John 1: Jesus Is the Premortal Christ and Creator

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 75–76

Matthew, Mark, and Luke began their accounts by telling about Jesus’ birth or baptism. John began his Gospel differently. In the first chapter John combined his testimony with that of John the Baptist to tell about who Jesus was even before He came to earth.The Lord revealed many changes for John 1 to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Those changes are in the Joseph Smith Translation appendix at the back of the Bible (pp. 807–8). It is helpful to read the first part of this chapter from the Joseph Smith Translation.

Other Accounts of What You Read in John 1

John 1:32–34Matthew 3:13–17

Understanding the Scriptures

Note: Most of these scripture understanding helps are for JST,  John 1:1–34.

JST,  John 1

The same (v. 2)Jesus Christ, the Son of God 
Perceiveth (v. 5)Sees, understands 
John (v. 6)This is speaking of John the Baptist, not John the Apostle 
Preferred before me (vv. 15, 30)Greater than myself 
Immortality and eternal life (v. 16) Immortality means to live forever; eternal life means to be exalted—to live with God and to become like Him 
Grace (v. 16)Power from God that helps the faithful be better than they could be on their own (see also Bible Dictionary, “grace,” p. 697) 
In the bosom of (v. 18)Next to 
Esaias (v. 24)Isaiah 
Manifest (v. 30)Known 

John 1

Master (v. 38)Leader, teacher 
Abode (v. 39)Stayed 
Tenth hour (v. 39)Late afternoon, about 4:00 P.M.  
Guile (v. 47)Deceit 

JST,  John 1:1, 14—Why Did John Call Jesus “the Word”?

Elder James E. Talmage taught that Jesus was the one “through whom the will, commandment, or word of the Father was put into effect” (Jesus the Christ, 33). He represents Heavenly Father the way a word represents an idea. Just as a word could be considered the messenger of a thing or an idea, Christ was the messenger of the Father and of His gospel, which is a plan of salvation for all mankind.

John 1:18—“No Man Hath Seen God at Any Time”

In the King James Version, without the help of the Joseph Smith Translation, this verse seems to say that no one has seen God. The Joseph Smith Translation restores the meaning of the verse and helps us understand that when the Father has appeared or is present on occasion He has borne record that Jesus is the Christ and is His Only Begotten Son (see Matthew 3:17; 17:5; 3 Nephi 11:6–7; D&C 76:23; Joseph Smith—History 1:17). The scriptures teach that some have been permitted to see God the Father, although such appearances are rare. For examples see Acts 7:55–56; D&C 76:23; Joseph Smith—History 1:17. The Apostle John himself saw the resurrected Lord (see Revelation 1:12–18).

John 1:41—“The Messias”

The Hebrew word Messiah means “the Chosen One” or “the Anointed One.” The translation of Messiah, or “the Chosen One” into Greek is Christ. “Jesus the Christ” means “Jesus the Chosen One.” In the New Testament, the Hebrew word Messiah was written Messias. Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the Christ. Jesus is the Chosen One.

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–D) as you study John 1.

Activity A iconLearn from the Joseph Smith Translation

Compare each verse of John 1:1–34 with JST,  John 1:1–34. Write down what you think are three of the most important teachings the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith to help us understand this first chapter of the Gospel of John.

Activity B iconJohn’s Testimony of Jesus

The Joseph Smith Translation changes the title of this book from “The Gospel According to St. John” to “The Testimony of Saint John.” List what you learn about Jesus from JST,  John 1:1–19. You may want to highlight the listed items in your scriptures.

Activity C iconCan Anyone See God?

Suppose a friend of yours who is not a member of the Church said that he or she could not believe Joseph Smith’s story of seeing God the Father and Jesus because it says in the Bible that “no man hath seen God at any time” (John 1:18). Based on what is written in JST,  John 1 and the information in the “Understanding the Scriptures” section above, write what you would say to your friend.

Activity D icon“Come and See”

  1. 1.

    Make a chart like the one below and fill it in with information you find in John 1:35–51.


How did he learn about Jesus?

What did he do or say?

What did Jesus say to him?





Simon Peter












  1. 2.

    How are those men examples of ways people find Christ and His gospel today?