Prepositions (1)

The first of several short papers which seek to give insights into the prepositions of the Greek language.

The study of prepositions in the New Testament is an enriching study. They enable nouns or pronouns to express their case forms, root meaning, or relationship to verbs. In these articles we will be considering a few of the “simple” prepositions. Three things must be kept in mind for correct interpretation of a word: 1) The basic meaning of the word; 2) the case construction with which it is used; 3) the context in which it is used.

The purpose of these writings is to encourage study and meditation on these very expressive words which the Holy Spirit has chosen to teach us the glories of Divine Persons. Prepositions usually are related to the nouns or subjects in a sentence. For the sake of illustration, picture a house standing alone. The house will be the subject of the sentence. The prepositions we will consider in this and future articles will be understood in relationship to the house. The “house” will always be the object upon which the preposition acts.

In John 1:1, consider the two prepositions, “in” and “with.” In English we may interpret “in” to mean “at” or “when there was a beginning, the Word was there.” Notice the relationship of the preposition, “in,” to the house. The house in this phrase is ” the beginning.” The Greek language says the Word was “in” (locality) the house, but does not state a time of entry. The Word therefore is primary and is the reason for the house, the cause of its existence and its architect. How beautifully this one little word teaches us the nature and character of our glorious Lord! He is eternal, sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent, and pre-exists all creation. Teaching which compromises the eternal nature of “the Word which became flesh and dwelt among us,” is false doctrine. The little preposition, “in,” so beautifully confirms the preexistence and preeminence of our Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Word.

“And the Word was with God.” In the English language, “with” indicates being alongside of, or in the company of God. In this phrase, the house or subject is “God.” Our Greek preposition “with,” is expressing being at home with, being one with, or compared with, God. The Word is face to face with God, indicating equality of existence and, necessarily, of substance. No inferiority in being or character is suggested. What a secure and obvious foundation is being laid by these seemingly insignificant little words, prepositions, for the claims and truths relating to our Lord Jesus in Johns Gospel!

May we increasingly be students of His wondrous Person, so that we may intelligently worship Him in word and life as we await the moment when we shall see His face in glory. Also, our blinded world of which we once formed a part, needs Christ presented to it in the glories of His deity, supreme Lordship, and unique Saviorhood.

Almighty strength was wrapped in human weakness,
Omnipotence was in a manger laid.
Heavens light and glory came to earth a stranger.
The Word became incarnate in a babe.