Since this beautiful passage from Chapter One at the beginning of John's Gospel (especially in the Authorized Version translation) is a part of nearly every Christmas carol service I have ever attended; it seems like an opportunity to remind anyone interested of my alternative understanding of what this great poetry really means.
(Derived from my belief in the primacy of the IV Gospel.)
And to re-emphasize that "the Word" does not refer to Jesus - as so many have claimed.
Note added (5th December 2023):
I had always loved this passage at the beginning of John, from long before I became a Christian in my late forties.
I got a fair bit of Christian teaching as a child, because I was educated at a rural Church of England school aged 5-11 - the local Rector was Chairman of Governors, and we would quite often attend services - the church was just a few yards away. I began to become very interested in Christianity from my middle twenties (reading many books of theology and apologetics, both Protestant and Roman Catholic. I even subscribed to the UK Dominican friar's "Blackfriars" magazine for a year in my late twenties!). What I never encountered was detailed, line-by-line and word-by-word Biblical exegesis.
Anyway; my point is that - despite such a lot of Christian exposure, and multiple readings and listenings-to John's early verses, and indeed the whole Gospel - it never crossed my mind that "the Word" was supposed to mean Jesus!
When I came across this idea (in a Protestant, Evangelical, context) I was flabbergasted! For a while I passively accepted that this "must be" true, because so many textual expositors were saying it; but I never felt "comfortable" with the equation - my conscience pricked - it always seemed forced and "bogus".
I was pleased eventually to arrive at an explanation that fitted with the rest of the Gospel. The key is the poetic parallelism - which I (somehow!) hadn't noticed; probably due to viewing the passage through spectacles that insisted it was dogmatic metaphysical philosophy, to be taken literally...
For instance; when I read "the Word was with God, and the Word was God" I assumed that this slight difference in wording must mean we were being taught a subtle and vital theological distinction - rather than its being a poetic form.
So, what exactly the Word/ Logos means in this passage, is not possible to make explicit since human consciousness, hence language, has changed (see Owen Barfield's Poetic Diction). Then words had multiple simultaneous references incorporating spiritual realities; but now our words are narrowly precise and 'objective' - so that no number of our words can mean what a single word meant to the ancients. Now they - we can only talk around it with a paraphrase.
But I think we can consider "the Word"/ Logos to be God... but God with an emphasis on His creative nature; his attributes as The Creator.