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We all know what it says, many can recite the first 3 verse of John without hesitation.

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 not even one thing came into being that has come into being. NASB

Most reputable/literal translations have very similar renderings. Regardless of the various ways to render the Greek into English, none of them venture to say, 'In the beginning was Jesus'.

Only one, from ~44 translations on Biblehub, the Amplified, differs -

In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.

They seem willing to venture from scripture with a bracketed inclusion.

Do any Trinitarian denominations teach, or state in documentation, from John 1 with, 'In the beginning was Jesus'?

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    I've never heard anyone misquote it like that. But almost all would teach that the Word would become incarnate and take the name Jesus. That's not at all the same as saying "in the beginning was Jesus". The incarnation happened later in history, not at the beginning!
    – curiousdannii
    Nov 4, 2022 at 5:49
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    So, the question is not actually about translations : the question is about interpretations. Many understand that the Person (he) referred to by John (logos) is the Person who John also describes as having 'the life the eternal which was with the Father'. And thus they see One Person in all of these scriptures - Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Therefore that is their interpretation of the words on the page. But John sets forth an aspect of that Person : logos. And some perceive the Person of whom the aspect is stated. Thus they interpret.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 4, 2022 at 7:10
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    Indeed. I have merely emphasised what was stated, for the sake of clarity. The heading mentioned 'teaching' (interpretations) but the body of the question dealt mainly with translations and the comment concentrated on Stack Exchange, specifically.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 4, 2022 at 9:27
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    there is also The Living Bible, published by Tyndale, which reads: "Before anything else existed, there was Christ,* with God. Several others render verse as "In the beginning was the Word (Christ)..." Nov 4, 2022 at 13:22
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    Interestingly, both the Wessex Gospels (1175) and The Wycliffe (1382) state (for John 1:1b) : 'and God was the word', reflecting John's word order in the original Greek. See Textus Receptus Bibles..
    – Nigel J
    Nov 4, 2022 at 13:44

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I am going to go out on a limb here to answer without external reference (which I may add later) that the reason Trinitarian organizations who sponsored those Bible translations didn't use "Jesus" or "Christ" is because they want to stay close to the Greek text even though they believe in the preexistence of Jesus as the second "person" of the One God. In Trinitarian theology Logos connotates the 100% divine nature of the Chalcedonian definition, and the translators want to preserve that distinction in John 1:1-3. After all, the Chalcedonian definition doesn't say "without confusion" for nothing.

Even the most dynamic ones STILL wouldn't use "Jesus" in John 1:1 since Trinitarians reserve the name to refer to the human embodiment of logos which John described in John 1:14a as "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us". It would have been appropriate to insert "Jesus" in John 1:14a but not in John 1:1 since it's anachronistic to use the name Jesus before the Son was incarnate. The name of Jesus is a name taken up by the Son only when he commenced his incarnation mission

To answer your question:

Do any Trinitarian denominations teach, or state in documentation, from John 1 with, 'In the beginning was Jesus'?

No. They teach that the "beginning" in John 1:1 refers to the heavenly realm outside our empirical space and time dimension, where the second "person" of the Trinity identified in John 1:1 as logos "lives". And this logos incarnated (assumed historical bodily existence as an added nature, cf "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us", John 1:14a) within the womb of Virgin Mary around 4 BC, indistinguishable medically from a normal human pre-born baby development. It is this single person of the incarnate son of God that Trinitarian denominations name "Jesus" just like naming a human baby in spite of his heavenly origin. But more precisely, the use of the name has a beginning not because the person began (in the womb of Mary) but because the role began.

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  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. Nov 4, 2022 at 7:12
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    "since Trinitarians reserve the name to refer to the 100% human being created in time within the womb of Mary" This kind of makes it sound like Trinitarians use the name "Jesus" just to refer to the human nature, which is not correct. The name correctly belongs to the single person of the incarnate son of God. But we'd say that it's anachronistic to use the name Jesus before the Son was incarnate. The name of Jesus is a name taken up by the Son only when he commenced his incarnation mission. The use of the name has a beginning not because the person began but because the role began.
    – curiousdannii
    Nov 8, 2022 at 7:06
  • @curiousdannii Thanks. Edited the answer accordingly. Nov 8, 2022 at 7:31
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Trinitarian denominations do not believe that Jesus became flesh. They believe exactly what John 1:14 states - the Word became flesh, as the man, named Jesus of Nazareth, born of the virgin Mary in the course of time, who walked amongst other humans, on earth. Until that Holy Spirit conception, nothing could be pointed to or identified as 'Jesus; human flesh'. Until the Word became flesh, there could be no person called Jesus of Nazareth, who always was flesh. I repeat, Trinitarians do not believe that Jesus became flesh. It's the other way around - the Word became flesh.

