What poured out of Jesus Christ while He was here? Words—God's words, which are spirit and life (John 6:63). What are God's words, in total? The truth! The truth makes us free (John 8:32). Where does the truth lead? To eternal life! Put all of those concepts together, and we come to what John says so succinctly: "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." How do we get to the Kingdom of God? By following God's words—the Light (see Psalm 119:105).
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
"The Word" in this passage is translated from the Greek logos, which means "spokesman," "word," or "revelatory thought." It is a name there used for an individual Personage. But who or what is this Logos? Notice the explanation in verse 14:
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
When he was born as Jesus Christ, he was flesh and blood, materialistic, and could be seen, touched, and felt. But what was he? As God—as the Logos? That is answered in John 4:24, "God is a Spirit," and spirit is invisible. We know what was his form and shape as the human Jesus. But of what form and shape was He as the Word?
The Word, then, is a Personage who was made flesh—begotten by God, who through this later begettal became his Father. Yet at that prehistoric time of the first verse of John 1, the Word was not (yet) the Son of God. He divested himself of his glory as a Spirit divinity to be begotten as a human person. He was made God's Son, through being begotten or sired by God and born of the virgin Mary.
So here we find revealed originally two Personages. One is God. And with God in that prehistoric time was another Personage who also was God—one who later was begotten and born as Jesus Christ. But these two Personages were spirit, which is invisible to human eyes unless supernaturally manifested. Yet, at the time described in verse one, Jesus was not the Son of God, and God was not His Father.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Man and Fully God? (2001)
As this passage patently declares, the Word is Jesus Christ. He is God and is the Creator God of Genesis. “All things were made through Him.”
“Word” here is translated from the Greek logos. Strong's Concordance begins its definition as “something said.” In his Key Word Study Bible, Spiros Zodhiates begins his entry with “to speak.” Recall the method the Creator God used to create: He used words; He spoke. The Logos, the One who speaks, spoke this world and everything in it into existence (Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, and 26).
Paul also testifies in Colossians 1:16 that Christ was the Creator:
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.
Paul repeats John's idea in John 1:1 of the world being created “through Him,” indicating that Another authorized the works carried out by the Word. In the same verse, John affirms that another God Being was present: “the Word was with God.” Genesis 1:26 begins, “Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image.'” The “Us” is the Word and the other God, the One we now know as the Father (John 17:5).
In His last message to His disciples, Jesus confirms that He continued to follow the creation pattern. He spoke the words given to Him by the other God, God the Father: “For I have given to them the words which You have given Me . . .” (John 17:8).
In Genesis 1, the Creator God is called “God,” translated from the Hebrew word elohim. While this Hebrew word is plural in form, it often appears in combination with singular verbs and adjectives, indicating a body, group, class, or family that contains more than one member. John's description agrees. Both were God, both with the surname Elohim, of the Family called God, which is currently composed of the Father and the Son, as revealed in the New Testament.
The God of the Old Testament
No other book written by men opens like the book of John. If we can compare it to something in music, it is like a tremendously loud, crashing chord.
John introduces the main Character that he will be writing about, laying down pertinent details right away so that we know—at least a little bit—of the length and breadth and depth of this Being. He was God. He is God. He was in the beginning with God. Therefore He was pre-existent. Before there was time, there was God.
Before there was time, there was the Logos. The Logos is the main Character of this story that will unfold. He was God; He was with God; He is the Creator of everything that is. He is the One who gave life to Adam and Eve. He is the Power behind every law, force, and energy that exists. He is the One who was there from the beginning.
John then lays the groundwork so that we understand where he is coming from. He introduces words that will play a great part in understanding this Personage: that He is light, that He is truth, that He is reality in contrast to those things that we call "real"—at least physically real—but they are not eternal. They are not age-lasting as He is.
John W. Ritenbaugh
John (Part 3)
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing John 1:1:
1 John 5:1-8