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The Logos


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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

—John 1:1

One of the first rules of hermeneutics is that the original meaning of the text—that is, how the original audience would have understood it—is the meaning of the text. So what did the Apostle John mean by calling Jesus “the Word”? According to Richard Phillips,

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One of the earliest Greek philosophers was Heraclitus (sixth century BC). He thought about the fact that things constantly change. His famous illustration was that you can never step twice into the same river; it is never the same because the water has flowed on. Everything is like that, he said. But if that is true, how can there be order in the world? His answer was the Logos, the word or reason of God. This was the principle that held everything together in a world of change. There is a purpose and design to the world and events, and this is the Logos.

The Logos fascinated Greeks from Heraclitus onward. What keeps the stars in their courses? What controls the seasons? Order and purpose are revealed everywhere in the world. Why? The answer is the Logos, the divine logic. The Word. Plato said, “It may be that some day there will come forth from God a Word, a Logos, who will reveal all mysteries and make everything plain.” In a stroke of divine genius, John seizes on this word and says, “Listen, you Greeks, the very thing that had most occupied your philosophical thought and about which you have been writing for centuries—the Logos of God . . . has come to earth as a man and we have seen him.”

—Richard D. Phillips, The Incarnation in the Gospels (P&R Publishing, 2008), 143–144.



Posted 2013·12·19 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Christmas · Christology · Gospel of John · Hermeneutics · Richard Phillips · The Incarnation in the Gospels

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