I found myself contemplating what it means to say “Jesus is the word of God.” I’ve done some pondering lately. Some of this is based on some recollections from grad school, back in my other life, when I was going to be a philosopher proffesor. I hung out with some theology students, and they shared with me that translating the word “logos” is a pretty complicated little thing. It’s much more rich and complicated than the word we usually settle on, which is “word”.
Wikipedia says this (and if Wikipedia says it, it must be true!)
“In ordinary, non-technical Greek, logos had a semantic field extending beyond “word” to notions such as, on the one hand, language, talk, statement, speech, conversation, tale, story, prose, proposition, and principle; and on the other hand, thought, reason, account, consideration, esteem, due relation, proportion, and analogy.
Despite the conventional translation as “word”, it is not used for a word in the grammatical sense; instead, the term lexis (λέξις) was used. However, both logos and lexis derive from the same verb legō (λέγω), meaning “to count, tell, say, speak”.
These possibilities are so rich I hardly know where to begin contemplating them. One important idea is that when we say “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God” we are saying this of a story. This idea suggest, much more than “word” Jesus completeness and sophistication and complicated nature. A simple word is just a few little letters. But a story is so much more than that: a group of words that come together to make a total that is more than the sum of its parts.
This also suggests God had an endgame in mind at the very beginning. A story suggests a plan, a path, a procedure for what specifically to do next. Finally, it suggests the very power of story itself, that such a thing would co-exist with God at the very beginning of time.
There is so much more here… More on that later.