"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." [John 1:1, KJV]
The next part of this passage I would like to consider is the term "the Word" in the "a" part of the verse. In the beginning was the word. What is this word? Most people believe that the word was the pre-existent Son, but the text does not say "In the beginning was the Son," nor "In the beginning was Yeshua," but only "In the beginning was the word." So once again, what was this "word"?
It is extremely common for Trinitarians at this point to read the Son into this passage at John 1:1 because of what is mentioned in John 1:14. However, here are some facts to consider:
Fact #1: The text reads word (Greek: logos), it does not read son.
Fact #2: When we look at the Greek word used here (its definition, along with the many other places in Scripture that use it) we should see clearly what is being referenced in John 1:1.
The Scriptures teach that the word of Yahweh made the creation come into existence. (Psalm 33:6-9; Psalm 148:1-5). We read in Genesis 1 over 20 times that “Elohim said…” and creation happened. Thus it was literally by the speaking of Yahweh that creation came to be.
When looking at several Greek uses of the word logos in the New Testament we see the following:
A. Matthew 8:8 – word
B. Luke 1:29 – saying
C. Acts 19:40 – account
D. 1 Corinthians 2:1 – speech
E. Acts 19:38 – matter
F. 2 Corinthians 8:7 – utterance
G. Ephesians 4:29 – communication
H. 1 Peter 3:15 – reason
I. Romans 9:28 – work
J. Acts 10:29 – intent
K. Acts 14:12 – speaker
As we look at these uses we see that all have a reference to what is thought of in the mind, a purpose or plan that comes out in the form of words through an individual. Some of the definitions that Thayer’s gives (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon) for this Greek word include the following: speech, something said, thought, decree, discourse, teaching, narrative, reason, the mental faculty of thinking, etc. (NOTE: The last definition Mr. Thayer gives for the word logos is Jesus Christ, but he does this simply upon his assumption that this the Son is spoken of in John 1:1, not on the actual meaning of the word logos in the Greek language.)
By looking at the use of the word logos, we need conclude nothing more that what John 1:1a is speaking of when he says, “In the beginning was the word,” is that at the laying of the foundation of the heavens and earth the thought, intent, speech, utterance, work, plan, etc. existed. For those of us that know what the remainder of John 1:1 states we realize that this is the thought, plan, word, etc. of Almighty Yahweh.
Interestingly enough, a renown Oneness Pentecostal theologian “hits the nail on the head” with his understanding.
"The Word was not a separate person or a separate god any more than a man’s word is a separate person from him. Rather the Word was the thought, plan, or mind of God… In Greek usage, logos can mean the expression or plan as it exists in the mind of the proclaimed - as a play in the mind of a playwright - or it can mean the thought as uttered or otherwise physically expressed - as a play that is enacted on stage. John 1 says the logos existed in the mind of God from the beginning of time. When the fullness of time was come, God put that plan in action. He put flesh on that plan in the form of Jesus Christ." [The Oneness of God, by David K. Bernard, Word Aflame Press, 2000, pg. 60.]
The late professor G.B. Caird gave the translation of John 1:1, 14 as follows:
"In the beginning was the purpose, the purpose in the mind of God, the purpose which was God’s own being… this purpose took human form in Jesus of Nazareth." [New Testament Theology, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995, pg. 332.]
Here are very scholarly theologians that recognize the use of the word logos in John 1:1 does not mean that the Son was being referred to in person, or that the Son literally pre-existed with the Father in the beginning. Rather, the word was in the beginning. These theologians are much more accurate than the common understanding of Trinitarian theologians today.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.