we should carefully consider that the preposition's main role in a sentence is to assist/modify the verb, to clarify the how, the where, the why, the to what extent as relates to that verbalness (in part from The Blue Book of Grammar)

Before we are able to do that though, we must also consider the case of what follows that preposition.

TON QEON (accusative)

The God (accusative)

The accusative speaks of the object affected; how far or to what extent did the action of the verb go.

Grammars tell us generally that PROS+accusative speaks of motion; motion towards, but some may ask: "how can a stative verb like hN (the imperfect of EIMI (the verb "to be") have motion.

I would like to suggest that PROS conveys, that is, brings to this situation of HO LOGOS (whatever that may be) the inherent affect of the reality of its existing; its motion as it were; allow me to explain via example:

I live just a few miles west of a mountain range that tops out at around 11,000 feet, having many interesting and spectacular characteristics. As I often do, I stop whatever I'm doing and experience that mountain as it is PROS ...to me. I get affected. It conveys, that is, brings to me it's majesty, it's awesomeness, it's beauty...its effect and I end up affected by its stative, continuous being. I end up in the accusative as relates to that mountain range's being.

So what does PROS in hO LOGOS PROS TON QEON connote ? The implication would be that affect could be brought to be from the reality of the presence/existence of The Logos there to God.

Julian asks: "what is the author trying to say about the relation between hO LOGOS and the God ?

I contend that the relation is one of "affect on", much the same as many abstract things/realities, have the potential of having an "affect on" someone, e.g. like when one is confronted by a certain principle/concept; perhaps by a photo, or a painting.

In those situations (if we're still breathing!) we are affected and we react.

Whatever hO LOGOS is,it apparently affected God to the extent that He created, for we see that after the author writes:


We see:

Creation ! Creation of all things; affect indeed !

hO LOGOS had been being. Then there was creation.

A final thought:

For The Logos to simply and clearly be with The God one would expect (if the author was going to employ PROS) we would expect PROS+the dative TWi QEWi, it would seem to me.

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  • (+1) Thanks for this answer, Virgil. The content is generally excellent (perhaps a little informal), but could be formatted better to read a little more clearly and cleanly. I'd suggest taking a closer look at some of the formatting options next time you write or edit an answer, and consider how other users use formatting to improve the readability of their answers. – Steve Taylor Dec 14 '16 at 11:33

The semantic domain (the several usages) of πρός is given in BDAG.

Notice the notes in the first paragraph:

"expressing direction ‘on the side of’, ‘in the direction of’: w. gen. ‘from’, dat. ‘at’, or acc. (the most freq. usage in our lit.) ‘to’ (s. the lit. s.v. ἀνά. beg.) (Hom.+)."

What these notes are saying is that depending on the case of the object of the preposition the word can mean different things. With an object in the genitive case the word means "from". With the dative it means "at" and with the accusative it means "to". And (Hom.+) indicates that these usages work this way from the Homeric period forward. Ignore these notes and you'll wind up using the wrong usage.

