An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 6 - Doctrinal Truth - Page 108 of 270
Again, John opens his Gospel with the words:
'In the beginning was the Word'.
We draw particular attention here to the word 'was', which is part of
the verb eimi, 'to be'.  In contrast to this we read in verse 3, that 'all
things were made by Him', the verb being egeneto, 'to come into being'.  We
must therefore repudiate the slightest suggestion that John 1:1 tells us that
the Word came into being in the beginning.  We are simply told that He 'was'
in the beginning.  We have here the basis of the stupendous claim made by the
Lord in John 8:58: 'Before Abraham was (genesthai, "came into being"), I Am
(Ego eimi)'.  As 'the Word' He is the 'I Am', absolute and transcendent.  As
the Word made flesh, He can say, 'I am the Bread of Life', 'I am the Good
Shepherd'.  In all such cases, the absolute 'I Am' has become relative and
If we endeavour to think of God as He is, we are attempting the
impossible.  'No man hath seen God at any time'.  Both John and Paul reveal
the fact that God in His essence is 'invisible'; He is 'Spirit' and no man
has seen His 'shape' or heard His 'voice'.  Yet this same God is revealed as
essentially 'love' and we know that He 'created' heaven and earth, and
finally man in His Own image.  It is clear that He purposed to reveal
Himself, and, being love, He must inevitably reveal this love in revealing
Himself.  He therefore takes the step which involves self -limitation.  He,
the invisible One, becomes visible; so that Paul can speak of the 'Image of
the Invisible God'.  He Whose voice no man has ever heard, becomes audible;
and we further read that He Who cannot be approached (1 Tim. 6:16), has been
'handled' by men and women like ourselves (1 John 1:1,2).  The Word was 'with
God' (Greek pros), and the Word was God.
We are told by John that 'the Word was God'.  If John himself had any
problems or difficulties with regard to this statement, he has not spoken of
them.  No explanation is offered.  We are expected to believe the revelation
given, because the One Who speaks is true, and we are also expected to
examine His words to discover all the meaning in them of which they are
capable.  We do not hesitate, therefore, to inquire:
Why the order of the words is the reversal of the usual one and
Why the word Theos is without the article.
(1)  The order of the words. -- In the second sentence the original is as
Ho logos en pros ton Theon ('The Word was toward the God').
In the third sentence, however, the order of the words is reversed:
Kai Theos en ho logos ('And God was the Word').
This change of order is an example of the figure called in Greek,
Hyperbaton (to step over) and in English Transposition:
'Special attention is desired for some particular word.  Placed in its
ordinary and usual position, it may not be noticed.  But, put out of
its usual order and place at the beginning instead of at the end of a
sentence, it is impossible for the reader not to be arrested by it'
(Dr. Bullinger's Figures of Speech).