A Powerful Opening Line

By Julian Wells

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1 NIV)

Every author appreciates the value of an attention-grabbing opening line. In Scripture we have no better example than this verse from the Gospel as recorded by John the Apostle. As one who writes for public consumption myself, I can’t help but wonder how long he spent crafting those first seventeen words. They are so powerfully poetic and yet so subtly packed with theology.

It strikes me every time I begin reading John’s gospel account just how perfect those opening words are- so perfect that John 1:1 is one of the most consistent verses of Scripture across all the various translations.

No other human author of the New Testament makes a stronger case for the deity of Christ than John, stressing that point unambiguously right up front. In addition to establishing that Jesus is God Incarnate, John also makes the case that Christ preexisted- both truths that defy human logic and rational explanation.

But the simplicity and the clarity of those truths as articulated in those seventeen opening words elicit wonder rather than controversy- not wonder in a questioning sense, but wonder in a breathtaking sense!

And he sets our hearts on course to a right understanding of who Christ is and who we are in relation to him. As A.W. Tozer articulates so clearly in the following passages from his book, The Pursuit of God, that is where a right relationship with God begins.

“Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. … God being who and what He is, and we being who and what we are, the only thinkable relation between us is one of full lordship on His part and complete submission on ours.” – A.W. Tozer