A Question I Was Asked:

'Can you explain a little more about the meaning of "Logos"?'

The Actual Question

'Can you explain a little more about the meaning of "Logos"?'

My Reply

Logos (logos) is a Greek word which occurs in the New Testament, but it has a long history. The word is normally translated 'Word' but it's interesting to see how 'Logos' was used in Greek philosophy for John the Apostle will have been aware of this use.

Heraclitus and Aristotle were probably the first to use this term in connection with philosophy, and the sophists came to use the term to mean discourse. Aristotle applied the term to rational discourse. More interestingly, the Stoic philosophers identified the term with God, or the divine animating principle pervading the universe.

Logos has two overlapping meanings. One meaning refers to an instance of speaking: "sentence, saying, oration"; the other meaning is the antithesis of ergon or energeia ("action" or "work"), so in logos there is something of the sense that the correct word and reason are more important than mere action or industry. Logos derives from the verb Lego (Legw), to count, tell, say, utter or speak. But Logos itself also includes the inward intention and reasoning underlying the speech act: that is, the hypothesis, thought, viewpoint, grounds for belief or action.

John the Apostle undoubtedly knew how the Stoic philosophers of around 300BC had used the word 'Logos,' (that is, identifying God) and he too used the term in that manner. When referring to Christ, 'the divine expression' was something of the meaning. So, in Christ, the will and intention of God is spoken, communicated and explained, indeed, explained so clearly through the gospel that mankind has no further excuse.

The Gospel of John identifies Jesus as the incarnation of the Logos, through which all things are made. The gospel further identifies the Logos as divine (Theos ). in John 1:1-2.

The second-century Christian Apologists, such as Justin Martyr, continued to identify Jesus as the Logos, or Word of God, since it is an ideal description for Christ because it is our Lord Jesus who came to earth to die upon a cross, and rise in the resurrection, that mankind might be reconciled to God. Jesus and His gospel message fully communicate the will and intention of God to human beings therefore Jesus is our Logos, or, Divine spokesperson.
Robin A. Brace, March 2009.