What Is the Word of God?
What Is the Word of God?
What is the Word of God mentioned in John 1:1? To begin with, it’s important to recognize that the opening line of John 1 in the Greek New Testament is the exact same opening line of Genesis 1 in the LXX, the Greek Old Testament. This is because John is trying to deliberately draw your attention to Genesis. In fact, Genesis is a Greek word meaning, “birth,” “beginning” or “origin.”
The "word" in Genesis
- John 1:1 ΕΝ ΑΡΧΗ (In the beginning)...
- Genesis 1:1 ΕΝ ΑΡΧΗ (In the beginning)…
Before the seven creative days of Genesis 1 are completed, we encounter the phrase, “And God said…” ten times in relation to his creation, three of which directly refer to man who was created in God’s image on the sixth day.
- Genesis 1:3- And God said, “Let there be light.”
- Genesis 1:6- And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.”
- Genesis 1:9- And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.”
- Genesis 1:11- And God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.”
- Genesis 1:14- And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.”
- Genesis 1:20- And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”
- Genesis 1:24- And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.”
- Genesis 1:26- And God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
- Genesis 1:28- And God said, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
- Genesis 1:29- And God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”
With his powerful and unique speech, God literally spoke life into existence. There are many other verses revealing that God brought all things into existence through his creative spoken WORD.
The "word" elsewhere
- Jubilees 12:4- worship the God of heaven who causes the rain and the dew to descend upon the earth and has created everything by his word.
- Wisdom of Solomon 9:1, 2- Oh God of my ancestors and Lord of mercy who have made all things by your word, and by your wisdom have formed humankind.
- Psalm 33:6- By the word of YHWH the heavens were made, And by the breath of his mouth all their host.
- Isaiah 56:10, 11- Just as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my MOUTH: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
- Genesis 15:1- After these things the word of YHWH came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
Many other times we read, “And the WORD of YHWH came to...”
- 1 Samuel 1:3- Now the boy Samuel was ministering to YHWH in the presence of Eli. And the WORD of YHWH was rare in those days; and there was no frequent vision.
- 1 Samuel 3:7- Now Samuel did not yet know YHWH and the WORD of God had not yet been revealed to him.
- 1 Samuel 15:23- For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the WORD of YHWH, he has rejected you as king.”
- Exodus 9:21- He who is fearing the WORD of YHWH among the servants of Pharaoh has caused his servants and his livestock to flee to the houses; and he who has not set his heart to the WORD of YHWH leaves his servants and his livestock in the field.
- Deuteronomy 4:2- You do not add to the WORD which I am commanding you, nor diminish from it, to keep the commands of your God YHWH which I am commanding you.
- Deuteronomy 18:20- Only, the prophet who presumes to speak a WORD in My Name, which I have not commanded him to speak, and who speaks in the name of other gods, indeed, that prophet must die.
The word of God is synonymous with the spirit/ breath of God and very closely associated to his wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. All creation is poetically attributed to each.
- Sirach 33:8- by the knowledge of YHWH they were distinguished, the appointed seasons and festivals.
- 1QS 11:11- by his knowledge everything came into existence, and all that does not exist he establishes with his calculations and nothing is done outside of him.
- Philo fig. 109- wisdom being his mother through whom the universe arrived at creation.
- Psalm 136:5- to him who made the heavens with understanding.
- Psalm 104:24- YHWH how many your works. In wisdom you have made them all.
- Proverbs 3:19, 20- YHWH in wisdom founded the earth, By understanding he established the heavens. By his knowledge the deeps were broken up.
[So,] what does it mean when we read, “the word was with God?”
The "word" is/ was "with" God
- Sirach 1:1- All wisdom is from YHWH and is with him forever.
- Job 12:16-with him are strength and sound wisdom, The misled and the misleader belong to Him.
- Job 10:13- Yet these things you have concealed in your heart; I know that this is within you.
- Job 12:13- with him are wisdom and might; To him belong counsel and understanding.
