LOGOS = Christ = “Word of God” (Sometimes)

Take multiple uses of the same word in the English Bible, mix together with a limited understanding of the original language, and confusion will likely ensue.

Sometimes the LOGOS in John chapter 1 is too readily equated with the Word of God (i.e., the Bible).  However, the Bible is not Jesus, nor Jesus the Bible; rather, the Bible expresses God’s message, his will, and his person to us, much as Christ himself did in his Incarnation.

LEGEIN, the infinitive (verb) that is cognate of LOGOS, did not originally mean, “to say,” but in NT Koine Greek is used interchangeably with the several other verbs.  Previously, LOGOS had to do with reason/rationality and meaning, and was applied by Plato and other Greek philosophers to what we would today call an Intelligent Designer behind the universe.  Plato and the Stoics considered this world to be not reality, but a pale reflection of a greater, if you will:  “spiritual” reality.

Alexandrian Jew Philo loved Greek philosophy, principally Plato and the Stoics, and sought to resolve Hebrew revelation with it, and vice versa.  He postulated a divine idea of a perfect man in heaven, which he called the Logos, of which earthly man is an imperfect reflection.  Yet this Logos figure is the expression of God, from his ultimate Reason.  (Relatable to the concept of man as “made in the image of God.”)

It would seem that John in chapter 1 of his Gospel had Philo’s idea in mind when he introduced Christ as the divine Logos, present with God in Creation, who, as “the only begotten Son [of God],” and who “was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” represents the ultimate expression of God’s Reason, such that Christ is “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” and moreover, “full of grace and truth.”  Embodying as Christ does the plenitude of the Father’s glory, “of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.”

Therefore (to come full circle), LOGOS also came to mean the expression of the rationality, even essence, of the person speaking or writing (human or divine), and LEGEIN the act of conveying that reason or essence.  In such way, divine revelation (Scripture), as the expression of God toward man, has been rightly deemed the LOGOS, that is, “the Word of God.”

© 2013 Paul A. Hughes

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One Comment on “LOGOS = Christ = “Word of God” (Sometimes)”

  1. Hilbert Ong says:

    John’s “Logos” in John Chap 1, is most probably trying to identify Jesus closer to “Torah” and “Wisdom” in Jewish Literature rater than the Greek idea of Logos. (ref John 1:11, 14-18)
    May read: Craig S. Keener, The Gospel of John: A Commentary, Volume One (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 2003), 364-426.


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