πρός prep. expressing direction ‘on the side of’, ‘in the direction of’: w. gen. ‘from’, dat. ‘at’, or acc. (the most freq. usage in our lit.) ‘to’ (s. the lit. s.v. ἀνά. beg.) (Hom.+). ① w. gen. (pseudepigr. only TestSol 10:4 C; apolog. exc. Ar.) marker of direction or aspect from which someth. is determined, to the advantage of, advantageous for (Thu. 3, 59, 1 οὐ πρὸς τῆς ὑμετέρας δόξης τάδε; Hdt. 1, 75; Dionys. Hal. 10, p 874 30, 5; Diod S 18, 50, 5; Lucian, Dial. Deor. 20, 3; Mel., HE 4, 26, 8; Ath. 36, 1; B-D-F §240; Rob. 623f) οἱ πρ. ζωῆς μαζοί the life-giving breasts 1 Cl 20:10. πρ. τῆς σωτηρίας in the interest of safety Ac 27:34 (πρὸς τῆς σ‌. as Jos., Ant. 16, 313). ② w. dat. (pesudepigr. only TestSol 6:4 D; TestAbr [s. below]; JosAs 19:1.—Just.; Mel., HE 4, 26, 7; Ath., R. 22 p. 75, 10) marker of closeness of relation or proximity ⓐ of place near, at, by (Hom. et al. incl. Aristarch. Samos 398, 20; LXX; TestSol 6:4 D; Jos., Ant 8, 349; 381) Mk 5:11; around Rv 1:13. πρ. τῇ θύρᾳ ἑστηκέναι stand at the door (Menand., Fgm. 420, 1; 830 K.=352, 1; 644 Kö.; JosAs 19:1) J 18:16; cp. 20:11. πρὸς τῇ πύλῃ GJs 4:4; ἐγγίζοντος αὐτοῦ πρ. τῇ καταβάσει τοῦ ὄρους when he came close to the slope of the mountain Lk 19:37 (s. κατάβασις). πρ. τῇ κεφαλῇ, τοῖς ποσίν at the head, at the feet J 20:12. τὰ πρ. ταῖς ῥίζαις the parts near the roots Hs 9, 1, 6; 9, 21, 1. In geographical designations Μαγνησία ἡ πρ. Μαιάνδρῳ Magnesia on the Maeander IMagnMai ins.—(Cp. the temporal use: πρὸς ἑσπέρᾳ ἐστίν it takes place at evening TestAbr B 2 p. 106, 7 [Stone p. 60]; cp. Just., D. 105, 3 and 5; 142, 1.) ⓑ in addition to (Hom. et al.; Polyb., Just.; Mel., HE 4, 26, 7; Ath., R. 22 p. 75, 10; ins) πρὸς τούτοις (SIG 495, 105; 685, 70 and 100; 796 B, 30; 888, 35 al.; UPZ 26, 18; 25 [163 B.C.]; 2 Macc 4:9; 5:23; 9:17, 25; 14:4, esp. 12:2; Philo, Aet. M. 67 al.; Just., A I, 40, 5; D. 93, 4 al.) 1 Cl 17:1. ③ w. acc. (pseudepigr. and apolog. throughout) marker of movement or orientation toward someone/someth. ⓐ of place, pers., or thing toward, towards, to, after verbs α. of going; s. ἄγω 5, ἀναβαίνω 1aα, ἀνακάμπτω 1a, ἀπέρχομαι 1b, διαβαίνω, διαπεράω, εἴσειμι, εἰσέρχομαι 1bα, ἐκπορεύομαι 1c, also ἐπισυνάγομαι Mk 1:33, ἔρχομαι 1aβ, ἥκω 1d et al.—προσαγωγὴ πρὸς τὸν πατέρα Eph 2:18. εἴσοδος 1 Th 1:9a. β. of sending; s. ἀναπέμπω Lk 23:7, 15; Ac 25:21, ἀποστέλλω 1bα, πέμπω. γ. of motion gener.; s. βληθῆναι (βάλλω 1b), ἐπιστρέφω 1a, 4ab, κεῖμαι 2, πίπτω 1bαא and ב, προσκολλάω, προσκόπτω 1, προσπίπτω. δ. of leading, guiding; s. ἄγω 1a, ἀπάγω 2a and 4, also ἕλκω 2 end J 12:32, κατασύρω, etc. ε. of saying, speaking; s. ἀποκρίνομαι 1, also δημηγορέω Ac 12:21, εἶπον 1a, λαλέω 2aγ and 2b, λέγω 1bγ et al. Hebraistically λαλεῖν στόμα πρὸς στόμα speak face to face (Jer 39:4; ApcEsdr 6:6 p. 31, 10 Tdf.) 2J 12b; 3J 14 (cp. PGM 1, 39 τὸ στόμα πρὸς τὸ στόμα). πρὸς ἀλλήλους to one another, with each other, among themselves: s. ἀντιβάλλω, διαλαλέω, also διαλέγομαι Mk 9:34, διαλογίζομαι 8:16; Lk 20:14, εἶπον 24:32; J 16:17; 19:24, λαλέω, λέγω et al. πρὸς ἑαυτούς to themselves, to each other: s. διαλογίζομαι 1; εἶπον Mk 12:7; J 7:35; λέγω (Ps.-Callisth. 