Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“In the beginning, the Word was there . . .”
The opening words of the Gospel of John in the King James Version are as well known as any in the Bible: “In the beginning was the Word . . . .” It is difficult to convey in translation, but the sense of John 1:1 is not merely that “in the beginning was the Word” but that when everything began, the Word was already there. A few translations of the New Testament dare to translate John’s original words exactly that way, or something close to it (as I did in my translation), but it is risky; such translations border on interpretation rather than a translation of what the apostle John wrote. Nevertheless, John’s message is best communicated, in my judgment, by implying the pre-creation existence of the Son of God. That is why I translated John 1:1 thus:
“In the beginning, there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
This revelation of the existence of the Son of God before the beginning of creation is beautifully conveyed to us in Proverbs 8:22-31, where the Word himself speaks through David, giving us what is perhaps the most touching description anywhere in the Bible of the relationship of the Father and the Son before they began the work of creation. Here is my translation of those deeply moving verses:
22. Jehovah created me as the beginning of His way, the first of His ancient works.
23. I was set in my place from eternity, before the beginning, before the earth existed.
24. I was brought forth when there were no depths of the sea, when there were no springs abounding with water.
25. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I was brought forth.
26. When He had not made Earth, and the open fields, and the first elements of the world,
27. when He prepared the heavens, I was there. When He decreed a circle on the face of the deep,
28. when He made firm the thin clouds above, when He made strong the fountains of the sea,
29. when He made His decree for the sea, that the waters should not disobey His word, when He decreed the foundations of the earth,
30. I was at His side, a master workman, daily His intense delight, always laughing in His presence,
31. rejoicing in the world, His earth, and my great delight was with the sons of men.
So, it is true that “in the beginning, the Word was already there”, and even if that is not exactly what John wrote in the beginning verse of his gospel, it is precisely what John would have hoped we would gather from his words.