Amplified: Do not be misled, my beloved brethren. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Do not err, my beloved brethren.
NLT: So don't be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: make no mistake about that, brothers of mine! (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Stop being deceived, my brethren, beloved ones. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: Be not led astray, my brethren beloved;
|DO NOT BE DECEIVED, MY BELOVED BRETHREN: Me planasthe, (2PPPM) adelphoi mou agapetoi: (Matthew 22:29; Mark 12:24, 27; Galatians 6:7; Colossians 2:4,8; 2Timothy 2:18) (James 1:19; 2:5; Philippians 2:12; 4:1; Hebrews 13:1)
DO NOT BE DECEIVED!
James has just given a sobering warning that death from sin could be the result if one yields to temptation by lust. In light of the grave danger James introduces a life giving command but softens it with the affectionate phrase my beloved brethren which clearly indicates his sincere concern for their souls. James knows that what he is warning about is deadly serious and wants to be sure they are open to hear him.
Spurgeon - Do not err (be deceived) about anything; but, especially, do not err about this matter of temptation, where you may so easily make a blunder: “Do not err, my beloved brethren.”
Hiebert interprets the warning against deception as follows…
MacDonald introduces this section with a the thought that…
Do not be deceived - Don't allow yourself to be led astray. Don't allow yourself to be caused to wander. Don't be misled. Stop being deceived!
This command is "sandwiched" between two sections and can actually be read as going with one and/or the other. In the previous section (James 1:13; 14; 15) James would be warning them not to keep being deceived about the source and consequences of sin. In the other direction (James 1:17; 18) the warning is for his readers to beware of ascribing to God any evil motives in His activities for He is the essence of goodness and all He does is good (see God's great attribute Goodness) .
Steven Cole sees this command as related to the issue of trials that God allows in our life asking…
Hiebert explains that…
All good from God, all evil from ourselves.
Deceived (4105)(planao from plane which describes "a wandering" and gives us our English word "planet") means literally made to wander and so to go (active sense) or be led (passive sense as of sheep in Mt 18:12, 13) astray.
The present imperative with a negative signifies that the readers (plural) are to stop an action already progress (or don't let it begin). James is not suggesting but demanding that his readers must not succumb to the danger of being led astray!
Note that in this passage planao is in the passive voice which indicates an outside force or influence (e.g., in context presumably speaking to believers and so referring to the power of sin rendered ineffective but unfortunately still latent in believers) is causing the deception that leads one down the wrong path regarding truth.
Planao - 39x in the NT - Matt. 18:12f; 22:29; 24:4f, 11, 24; Mk. 12:24, 27; 13:5f; Lk. 21:8; Jn. 7:12, 47; 1 Co. 6:9; 15:33; Gal. 6:7; 2 Tim. 3:13; Tit. 3:3; Heb. 3:10; 5:2; 11:38; Jas. 1:16; 5:19; 1 Pet. 2:25; 2 Pet. 2:15; 1 Jn. 1:8; 2:26; 3:7; Rev. 2:20; 12:9; 13:14; 18:23; 19:20; 20:3, 8, 10
The NAS renders planao as deceive(4), deceived(9), deceives(2), deceiving(2), go astray(1), gone astray(3), leads astray(2), led astray(1), misguided(1), mislead(4), misleads(2), misled(1), mistaken(3), straying(2), strays(1),wandering(1).
In the present context, it is interesting that this command has virtually a "dual" application, looking back to the immediate context of deception regarding the source and potential consequences of temptation. Or looking to the subsequent verses where James explains what God offers in place of temptation. In contrast to the "gifts" temptation offers, God's gifts are good and perfect (lacking nothing). Stop letting the world, the flesh (especially the desire of the flesh in light of James 1:14), and the devil try to "sell you" that they have something better than what God offers!
John Trapp - Wander not, as wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever, Jude 1:13, by seeking to father your faults upon God, as Adam did, Genesis 3:12.
