JohnSWilson3 Blog


Overview of A Word Study of the Greek Word “logos.”
July 7, 2011, 3:28 am
Filed under: 2B - Word Study of "Logos"

Due to the length of this word study I have broken it into six major parts. This is the overview and concluding thoughts of the study. The second part will describe the way the study was done and references used. The last four parts will be the analysis of each of the four parts of speech for the singular masculine of the word “logos.”
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Overview:

I generally do not focus too much on word studies, especially very involved ones. While as I look at what scripture says in light of it’s context and historicity to hear and learn from Christ in me now, to delve too deep into specific words can perhaps cause one to lose their focus on the specific message God wants us to see and hear. I do on the other hand want to try and discern from the original language what God wants me to learn from Him as in some instances, if not many, the ancient words have many flavors of meaning that can help enhance our knowing Christ better. The ancient languages, Greek and Hebrew specifically, have a lot of meaning in the words along with their varieties of expression. For those whose function in the body of Christ is not in the area of speaking but more related to serving if you just want to skip the majority of what I’ve written and scan some of the conclusions please do so. I’m not sure I’d want to read all that I’ve written, :). For those who have a tendency towards details this might prove beneficial, or at least I pray it is. Additionally, you might find this a helpful resource on where the specific uses of the word “logos” and its parts of speech are in the New Testament for perhaps better clarity as you listen to Christ from what you read.

Some background. In English we have so many different words, with many different words that mean the same, that the English language is often known as perhaps the most complex language to learn. In the Greek and Hebrew we find a more simpler use of words and generally most unique words have generally one meaning, albeit a meaning filled with many flavors. I am no English teacher by any means, and have always wished I would have listened more in my English classes when I was college (English was not my favorite subject, perhaps because of all the memorization involved which I was not very good at). So over the past couple of decades I have had to do some relearning on the subject to better help how I read and communicate so as to prevent misunderstanding, although that doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t be misunderstood by any stretch of the imagination. So given this background if I make an error below, it is an honest one and hope you see it in that light.

Given all that, and especially listening to Father, I have seen more than once how certain words in scripture can help us better understand what we are reading and help us better interpret what is being communicated. I am not an advocate that every believer should know Greek or Hebrew, as I am only a protege at best (or worse), but I am thankful that there are those that have been given that measure of the gift of Christ to help His body. We have all been given a function to the edification of God’s family. If someone sees something amiss in what I share below please let me know. Obviously Christ in us can lead us to many applications of what is written in the Bible, so mine is definitely not the end all. The unsearchable riches of Christ are too vast for one member to share all of our indwelling glorious Lord!

There is one word that seems to grab my attention, along with a few others, that seems to be used often in the scripture to speak of the actual Person of Jesus Christ our Lord, or another word for Jesus Christ, at other times the word is used as a message or saying, or perhaps even to describe some of scripture itself, especially in the gospels. The specific Greek word I am referring to is “logos.” There are two other Greek words that are also often translated “word” and tends to also create further confusion when reading the scripture which is transliterated “rhema” and “epos” and do not mean the same as “logos.” Vines dictionary describes the differences as follows: “logos is reasoned speech, rhema, an utterance, epos, the articulated expression of a thought.”

I do not believe that the Bible is God, but I do believe that God has spoken to us in the past, does so in scripture as He gives us light, and is doing so now through His people as we share life together. To focus only on reading and studying from scripture has a tendency to cause some believers to focus more on the knowledge of scripture versus on knowing Christ in us, who is the truth and the testimony of scripture and now resides in each believer. Scripture is useful to helping us know what God has said and done and what He desires to do through His people through His Son. Scripture helps us to know how others in the past lived by the life of Christ. Christ can teach through whomever and whenever He desires and has and continues to give His body the function of teaching through whom He uses as one means of edification in the body, remembering that all the gifts of the body are from the one indwelling Spirit of Christ and none or more important than the other.

