Berean Bible Study Notes

John 1:1-13

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I hope that this study will draw you closer to Jesus and you learn more of Him. "John" helps complete the picture perhaps more than any of the other Gospels, but every book of the Bible speaks of Jesus. The book was written of Him. The lyrics of a song by Aaron Jeoffrey seems appropriate to start our study with today:

 

He Is - Sung by Aaron Jeoffrey

In Genesis, He's the breath of Life
In Exodus, the passover Lamb
In Leviticus, He's our high priest
Numbers, the fire by night
Deuteronomy, He's Moses' voice
In Joshua, He is salvation's choice
Judges, Law giver
In Ruth, the kinsman redeemer
First and Second Samuel, our trusted prophet
In Kings and Chronicles, He's sovereign
Ezra, true and faithful scribe
Nehemiah, He's the rebuilder of broken walls and lives
In Esther, He's Mordecai's courage
In Job, the timeless redeemer
In Psalms, He is our morning song
In Proverbs, wisdom's cry
Ecclesiastes, the time and season
In the Song of Solomon, He is the lover's dream
He is, He is, He is

In Isaiah, He's Prince of Peace
Jeremiah, the weeping prophet
In Lamentations, the cry for Israel
Ezekiel, He's the call from sin
In Daniel, the stranger in the fire
In Hosea, He is forever faithful
In Joel, He's the Spirits power
In Amos, the arms that carry us
In Obadiah, He's the Lord our Savior
In Jonah, He's the great missionary
In Micah, the promise of peace
In Nahum, He is our strength and our shield
In Habakkuk and Zephaniah, He's pleading for revival
In Haggai, He restores a lost heritage
In Zechariah, our fountain
In Malachi, He is the son of righteousness rising with healing in His wings
He is, He is, He is

In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, He is God, Man, Messiah
In the book of Acts, He is fire from heaven
In Romans, He's the grace of God
In Corinthians, the power of love
In Galatians, He is freedom from the curse of sin
Ephesians, our glorious treasure
Philippians, the servants heart
In Colossians, He's the Godhead trinity
Thessalonians, our coming King
In Timothy, Titus, Philemon He's our mediator and our faithful Pastor
In Hebrews, the everlasting covenant
In James, the one who heals the sick.
In First and Second Peter, he is our Shepherd
In John and in Jude, He is the lover coming for His bride
In the Revelation, He is King of Kings and the Lord of Lords
He is, He is, He is

The prince of peace
The Son of man
The Lamb of God
The great I am
He's the alpha and omega
Our God and our Savior
He is Jesus Christ Lord and when time is no more
He is, He is

Words by Jeoffrey Benward & Jeff Silvey
(c)1994 Star Song

In John, Jesus is the Son of God. The Word made flesh, who came and dwelt among us. I am terribly inadequate to teach you the Gospel of John. There is so much here, and I KNOW that I barely have a grasp on the tiniest bit of it. If you've read the other three Gospels, you can tell that John is very different. He told us why he wrote it:

John 20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

Two of the other Gospels contain a genealogy in their opening pages. Matthew, who presents Jesus as the Son of David, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the long-expected Messiah, shows his descent from Abraham down through Joseph, his legal father. Luke, who shows Jesus to be the Son of Man, begins his genealogy at Adam, down to Heli, who is actually the father of Mary (who apparently adopted Joseph in the manner of the husbands of the daughters of Zelophehad, Numbers 27:1). Mark doesn't have a genealogy, but that is consistent with his presentation of Jesus as the suffering servant. John begins with a very interesting genealogy, that of God Himself:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.

There is one other place in the Bible that begins the same way:

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

In a casual reading of that, in the beginning, we picture the beginning of something. You might say, "In the beginning of my work day, I woke up," and you're thinking back a few hours. When we read these words in Genesis and John, we think back to something a long time ago. If the world is 6,000 years old, then God must be much further back - millions, billions, trillions, infinite years back. That's not what these words are saying, though. This is actually the beginning of time itself. Time did not always exist. Time is a created property. Time varies. It varies with speed. It varies with height! Scientists have actually tested this with highly accurate atomic clocks on two jets traveling in opposite directions around the earth. When they returned, the clocks were not the same any more. Which had the right time? They both did.

I know that's hard to get your brain around. Modern secular science agrees that time did not always exist. Stephen Hawking says that in order for the laws of physics to hold true, time itself had to have a beginning. Of course, he is of the crowd that says that 15 billion years ago there was nothing - and then it exploded. In science, that thought hasn't been around long. In fact, in 1959, a survey of leading American scientists showed that most of them believed that the universe was infinitely old. They were just echoing the ideas of Aristotle and Plato and other philosophers who said the universe was eternal.

