god-word beginning

Two brief (and certainly unoriginal) observations on John 1:1.

The Greek Text
εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος

A rough English equivalent
In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was toward the God and God was the Word

First, one must note the Parallelism of the first line of John’s Gospel with the first line of Genesis:

In the Beginning, God… (Genesis)
In the Beginning was the Word… (John)

This line in John is not only the precursor to the rest of what is a theological and literary masterpiece, but the author is deliberately paralleling (not ‘replacing’) God with ‘the Word’, a term used precisely 40 times in this Gospel.

Second, note the chiastic structure in the following two lines (obscured by most English translations that put God at the end of the sentence):

ο λογος                            the Word
…..ην προς                       …..was toward
……….τον θεον                ……….the God
……….και θεος                 ……….and God
…..ην                                …..was
ο λογος                            the Word

You might suspect that a point is being made!

6 thoughts on “god-word beginning”

  1. “First, one must note the Parallelism of the first line of John’s Gospel with the first line of Genesis:”

    >.<

  2. But actually that reminds me of what Wright has called ‘Christological Monotheism’ I believe. Not only were these 1st century Jews (unsurprisingly) into their Hebrew Scriptures, they also were (quite surprisingly for Jews) convinced that the God of these scriptures had now been unveiled in, through and as the man Jesus of Nazareth.

  3. Yep, and nowhere have I suggested there weren’t others who say other things. Just talking about what the passage writers are saying.

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