This essay attempts to sketch the contours of the multileveled understanding of the Word of God in the Fourth Gospel. On one level, Jesus Christ is the eternal, incarnate Word sent from the Father, who accomplishes the work given to him, laying down his life so that his own, those who receive him by receiving his words, might have life. Yet, on another level, the Fourth Gospel is both (1) distinct from the incarnate Word, a witness to the Word, and (2) the continuing speech of the glorified Word through which, by the Spirit, he continues to dwell with his own, who receive his words even though they are unable to "see" him, so that the Beloved Disciple and his written testimony, the Fourth Gospel, are analogous with, even while servant to, the incarnate Word. Although this sketch resembles traditional dogmatic formulations, it is fleshed out in Johannine idiom, paying attention to the themes and literary dimensions of the Fourth Gospel.

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