- Job 23:14- For he performs what is appointed for me, And many such decrees are with him.
- Job 27:11- I will instruct you in the power of God; what is with the Almighty I will not conceal.
- Wisdom of Solomon 9:9, 10- And wisdom was with you who knows your works. Send her forth from the holy heavens, and from the throne of your glory send her, that she may labor at my side and that I may learn what is pleasing to you.
- 2 Peter 1:20- For no prophecy at any time was brought by the will of man, but men spoke from God, being carried by the Holy Spirit.
The big question
If the word of God isn’t a person, then why is Jesus called the Word of God?
- Deuteronomy 18:15-19- The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, "Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die." The LORD said to me, "They have spoken well. ‘I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you,' and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him."
- Acts 3:22-25- For Moses said, "The Lord your God will raise up to you a prophet like me out from your brothers. You will listen to him in all things, as many as he might say to you. And it will be that every soul who might not heed that prophet will be utterly destroyed out from the people."And also all the prophets from Samuel, and those subsequently, as many as have spoken, also have proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, "And in your seed all the families of the earth will be blessed."
- Malachi 3:1- "Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And YHWH, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, he is coming," says YHWH of hosts.
- John 3:34, 35- For He whom God sent speaks the words of God, for He gives the spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. The one believing in the Son has eternal life, but the one not obeying the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
- 2 Cor 5:19- God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not reckoning their trespasses to them, and having put into us the word of reconciliation.
- Hebrew 1:1-2- God, having spoken long ago to our fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the ages.
- John 4:34- Jesus says to them, "My food is that I should do the will of the One having sent Me, and should finish His work."
- Matthew 10:20; Luke 12:12- do not worry what you are to say, for it will be the spirit of the father in you speaking in you.
- John 5:39-40- You diligently search the Scriptures because you think to have eternal life in them, and these are they bearing witness concerning me; and you are not willing to come to me, that you may have life.
- John 6:14- Therefore the people, having seen what sign he had done, were saying, “This is truly the prophet who is coming into the world.”
- John 7:16- My teaching is not mine but his who sent me.
- John 8:28-29- Therefore Jesus said to them, “When you shall have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and I do nothing from myself; but as the Father taught me, I speak these things. And the One having sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do the things pleasing to Him.”
- John 12:44- And Jesus cried out and said, “The one believing in me, does not believe in me, but in the One having sent me.
- John 12:49, 50- For I did not speak from myself, but the father himself, having sent me, gave me a commandment, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. Therefore what I speak, as the Father has said to Me, so I speak.
- John 14:10- Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you, I do not speak from Myself; but the Father dwelling in Me does His works.
- John 14:23, 24- If anyone loves Me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and will make a home with him. The one not loving me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine, but that of the Father having sent me.
- John 17:8- For the words that You have given me I have given them, and they received them, and knew truly that I came forth from you; and they believed that you sent me.
In conclusion, the word of God is God’s unique and creative spoken word, “Through which all things came into existence.” The first Man Adam was created in God’s image but failed to live up to the standard. Therefore, God, from the beginning, foretold the finale, a new creation that would replace the old. What the first man Adam lost, the new man Jesus gained back. Jesus is the foretold light and prophet coming into the world. He's called the Word of God because YHWH spoke directly through his prophet Jesus. By perfectly doing the will of God, Jesus lived up to YHWH’s standard as the image of God and became the fleshly embodiment of what the Father is: holy, righteous, true, love, light, and life. Jesus is the temple of God’s glory and presence.
1 John 1:1-3
 The LXX outdates the Hebrew Masoretic text by a millennium.
 [Interestingly, the numbers] 3, 6, 7 and 10 are all Biblically symbolic numbers.
 Ezekiel 1:3; Hosea 1:1; Joel 1:1; Jonah 1:1; Micah 1:1; Zeph 1:1
 1 Corinthians 15:14; 1 Corinthians 15:45; Isaiah 45:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 1:15; John 1:14