Before time began (e.g. before this universe started, because time was required for matter and space to expand) the apostle John writes that the Word was with the uncreated God, and that this Word was God, the eternal God (John 1:1). John puts the Word of God in the same category as God.

Now, because you said in a comment that "I did not say this was about translations", we can dispense with translations that imply otherwise (and there are some, though even they dare not substitute 'Jesus' for 'the Word'.) Sticking to the verses as you quoted them, verse 1 does not say "In the beginning was Jesus". Verse 2 does not say "Jesus was with God." Indeed, the Greek word for Jesus occurs nowhere in the first 28 verses of John's opening gospel chapter. Then it occurs frequently. So, when you say, "The issue at hand is whether Jesus should be cited in John 1:1-3 specifically" - the answer is an emphatic "NO".

That is why no Trinitarian denomination teaches that John's opening verses should say "Jesus". That is why no Trinitarian denomination has ever produced a translation of those verses that reads, "Jesus". Nor would they. Some non-trinitarian denominations might dare, in the course of time, but so far, none have. Even though groups loosely viewed as under the 'umbrella' of Oneness Pentecostalism do think that the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit are just aspects (or modes) of the one God who showed himself in those three ways at different times, they would have to give you their explanation of how they interpret John chapter 1, for this is a matter of interpretation, not translation.

Finally, this is the deepest doctrine there is - the very being, nature, and revealing of the one true God, at his discretion. Of course there are going to be some individuals on here putting forth points or ideas that seem to contradict other Trinitarians. We are all at different stages of our understanding, and eternity will be insufficient to grasp the entirety of God's immensity. You may well have a field day claiming they are all at odds, and that some even seem to go along with this unbiblical idea that they can change the Bible to say Jesus was in the beginning, and that Jesus was with God. However, constant Trinitarian teaching is that the Word added human nature to his divine nature, in the course of time, and until that time of miraculous conception in the virgin's womb, there was no Jesus as the man on earth. There was the Word of God, who was God. Then the Word became flesh.

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    +1 for a concise explanation. Naturally there are several critical issues with your approach but they would be off topic.
    – steveowen
    Nov 5, 2022 at 21:10
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    +1 God with us....the Word made flesh. Jesus is the name of a human. That human is God in flesh. Nov 5, 2022 at 22:20
  • You equivocate. Your comment from christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/94635/… "Jesus was carried in the womb of the virgin Mary, but that was not the start of his "generation". John 1:1 - he was with God in the beginning". So you DO alter John 1:1 to say Jesus was in the beginning by assuming theology into the scriptures as most trinitarians seem quick to do, even though here you say they don't. Which angle are you sticking with?
    – steveowen
    Jan 12 at 9:22
  • @steveowen My answer to that Q you gave the link to, and my comments, clearly show that I take John 1:1 to mean that the Word of God was with God in the beginning - not Jesus. Verse 14 says "the Word was made flesh" and his disciples then beheld that miracle in the person of the man, Jesus. I clearly showed that it is wrong to interpret John 1:1 as "Jesus was in the beginning..." I will not discuss this further as my answer in that link spells that out clearly.
    – Anne
    Jan 12 at 9:43
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To directly answer your question I "DO NOT" know of any denominations that insert the name Jesus in the text of John 1:1. However, we do learn after John 1 that it is the person of Jesus Christ who became flesh at John 1:14. Moreover, John the Baptist bore witness of Him. Who do you think the "Him" is? John the Apostle answers that question at John 1:17.

Also, it's not hard to arrive by deductive reasoning that John 1:1 is referring to Jesus Christ/the Messiah. If the verse is "isolated" no one would know who it refers without any context. Some might guess and say it could be the Messiah.

Getting back to John 1:1, please note at John 1:1 that it says "the" (definite article) Word (singular) existed. It doesn't say God's word or words, it says "The Word existed..." And "The Word existed how? The Word existed with the God.

In John 1Lb The Word and The God are distinct, there is a subject/object distinction between the two. Finally, "The Word was God." So whatever God is, The Word is, and vice versa. So if "The Word" is impersonal, God is impersonal...if "The Word" is just a thought or a plan, then "The God" is just a though or a plan. But remember, "The Word" singular existed and "the Word" is not "The God" in John 1:1b.

