Joh 1:1-18 chiastic structure:
1a) Joh 1:1-2, In the beginning was the Word, who was with God + was God;
1a) Joh 1:1a, In the beginning was the Word;
shim1b) Joh 1:1b, And the Word was with God;
shim2b) Joh 1:1c, And the Word was God;
2a) Joh 1:2, He was in the beginning with God;
1b.1) Joh 1:3, All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made;
1b.2) Joh 1:4, In Him was life, and the life was the light of men;
1b.3) Joh 1:5, The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not know it;
central axis) Joh 1:6-8, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light;”
2b.2) Joh 1:9, That was the true Light (which gives light to every man) coming into the world;
2b.1) Joh 1:10a, He was in the world, and the world was made through Him;
2b.3) Joh 1:10b-13, The world did not know Him + His own did not receive Him, but those who did became children of God;
2a) Joh 1:14-18, The Word became flesh + dwelt among us, the only begotten of the Father, who declared Him;
1a) Joh 1:14a, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us;
1b) Joh 1:14b, And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father;
1c) Joh 1:14c, Full of grace and truth;
central axis) Joh 1:15, John bore witness of Him: This is He who is preferred before me;
2c) Joh 1:16-17, Of His fullness we have all received: grace for grace/ the Torah came through Moses; grace + truth through Jesus Christ;
2b) Joh 1:18a, No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father;
2a) Joh 1:18b, He has declared Him.
The 2A structure reveals that no one has seen God at any time; in fact, in Exo 33:20, God declares that no man may see His face and live. But the One who has seen His face, who knows Him, being in the bosom of the Father, yes, who is with God and is God (for the Hebraic way of thinking says both/ and: He is with God AND is God; unlike the Greek way of thinking, which must make it either/ or), He became flesh and dwelt among us, in order to declare Him to us. For we have not seen God, but we have beheld the Son, who came in the glory of the only Begotten of the Father. The Son is full of grace and truth, which we beheld, which He taught, and which we received.
Now in your English Bible, verse 17 might be translated, as it is in my Bible:
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Notice that the “but” is in italics? That means the word is not present in the Greek, but was inserted by the translators for clarity. John is saying, thinking Hebraicly:
The law came through Moses;
Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
He is making a parallelism, as we have seen in the chiastic structures of the Old Testament over and over and over again.
In the Hebraic worldview, we just saw that a common way of thinking is both/ and, and it is the Greek way of thinking that must make something either/ or. The English translators, steeped in the Greek way of thinking, by inserting the “but” in the sentence where no “but” existed, made the Law and Moses opposed to grace, truth, and Christ. John is not saying, “Either the Law or Grace; either Moses or Christ;” that is the Greek worldview imposed on top of John’s words.
Here is what I think John is saying. As we have seen with the other Gospel writers, the chief priests and Pharisees were opposed to Jesus and His teaching. We just read in Luke, that they were the ones who sought to put Jesus to death, bringing Him before Pilate, and when Pilate three times pronounced His innocence, they insisted on His crucifixion until he relented. They were also the ones who had sat themselves in Moses’ seat, making themselves the experts on Torah – what it meant and how it was to be applied. Jesus rebuked them for creating burdens hard to bear, and laying them on men’s shoulders, burdens they themselves refused to lift. He rebuked them for standing in the doorway of the kingdom of heaven, not going in themselves, and refusing entrance to others who would go in.
So Moses did indeed give us the written Law, and its grace and truth, from the bosom of the Father, came through Jesus Christ. He declared it and explained its light and easy yoke. For He is it, John says. He is the Word, of which Torah is the foundational part, full of grace and truth.
Lisa S Foster says
May I use your John 1:1 image in my Genesis 1 video? I plan on uploading it to YouTube when it is complete. Please let me know what type of attribution you would like if permission is granted. I am in the midst of developing the project now. Lovely work. Thank you.
Lisa, yes you may have permission; please just leave a note with a link back in your video description. May YHVH bless your project – Christine
Lisa Foster says
Thank you Christine. I have provided a link to this page in the YouTube description as well as in the end credits. i am providing a link to the final production. Thank you. I do feel YHVH’s blessing. May you continue to be blessed. – Lisa
“In One Word Bereshit/Genesis 1:1”