2, 15, 7 πρὸς ἑαυτὸν ἔλεγεν; Just., D. 62, 2) Mk 10:26; 16:3. διαθήκην ὁ θεὸς διέθετο πρὸς τοὺς πατέρας ὑμῶν, λέγων πρὸς Ἀβραάμ God made a covenant with your fathers, when he said to Abraham Ac 3:25 (διατίθημι 1). ὅρκον ὀμνύναι πρ. τινα (ὀμνύω, end) Lk 1:73. ζ. of asking, praying δέομαι Ac 8:24. εὔχομαι (s. εὔχομαι 1; cp. 2 Macc 9:13) 2 Cor 13:7. προσεύχομαι (cp. 1 Km 12:19; 2 Esdr 12: 4; 2 Macc 2:10) Hv 1, 1, 9. γνωρίζεσθαι πρὸς τὸν θεόν Phil 4:6 (γνωρίζω 1).—Also after nouns like δέησις, λόγος et al. Ro 10:1; 15:30; 2 Cor 1:18 al. ⓑ of time near, at, or during (a certain time) α. denoting approach toward (X., Pla. et al.) πρὸς ἑσπέραν toward evening Lk 24:29 (so Just., D. 97, 1; s. ἑσπέρα). β. of temporal duration for πρὸς καιρόν for a time, for a while (καιρός 1a) Lk 8:13; 1 Cor 7:5. πρὸς καιρὸν ὥρας (καιρός 1a) 1 Th 2:17. πρὸς ὥραν for an hour, i.e. for a short time J 5:35; 2 Cor 7:8; Gal 2:5a; Phlm 15; MPol 11:2. πρὸς ὀλίγας ἡμέρας Hb 12:10. Also πρὸς ὀλίγον Js 4:14; GJs 19:2 (ὀλίγος 3). πρὸς τὸ παρόν for the present Hb 12:11 (πάρειμι 1b). ⓒ of goal (aiming) at or (striving) toward α. with conscious purpose for, for the purpose of, on behalf of οὗτος ἦν ὁ πρὸς τὴν ἐλεημοσύνην καθήμενος this was the one who sat (and begged) for alms Ac 3:10. πρὸς τὴν ἔνδειξιν τῆς δικαιοσύνης αὐτοῦ Ro 3:26. τοῦτο πρὸς τὸ ὑμῶν αὐτῶν σύμφορον λέγω 1 Cor 7:35a; cp. 35b. ἐγράφη πρὸς νουθεσίαν ἡμῶν 10:11. Cp. Ro 15:2; 1 Cor 6:5; 2 Cor 4:6; 7:3; 11:8; Eph 4:12.—W. acc. of the inf. (Polyb. 1, 48, 5; PRyl 69, 16; BGU 226, 22; Jer 34:10; 2 Macc 4:45; TestJob 45:4; Jos., Ant. 14, 170; 15, 148 al.; Just., D. 132, 1) πρὸς τὸ θεαθῆναι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις in order to be seen by men Mt 23:5; cp. 6:1. πρὸς τὸ κατακαῦσαι αὐτά 13:30. πρὸς τὸ ἐνταφιάσαι με 26:12. πρὸς τὸ ἀποπλανᾶν εἰ δυνατὸν τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς Mk 13:22. πρὸς τὸ μὴ ἀτενίσαι υἱοὺς Ἰσραήλ 2 Cor 3:13. Cp. Eph 6:11a; 1 Th 2:9; 2 Th 3:8; Js 3:3 v.l. β. gener. of design, destiny (Demetr.[?]: 722 Fgm. 7 Jac. πρὸς τὴν κάρπωσιν; TestJob 42:7 τὰ πρὸς θυσίαν; Jos., Bell. 4, 573 τὸ πρ. σωτηρίαν φάρμακον) τῷ θεῷ πρὸς δόξαν for the glory of God 2 Cor 1:20 (on πρὸς δόξαν cp. SIG 456, 15; 704e, 21; 3 Macc 2:9; Just., A I, 15, 10 μηδὲν πρὸς δόξαν ποιεῖν). τῇ πυρώσει πρὸς πειρασμὸν ὑμῖν γινομένῃ 1 Pt 4:12.—After adjectives and participles for ἀγαθὸς πρὸς οἰκοδομήν Eph 4:29 (ἀγ. 1a) ἀδόκιμος Tit 1:16. ἀνεύθετος πρὸς παραχειμασίαν Ac 27:12. γεγυμνασμένος Hb 5:14. δυνατός 2 Cor 10:4. ἐξηρτισμένος 2 Ti 3:17. ἕτοιμος (q.v. b) Tit 3:1; 1 Pt 3:15. ἱκανός (q.v. 2) 2 Cor 2:16. ὠφέλιμος 1 Ti 4:8ab; 2 Ti 3:16. γ. of the result that follows a set of circumstances (so that) πάντα πρὸς οἰκοδομὴν γινέσθω everything is to be done in such a way that it contributes to edification 1 Cor 14:26; cp. vs. 12; Col 2:23 (but see eδ below); 1 Ti 4:7. ὁ βλέπων γυναῖκα πρὸς τὸ ἐπιθυμῆσαι αὐτήν one who looks at a woman with sinful desire Mt 5:28, but s. eε below. λευκαί εἰσιν πρὸς θερισμόν they (the fields) are white, so that the harvest may begin J 4:35. αὕτη ἡ ἀσθένεια οὐκ ἔστιν πρὸς θάνατον this disease is not of the kind that will lead to death 11:4. Cp. ἁμαρτία πρὸς θάνατον 1J 5:16f. ⓓ of relationship (hostile or friendly), against, for α. hostile against, with after verbs