An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 6 - Doctrinal Truth - Page 109 of 270
The particular word brought into prominence in this case is Theos.  The
figure therefore emphasizes the fact that the One Who is revealed under the
title, Ho Logos is Himself truly and essentially God.
With a few exceptions, we may tell which is the subject or the
predicate of a sentence by the presence or absence of the article.  In all
three clauses, it is 'The Word' that is the subject:
The Word -- He it is Who was in the beginning.
The Word -- He it is Who was with God.
The Word -- He it is Who was God.
Parallel with this last form of expression is that found in John 4:24:
Pneuma ho Theos.  Literally, this would be 'Spirit the God', but if we render
it so that the English reader will get the same effect as the original would
give to a Greek, we should have: 'God is (as to His essence) Spirit' (not, 'a
spirit').  So in John 1:1: 'The Word was (as to His essence) God' (not 'a
The absence of the article. -- There are some who would translate John
1:1: 'The Word was a God', because Theos is without the article.  The
following references, however, all of which occur in the prologue of John's
Gospel, will be enough to show the incorrectness of such a translation:
'There was a man sent from a God' (verse 6).
'Power to become the children of a God' (verse 12).
'Which were born ... of a God' (verse 13).
'No man hath seen a God at any time' (verse 18).
The last reference, from verse 18, corresponds with that of verse 1:
'The Word was God' (as to His substance or essence).
'No man hath seen God' (as to His substance or essence).
A similar usage of the article, or rather of its absence, is found in
verse 14: 'The Word was made flesh'.  It would be manifestly absurd to
translate this, 'The Word was made a flesh'.
The word Theos is used of God in the Scriptures in three different
Essentially, as in John 4:24: 'God is Spirit'.
Personally, as of the Father: 'God the Father' (Gal. 1:1).
Personally, as of the Son: 'Unto the Son, He saith ... O God'
(Heb. 1:8).
Personally, as of the Spirit: 'The Holy Ghost ... God' (Acts
Manifestly, as of the Word: 'The Word was God' (John 1:1).
In the narrative section of the Gospel, John seizes many opportunities
to bring into prominence the controversy concerning the Deity of Christ.
These passages would come before us in their order if we were giving an
exposition of the Gospel; but as we are not, there are three that most
readers will call to mind that seem to carry the theme forward from argument
and hostility to adoration and worship which we should examine.  What is our
attitude -- stoning, or worshipping?  There seems to be no middle course: