Over this past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a men’s conference called BUILD at Lakeshore Baptist Church in Grand Haven, Michigan. The guest speaker, for the two day conference, was Dr. Bruce Ware, professor of Christian Theology at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. We had the privilege of listening to Dr. Ware breakdown John 1:1-5, Philippians 2:5-11, and Psalm 2. Dr. Ware specifically talked about Christology and below is his handout, with scripture, of his opening session:
Scripture: John 1:1-5 NASB
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
- The Son who became incarnate and lived among us as Jesus Christ of Nazareth is, prior to the incarnation, the eternal Word of the Father, God the Son, the second person of the Trinity. Marvel at the eternal fullness of deity of this Son, shared fully with the Father, and marvel at his distinct personhood, God the Son, the eternal Word and eternal Son of the Father.
- The Eternal Word was “with God” and “was God” (1:1-2)
- “In the beginning” ties the Word of John 1:1-2 to the God of Genesis 1:1 who exists eternally.
- “the Word was with God” indicates the Word exists eternally distinct from God (the Father).
- “the Word was God” declares explicitly that the eternal Word is full God along with the Father.
- Trinitarian understanding is necessary to see this- there are two necessary elements to the doctrine of the Trinity: distinction (the Word was “with God”) and identity (the Word “was God”). As Word of the Father, He is fully equal to the Father in essence, yet he is also distinct from the Father in personhood and role.
- The Eternal Word is the Father’s Agent of Creation (John 1:3)
- “In the beginning” ties the Word of John 1:1-2 to God the creator of Genesis 1:1
- As “Word” of the Father, He is the Father’s Agent of Creation- the Father creates as He speaks, as Gen 1 records (Ps 33:6; 1 Cor 8:6; Heb 1:1-2)
- “All things came into being by Him…” confirms the Word as the exclusive Creator of all that is created. As Creator of all, He has intrinsic ownership of and authority over all.
- “Apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” confirms that He Himself is not and cannot be one of the multitude of things that has been created (Col 1:15-17).
- The Eternal Word is the Self-Existent Source of Life and Light (John 1:4-5)
- “In Him was life” indicates that He has existence of Himself- no one has brought Him into existence, nor was life given to Him. As Calvin has said, the Son is autotheos, “God of Himself.”
- The life that was “the Light of men” is, then, His own life given so others may live- regardless of whether the Light is received or not (John 3:19), this Light alone is true Life for it alone comes from the One who is the exclusive source of Life and Light.
- Never forget- the One who took on our human nature, to live and die for us, is none other than the eternal Word, God the Son, the second person of the Trinity. Amazing love!