A Big Word

John 1:1-5, 14

by Ella R.

I love this passage, because it is such a poetic interpretation of the story of Christ entering the world. It hints at tangled truths larger than we can easily articulate: God is Word and Word is Light and Light is Being and God is coming into the world. All these concepts all tumbled together, coming across almost more an expression of feeling than of thought, but no less true for it. Perhaps indeed more true for it.

At the core of John 1 is logos, the Greek word most often translated as “Word.” In a theology class in college, I discovered this term is much more complex than that one word. Strong’s Greek Lexicon defines logos as “something said (including the thought); by implication, a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension, a computation; specially, (with the article in John) the Divine Expression (i.e. Christ): account, cause, communication, concerning, doctrine, fame, have to do, intent, matter, mouth, preaching, question, reason, reckon, remove, say(-ing), shew, speaker, speech, talk, thing, … tidings, treatise, utterance, word, work.”

I’d always known that saying Jesus was the Word was no simple metaphor but was something deeper, but I could never articulate it as meaningfully as I could once I saw all those marvelous, nuanced terms being presented together. Jesus is the Word, yes, but what a Word! God the powerful, multidimensional, creative, genetic, verdant Word is becoming flesh and living among us in the world.

Eric Johnson

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