The word ‘da•var’ has more meaning than what the title above suggests. Among its various meanings you can find: object, thing, item, event, occurrence, happening, and in its plural form: anything, belongings, what one has to say, writings, and more.
One famous name of the plural form of this word, ‘De•va•rim,’ is actually the Hebrew name of the Book of Deuteronomy. It was named as such arbitrarily after the second word in the book’s first verse. It is translated there as ‘words,’ but it can equally mean ‘things’ in this context. Remember that any translation of a biblical word, important as it may be, is not holy to the same extent as the original Hebrew because it is a secondary, ‘man-made’ thing (or wordYou see, this works here with both meanings as well).
However, ‘da•var’ may also mean ‘an essence,’ in the sense of ‘being’ or ‘existence,’ especially when attempting to describe an exalted or abstract concept.
With no attempt to challenge a canon of Christianity, the concept of Jesus being the ‘Living Word’ as we see it in John 1:1, ‘Da•var’ would not have been construed that way if the reader had not been introduced to the ‘Living Word’ concept beforehand. In other words, no Hebrew reader, either in the ancient or the modern eras, could automatically understand the word ‘da•var’ in John 1:1 in its English meaning (word). For the reader who is not familiar with the idea of Jesus being the ‘Living Word,’ ‘da•var’ in this context, would be perceived in its natural, logical Hebrew meaning: ‘an essence’. The reader would understand from the verse that a man (John) is attempting here to describe divinity. The reader (who is also a man or woman) knows that it is almost impossible to describe divinity with ordinary human words, and therefore is very likely to understand the word ‘da•var’ as ‘essence’ because of the natural absence of precise human vocabulary for divinity.
This discussion, by no means, suggests that ‘Word’ in John 1:1 is incorrect. Rather it stresses that it takes previous knowledge and appropriate teachings to perceive John 1:1’s ‘da•var’ as ‘Word’ and not as ‘essence.’ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.