John 1 should blow your mind

As long time readers know John 1:1-18 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible; it also one of the hardest passages in the Bible for scholars to figure out. John in General is very difficult to figure out (much of the scholarship for the last few centuries has been turned on it head for one reason or another)…

This passage is often called the “prologue of John.” Some scholars once theorized that this section was a Hymn inserted based on the uniqueness of certain terms (logos and grace in the prologue that appear nowhere else in the Book). This idea doesn’t take into account much of the significance of this passage to the whole. The prologue in John sets the stage for the rest of the book. It shows the areas of focus John takes in Gospel: A) Jesus’ Divine role, and B) the authority of those who believe in God.

Alan Culpepper (“The Pivot of John’s Prologue,” New Testament Studies 27, 1980, 1-31) believes that the prologue is a chiasmus with 12b at the center. I think he might be on to something take a look at the structure:

A vv.1-2 The Word as God and with God
. B v. 3 Creation came through the Word
. . C vv. 4-5 We have received life through the Word
. . . D vv. 6-8 John the Baptist is sent to testify
. . . . E vv. 9-10 Incarnation and the response of the world
. . . . . F v. 11 The Word and his own (Israel)
. . . . . . G v. 12a Those who accepted the Word
. . . . . . . . H v. 12b Authority to become children of God
. . . . . . G’ v. 12c Those who believed the Word
. . . . . F’ v. 13 The Word and his own (believers)
. . . . E’ v. 14 Incarnation and the response of the community
. . . D’ v. 15 The testimony of John the Baptist
. .C’ v. 16 We have received grace through the Word
. B’ v. 17 Grace and truth came through the Word
A’ v. 18 The Word as God and with God

As in any chiasmus we should pay close attention to the Beginning and the turning part (the “As” and the “H”)

In the A’s we see an on the identity of Logos (the word – which is Christ) as God

In the H section we see authority/ right to be children of God

The theme’s of John’s Gospel are laid out right from the get go! STUNNING!

But it gets better!! Take a look at Exodus 33:12-34:9 this passage is basically the primary text dealing with the revelation of God in the Old testament. In this passage Moses wants to see God’s glory. God allows him to see his “back” but not his face since no one could see him and live (note John 1:18).

Then God passes by and proclaims his name.

a name is a semetic context is more then what you are called… it reffers to What a person stands for, and has accomplished.

So God passes by and Proclaims his name as these words:
“The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in Hesed ve ‘emet”

“Hesed ve ‘emet” is a hebrew phrase, which is
rendered in John’s Greek as charis kai alētheia (“grace and truth”).

“Grace and Truth” is a part of the Holy Name of God. Now go back and read John 1:1-18

John 1 should blow your mind

The one God who would not show his face to any man, even Moses, has been to shown to us through incarnation. Jesus IS THE UNIQUE GOD of verse 18 and he has MADE GOD KNOWN, and given us the right to be children of God….

Amazing!

//Thanks to Klyne Snodgrass who helped me see this!


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