JOHN 1 (NIV)
1 In the beginning was the Word,
Where else in the bible does it say "In the beginning?" This verse parallels Genesis 1:1. In Genesis 1:1, it says "In the beginning God created..." The story begins with creation. However, here John begins with the acknowledgment of the Word. Here we see the presence of God's Word before creation. When God created the Heaven's and the earth, God's Word was already present. This means that God did not create His Word. His Word existed with God before time.
and the Word was with God,
The greek word "with" here may be also be translated "to." What this shows us is the submissiveness of the Word to God. God is greater than His Word. This means the Word does everything God desires. The Word obeys God precisely.
and the Word was God.
Here we see the unity between God and His Word. The two are not separate. The Word is the perfect expression of God. The two are so united as one that the Word is God.
This is quite different from humanity. We often will say one thing and mean something else. We do not hold true to our word. The Word of God, however, is always true. The Word expresses God's Will perfectly, and as such, maintains God's authority over heaven and earth. God's Word never changes.
It is important to realize this unique relationship. God and His Word are never separate. Never does God's Word say anything other than what God means.
2 He was with God in the beginning.
When God created the Heavens and the Earth, God's Word was with God. Again, we may also translate this "He was to God..." This means that the Word obeyed God precisely and did everything God desired.
3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
God used His Word to create everything. In Genesis, we see this happening. God speaks everything into existence. He says, "Let there be..." and it is. Isaiah 55:11 says, "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."
This also establishes the authority of God's Word. The Word of God has been made King over everything. The Word of God achieves God's purposes. This is important. Many people think humanity was created to be the Word of God. However, this is not true. God's Word achieves God's purposes through humanity. This means that we are just a vessel for God's Word to work in and through. However, we are not God's Word.
God's Word has all authority over Heaven and Earth. Whatever comes out of God's mouth is what happens.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
Again, this shows that humanity was created so that God's Word could use us. For men, God's Word is life. We draw the source of our life and existence from God's Word. This life is the light of men. This means that we shine when the Word of God dwells in us and has complete control over us.
Think of the sun and the moon. The sun gives off light. This light hits the moon and makes it glow in the night sky. The moon cannot produce any light of it's own. If the sun does not shine on it, then it is just a big ball of dust. We are the same. If God's Word does not give us life, we are dead. We need God's Word to give us life so that we may shine. If we are separated from God's Word, then we just a big ball of dust.
5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
The darkness does not understand the light. Likewise, anyone who is separated from the the Word of God does not understand it. No one can understand the Word of God by mere human intelligence. The light must be revealed.
When we are lost and without Jesus, we cannot understand Him. We have many theories about Him, but we do not know Him in truth. Then, when we are saved, we know Christ. He is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.
6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.
John the apostle is speaking about John the baptist. John the baptist was sent by God to prepare the way for Jesus.
7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.
John the Baptist came as a witness to testify concerning Jesus, so that through him all men might believe.
8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
In our day, it seems obvious that John was not the light. However, in the days of John, He had to clarify that John was simply a witness to the light. There were many different false ideas floating around. Some people believed John was also the light, or even that John was the light.
9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
In Jesus, who came into the world born as a babe, is the true light that gives everlasting life. We may have life through the light He gives.
10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
Jesus came down from Heaven and was born as a man. He lived among us, but the world did not recognize Him as the one sent from God.
We must remember that Jesus was not part of this world. The prince of this world is Satan. Therefore, when anyone is saved, they may still live in the world, but they are citizens of another world. We belong to Jesus Christ. He is our King. This world does not recognize Jesus as Lord because the Devil is the Lord of this world.
11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
All the Jews were God's chosen people. Jesus came to them. However, they did not receive Him. Some would, but not all. The nation did not welcome Him with open arms, but instead demanded a sign that would establish proof. (Matthew 16:1-4)
12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--
We see here that the door was opened to everyone, not only Jews. Because the Jews did not receive Jesus, everyone else was invited. Jesus illustrated this in a parable in Matthew 22:1-14.
The door is open to anyone, however, only those who receive Jesus and believe in His name will become children of God. Only those who believe in Jesus will be born again.
13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
Later, in John 3, Jesus will speak about being born again. When we are born again, we are born of God. This is does not happen because of human decision or a husband's will. This means that we do not make it happen. We cannot save ourselves. We may cry out to God for salvation, and He may choose to save us.
It is true that we must choose whether or not to receive Jesus. Do not confuse the two. This verse is not saying that we do not have this choice. What this verse establishes is that our being born again is by God's mercy. It is His work. We first call out to God for His mercy. Then He decides whether or not to give His mercy.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
This verse establishes that Jesus Christ is the Word of God. It says, "The Word became flesh..." This means that the Word was not flesh and then became flesh. Previously, the Word was not flesh. The Word was not flesh from the beginning, but the Word was God from the beginning.
"...and made His dwelling among us." This is important because when Jesus calls Himself the Son of Man, it means He is completely and totally a man who was born of man. He was incarnated.
The Word could have become flesh. The Word could have just appeared as a human being in the flesh on earth. However, this would have established a certain distance. The Word would have been alien.
Instead, The Word made His dwelling among us. He was born as a human being. He is not alien, He is one of us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Though the Word was one of us, Jesus was also the Son of God. He was both the Son of Man and the Son of God. Jesus came from the Father. He is the "One and Only." He is the only one to have come from the Father. There is one Word of God. There are not many Words. This one Word came forth from the Father full of grace and truth.
15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'"
If you read through the birth of Jesus in Luke, you will see that John the baptist was born before Jesus. John's flesh is older. However, John said, "he was before me." John was testifying to the truth, that Jesus is the Son of God. Clearly, everyone could see that Jesus was born of a woman. Many knew His parents. However, would they believe that this man was the Christ? Did He come from God? John the Baptist proclaimed this before Jesus began His ministry.
16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
Salvation comes from the fullness of God's grace in Jesus Christ. We are blessed because of what Christ has done for us.
17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Paul would later show that the law enslaved us because we are sinners. However, Jesus would set us free by His death on the cross. "Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." This is the good news. Through Jesus Christ we may set free from our slavery to sin.
It is important to note that John first mentions the law before the good news. Before a person may be saved, they must first realize they are sinner. The law was given to show our sin. We know we have sinned because we have transgressed the law. By this, we can say, "I am a sinner." When we come to this point, then the death of Jesus is good news to us. We say, "Ah, yes, there is hope in Jesus." However, if we never realize or see our sin, the cross will seem foolish.
18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.
This verse establishes something important. No one has ever seen God except Jesus. This means that no one knows God or may know God except through Jesus Christ. The only way to God is through Jesus. We may know God because Jesus has made Him know to us.
This is important because God has chosen to make Himself known through His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. This means that Jesus is God. When we see Jesus, we are looking at God. When we hear Jesus, we are hearing God.
I hope this helps,