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Logos is a Commonly Used Word in the Old Testament

As seen in previous articles (Stoicism, Why We Must Learn A Little Philosophy In Order To Understand How Christianity Has Developed) the Greek term “Logos” was a term that was used by different philosophies and religions to describe God and how God worked.

The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, but as we have seen in a previous article (I.1.2 Clement of Rome’s Canon of Scripture), early Christian writers referred to the Septuagint version of the Old Testament in their writings. This, along with the fact that our early manuscripts of the New Testament writings are primarily in Greek, shows the prominence of the Greek language in the culture of early Christians.

The Septuagint (also referred to as LXX) was a Greek translation of the Old Testament done in the centuries before Christ. So while the original Old Testament is in Hebrew, we have a good opportunity to look for this word “logos” in Old Testament writings by examining the Septuagint.

In examining the Septuagint we find that the Greek word “logos” was a commonly used word, used hundreds of times, and was translated from the Hebrew “davar”.  It is often translated “word” in our English versions:

And Jehovah said unto Moses, Is Jehovah’s hand waxed short? now shalt thou see whether my word (logos) shall come to pass unto thee or not.  (Numbers 11:23)

then shalt thou inquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth (logos), and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in the midst of thee, (Deuteronomy 13:14)

And Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel; And he said unto them, Set your heart unto all the words (logous) which I testify unto you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, even all the words of this law. For it is no vain thing (logos) for you; because it is your life, and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over the Jordan to possess it. (Deuteronomy 32:45-47)

In the English therefore we have translations of logos as “word”, “truth” and even “thing”,  but the meaning of Logos can be seen in these verses as one of rational thought, design, purpose, and planning.

Deuteronomy 32:45-47 especially has dramatic overtones concerning how the word “logos” is used.  Moses has just finished giving the law. The translators use the word logos when referring to the law, both in verses 45 and 47. Verse 47 gives supernatural power to these words; the verse says that the logos is life, and will prolong their days, thus it has power. These themes are echoed throughout the Old Testament.

I have heard some people claim that this Greek word “logos” found its way into Jewish and Christian culture from Greek philosophy.  I say that the reverse is more probable, that the supernatural meanings and implications of the Greek word “logos” into Greek philosophy came from Jewish writings because of verses like Deuteronomy 32:45-47.  There are elements of Jewish usage of “logos” in Platonist, Stoic and other philosophies.  When you look at the context of this word “logos” in Old Testament Scriptures, it is plain that it has connotations much further than these simple definitions of word, reason, or even purpose. The way that it is used in Scripture denotes God’s activities and actions similar to the philosophical definitions that some of the Greek schools of philosophy were proposing.

Here is a list of uages of “logos”  in the Septuagint (Remember Septuagint references may be different in some cases from ASV, KJV, NIV and other modern translations. This list was generated using the E-Sword program, see See How to Use the E-Sword Program to Search the Septuagint. Also remember “logos” just the nominative singular form of the word, you will need to look at the rest of the declension to see more forms of the word.):