of disputing, etc.; s. ἀνταγωνίζομαι, γογγύζω, διακρίνομαι (διακρίνω 5b), διαλέγομαι 1, πικραίνομαι (πικραίνω 2), στασιάζω, ἔστην (ἵστημι B3). ἐστίν τινι ἡ πάλη πρός Eph 6:12. ἔχειν τι πρός τινα have anything (to bring up) against someone Ac 24:19. μομφὴν ἔχειν πρός τινα Col 3:13. πρᾶγμα ἔχειν πρός τινα 1 Cor 6:1 (πρᾶγμα 4). ἐγένετο γογγυσμὸς τῶν Ἑλληνιστῶν πρὸς τοὺς Ἑβραίους Ac 6:1. τὸ στόμα ἡμῶν ἀνέῳγεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς 2 Cor 6:11 (ἀνοίγω 7). ἐν ἔχθρᾳ ὄντες πρὸς αὐτούς Lk 23:12. βλασφημίαι πρὸς τὸν θεόν Rv 13:6 (cp. TestJob 25:10 εἰπὲ ἓν ῥῆμα πρὸς τὸν θεόν). ἀσύμφωνοι πρ. ἀλλήλους unable to agree among themselves Ac 28:25 (Tat. 25, 2); cp. the structure of Col 2:23. β. friendly to, toward, with, before ἐργάζεσθαι τὸ ἀγαθόν Gal 6:10ab (ἐργάζομαι 2a). μακροθυμεῖν 1 Th 5:14. εἰρήνην ἔχειν πρὸ τὸν θεόν Ro 5:1 (s. εἰρήνη 2b). παρρησίαν ἔχειν πρὸς τ. θεόν 1J 3:21; cp. 5:14. πίστιν ἔχειν πρὸς τ. κύριον Ἰ. Phlm 5. πεποίθησιν ἔχειν πρὸς τ. θεόν 2 Cor 3:4. ἔχειν χάριν πρὸς ὅλον τὸν λαόν Ac 2:47 (FCheetham, ET 74, ’63, 214f). πραΰτητα ἐνδείκνυσθαι Tit 3:2. ἐν σοφίᾳ περιπατεῖν Col 4:5. ἤπιον εἶναι πρὸς πάντας 2 Ti 2:24.—After substantives: πίστις 1 Th 1:8 (cp. 4 Macc 15:24; Just., D. 121, 2); παρρησία 2 Cor 7:4; κοινωνία 6:14; συμφώνησις vs. 15 (cp. Is 7:2). p 875 ⓔ to indicate a connection by marking a point of reference, with reference/regard to α. with reference to (Ocellus Luc. c. 42 πρὸς ἡμᾶς=with reference to us) ἔγνωσαν ὅτι πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὴν παραβολὴν εἶπεν they recognized that he had spoken the parable with reference to them Mk 12:12; Lk 20:19; cp. 12:41 (Vita Aesopi cod. G 98 P. οἱ Σάμιοι νοήσαντες πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς εἰρῆσθαι τοὺς λόγους; Just., D. 122, 3 ταῦτα … πρὸς τὸν χριστὸν … εἴρηται). ἔλεγεν παραβολὴν πρὸς τὸ δεῖν προσεύχεσθαι he told them a parable about the need of praying 18:1 (Just., D. 90, 5 σύμβολον … πρὸς τὸν χριστόν). οὐδεὶς ἔγνω πρὸς τί εἶπεν αὐτῷ nobody understood with respect to what (=why) he said (this) to him J 13:28. πρὸς τὴν σκληροκαρδίαν ὑμῶν with reference to (i.e. because of) your perversity Mt 19:8; Mk 10:5 (Just., D. 45, 3). Cp. Ro 10:21a; Hb 1:7f. οὐκ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ πρὸς οὐδὲ ἓν ῥῆμα he did not answer him a single word with reference to anything Mt 27:14 (s. ἀποκρίνομαι 1). ἀνταποκριθῆναι πρὸς ταῦτα Lk 14:6 (s. ἀνταποκρίνομαι). ἀπρόσκοπον συνείδησιν ἔχειν πρὸς τὸν θεόν have a clear conscience with respect to God Ac 24:16. β. as far as … is concerned, with regard to (Maximus Tyr. 31, 3b) πρὸς τὴν πληροφορίαν τῆς ἐλπίδος Hb 6:11. συνιστάνοντες ἑαυτοὺς πρὸς πᾶσαν συνείδησιν ἀνθρώπων we are recommending ourselves as far as every human conscience is concerned = to every human conscience (πρός w. acc. also stands simply for the dative; s. Mayser II/2 p. 359) 2 Cor 4:2. τὰ πρὸς τὸν θεόν that which concerns God or as adverbial acc. with reference to what concerns God (Soph., Phil. 1441; X., De Rep. Lac. 13, 11; Ps.-Isocr. 