John: The Living Word
John: The Living Word
In the prologue to his Gospel, John says that nothing was made except through the Word – Jesus.
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100 Stand Alone Bible Studies

Bible Passages

John 1:1–3, 14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made…
… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

John 5:23–24

“Whoever does not honour the Son does not honour the Father, who sent him. Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”

John 6:62–63

“Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you – they are full of the Spirit and life.”

1 John 1:1–3

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

1 John 1:10

If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.


John’s portrayal of Jesus is sometimes called “the Cosmic Christ”, because he shows Jesus as a transcendent, eternal figure, at work with the Father in the creation of the world. In the prologue (opening words) to his Gospel, John says that nothing was made except through the Word – Jesus.

“The Word” is a big term here. It has resonances in both Jewish and Greek
religious culture. For the Jews, it recalls the words of creation: “Let there be light!”

The echoes of the opening of Genesis are clear and obvious in the prologue to John’s Gospel. The breath of God, which confers and defines life (and is a term for the Holy Spirit), the Law, which structured the whole of their lives, and the word of God spoken through the prophets, are all key aspects of the Jewish faith. But in his prologue John, writing in Greek, uses the word logos (tr. “word”), which the Stoic philosophers of ancient Greece used to describe the life-giving divine principle. So John is showing us the mind-blowingly enormous wingspan of the Christ idea. In Jesus reside the full power and radiance of the creator himself. As the Christ, there is nothing limited or local about Jesus; he is for every time and culture, and his reach even extends beyond to before time began and after its ending.

Though Bible scholars inevitably question whether the authorship of the
Gospel of John and the epistles of John are the same, they show many similarities in thought and composition, so I have included two excerpts from 1 John in our study passages, to fill out our knowledge and understanding of John’s teaching that Jesus is the living Word of God.



O God of love and life and power, we give you thanks for Jesus, the living Word, transforming and renewing our hearts and minds into his likeness of love. We beg you to breathe into us the vitalizing power of your Holy Spirit, enabling us to see and to grasp the way and teaching of Jesus. It may be true that we shall never be perfect followers, never understand completely all that he is and has done for us, but nevertheless we ask for grace to make a start, and to prove faithful in our daily walk with him. For we ask it in his holy name; Amen.