New Defender's Study Bible Notes
1:1 In the beginning. It is significant that the Apostle John began his gospel with the words: “In the beginning.” He obviously intended that his record should start with the same words as Genesis, that is, with creation. Since his explicit purpose in writing was to win his readers to Christ as Son of God and Savior (see John 20:30-31), he realized the foundational importance of prior belief in special creation of all things by God. People need to know Jesus Christ as offended Creator before they can believe with understanding on Him as sin-bearing Savior and Redeemer. A foundation of true creationism as the only meaningful context for true evangelism is thus revealed through John, under divine inspiration.
1:1 Word. The “Word” (Greek logos) is the first of at least a dozen titles given to Christ in this first chapter of John’s gospel. Note the others: “the Light” (John 1:7-9); “only Begotten Son” (John 1:14, 18); Jesus Christ” (John 1:17); “the Lord” (John 1:23); “Lamb of God” (John 1:29, 36); “Master” (John 1:38); “King of Israel” (John 1:49); “Son of God” (John 1:34, 49); “Son of man” (John 1:51); “Jesus of Nazareth” (John 1:45); Messiah” (John 1:41). Probably, “the Word of God” (a phrase used 1200 times in the Old Testament) is the most meaningful. Note Psalm 33:6; Hebrews 11:3; II Peter 3:5.
1:1 Word was God. This is a very strong assertion that Jesus is God. The eternal Word, who was to be made man (John 1:14), is God (not merely “a god” as some have alleged), and is the same God who created heaven and earth in the beginning. In fact, He is the only “true God” (I John 5:20), who was there “in the beginning.”
1:2 beginning. The definite article has been supplied. The actual Greek is en arche—that is, “in beginning.” The “Word of God” thus was there before the creation of the space-mass-time universe, so that John’s “beginning” even antecedes the Genesis “beginning,” extending without an initial beginning into eternity past, before even time was created. Note also John 17:24, where Jesus, in His humanity, acknowledged that He was with the Father, and loved by the Father, “before the foundation of the world.”
1:2 with God. The “Word of God” (i.e., Jesus Christ) was God, yet also “with God.” Thus God is both personal and plural (in a uni-plural sense only, however, a mysterious category that makes sense only in terms of the doctrine of the Trinity).
1:3 made by him. This is an emphatic statement declaring that Jesus Christ, before His incarnation, had made everything in the universe. He is the God of Genesis 1:1, the God of all creation. Furthermore, note that “all things were made.” They are not now being made, as the concept of evolution requires. The Creator rested from all His work of creating and making all things (Genesis 2:1-3) after the six days of the creation week. Also, note the past tense in such passages as Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2-3; and other verses dealing with creation.
1:4 life. The last part of John 1:3 and the first part of John 1:4 can also be read as follows: “That which was made was life in Him.” As Paul said: “In Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).