Friday, July 30, 2010

Bible Study on John Chapter 1:1-18 The Word

It is time we go back to the Gospel according to Jesus Himself. While this gospel is written by John, it included much saying of Jesus.  We have covered the Gospel with views from Paul (Ephesian, Galatians), James, Peter and John (1 John). Now is back to Jesus Himself.

This Gospel book of John is usually considered basic and is generally given in booklet form to those who just receive Christ as Savior. I find it to be simple and yet profound. It is not easy to understand fully the implication and the richness of the meaning of the text, especially the words of Jesus. Hence, I postpone this study until now. I feel I may not be able to do justice to the great truths recorded here.

The main theme is Jesus. Jesus as God and the sent one of the Father to reach us and to reveal God as the Father to us. Most great people, like the Aristotle and Plato of Greek, the writers of I-Ching, Lao Zi of the Chinese, can figure out that there is a God. But they do not know about the personal God, God as our father!

John has provide much evidences to support his claims and that Jesus is to be believed and accepted.  (John 21:24) This is the disciple who testifies about these things and has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. 25) There are many other things that Jesus did. If every one of them were written down, I suppose the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

As opposed to the earlier Bible Study, where I try to guide the reader to study the Bible by chapter and then verse by verse and then raise questions, I will reverse the process and ask questions instead. We can then share our answers to the questions. We just need to keep to one simple rule - the answer must come from the verses studied here first. We are free to reference other parts of the Bible to explain our answers better.

Chapter 1 is broken down into 3 parts. v1 - v18 talk about the Word. We have the following questions:
  1. What is your concept of God?
  2. Who is the Word? What is He?
  3. What did He do?
  4. What has He to do with men?
  5. What shall we do about the truths we learned above?
1. What is your concept of God? 
Most people know God as the Creator, the powerful force, the Source.
Is the Creator God interested in us? Or He just created the universe and leave it to run on its own.

2. Who is the Word? What is He - Jesus?

The original Greek is logos. Which means very little to a non-greek people. The 'Word' itself is also not very meaningful to me. The Chinese translation of the word is 道 Dao which has very rich meaning to those who know the Chinese language. The Word means the Universal Way, the Order, the Principle, the righteous path, the truth.

This 'Truth' is not passive but exists as a personality that there right at the beginning.
Here are the list of attributes:
  1. At the beginning. He is the origin. The Way, the Truth, the Life. (1:1)
  2. With God. (1:1)
  3. Is God. (1:1)
  4. Creator of all things including man. (1:3)
  5. Is Life - the Source of Life. (1:4)
  6. The Light - that shines and overcome darkness. (1:5)
  7. He came as a man (1:14)
  8. The Only God (1:18) 
(side note for the Chinese: The Way and the creation is described in DaoDeJing verse 1 and verse 4 seems to be a good description of the Son of God.
    3. What did He do?
    1. Came into this world created by Him. He came into this world, born as man to communicate with man. (1:14 The Word became Flesh). To make God know to man (1:18).
    2. John the Baptist testified of Him - the Light (1:6-9, 15).
    3. John the Apostle wrote about Him here - 
      1. We have seen His glory, Son from the Father (1:14)
      2. Grace & Truth (1:14, 16-17),
    4. The world did not know Him & receive Him.
    4. What has He to do with men?
    1. To give Life of God (Children of God) to man - A spiritual birth into the very life of God.  (1:13)
    2. This offering of Zoe Life of God is the will of God and not the will of man and could not be born by man (blood). This is the 2nd birth by the Spirit that Jesus spoke to Nicodemus.
    5. What shall we do about the truths we learned above?

    We learned that God came in the form of man, named Jesus, to communicate with us, to tell us about God as the Father who love us, and will give us the Zoe-Life of God, that we become the children of God, when we believe and receive Him as He has said.

    For me, I received Jesus' offer of a rebirth as children of God. I believed that Jesus is Son of God and is God. What about you?