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UNDERSTANDING SCRIPTURE: Has the Size of Your Jesus Been ‘Lost in Translation?’

Believers have all heard that Jesus is ‘The Word,’ but I wonder: How many of us truly understand what that means? I know I didn’t — not until I read John 1 in Greek.  But, once I did, I understood just how much has been ‘lost in translation.’

As I said, all believers should know the opening of John 1:

John 1:1-5

The Deity of Jesus Christ

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [a]He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not [b]comprehend it.

OK, before I keep going, let me stop and make something very clear.  I already know that many believers will resist what I am about to share, and it will be a mistake — because I am not wrong about what I am going to say.  That said, I want to state this very clearly.  I believe that Jesus is God, the Father, in the flesh.  I believe that Jesus is The Lamb of God, meaning, Jesus is God’s Sacrifice.  It is through Christ’s Sacrifice that we are saved, and that we are saved through faith in the Father and the Son.  I believe all these things about Jesus — and more.  However, these things still left me with questions that could not be answered — until I read the opening of John 1 in Greek.  Once I did, many of my questions — as well as many apparent contradictions in Scripture — fell away.  It is what I learned from the Greek that showed me my idea of Jesus was too small — way too small.  And, if it isn’t already as big, I hope that I can help you grow your image of Christ by sharing what I learned.  So, with that said, let’s go back to John 1:1.

What does ‘the Word’ mean?  If I only read the Bible in English, I can get a rough idea, but I’ll never fully understand.  However, when we read John 1:1 in the original Greek, we discover that John actually wrote:

“In the beginning was the Logos,…”

As a trained philosopher, I knew what Logos means.  So, when I read that this was the original word John used, it blew my mind.  Like a lightening bolt, my understanding of Jesus didn’t change so much as it expanded.  In fact, you could say it ‘blew up.’  Now, for those who know what Logos means, I apologize. I do not mean to waste your time.  But for those who do not know what it means, let me share the Greek definition with you, because it was the definition John intended:

Logos

  1. The rational principle that governs and develops the universe.

In other words, Logos is all Law: Moral Law, Revealed Law, Natural Law, the laws of physics, the laws governing mathematics, economics, human behavior — all laws!  Everywhere!  [note: logos refers to all laws in agreement with God’s Will, and not to all laws made by man — especially when those laws are in direct conflict with God’s Laws.]  Once I understood that, I understood that the ‘Word of God’ is not just the Scriptures, but Jesus in print.  I also understood how and why this passage was true:

All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

God used His Laws — Jesus — to create and sustain everything, and nothing that is came to be or continues to exist without Jesus, the Logos.  But these laws existed before the universe was created.  That means Jesus existed before the universe was created — jut as Scripture says.  However, because Jesus is all of God’s laws, decrees, ordinances and judgments, it means Jesus is also God (or a part of Him).  And it means Jesus can and does exist outside of God, the father.  Think of it in terms of the U.S. Constitution.  That document was very much a product of the men who wrote it.  In a real way, it was them, and yet, it exists outside of and separate from them.  Furthermore, the U.S. Constitution provides a vehicle through which the Spirit of our founders was intended to act, to govern.  This picture of the founders, Constitution and spirit of their intentions is similar to the Trinity.  Now, I know it is an imperfect analogy, but then, it has to be because I am trying to apply a finite notion to an infinite God and a mystery we cannot and likely are not meant to understand (at least, not in this life, anyway).  Still, the analogy works for the purpose at hand.

Now, consider this:

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

And compare it to John 14:6:

Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Many people are offended by the claim that Jesus is the only way to God, the Father, but there is the reason why this is true: right there in John 1:1.  If Jesus is the whole of God’s Law, then there is only one Law, not many.  And if Jesus is that Law, then He is the only way to the father, and no one can come to the father except through Jesus.  Furthermore, if disobedience to God’s Law leads to death, then it stands to reason that the only path to life must be found through obeying God’s Law.  Again, that means life is found only through Jesus.

[NOTE: I am not suggesting that we are saved by works, but that obedience is a part of God’s Law.  Once saved — through faith — obedience is the natural reaction to the gift we are given.  It is also the outward indication of our conversion: of God coming to live within the heart of the believer.]

If you will allow me, I’d like to apply another imperfect analogy.  Think of Christ as a river and God, the Father, as the ocean.  Rivers flow one way: toward the ocean.  Now think of each of us as fish in the river.  So long as we embrace the journey to the sea, and we stay in the stream, things go well for us.  But, if we try to swim upstream, though we may make it a little way, we eventually tire and get washed down stream.  This is the believer who — though saved — ‘kicks against the boards.’  God gave us free will, but — like it or not — His will still reigns and we will bow to it — period.  At the same time, the fish that rejects God’s will is like a fish that jumps out of the river.  If the fish does not change its mind (i.e. repent) and get back in the river (live by God’s Laws), it will get dirty and, eventually, it will die and start to stink.  So, Jesus is the River, the current is the Holy Spirit (God’s will) and God is the ocean.  Our choice is to stay in the stream by submitting to the the current.  If we do so, our reward will be the freedom of the life-giving ocean (eternal life with God, the Father).  But, if we reject God’s offer, then we are like the fish that jumps out of the river and dies.  And, as a final thought toward this imperfect analogy, I offer the fact that, if a fish jumps out of a river and dies, it is not the river’s fault, nor the current or the ocean’s fault.  It is the fish that was foolish enough to believe it could live without them that is to blame for its fate — and the fish alone!

The moment I read “In the beginning was the Logos,” I understood all of this and more — much more.  I just hope that sharing my revelation with you will somehow help you in your own understanding of Who and What Christ is.  And, hopefully, your understanding of Christ will grow, as well.  For I seek for the image of Christ to increase, and for my image of myself to decrease…

[NOTE: I have placed this blog in the Lord’s hands.  I am no longer cross-blogging to other sites.  I am not pushing this blog in any way.  If others are going to find it, and if it is going to grow, it will be up to the Lord to make it happen through you, the reader.  If you like this post, or find it to be of any value, then please share it with others.  Otherwise, I will simply continue to share the understandings I have been given and, as I said earlier, I will leave the fruit of my effort for the Lord to handle.]

7 responses to “UNDERSTANDING SCRIPTURE: Has the Size of Your Jesus Been ‘Lost in Translation?’

  1. What happened to all the Road to Concord material ?????

  2. Joe,
    I agree with your overall premise. Truth can be difficult when there
    are so many “interpretations” in the translations of Scripture?

    I acquired a copy of The Amplified Bible and with my Holman
    Illustrated Study Bible, really started thinking about what I was
    trying to find in The Truth?

    I finally bought a copy of The Interlinear Bible Hebrew Greek
    English and opened my Biblical Thinking about “translation”
    that you are discussing.

    Having constant reference to my Greek Bible Dictionary, I
    (like you), have discovered meanings of The Word that I had
    never understood. I realize what you are telling me.

    Please continue with your Scripture analogy of words?

    If I agree or disagree, you compel me to search for The Truth!
    Maranatha!
    EdwardS

    • EdwardS,

      The lost won’t understand what I am about to say to you, but I know you — as a brother in Christ — will understand perfectly. THANK YOU! Your words have blessed me greatly, and at a time when I really needed the encouragement. He is not only good (all the time), He is always right on time. 🙂

      God Bless, you, brother (and thank you)

      [I’ll keep at it. As I’ve said before, I can’t help but write. If I remain silent, He’ll burn me up from within.]

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