In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
(The following is taken from ENDURING WORD Bible Commentaries, David Guzik)
In the beginning: This refers to the timeless eternity of Genesis 1:19 (In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth). John essentially wrote, “When the beginning began, the Word was already there.” The idea is that the Word existed before creation or even time.
John makes it clear that the Word is not just the beginning, but it is the beginning of the beginning. HE WAS THERE IN THE BEGINNING, BEFORE ANYTHING WAS.
WAS THE WORD: “Had the Word a beginning? John says, ‘No: for if we reach back to any beginning, there already was in existence the Word.’ At once it is evident to John’s vision ‘The Word’ is no other than God the self-existent.” (Trench)
“This description is given in order THAT WE MAY AT ONCE GRASP A CONTINUOUS HISTORY WHICH RUNS OUT OF AN UNMEASURED PAST, and the identity of the person who is subject of that history.” (Dods)
IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD: Word translates the ancient Greek word Logos. The idea of the logos had deep and rich roots in both Jewish and Greek thinking.
Jewish rabbis often referred to God (especially in His more personal aspects) in terms of His word. They spoke of God Himself as “the word of God.” For example, ancient Hebrew editions of the Old Testament change Exodus 19:17 (Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God) to “Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet the word of God.” In the mind of the ancient Jews, the phrase “the word of God” could be used to refer to God Himself.
The Greek philosophers saw the logos as the power that puts sense into the world, making the world orderly instead of chaotic. The logos was the power that set the world in perfect order and kept it going in perfect order. They saw the logos as the “Ultimate Reason” that controlled all things. (Dods, Morris, Barclay, Bruce, and others)
Therefore in this opening John said to both Jews and Greeks: “For centuries you’ve been talking, thinking, and writing about the Word (the logos). Now I will tell you who He is.” John met both Jews and Greeks where they were at, and explained Jesus in terms they already understood.