Interestingly, Bible scholars did not agree. 800 years ago, a Rabbi named Nachmanides argued that Scripture taught that time had a beginning. In an article called, The Age of the Universe, it says:

(Read that article with discernment. It contains some fascinating insights about the nature of time, but it's written by a Jewish scientist, not a Christian. Also, Nachmanides, while saying some interesting things, was a Kabbalist)

This idea of the creation of time itself is verified in the New Testament:

2 Timothy 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

1 Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory

1 Corinthians 2:7 (NIV) No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.

So, God is not someone with lots of time. He is outside time altogether. One of the incredible aspects of His incarnation is that He stepped INTO time. Now, notice what John says, In the beginning was. When time was created, Jesus was already there. The Jehovah Witnesses change their Bibles so that they read, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a God. They think that by sticking the word "a" into the text, that they can remove the deity of Jesus. They don't realize that they already missed it. He cannot be a created being, as they insist, because when time was created, He already was.

Here are a few articles on this subject of the creation of time:

Grace Outside Time

NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES AND THE CREATION

The Uniqueness of Creation Week

The Names of God

 

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.

In the beginning was the WORD, the logos. It's where we get our word "logic" from. Some commentaries relate "logos" back to Greek philosophy and suggest that John was clarifying and enlarging the concept of the Greek "logos,":

Courson, J. 2003. Jon Courson's Application Commentary . Thomas Nelson: Nashville, TN

In the sixth century BC, a Greek philosopher named Heraclitus seems to have been the first to use the word "logos" in a larger sense. According to the article Logos,

Perhaps John WAS playing off the Greek idea, but using the "Word" to apply to God goes back much further than Heraclitus! In the Bible, it first appears here (remember that the first time something appears is usually important):

Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward." 2 But Abram said, "Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" 3 Then Abram said, "Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!"

4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir." 5 Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him,"So shall your descendants be."

6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

If you read this carefully, it's not really saying that words came to Abraham, but the word came, saying. The word came in a vision, saying "I am your shield." What, did Abraham see words written on the sky or something? Or, is this referring to God and calling Him "the word?" In verse 4 and 5, you can actually see the personification of the word. The word of the LORD came... Then He brought him outside. Who brought Abraham outside? Grammatically, it actually says the word brought him outside!

You can see the same thing here:

Psalm 18:30 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

Again, grammatically, who is a shield? The word!

Try going to Blueletterbible or Biblegateway and doing a word search on "word of the Lord." Then, as you read through some of them, read with the idea that that "word" is Jesus, and see how it reads. That doesn't mean that words from God didn't just somehow come to the prophets. Scripture says they were inspired by the Holy Spirit! But, it's kind of interesting to wonder if "the word of the Lord came to Isaiah" might mean more than that. It's another on my growing list of things to ask Jesus about when I can learn at His feet!!

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.

The Word was with God. He was face to face, in the closest relationship possible. The Word was with God and the Word was God. How can we ever fully understand what that means? Jesus tells us some of what that was like when He prays in John 17:

John 17:5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

John 17:10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.

John 17:20 "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

Let's look at the first verse in the Bible again:

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

As you probably know, the word translated "God" here is elohiym (el-o-heem'), which is a plural word that's always used in a singular way when it's used of God. In other words, the first words of the Bible begin to show the Triune nature of God. John is doing the same thing. John is more fully explaining the Elohiym of the Old Testament. He takes us back to the first words of the Bible and shows us Jesus in them. My brain cannot begin to grasp it. Wow. Here is more on the Trinity:

The Doctrine of the Trinity in the Old Testament

 

John 1:3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

I remember the first time I read this verse and actually paid attention to it. All my life, I had heard and understood that God created the heavens and the earth, but somehow I missed the fact that Jesus is the Creator. My Creator is also my Savior. Amazing.

Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

Hebrews 1:1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

Psalm 33:6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.

There is so much in each one of these verses. For example, the "was made" is in the perfect tense, which means it was a once and for all thing. There wasn't ongoing creation. When the Lord rested from His work, it doesn't mean that He was tired, but that His work was finished. Since God is outside of time, there is a sense in which He created YOU during that creation week. There IS one act of creation that is ongoing, and that is what happens when you believe:

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation ; the old has gone, the new has come.

Just as God said, "Let there be light, and there was light" on Day One of creation, so he says "Let there be light" in your heart when the Holy Spirit enables you to believe.