Literal wandering is described in Hebrews 11:38 (note). Spiritual wandering is described in (1Pe 2:25 - note) In spiritual terms, planao means to be made to err from the right way, the highway of truth and holiness. Straying in the spiritual sense occurs when one does not adhere to the truth (James 5:19) and/or forsakes the right way (see 2Pe 2:15-note)
Matthew Henry writes that
Clarke writes that deceived is
Brethren (80) (adelphos from collative a = denoting unity + delphús = womb) is literally one born from same womb and thus a male having the same father and mother as reference person. Figuratively, adelphos as in this verse refers to a close associate of a group of persons having well-defined membership, specifically here referring to those who have been brought forth by the word of truth and are, as it were, God's first fruits.
Beloved (27) (agapetos from agapáo = love) means beloved, dear, very much loved. Agapetos is love called out of one’s heart by preciousness of the object loved. Agapetos is used only of Christians as united with God or with each other in love.
Hiebert adds that…
God the Father uses this same word describing Jesus the Son declaring that
In fact the first 9 uses in the NT are of God the Father speaking of Christ, His beloved Son. This gives you some idea of the preciousness of the word "beloved"! This truth makes it even more incredible that Paul described the saints at Thessalonica (and by application all believers of all ages) as
Amplified: Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
NET: All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change.
NIV: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
NLT: Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who created all heaven's lights. Unlike them, he never changes or casts shifting shadows. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: But every good endowment that we possess and every complete gift that we have received must come from above, from the Father of all lights, with whom there is never the slightest variation or shadow of inconsistency. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the lights, with whom there can be no variableness nor shadow which is cast by the motion of turning. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: every good giving, and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the lights, with whom is no variation, or shadow of turning;
|EVERY GOOD THING GIVEN AND EVERY PERFECT GIFT IS FROM ABOVE: pasa dosis agathe kai pan dorema teleion anothen estin, (3SPAI): (Good - James 1:5; 3:15,17; Genesis 41:16,38,39; Ex 4:11,12; 31:3, 4, 5, 6; 36:1,2; Nu 11:17,25; 1Chr 22:12; 29:19; 2Chr 1:11,12; Pr 2:6; Is 28:26; Da 2:21,22,27, 28, 29, 30; Mt 7:11; 11:25,26; 13:11,12; Lk 11:13; Jn 3:27; Acts 5:31; 11:18; Ro 6:23; 11:30; 12:6, 7, 8; 1Co 4:7; 12:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; Ep 2:3, 4, 5,8; 4:8, 9, 10, 11; Philippians 1:29; Titus 3:3, 4, 5; 1John 4:10; 5:11,12)
Literally this reads "every gift good and every give perfect from above is continually coming down".
In James 1:5 the author characterizes God as a giving God and here reiterates that attribute as he refutes the claim that God (a good gift giving God) could tempt men to sin. (James 1:13-15)
Spurgeon - Ascribe all evil to yourself, to the world, or to Satan; but ascribe all good unto God. “Every good gift and every perfect gift” — every grain of goodness, every trace of excellence that there is in the world, comes from him; but no evil ever comes from him.
Vincent adds that James' declaration in this passage writing that…
Good gift - This identifies the giving as useful, profitable and beneficial in effect.
Good (18) (agathos) means intrinsically good, inherently good in quality but with the idea of good which is also profitable, useful, benefiting others, benevolent (marked by or disposed to doing good). Good and doing good is the idea. Agathos describes that which is beneficial in addition to being good. Agathos is that which is good in its character, beneficial in its effects and/or useful in its action.
Agathos is used in the New Testament primarily of spiritual and moral excellence. Paul uses agathos to describe the gospel as the “glad tidings of good things” (Ro 10:15-note). The writer of Hebrews uses it in the same way, of “the good things to come” of which “Christ appeared as a high priest” (He 9:11-note) and of which the law was “only a shadow” (He 10:1-note).
The precise meaning of agathos can be difficult to appreciate and distinguish from kalos (2570) an adjective that is also translated good. An attempt is made in the following discussion to bring out the difference, but in some verses where both are used, this distinction can be difficult to appreciate.
Given (1394) (dosis from didomi = to give) is a word which means giving and stresses the act of giving, either a human or a divine gift. Dosis is very common in financial transactions. Dosis adds the suffix of action to the verb root, means the act of giving, while dorema adds the suffix -ma, denoting the result of giving and hence the thing given or the gift itself.