(Numbers 11:23)
(Deuteronomy 13:14)  (13:15)
(Deuteronomy 22:20)
(Deuteronomy 32:47)
(Joshua 23:14)
(Judges 13:12)
(Judges 18:28)
(1 Samuel 18:26)
(1 Samuel 20:21)
(2 Samuel 1:4)
(2 Samuel 14:13)
(2 Samuel 14:17)
(2 Samuel 17:4)
(2 Samuel 18:13)
(2 Samuel 19:11)  (19:12)
(2 Samuel 19:43)  (19:44)
(2 Samuel 20:21)
(2 Samuel 23:2)
(2 Samuel 24:4)
(2 Samuel 24:11)
(1 Kings 2:14)
(1 Kings 8:56)
(1 Kings 10:3)
(1 Kings 10:6)
(1 Kings 12:22)
(1 Kings 12:24)
(1 Kings 12:30)
(1 Kings 13:20)
(1 Kings 16:1)
(2 Kings 4:13)
(2 Kings 11:5)
(2 Kings 15:12)
(2 Kings 19:21)
(2 Kings 20:13)
(2 Kings 20:19)
(1 Chronicles 13:4)
(1 Chronicles 17:3)
(1 Chronicles 17:23)
(1 Chronicles 21:6)
(1 Chronicles 22:8)
(2 Chronicles 9:2)
(2 Chronicles 9:5)
(2 Chronicles 11:2)
(2 Chronicles 12:7)
(2 Chronicles 23:4)
(2 Chronicles 29:36)
(2 Chronicles 30:4)
(Ezra 7:12)
(Nehemiah 5:9)
(Nehemiah 6:12)
(Nehemiah 13:17)
(Esther 1:21)
(Esther 2:22)
(Esther 6:10)
(Esther 10:3)
(Psalms 33:4)  (32:4)
(Psalms 119:89)  (118:89)
(Psalms 119:105)  (118:105)
(Psalms 139:4)  (138:4)
(Psalms 147:15)  (147:4)
(Proverbs 4:4)
(Proverbs 12:25)
(Proverbs 15:1)
(Proverbs 18:4)
(Proverbs 25:12)
(Isaiah 2:1)
(Isaiah 2:3)
(Isaiah 31:2)
(Isaiah 37:22)
(Isaiah 38:4)
(Isaiah 39:8)
(Jeremiah 1:2)
(Jeremiah 1:4)
(Jeremiah 1:11)
(Jeremiah 1:13)
(Jeremiah 5:13)
(Jeremiah 9:12)  (9:11)
(Jeremiah 11:1)
(Jeremiah 13:3)
(Jeremiah 13:8)
(Jeremiah 14:1)
(Jeremiah 15:16)
(Jeremiah 17:15)
(Jeremiah 18:1)
(Jeremiah 18:5)
(Jeremiah 18:18)  —
(Jeremiah 20:8)
(Jeremiah 21:1)
(Jeremiah 23:28)
(Jeremiah 23:36)

(Jeremiah 24:4)

