λόγος, ου, ὁ
The Greek word λόγος (logos) in the New Testament, particularly in Christian theology, holds significant and multifaceted meanings. Its most direct translation is "word," but this translation only scratches the surface of its conceptual depth.
The Old Testament background presents the idea of the Logos-Word as an embodiment of God's creative power. The Word is an expression of divine will and stands at the beginning of creation as an instrument/means of creation (Psalm 33:6). In the Old Testament, God's Word represents His sovereign activity in the world, yet it is distinctly not personified.
The Rabbinic interpretation expands on the Old Testament concept, developing the idea of Wisdom-Word both participating in the act of creation. In this tradition, the Word is also equated with the Torah, emphasizing its foundational and guiding role in Jewish thought and practice.
The Greek or Hellenistic background provides a different perspective. Generally, Logos represents divine reason or the organizing principle of the universe. Heraclitus viewed the Logos as a principle governing all events in the world, akin to a ubiquitous wisdom or universal law, though his interpretation of the concept remains somewhat ambiguous. In Stoicism, the Logos is seen as the rational principle of the world order, an immanent spirit that sustains the universe's unity, reflecting a pantheistic view. Philo of Alexandria, bridging Jewish and Hellenistic thoughts, describes the Logos as an intermediary between God and the world, a mediator in creation, and a means through which God governs and can be known, differentiating it from the concept of wisdom. The Neopythagoreans contribute to this discourse by describing the Logos as a divine creative reason.
For John, regardless of the specific sources the Apostle might have drawn from (likely Jewish), his central theme in the Gospel is the Word's role as a self-revealing mediator between God and humanity.