A Word Study of Jn 1:1
I hope this isn’t old hat for you.
As I was revisiting John 1:1 I notices something that I missed the last time I studies John. It is a very small word that is overlooked by too many; that word is “WAS”! Like English it is past tense, in Greek it’s called imperfect (see ATR note below). We have some Greek manuscripts which used the word “een” while others use the primary word “eimi”. The thing to remember is grammatically it has “person” in this case 3rd person (He, We, You, They etc.) So, I offer this translation:
John 1:1 In the beginning He was the Word, and the Word He was with God, and the Word He was God.
A translation is a word for word equivalent, but every language has words in them that can not be translated precisely due to the lack of an equal word.
Some Bibles read more smoothly by add or take-away words to make the syntax flow easily. Consequently, translations are not the best sellers, like the Living Bible, but they speak the work more accurately to us. Cf.,
(The Word of Life) — Before the world was created, the Word already existed; he was with God, and he was the same as God.
(from the UBS New Testament Handbook Series. Copyright © 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies.)
“Was” (in greek “een”), Three times in this sentence John uses this imperfect of “eimi”: to be, which conveys no idea of origin for God or for the “Word” Greek “Logos”, simply continuous existence. Quite a different verb Greek “egeneto” became, appears in John 1:14 for the beginning of the Incarnation of the “Word”, Greek “Logos” . See the distinction sharply drawn in John 8:58 “before Abraham “came” Greek “genesthai” I am” eimi, timeless existence).
(from Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Helping to build your faith in Christ.