1, 13 εὐσεβεῖν τὰ πρὸς τ. θεούς; SIG 204, 51f; 306, 38; Mitt-Wilck. I/2, 109, 3 εὐσεβὴς τὰ πρὸς θεούς; Ex 4:16; 18:19; Jos., Ant. 9, 236) Ro 15:17; Hb 2:17; 5:1. τὰ πρός τι that which belongs to someth.; that which is necessary for someth. (Plut., Mor. 109b; Jos., Ant. 12, 405 τὰ πρὸς τὴν μάχην; 14, 27; a standard term in state documents) τὰ πρὸς ἀπαρτισμόν Lk 14:28 v.l. τὰ πρὸς εἰρήνην (TestJud 9) vs. 32; what makes for peace 19:42. Cp. Ac 28:10; 2 Pt 1:3. γ. elliptically τί πρὸς ἡμᾶς (sc. ἐστιν); what is that to us? Mt 27:4. τί πρὸς σέ; how does it concern you? J 21:22f (cp. Epict. 4, 1, 10 τί τοῦτο πρὸς σέ; Plut., Mor. 986b; Vi. Aesopi I 14 p. 265, 4 Eberh. τί πρὸς ἐμέ; ApcMos 11 οὐ πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἡ πλεονεξία σου). δ. in accordance with ὀρθοποδεῖν πρὸς τὴν ἀλήθειαν Gal 2:14. πρὸς τὸ κένωμα in accordance with the emptiness Hm 11:3. πρὸς τὸ θέλημα in accordance w. the will Lk 12:47; Hs 9, 5, 2. πρὸς ἃ ἔπραξεν 2 Cor 5:10. πρὸς ὅ Eph 3:4.—In comparison with, to be compared to (Pind., Hdt. et al.; Ps.-Luc., Halc. 3 πρὸς τὸν πάντα αἰῶνα=[life is short] in comparison to all eternity; Sir 25:19; TestJob 18:8; 23:8; Just., D. 19, 2 οὐδὲν … πρὸς τὸ βάπτισμα τοῦτο τὸ τῆς ζωῆς ἐστι; Tat. 29, 1 ὀρθοποδεῖν πρὸς τὴν ἀλήθειαν) ἄξια πρός Ro 8:18 (RLeaney, ET 64, ’52f; 92 interprets Col 2:23 in the light of this usage). Cp. IMg 12. ε. expressing purpose πρὸς τό w. inf. (s. Mayser II/1 p. 331f) in order to, for the purpose of Mk 13:22; Ac 3:19 v.l. Perh. Mt 5:28 (s. cγ above). ⓕ in adverbial expressions (cp. πρὸς ὀργήν = ὀργίλως Soph., Elect. 369; Jos., Bell. 2, 534. πρὸς βίαν = βιαίως Aeschyl., Prom. 208, 353, Eum. 5; Menand., Sam. 559 S. [214 Kö.]; Philo, Spec. Leg. 3, 3. πρὸς ἡδονήν Jos., Ant. 7, 195; 12, 398; Just., A II, 3, 2 πρὸς χάριν καὶ ἡδονὴν τῶν πολλῶν) πρὸς φθόνον prob.=φθονερῶς jealously Js 4:5 (s. φθόνος, where the lit. is given). πρὸς εὐφρασίαν w. joy AcPl Ox 6, 9f (cp. Aa 1 p. 241, 1 ὑπερευφραινομένη). ⓖ by, at, near πρός τινα εἶναι be (in company) with someone Mt 13:56; Mk 6:3; 9:19a; 14:49; Lk 9:41; J 1:1f; 1 Th 3:4; 2 Th 2:5; 3:10; 1J 1:2. διαμένειν Ac 10:48 D; Gal 2:5b. ἐπιμένειν 1:18; 1 Cor 16:7. παραμένειν 16:6 (v.l. κατα-). μένειν Ac 18:3 D. παρεῖναι 12:20; 2 Cor 11:9; Gal 4:18, 20; cp. παρουσία πρὸς ὑμᾶς Phil 1:26. παρεπιδημεῖν 1 Cl 1:2. ἐποίησεν τρεῖς μῆνας πρὸς τὴν Ἐλισάβεδ GJs 12:3. πρὸς σὲ ποιῶ τὸ πάσχα Mt 26:18b. Cp. also 2 Cor 1:12; 7:12; 12:21; 2 Th 3:1; Phlm 13; 1J 2:1; Hm 11:9b v.l.—πρὸς ἑαυτούς among or to themselves Mk 9:10 (in case πρὸς ἑ. belongs w. τὸν λόγον ἐκράτησαν; B-D-F §239, 1). πρὸς ἑαυτὸν προσηύχετο he uttered a prayer to himself Lk 18:11. Cp. 24:12.—δεδεμένον πρὸς θύραν tied at a door Mk 11:4. τὴν πᾶσαν σάρκα ἀνθρώπων πρὸς ἡδονὴν ἐδέσμευεν (Satan) bound all humankind to self-gratification AcPlCor 2:11. πρὸς τ. θάλασσαν by the seaside Mk 4:1b. On πρὸς τὸ φῶς at the fire Mk 14:54; Lk 22:56 s. B-D-F §239, 3; Rob. 625 (perh. w. the idea of turning toward the fire; s. also 4 Km 23:3). πρὸς ἓν τῶν ὀρέων at one of the mountains 1 Cl 10:7. τὰ πρὸς τὴν θύραν the place near the door Mk 2:2. πρὸς γράμμα letter by letter Hv 2, 1, 4.—On πρός τι terms s. PWouters, The Treatment of Relational Nouns in Ancient Grammar: Orbis 38, ’95, 149–78 (lit.). M-M. EDNT. TW. Sv.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., pp. 873–875). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