Jesus continues to be involved with His creation. The Bible says,

Colossians 1:17 (NKJV) And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

The NIV actually translates it better:

Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Hebrews says the same thing:

Hebrews 1:3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

We all learned in grade school science that like charges repel. Positive repels positive. Negative repels negative. Yet, in the center of every atom is a cluster of protons held tightly together. Science has no explanation for what holds them together. Splitting them apart releases tremendous energy and vast destruction. It is possible that this is exactly what the Bible means when it says, in him all things hold together. There is a day coming when Jesus may no longer hold things together:

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

Back to John:

John 1:3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

The People's Bible, John by Gary Baumler, Northwestern Publishing House, Milwaukee, 1997 says:

In his epistle, John says,

1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life . 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.

Jesus Christ is the eternal life. We were dead in our transgressions and sins; we were in darkness and belonged to the evil one. But, Jesus is light and life - and calls us out of darkness. There is so much we can learn by just studying where the words light, life and darkness appear in the Bible. I'll just give you a few:

Isaiah 9:2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

Isaiah 60:1"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn."

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness ," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Let's go back to our verses:

John 1:3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

Jesus - the light - shines in the darkness. The darkness belongs to Satan. Evil hides in the darkness. Evil lurks in our hearts when our hearts are darkened. Jesus said, if the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness. But, He comes and shines a light in that dark place. He puts the spotlight on our sin, so that we can see it.

If we do not see our sin now and repent and trust in Him for forgiveness, He will bring to light that sin later. By then, however, it will be too late:

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts.

John tells us later in his Gospel what happens when we welcome that Light:

John 5:24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."

John 1:3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

What does that mean, the darkness has not understood it? The Greek word can mean "has not understood it" or "has not overcome it." I think we grasp pretty well what "has not overcome it" means. The darkness will never overcome the light. So, why has the darkness not understood the light? What does that mean? I think it has at least two meanings. First, the powers of darkness - the rulers and authorities of the spiritual realm - did not understand it.

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 3:2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Previously, the mystery of Christ was hidden, but now is revealed to God's holy apostles and prophets. Apparently, it is God's intent that His purpose be revealed to the spiritual realm through the church. Interesting. In other words, the spiritual realm - the powers of darkness - didn't understand it before. The following verse can be applied to both the human rulers and the spiritual forces that controlled them:

1 Corinthians 2:6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

So, the evil forces of darkness did not understand Christ's mission. Neither did the rulers of Israel, who were living in darkness. The people who remain in darkness can not understand either:

1 Corinthians 2:14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

 

John 1:6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

Now, John the Baptist is introduced. There is a lot written of John the Baptist. In fact, Jesus says:

Matthew 11:11 I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

John came as a witness to the Light. He himself wasn't the Light, but he came to tell people that that Light was coming. When he was born, his father prophesied:

Luke 1:76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace."

 

From his earliest age, John knew what his mission was. He was to prepare the people for the coming of the Savior. I'll talk more about John the Baptist in the next study.

John 1:10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

The world did not recognize Him. The Creator stepped into His world, but the world did not recognize Him. I think creation recognized Him, because He said that if men did not speak, the very stones would cry out - but people didn't. In a way, it's kind of understandable why the pagan world would not, but look at the next line: He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. His own were the Jews, who should have known Him. They were given the Scriptures, which were about Him - from one end to the other: The entire Old Testament was given so that they might recognize Him.

John 5:39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,

Gabriel even gave Daniel a prophecy that pinned down the time of Messiah exactly. Martin Luther became very frustrated with the Jews because the prophecy in Daniel was so clear. Jesus held them accountable to know this prophecy:

Luke 19:42 "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."

The Jewish leadership rejected Jesus, and as a result, physical Israel was blinded. (See Romans 11) Then, in 70 AD, Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed, all because his own did not receive him. Look at the next verse, though:

John 1:10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

There were some among the Jews who believed, and later, many among the Gentiles. Before long, the world had been turned upside down, according to the Jews:

Acts 17:6 (NKJV) But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too."

The right to become children of God. . .There is way more in that verse than we have time to go into here. The next verse speaks of being "born again," which we'll get to in Chapter 3.



The next study will cover some very interesting things. At least I hope you'll think they're interesting!





The Berean Bible Study of the Gospel of John




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Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. - Acts 17:11

© 2012 This study was written by Jacqui Komschlies and last updated 2/1/2012. If you have questions, comments, corrections or concerns, please write me.

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