Arguably the best known and most influential passage dealing with Christology in the New Testament is the Prologue of the Gospel of John, 1:1-18. It is also probably the most studied and discussed passage – even more than the Christ poem in Philippians 2:6-11. The first eighteen verses of John are typically called the “Prologue” because they are clearly set apart from the rest of the Gospel as a kind of celebration of the main character of the book; these verses are written in a different writing style from the rest of the Gospel (lofty poetry), they contain key concepts not found in the rest of the Gospel (Christ as “the Word” made flesh), and yet they introduce well some of the most important views of the Gospel (the high view of Christ generally). And so it is widely thought that the author of the Fourth Gospel appended these verses as a Prologue, possibly after the rest of the book was written. It is widely thought, in fact, that the Gospel went through multiple editions, so that 1:1-18 is a later addition and the final chapter, ch. 21, is an even later addition. Whether the same author was responsible for all the editions is a matter of dispute.
The prologue presents an unusually exalted view of Christ, and one that is highly complex and nuanced. I won’t be able to give a complete exegesis on the blog – that would take a book. But I will point out a few of the main points, first here in this post and then in one or two more.
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