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Is there extra meaning or significance in saying “The Word” instead of saying Jesus?

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  • John didn't write in vacuum. His readers knew of the λογος (The Logos) as a divine being and the intermediary between God and men (See Philo's λογος which was both θεος and Through whom God created everything). The difference is that John had the Logos as uncreated who became flesh (took upon himself created nature) whilst Philo had the Logos as neither created nor uncreated. The Logos of Philo was that of the Greeks and Stoic philosophy whilst the Logos of John was the literal Son of God, the One who was called only begotten God (μονογενης θεος) and only begotten Son (μονογενης υιος).
    – Radz Brown
    Nov 2 '20 at 18:51
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    @RadzMatthewC.Brown - that is a great comment - make it into an answer please.
    – Dottard
    Nov 2 '20 at 20:32
  • This has a HUGE literature - see biblehub.com/commentaries/john/1-1.htm for a sample taste.
    – Dottard
    Nov 2 '20 at 21:46
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In John 1:1 why is “The Word” used instead of saying Jesus?

To connect the pre-incarnate Christ with the pre-existing Word.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Word
Λόγος (Logos)
Noun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 3056: From lego; something said; by implication, a topic, also reasoning or motive; by extension, a computation; specially, the Divine Expression.

John didn't make up the word Λόγος. It was a well developed philosophical concept.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logos:

Ancient Greek philosophers used the term in different ways. The sophists used the term to mean discourse. Aristotle applied the term to refer to "reasoned discourse" or "the argument" in the field of rhetoric, and considered it one of the three modes of persuasion alongside ethos and pathos. Pyrrhonist philosophers used the term to refer to dogmatic accounts of non-evident matters. The Stoics spoke of the logos spermatikos (the generative principle of the Universe) which foreshadows related concepts in Neoplatonism.

Jews understood that God created the universe by speaking it into being. Greeks used the notion of Logos as the creative principle of the universe. John brought this together by using the word Logos as the Word of God. The pre-existing Christ played the role of the Logos.

By connecting Jesus with Logos, John accomplished his evangelistic purpose to proclaim the Good News to the Greeks.

John 20:31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

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  • “The pre-existing Christ played the role of the Logos.” Totally eisegetical, well done! What a farce this makes of, ‘God sent His only son...’ the son who cannot die who played along with it for God’s amusement.
    – steveowen
    Nov 7 '20 at 22:52
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Part of the following explanation of your question was taken from this site. https://www.xenos.org/teachings/?teaching=469 I am going to quote some of it because I think he gave an excellent explanation.

"The Logos Is Ultimate Reality (vs 1-3)

Read vs 1-3. John introduces us to an entity he calls "the Word."This is the Greek word logos. Since John is writing to Greeks,he uses their own philosophical term as the starting point for his message.From their observation of order in the external universe and human rationality,they believed there must be some universal "reason" which undergirdsreality and provides meaning for the universe. They sometimes called this"cosmic rationality" (or Ultimate Reality) the logos.

Their problem was that they didn't know where to go from there. There was endless speculation and disagreement about the nature of this logos:is it personal or impersonal? is it eternal or temporal? what is its relationship to the material world? is it interested or disinterested in individual humans?

Using their own term for Ultimate Reality, John answers their questions with a series of block-buster assertions. What humans can only guess at by observation, John reveals to us in this passage.

The logos is eternal (vs 1a). "In any beginning already was the logos." The logos is the uncaused Cause, the self-existent Ground of Reality beyond which it is impossible to go.

The logos is the Creator of the universe (vs 3). The universe is not eternal (NATURALISTS), nor is it somehow God (ANIMISM & PANTHEISM). It was "spoken into existence" by the logos (Gen. 1 >> CONFIRMATION OF BIG-BANG).

The logos is a Person. The logos is not called "it," but "he" or "that one" (vs 2) and "him" (vs 3).

The logos is deity, or God (vs 1c). The Greek emphasizes this. Because of the above, the logos clearly deserves this title.

The logos is also personally distinct from God (vs 1b,2). He is both God, and was also always "face to face" with God. This is one of many passages (OT and NT) that reveal that God while God is a unity in his essence, he exists as more than one Person. We call this the "Trinity." Here, two of these three Persons are mentioned: God the Father ("God" and God the Son (called "the logos").

This sounds very abstract, but it resolves a profound question: How God can be both personal and self-existent? How can God be personal without needing to create other persons with whom to relate? But if God needed to create other persons, God is not truly self-existent.The biblical answer to this question is the Trinity: God has always existed as a community of Persons who have always loved one another.One hundred trillion years before anything or anyone else existed, God was already there forever before. But he was never lonely because he related to him selves (read Jn. 17:24).

Now, the Bible concerns itself with God's revelation of Himself to man. Just as words convey ideas, so the "Logos/Word" reveals who God is.

