There are an abundance of names found in the Bible for God and Jesus — Father, Lord, I AM, Yahweh, Immanuel, the Good Shepherd, Savior, Abba, Master, Friend, Teacher, Bridegroom, Redeemer, Lion, Lamb, King, Prince of Peace…
…and those are just the ones I could think of off the top of my head.
I’m planning to write a few blog posts about my favorite names of Jesus, beginning — most fittingly, I think — with the name Logos.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. (John 1:1)
In Greek, the Word is translated Logos.
In the beginning was the Word.
Before all things were made, he was.
The word. Logos. Jesus.
I studied communication in college, and I happen to be one of those nerds who absolutely loved communication theory. I had this professor that most students were scared of because he was gruff and he acted all tough and gave the hardest tests and basically tore apart any paper you wrote (I hope you’re reading this, Dr. Self)…but I loved the class. It made me think, and think hard. It made words and actions and everything about my daily life make sense.
And like any good communication class, it began with Aristotle.
Aristotle’s rhetorical theory forms the basis of communication study – most notably, his study of the three means of persuasion - logos, ethos and pathos.
Logos = persuasion by words and logic.
Ethos = persuasion by the credibility of the speaker or source of the message.
Pathos = persuasion by emotional appeal.
In different situations, different means of persuasion may become more or less effective, but generally, logos is deemed the most important. Because if the words of your message aren’t true and trustworthy, then your credibility or emotional appeals will only go so far. You must have logos.
Logos — as defined by communication theory — is the clarity of the message’s claim, the logic of its reasoning, and the effectiveness of its supporting evidence.
Logos is what is said. It is the account, the reasoning, the intent, the speech.
Logos comes form the verb legos, meaning to lay forth, to relate, to ask, to bid, to call, to name, to tell, to utter.
So what does it mean that Jesus is the Word? That he is Logos?
It means he is our claim. He is our account and our reasoning. He is what is “laid” forth for us. He is the telling and the utterance. If logos is the most powerful means by which people are persuaded in thought or action, then Jesus as Logos is the most powerful means by which we find our intent, our purpose, our reasoning.
So why do I like the name Logos? Because even in secular circles, even at public universities in liberal arts classrooms, logos is perceived as powerful. Logos is what moves people. It is ancient. It is pervasive. Logos echoes truth into the depths of who we are.
In the beginning was the Word.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)