Much debate has been had over the use of ‘the word’ in John’s prologue. Many early English translations translated the relevant pronoun in John 1:2-4 as ‘it’ instead of ‘he’, suggesting the referent to not be a male person but a thing.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word
was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through Him all things
were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In
Him was life, and that life was the light of men. (Berean Study Bible)
Contrast that with the Tyndale Bible (published in 1535)
In the beginnynge was the worde and the worde was with God: and the
worde was God. 2 The same was in the beginnynge with God. 3 All
thinges were made by it and with out it was made nothinge that was
made. 4 In it was lyfe and the lyfe was ye lyght of men
Going beyond pronoun use are theologies which interpret the referent of ‘the word’ in the prologue differently. Some view it as a subordinate logos being, some as a co-equal ‘person’ of a bi-personal or tri-personal God, some as an active power of God, some as the wholly man Jesus, and so on.
If ‘the word’ in John’s prologue is meant to refer to a person, one might expect to see the term used in a similar way in the rest of John’s Gospel, or in other texts by John.
How does John use the term ‘the word’ (or similar terms) in his texts? In particular, how is ‘the word’ (or similar terms) used in the rest of the Gospel of John? Can we shed any light on the intended referent of ‘the word’ in the prologue by looking at other usages by John?