The Berean Expositor
Volume 30 - Page 99 of 179
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The Gospel of JOHN.
The Word was "with" God (1: 1).
pp. 1 - 5
We have already noticed that the truth contained in the opening sentence of this
Gospel is beyond anything of which we can have direct experience. "In the beginning
was the Word" is a statement simply expressed, and easy to believe, but it speaks of a
condition of being entirely removed from our own experience. And what is true of the
opening sentence of John 1: is also true of each successive link in the chain of revelation
that covers the first five verses. All is clear to faith so long as we do not seek to go
beyond our limitations, but as soon as we endeavour to measure infinity with the
yard-stick of the finite we must inevitably flounder in confusion.
The next link in the chain that is presented to us, is the statement:
"And the Word was with God" ( John 1: 1)
The Greek language is rich in particles, and in the N.T. there are no less than 14
different Greek prepositions that are translated "with". If John had been conversant by
personal experience with the subject of his opening verse, he would have been obliged to
exercise the most scrupulous care in determining which of the fourteen prepositions
would express just the precise shade of meaning that suited the case; but when we realize
that even the beloved disciple, who had leaned on the Lord's bosom at the last supper,
had no possible personal and experimental acquaintance with the conditions that obtained
"in the beginning", we can readily see that nothing but the superintending inspiration of
God could have infallibly selected that one preposition out of the fourteen available,
which would express the complete truth.
In what sense, then, was the Logos "with" God? Let us take first the preposition meta.
This is the word used by Nicodemus in John 3::
"We know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man could do these
miracles except God be with him" ( John 3: 2).
God was "with" the Lord Jesus Christ in the sense of meta, but that is not the meaning
of John 1: 1, for John does not use this word. Meta does not imply so close and intimate
a fellowship as some other prepositions which we are to examine. Its root meaning is
"after", as in the word "Metaphysics", the treatise written by Aristotle "after" the one on
Physics. It denotes association, however, for one thing could not come after another
unless it were joined in some sort of sequence.
Let us take next the preposition sun. Was the Logos "with" God in the sense that sun
would indicate? Sun (syn, sym) indicates a closer association than is implied by meta,
and is used largely by the Apostle Paul in speaking of the fellowship that exists between