You can see in usage ⓖ which I highlighted above that the usage in John 1:1 is listed indicating that in that passage it means:

ⓖ by, at, near πρός τινα εἶναι be (in company) with someone

In that construction it does not mean "towards"!

What John is writing about in John 1:1 is "the utterance of God" (aka "hO LOGOS"). He is saying that when God said "Let us make..." he was uttering his powerful creative word and all the things God made he made with his utterance:

KJV Heb 11:3  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word [fiats - ῥήματι] of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

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  • I don't understand why the construction of of the sentence forbids "towards". The first quote above says "or acc. [Accusative] (the most freq. usage in our lit.) ‘to’. After πρὸς John says τὸν Θεόν which is in the accusative case. Is there something I'm missing? Thank you. – Cannabijoy Jun 22 '16 at 13:53
  • @anonymouswho I should have pointed out that there is ever more fine print in BDAG. In this case the fine print shows that when it has an accusative with the verb "to be" then it means "with": πρός τινα εἶναι The "τινα" stands in for "a person(s)". See the other examples in that section. I tried to give some instruction in reading BDAG but it is really a significant learning curve. – user10231 Jun 22 '16 at 14:17
  • Hey @WoundedEgo I just wanted you to know I didn't down vote you :) I don't have enough reputation anyways. I'm still looking into this and I'll write back or edit my answer when I find a definite answer. Thank you. – Cannabijoy Jun 22 '16 at 20:18
  • @anonymouswho Thanks. I don't worry about down votes except when the trolls do so for political reasons. THAT annoys me! – user10231 Jun 22 '16 at 22:16
  • I think I understand your concern. I see trinitarian sites use "towards" as an excuse for something, but I have no idea what they're talking about. However, I still don't see why it's unacceptable for pros to be translated "moving towards" here. As you can see in my conclusion, I do not believe the logos to be a separate entity or "person". My understanding of "moving towards" here is "extension towards a goal". One of the questions the OP asks is "What is the author trying to say about the relation between the λόγος and the Θεὸς?", and I was wondering if you could please elaborate? Thank you – Cannabijoy Jun 23 '16 at 1:15