(Jeremiah 25:1)
(Jeremiah 26:1)  (33:1)
(Jeremiah 27:18)  (34:18)
(Jeremiah 28:12)  (35:12)
(Jeremiah 29:30)  (36:30)
(Jeremiah 30:1)  (37:1)
(Jeremiah 32:1)  (39:1)
(Jeremiah 32:6)  (39:6)
(Jeremiah 32:8)  (39:8)
(Jeremiah 32:26)  (39:26)
(Jeremiah 33:1)  (40:1)
(Jeremiah 34:1)  (41:1)
(Jeremiah 34:8)  (41:8)
(Jeremiah 34:12)  (41:12)
(Jeremiah 35:1)  (42:1)
(Jeremiah 35:12)  (42:12)
(Jeremiah 36:1)  (43:1)
(Jeremiah 36:27)  (43:27)
(Jeremiah 37:6)  (44:6)
(Jeremiah 37:17)  (44:17)
(Jeremiah 38:21)  (45:21)
(Jeremiah 38:27)  (45:27)
(Jeremiah 39:15)  (46:15)
(Jeremiah 40:1)  (47:1)
(Jeremiah 42:4)  (49:4)
(Jeremiah 42:7)  (49:7)
(Jeremiah 43:8)  (50:8)
(Jeremiah 44:1)  (51:1)
(Jeremiah 44:16)  (51:16)
(Jeremiah 44:28)  (51:28)
(Jeremiah 45:1)  (51:31)
(Jeremiah 49:34)  (25:20)
(Jeremiah 51:59)  (28:59)
(Ezekiel 1:3)
(Ezekiel 3:16)
(Ezekiel 6:1)
(Ezekiel 7:1)
(Ezekiel 11:14)
(Ezekiel 12:1)
(Ezekiel 12:8)
(Ezekiel 12:17)
(Ezekiel 12:21)
(Ezekiel 12:23)
(Ezekiel 12:26)
(Ezekiel 13:1)
(Ezekiel 14:2)
(Ezekiel 14:12)
(Ezekiel 15:1)
(Ezekiel 16:1)
(Ezekiel 17:1)
(Ezekiel 17:11)
(Ezekiel 18:1)
(Ezekiel 20:2)
(Ezekiel 20:45)  (21:1)
(Ezekiel 21:1)  (21:6)
(Ezekiel 21:8)  (21:13)
(Ezekiel 21:18)  (21:23)
(Ezekiel 22:1)
(Ezekiel 22:17)
(Ezekiel 22:23)
(Ezekiel 23:1)
(Ezekiel 24:1)
(Ezekiel 24:15)
(Ezekiel 25:1)
(Ezekiel 26:1)
(Ezekiel 27:1)
(Ezekiel 28:1)
(Ezekiel 28:11)
(Ezekiel 28:20)
(Ezekiel 29:1)
(Ezekiel 29:17)
(Ezekiel 30:1)
(Ezekiel 30:20)
(Ezekiel 31:1)
(Ezekiel 32:1)
(Ezekiel 32:17)
(Ezekiel 33:1)
(Ezekiel 33:23)
(Ezekiel 34:1)
(Ezekiel 35:1)
(Ezekiel 36:16)
(Ezekiel 37:15)
(Ezekiel 38:1)
(Daniel 2:5)
(Daniel 2:11)
(Daniel 4:17)  (4:14)
(Daniel 4:33)  (4:30)
(Daniel 6:12)  (6:13)
(Daniel 9:2)
(Daniel 9:23)
(Daniel 10:1)
(Daniel 12:13)
(13:1)
(13:2)
(13:3)
(13:4)
(13:5)
(13:6)
(13:7)
(13:8)
(13:9)
(13:10)
(13:11)
(13:12)
(13:13)
(13:14)
(13:15)
(13:16)
(13:17)
(13:18)
(13:19)
(13:20)
(13:21)
(13:22)
(13:23)
(13:24)
(13:25)
(13:26)
(13:27)
(13:28)
(13:29)
(13:30)
(13:31)
(13:32)
(13:33)
(13:34)
(13:35)
(13:36)
(13:37)
(13:38)
(13:39)
(13:40)
(13:41)
(13:42)
(13:43)
(13:44)
(13:45)
(13:46)
(13:47)
(13:48)
(13:49)
(13:50)
(13:51)
(13:52)
(13:53)
(13:54) .
(13:55)
(13:56)
(13:57)
(13:58)
(13:59)
(13:60)
(13:61)
(13:62)
(13:63)
(13:64)
(14:1)
(14:2)
(14:3)
(14:4)
(14:5)
(14:6)
(14:7)
(14:8)
(14:9)
(14:10)
(14:11)
(14:12)
(14:13)
(14:14)
(14:15)
(14:16)
(14:17)
(14:18)
(14:19)
(14:20)
(14:21)
(14:22)
(14:23)
(14:24)
(14:25)
(14:26)
(14:27)
(14:28)
(14:29)
(14:30)
(14:31)
(14:32)
(14:33)
(14:34)
(14:35)
(14:36)
(14:37)
(14:38)
(14:39)
(14:40)
(14:41)
(14:42)
(Jonah 1:1)
(Jonah 3:1)
(Jonah 3:6)
(Micah 1:1)
(Micah 4:2)
(Habakkuk 3:5)
(Zephaniah 2:5)
(Haggai 1:1)
(Haggai 1:3)
(Haggai 2:10)
(Haggai 2:20)
(Zechariah 1:1)
(Zechariah 1:7)
(Zechariah 4:6)
(Zechariah 4:8)
(Zechariah 6:9)
(Zechariah 7:1)
(Zechariah 7:4)
(Zechariah 7:8)
(Zechariah 8:1)
(Zechariah 8:18)
(Zechariah 11:11)

January 6th, 2011 Posted by | Philosophy | no comments

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