That said, "word" which in the Greek here is "Logos," is in Aramaic "Memra." In the Jewish Targums, "The Memra of God' was used in place of "God" in many places, such as places where "God" is used two times in the same passage but seems to be oppositional, such as "the Lord rained fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah from the Lord out of Heaven," the former would be "the Memra." Sometimes for the Angel of the Lord.

In the Targum the Memra figures constantly as the manifestation of the divine power, or as God's messenger in place of God Himself, whenever the predicate is not in conformity with the dignity or the spirituality of the Deity. (For a fuller treatment of this you can read The Gospel of the Memra by Jewish scholar Daniel Boyarin.)

Since you were the one that raised the question about the beginning at John 1:1 what beginning is this referring? You claim to be a Unitarian and I was told that the beginning at John 1:1 refers to the "New Beginning" when Jesus arrived and incarnated. This means that even you believe that John 1:1 refers to Jesus.

Genesis 1:1 states, "In the beginning God created the heaven's and the earth" (NKJV). John 1: says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Both verses start out with the same three words, "In the beginning." Yet the main thought in Genesis 1:1 is on WHAT HAPPENED "in the beginning," and in John 1:1 the emphasis is on WHO EXISTED "in the beginning."

John 1:3 is an emphatic statement declaring that Jesus Christ, before His incarnation, had made everything in the universe. He is the God of Genesis 1:1, the God of all creation. Furthermore, note that "all things were made by Him, and apart or without Him nothing came into being that has come into being." (Some of these comments were made by the "Institute of Creation Research).

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  • @steveowen How's my answer now? So what's your point? What are you trying to prove?
    – Mr. Bond
    Nov 5, 2022 at 1:08
  • Thx for the update.
    – steveowen
    Nov 5, 2022 at 1:09
  • @steveowen Again, what's your point? It's like asking from Malachi 3:1 where it says, "Behold, I am going to send My messenger and he will clear the way before Me." Do any Trinitarian denominations teach that at Malachie 3:1 John the Baptist is the messenger? It's called "deductive reasoning" by taking all the verses in context.
    – Mr. Bond
    Nov 5, 2022 at 1:14
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Yes, Trinitarians believe that in the beginning was Jesus. They would not re-write John 1:1, however they would point to the "Word" being Jesus, who became flesh.

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 not even one thing came into being that has come into being

Jn 1:1

14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John *testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” 16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

Jn 1:14

And Jesus says:

Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

John 17:24

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  • Are you saying, Jesus became flesh? And are you referencing a denomination?
    – steveowen
    Nov 4, 2022 at 22:24
  • I'm not referencing a denomination, just the biblical text. The Word was with God, was God, created all things, and the word became flesh and dwelt among us. This Word is Jesus who existed from eternity past with God, created all things, and entered humanity as man, died for our sins on a cross, was buried, and rose again.
    – Lionsden
    Nov 7, 2022 at 16:19
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I concur with Calebs comment

since Trinitarians reserve the name to refer to the 100% human being created in time within the womb of Mary" This kind of makes it sound like Trinitarians use the name "Jesus" just to refer to the human nature, which is not correct. The name correctly belongs to the single person of the incarnate son of God. But we'd say that it's anachronistic to use the name Jesus before the Son was incarnate. The name of Jesus is a name taken up by the Son only when he commenced his incarnation mission. The use of the name has a beginning not because the person began but because the role began.

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    There are many Scriptures proving the Pre-exixtence of the Son. The Early Fathers wrote a Polemic because of Schools of thought like Yours. Dec 6, 2022 at 22:16
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I think reformed/protestant denominations hold to the Three Forms Of Unity.

The Belgic Confession in Article 10 (The Deity of Christ) cites John 1:3

The Heidelberg Catechism cites John 1 a few times:

  • Question 15 What kind of mediator and deliverer should we look for then?
  • Question 33 Why is he called God’s “only begotten Son” when we also are God’s children?
  • Question 35 What does it mean that he “was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary”?
  • Question 48 If his humanity is not present wherever his divinity is, then aren’t the two natures of Christ separated from each other?

I did not find a reference to John 1 in the canons of dort Note it was only a Cnrl+F search ;-)

I did not seach The Westminster Confession of Faith :-|

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  • Sorry, but I'm not really sure how what you've written here answers the question. Of course many Christian texts quote these passages from John 1, but that doesn't show whether they would ever change the wording of the verse to insert the name of Jesus.
    – curiousdannii
    Nov 8, 2022 at 7:18

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