John is speaking in past tense, that's why he says 'was' with God, and 'was' God. God is already separated by the time John wrote that, the Father in Heaven and Jesus(God) on the earth. John was explaining that this man Jesus(the Word) 'was with', because he is speaking past tense (i.e: this Word who walked among us USED TO BE with God in the beginning) And 'with' does not mean he had to be a separate entity or '''person''', it can mean they were one substance(Spirit). You can separate a single substance like a cup of water, then talking about one half of that water you can say that water was with the other water and is the other water. No contradictions, its just speaking from a point that they have already been separated.

…. a flame is a better example when picturing God and Jesus being separated. One substance, one Spirit.

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I believe the author of John is saying...

Ἐν(in) ἀρχῇ (first) [no definite article just like b'reshit in Genesis 1:1] ἦν (was) ὁ (the) λόγος (reason), καὶ (and) ὁ (the) λόγος (reason) ἦν (was) πρὸς (moving towards) τὸ (the) θεόν (God), καὶ (and) θεὸς (divine) ἦν (was) ὁ (the) λόγος (reason)

οὗτος (it) ἦν (was) ἐν (in) ἀρχῇ (first) πρὸς (moving towards) τὸν (the) θεόν (God)

πάντα (all) δι' (because of) αὐτοῦ (it) ἐγένετο (emerges) καὶ (and) χωρὶς (without) αὐτοῦ (it) ἐγένετο (emerges) οὐδὲ (not) ἕν (one) ὃ (that) γέγονεν (has emerged)

According to Thayer's Greek Lexicon, πρὸς means...

I. with the accusative, to, toward, Latinad, denoting direction toward a thing, or position and state looking toward a thing

I believe "the reason" was moving towards God, because God had to develop the reason. It could not have always been with Him, otherwise He would have began to prepared the Universe infinitely in the past (according to the Christian definition of an "eternal God")- both are impossible.

The problem is not with the translation. It is with our definition of what it means for God to be God. Since Christianity believes in Plato and Aristotle's "unmoving-mover", they've given the attributes of this god to the only true God of Scripture. Therefore, they believe everything that God has, He must have always had.

Proverbs 8 says something very interesting that I believe is very relevant...

"YHVH possessed (קָ֭נָנִי: to get, aquire) me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.

I was set up from everlasting (עוֹלָם: antiquity, ages), from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

When there were no depths, I was brought forth (חוֹלָ֑לְתִּי: whirl, twist, writhe in pain; as in childbirth): ; when there were no fountains abounding with water." Proverbs 8:22

Proverbs says that God had to "aquire" wisdom. The translators prefer "possessed", because they do not believe God can "aquire" anything. They believe wisdom has "eternally existed with God", because their god is "timeless" (which means no-time, which means no-movement) and outside of logic, reason, and reality.


I believe the author of John is saying: as God was acquiring all knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and prudence, He was developing a purpose and a reason to bring about the ordered world. The reason is not a separate entity apart from God, but an idea that required knowledge of all things to succeed. And guess what?

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Thank you.

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  • (-1) So are you saying that πρὸς is a synonym for "acquire"? I've posted the entire BDAG entry in my answer. Can you see any indication that πρὸς ever was used to mean "acquire"? If BDAG backs you up I'll remove the dv. – user10231 Dec 14 '16 at 12:41
  • @WoundedEgo No I am not saying πρὸς means "aquire". I'm saying that in order to aquire something, there must be a previous time when you did not possess it. "Moving towards" in this sense would mean the process that God had to go through to eventually aquire the logos. From the BDAG "of goal (aiming) at or (striving) toward α. with conscious purpose for, for the purpose of". – Cannabijoy Jan 17 '17 at 18:50

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