“Logos” or “Not Logos”. That is the question.

Black man in a Christian T shirt pointing
Reading Time: 6 minutes

“Logos” or “Not Logos”.
That is the question.

Believer or Unbeliever:

The word λόγος, (logos, word Strongs NT 3056, one of the most widely used terms in the NT; 331 occurrences) has a huge semantic domain. In John’s Gospel Logos is a clear reference to Jesus. In the opening chapter and verse (John 1:1) the Apostle introduces the idea that Jesus is the Word. What does he mean by that?

-Jesus is eternal ( Ἐν ἀρχῇ] John makes the beginning of his Gospel parallel with that of Genesis;[61] but he rises above the historical conception of בְּרֵאשִׁית, which (Genesis 1:1) includes the beginning of time itself, to the absolute conception of anteriority to time: the creation is something subsequent,)1Meyer’s NT Commentary “In the beginning was the Word,” John 1:1 Koine scholars believe that ἀ ρ χ ῇ means a time before the beginning of the universe.

-Jesus was with God prior to the incarnation (πρὸς τὸν θεον] not simply equivalent to ΠΑΡᾺ Τῷ ΘΕῷ, John 7:5, but expressing, as in 1 John 1:2, the existence of the Logos in God in respect of intercourse)2ibid. “the Word was with God”. John 1:1

-Jesus is God (καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγοςand the Logos was God. by θεός without the article, John neither desires to indicate, on the one hand, identity of Person with the Father; nor yet, on the other, any lower nature than that which God Himself possesses)3ibid. “the Word was God.” John 1:1

The term Logos is further expanded upon in John 1:

-Jesus is Creator “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3 [KJV])

-John 1:4 “An advance to the nature of the Logos[77] as life, and thereby as light. (ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦνin Him, was life,……….. all life was contained in the Logos, as in its principle and source. No limitation of the conception, especially as ζωή (Zoe) is without the article.”4ibid.

-“and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4 (καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἧν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων,) “according to the necessary connection of life and light in opposition to death and darkness.”5ibid.

-Jesus became human to live among us The ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο is a definite act in the consummation of His history. He became flesh, i.e. a corporeal material being, visible and tangible (1 John 1:2) “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”.6ibid. This ‘Word’ that was with God in the beginning, is the same as the embodied Christ who lived in human form. “The Logos of S. John, therefore, is not a mere attribute of God, but the Son of God, existing from all eternity, and manifested in space and time in the Person of Jesus Christ.”7Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Many quote the following passage as the “locus classicus” to describe the inspiration of scripture:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

(II Timothy 3:16 [KJV])

All the books regarded as Holy Scripture are ipso facto inspired “Godbreathed!’ This is the meaning of the Greek word θεόπνευστος, Theopneustos,  in that passage, translated “given by inspiration of God”, as the “word” coming on God’s human mouthpiece (Prophet or Apostle) to speak in His name, under the mediation of the Holy Spirit. πασα γραφη θεοπνευστος pasa graphe theopneustos (II Timothy 3:16 [Elzevir]) the graphe here refers to Holy Scripture as inspired. “For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit.” (II Peter 1:21 [ASV]) God’s representatives heard God speaking to them into the depths of their souls who in turn conveyed that message, by their preaching and writing to God’s people. This becomes an important part of prescribing a connection between the word of scripture and the Word of God in Christ.

The Authority of Scripture has thus been established by the fact that it is grounded in the authority of it’s Author i.e. God. It is the very Word of God, “spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets” (Heb. 1:1). The doctrine of biblical inerrancy is a corollary of the doctrine of biblical inspiration.

Inerrancy is the view that when all the facts become known, they will demonstrate that the Bible in its original autographs and correctly interpreted is entirely true and never false in all it affirms, whether that relates to doctrines or ethics or to the social, physical, or life sciences.”

P. D. Feinberg. 8P. D. Feinberg, “Bible, Inerrancy and Infallibility of” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., edited by Walter A. Elwell (Baker Academic, 2001), p. 156.

We can have inerrancy without infallibility, but we cannot have the reverse order. Infallibility necessarily results in the text’s being inerrant. Infallibility means being incapable of making a mistake, while inerrancy means the absence of any error. Referring to the infallible authority of the Old Testament, Jesus said, ‘The scriptures cannot be broken’ (John 10:35).

Certain modern interpretations of the “Inspiration of Scripture” have been commonly reduced to the idea that God providentially worked through ordinary historical and literary processes to produce a work comparable to any other literature. This becomes a very convoluted view of the inspiration of scripture that superficially sounds like “Logos” but in substance sounds more like “Mythos”.

Since Plato, “Mythos” has come to be interpreted as an ‘unlikely narrative’; and Logos has come to mean a ‘rational account’, creating a reason/myth antithesis (and false dichotomy) between the two words; a concept embraced by the modern secular “human” today. However, The Apostle does not say and “the Mythos became flesh and dwelt among us”. Rejection of the veracity of Holy Scripture may imply more than just rejecting the truth of the words written within them. The audience is held personally accountable to God as speaking directly to them. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word (Logos) is truth. (John 17:17 [KJV]) By truth we mean that which corresponds to reality.

Philo of Alexandria, a Hellenized Jew also called Judaeus Philo, is credited with having developed “his” doctrine of the Logos. 9Eusebius of Caesarea: Praeparatio Evangelica (Preparation for the Gospel). Tr. E.H. Gifford (1903) — Book 7 ChapterXIII: //www.tertullian.org/fathers/eusebius_pe_07_book7.htm

By developing this doctrine he fused Greek philosophical concepts with Hebrew religious thought and provided the foundation for Christianity, first in the development of the Christian Pauline myth and speculations of John, later in the Hellenistic Christian Logos and Gnostic doctrines of the second century………………..The Greek, metaphysical concept of the Logos is in sharp contrast to the concept of a personal God described in anthropomorphic terms typical of Hebrew thought. Philo made a synthesis of the two systems and attempted to explain Hebrew thought in terms of Greek philosophy by introducing the Stoic concept of the Logos into Judaism. In the process the Logos became transformed from a metaphysical entity into an extension of a divine and transcendental anthropomorphic being and mediator between God and men.

Following the Jewish mythical tradition, Philo represents the Logos as the utterance of God found in the Jewish scripture of the Old Testament since God’s words do not differ from his actions (Sacr. 8; Somn. 1.182; Op. 13).

C. H.Dodd (referenced in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)10C. H.Dodd (referenced in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy) available at https://iep.utm.edu/philo/#H11

To examine the context of the intertestamental period with regards to the “Logos” and Messianic expectations to any degree of accuracy, would require volumes greater coverage than what has been allotted here. I am sceptical of crediting Philo as single handedly having developed the doctrine of the logos, but as having codified and contributed to it. The expectations of a messianic figure from God who would restore Israel in some fashion emerged throughout the diversity of Jewish expectations and contexts during the second temple period. These concepts could have furnished the authors of the N.T with resources for their writings, although the ultimate author is always God. It is almost undeniable that future Christian interpretation of messianic Hebrew thought, Christian Apologists like Clement of Alexandria, Athenagoras, Theophilus, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, etc. would draw on the “Logos”.

I believe that the Bible alone, and in its entirety, is the inspired and infallible written Word of God in the original text and is, therefore, inerrant in all that it affirms or denies on whatever topic it addresses. What do you believe?

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

(II Corinthians 13:14 [ASV])

Featured Image: Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash


Translate ยป