Also, the "in the beginning" at Genesis 1:1 explains "WHAT HAPPENED" in the beginning. The "in the beginning" at John 1:1 emphasis is on "WHO EXISTED" in the beginning"

I read in one of the answers that the "Logos/Word is "NOT" a person. Yet we read at 1 John 1:1-2, "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have-seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled concerning the Word of Life--" Verse 2, "and the life was manifested and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us."

Please notice that the Apostle John just mentioned three of the five senses. Sight, touch and hearing. This eliminates that the "Logos/Word" are spoken words.

Another poster in this thread mentioned that Jesus Christ was a created being. He quoted Revelation 3:14. "The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God."

In the Greek the word "Beginning" is "arche." We get our English word "architect" from this word. An architect is a person who plans, designs, oversees anything or the origin. Strong's Lexicon explains how the word is used. #G746. How the word is used here at Revelation 3:14 makes perfect sense because it is backed up by the Apostle John at John 1:1-4, Colossians 1:16-17 and at Hebrews 1:10.

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=G746&t=KJV

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  • Again Mr Bond you fail (or refuse) to comprehend that 1 John 1:1-2 refers to the Word of Life that ' we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands' is the Son of God in their midst in a NT context since he was born of Mary - not the logos of creation. All the rest is pure fabrication - hence the lack of biblical support for many obscure concepts... community of Persons, the self-existent Ground of Reality, God is a unity in his essence etc
    – steveowen
    Nov 2 '20 at 23:11
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John 1:1 (which the local/immediate context extends to verse 5) is a prelude to the CREATION account of Genesis 1 (Bereshith: “In the beginning”) in which the “Word” WAS the “Beginning of the creation of God.” (Psalm 33:6; Hebrews 1:1-2; 11:3; 2Peter 3:5; Revelation 3:14).

The REDEMPTION account which God gave His REDEMPTION plan starting in Genesis 3:15 following the fall of humanity began from John 1:14 when the “Word was made flesh.” as declared by apostles Paul (Hebrews 1:2-3) and John (1John 1:1-4). This dispensation of REDEMPTION is the days which Jesus Himself spoke ‘of the temple of His body (John 2:21)’, and also declared by apostle Paul as the ‘days of His flesh (Hebrews 5:7)’ and ‘... the veil, that is His flesh.’ The culmination of the REDEMPTION account will be Revelation 19:13 saying, “He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.’

May God bless every one in search of truth.

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In John 1:1 why is “The Word” used instead of saying Jesus?

Because it would not be true. John uses 'logos' because that is what he meant - that is what we understand God inspired him to write.

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

John writes 'logos' 3 times here. He's working towards v14 when he announces Jesus as the 'logos' become flesh. There are hints of this 'flesh' from v4 but bot fully expressed until v14.

V14 is about Jesus being born and entering the world not as the logos which is the word of God, but as a human. This was new!

God never had a human logos before. Now He has a logos that can die! But first, He has a logos that can be tempted, that has his own will, that has to choose God's way over his own. He has a logos that can defeat evil by learned obedience, by love. This, the logos 'in the beginning', could never do!

Jesus was born ~ 4 BC and was not around 'in the beginning' which refers to the creation account of Genesis.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Gen 1:!

Now we know from scripture that Jesus is son of God, the form of God, the image of God, the heir of God, the servant of God, the foreknown of God.

being in the form of God yet did not regard equality with God something to be grasped Phil 2:6

Jesus is ‘the image of the invisible God’ and ‘the firstborn of all creation’ Col 1:15

Heb 1:1-2, ‘God speaking to the fathers in many ways, in these last days, He has spoken in His son whom He appointed heir of all things…’

behold My servant, whom I have chosen Matt 12:18

He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you. 1 Pet 1:19

If Jesus is abundantly not God, he cannot be the creator of all things 'in the beginning'. Meaning John could not, and we cannot, replace 'logos' with 'Jesus' in John 1:1,2

'a man who has told you the truth' John 8:40

who was made like one of us in all things Heb 2:17 ('in every respect' ESV)

God has made this Jesus… both Lord and Christ Acts 2:36

Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him. Acts 2:22,23

Jesus, exalted to the heavens is still referring to his God Rev 1:1, 3:12

He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.

We have clear instruction who is God and who isn't! As scripture amply supports throughout the NT by all authors.

No, Jesus cannot be 'in the beginning with God' - but as John writes, the 'logos' was.

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    The Q seeks to deal with the writer's use of koine Greek language, back in the 1st century A.D. Your answer deals with your opinion as to what such language means to you. But if you had gone to John 1:14-29 the brilliant link between verse 1 and the person of Jesus Christ would have shown to you the writer's intent. Your answer indicates that you take Jesus to be a created being, while the Logos has no beginning. Logically, they could not be directly linked according to you, but John's use of language shows the Word became flesh as the man, Jesus. A continuation, not a new creature.
    – Anne
    Nov 7 '20 at 18:02
  • If that’s true, why the big deal about Jesus becoming heir of all God made- - - if ‘he’ already made it? Why is he exalted to the right hand of God? Traditional teaching is riddled with problems, the text when freed from that, has none.
    – steveowen
    Nov 7 '20 at 21:22

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