The Word

Logos

Background

  • Logos is used 313 times (my best count) in the New Testament.
  • Twenty-three different English words are used to translate it, but “saying” and “word” are, by far, the most common.
  • The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament has a 69-page article about its meaning. Several complete books have been written about it.

The word-study approach

  • Compile all the places in the New Testament where logos is used, inserting the Greek letters in each place so as not to influence ourselves.
  • Consider the context in each place.
  • Sort the contexts.
  • This looks like a really long process.

A reasonable alternative

  • Scan the common choices (“saying” and “word”) and pick out common phrases.
  • Pay special attention to the rare English words to reveal the difficulties.
  • Continually ask, “What would the original audience have understood.”

“Saying(s)”

  • This is a faithful logos (1 Timothy 1:15, 3:1, 4:9, 2 Timothy 2:11, Titus 3:8, John 4:37)
  • The logos of Jesus or God or apostles (Matthew 7:24, 26, 28, 15:12, 19:11, Mark 8:32, 9:10, 10:22, Luke 1:29, 6:47, 9:28, 44, John 7:40, 8:51, 52, 55, 10:19, 12:38, 14:24, 18:32, Acts 6:5, Romans 3:4, 1 Corinthians 15:54, Revelation 19:9, 22:6, 7, 9, 10)
  • Common logos (Matthew 28:15, John 19:8, 13, Acts 7:29, 16:36)

“Word” (about 200 of them)

  • The logos of Jesus or God or apostles (Matthew 8:8, 8:16, 13:19 – 23, et al)
  • Common logos (Matthew 12:32, 36, 1 John 3:18, et al)

“Odd” usages

  • For He will finish the logos and cut it short in righteousness (Romans 9:28)
  • The former logos I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach (Acts 1:1)
  • You were enriched in everything by Him in all logos and all knowledge (1 Corinthians 1:5)
  • But you abound in everything – in faith, in logos, in all diligence (2 Corinthians 8:7)
  • That logos may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:19)
  • I also will ask you one logos, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things. (Matthew 21:24, Luke 20:3)
  • Whoever divorces his wife except for the logos of fornication, causes he to commit adultery (Matthew 5:32)
  • These things indeed have a logos of wisdom in self-imposed religion, humility, and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh (Colossians 2:23)
  • Therefore, leaving the logos of the elementary (Hebrews 6:1)

Putting the pieces together

  • Logos seems to represent more than an isolated idea, but rather a body of thought about something.
  • Each logos of Jesus was bigger than the sentences, but rather represented larger concepts
  • Each reference to the logos of God encompasses more than the exact words, but rather larger concepts.
  • The logos originating from people also was bigger than the sentence, representing a point of view or ulterior motive.

What does “word” mean in these?

  • John 1:1 – 14, Revelation 19:11 – 16, 1 John 5:7, 1 John 1:1, 2 Peter 3:7
  • Colossians 3:16, 1 John 1:10, 2:14, James 1:21, Hebrews 4:12, 5:13, 6:5
  • 1 Peter 2:2
  • Revelation 6:9
  • 2 Peter 3:5
  • 1 Corinthians 12:8