This word “logos” is used by the apostle John specifically to describe our Personal and Indwelling Christ Jesus our Lord. To look at the rest of scripture with a view to knowing how to hear and be taught by our indwelling Christ, the Logos of God now is important for me, so doing this study is part of my desire to know Him better in part. To better know how to live by our indwelling Lord through the gift of His life He has given to each member as we share His life together: His life speaking and serving in love and grace through one another.
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Conclusion:

The singular nominative masculine “λόγος” (logos) is used 69 times in the New Testament. In context our personal indwelling Christ Jesus our Lord, the Word of God, is described as the “logos” at least 36 of 69 instances. The gospel of John and his letter of Revelations specifically designate Christ as “the Word of God.” Interestingly, in Acts the sense is of the spreading and growing, organically, of Christ, the Word of God, as He is welcomed and becomes the life of those who hear and believe what He says and He is manifested by His people. The letter to Hebrews uses “logos” in all but one instance to indicate the importance of hearing and believing Christ, our indwelling Lord, the Word of God. Paul uses this word almost every time in his letters to Timothy and Titus to indicate the faithfulness of the indwelling Christ to help His assistant church planters.

The singular genitive masculine “λόγου” (logou) is used 27 times in the New Testament. In context our personal indwelling Christ Jesus our Lord, the Word of God, is described as the “logou” at least 11 of 27 instances. In 1 John the author uses this word once and specifically as the name for Christ as “the Word.”

The singular dative masculine “λόγῳ” (logo) is used 45 times in the New Testament. In context our personal indwelling Christ Jesus our Lord, the Word of God, is described as the “logo” at least 11 of 45 instances. None of the gospels use this part of speech for our Lord. Peter in both of his letters and in every instance when using this word refers to Christ as “the Word.”

The singular accusative masculine “λόγον” (logon) is used 128 times in the New Testament. In context our personal indwelling Christ Jesus our Lord, the Word of God, is described as the “logon” at least 57 of 128 instances. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke specifically focus on Christ as the “logon” of God, the seed for others to hear and believe and not to forget while, interestingly, the gospel of John uses “logon” to describe what Jesus says we are to hear and believe. We could possibly replace “My word” in the gospel of John and perhaps see something extra from our Lord, to hear Him and believe Him. Additionally, the letter of Acts uses “logon” to describe what others announced and proclaimed and what others were to hear and believe. We could possibly replace “logon of God” with Christ and perhaps see something extra from our Lord, that it wasn’t the Bible or verses of scripture that was announced, although surely that was part of what was spoken, but Christ was announcing Himself by His life in His people, proclaiming Himself to those who heard Him, who would believe Him and so His life might find residence in those who believe and grow organically out from His life through His people. This is almost the same description for the use of the word “logos” in Acts.

Where each of these four parts of speech are not necessarily the personal indwelling Lord or His name as “the Word” it a number of instances it does seem to indicate the Spirit of Christ is at work either through the written or spoken word given by the scripture or those living by His life. In other instances it refers to an expression of a thought by the words of the one speaking. So again context is important to distinguish this truth.

In each of the four parts of speech for the Greek word “logos” there are many instances where the word refers to our indwelling Christ or His name as “the Word.” Christ is the expression of God. Often we express ourselves by the words we use. So in a sense we could say that Christ the Son, grammatically speaking, is the “singular masculine” “Word of God.” But the expression of Christ is not a set of words, a letter, a book, or a set of books. The expression of Christ is His very life living in and through His people by the Holy Spirit. When we live by Christ’s life, feed on Him, it is as we hear Him, believe what He says, and follow what He says to and through one another. A way Paul describes whether he is following his indwelling Lord is by having a clear conscience in his relationships with others. This life in Christ is found in His fullness when the entire body of Christ is living by His life together, sharing their measure of the gift of Christ with one another in love, speaking and doing those things which He has told us. The scriptures are to help us how to live by our indwelling Lord by giving us the example of the life of Christ during His earthly service and examples of how He extended His life by the Spirit through His body to then then known world. Because God has spoken in the past and we have in part what He said from the scriptures it is often equated with “the word of God.” The problem comes when, like the Pharisees, we look to the scriptures as THE life of God. There is no life in the scripture but for the spiritual sight we receive by the Holy Spirit. The fullness of Christ is found within the full spiritual functioning of His body as each member lives by His life together, expressing the personal indwelling Word of God either in word or deed. He is like a seed planted in each member, those who have welcomed Christ by hearing Him and believing Him. The seed blossoms, and He begins to express the fruit of His Spirit, His life, by the measure of the gift of His life given to them. As each member lives a shared life together and produces His fruit of love organically, He is made manifest to one another and He “spreads” from gathering to gathering to the world. This does not discount the words in scripture since there are functions Christ gives within the body that clearly help teach the body as it builds itself up in love.

What a great salvation that we have been given to be in Christ and that He lives in us and desires to express His life through us! May we live life together and so hear Him together, be taught by Him together, and follow what He says together.

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