Here is the only other NT uses of dosis…
There are four uses of dosis in the Lxx (Ge 47:22; Pr 21:14; 25:14)
Perfect (5046) (teleios from telos = an end, a purpose, an aim, a goal) means complete, mature, fully developed, full grown, brought to its end, finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness, in good working order. Teleios signifies consummate soundness, and includes the idea of being whole.
Teleios - 19x in the NT - Matt. 5:48; 19:21; Rom. 12:2; 1 Co. 2:6; 13:10; 14:20; Eph. 4:13; Phil. 3:15; Col. 1:28; 4:12; Heb. 5:14; 9:11; Jas. 1:4, 17, 25; 3:2; 1 Jn. 4:18. The NAS renders teleios as complete(2), mature(4), more perfect(1), perfect(12).
Vincent notes that James uses perfect to enlarge…
Teleios has at least three shades of meaning: (1) Teleios speaks of totality, as opposed to partial or limited and when used of things means in full measure, undivided, complete or entire (as in Romans 12:2 [note] referring to "the will of God" which is "good and acceptable and perfect"). (2) Teleios also speaks of that which is fully development as opposed to that which is immature. (3) Teleios can refer to that which is in a state of full preparation or readiness.
MacDonald applies this truth writing that God's…
Every perfect gift - Perfect identifies the gift as lacking nothing for completeness and thus lacking nothing to meet the needs of the recipients.
Hiebert explains that…
G ift (1434) (dorema from dorea = free gift with emphasis on gratuitous nature + -ma = the result of giving [dosis]) is the thing given or that which is granted. Dorema is used in only one other NT passage (Ro 5:16-note).
Vincent notes that
James Philip said that…
From above (509) (anothen) means from a higher place or a from a source that is above.
Anothen - 13x in the NT - Matt. 27:51; Mk. 15:38; Lk. 1:3; Jn. 3:3, 7, 31; 19:11, 23; Acts 26:5; Gal. 4:9; Jas. 1:17; 3:15, 17.
The NAS renders anothen as again(2), all over(1), beginning(1), from above(5), from the long time(1), top(2).
COMING DOWN FROM THE FATHER OF LIGHTS: katabainon (PAPNSN) apo tou patros ton photon: (Father - Genesis 1:2, 3, 4, 5,14,15; Deuteronomy 4:19; Psalms 19:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 84:11; Is 45:7; 60:19; John 1:9; John 8:12; 2Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 1:18; 1John 1:5; Revelation 21:23; 22:5 )
Coming down (2597) (katabaino from katá = down + baíno = go) means to come or go down or to descend from a higher to a lower place. Katabaino describes God descending to afford aid to the oppressed in Acts…
The present tense indicates that these good things are continually coming down. God is the ultimate Giver. We as saved sinners are the benefactors of amazing grace, for He gives and gives and gives, independent of any merit on our part. This is a humbling truth, that should generate within us a deep sense of gratitude as recipients who are not worthy of such good and perfect gifts. O, the deep, deep love of God! Let His unconditional, boundless love, motivate us as His children to quickly, willingly obey His Spirit's voice.
Katabaino - 81x in the NT - Matt. 3:16; 7:25, 27; 8:1; 11:23; 14:29; 17:9; 24:17; 27:40, 42; 28:2; Mk. 1:10; 3:22; 9:9; 13:15; 15:30, 32; Lk. 2:51; 3:22; 6:17; 8:23; 9:54; 10:15, 30f; 17:31; 18:14; 19:5f; 22:44; Jn. 1:32f, 51; 2:12; 3:13; 4:47, 49, 51; 5:7; 6:16, 33, 38, 41f, 50f, 58; Acts 7:15, 34; 8:15, 26, 38; 10:11, 20f; 11:5; 14:11, 25; 16:8; 18:22; 20:10; 23:10; 24:1, 22; 25:6f; Rom. 10:7; Eph. 4:9f; 1 Thess. 4:16; Jas. 1:17; Rev. 3:12; 10:1; 12:12; 13:13; 16:21; 18:1; 20:1, 9; 21:2, 10
The NAS renders katabaino as brought down(1), came down(10), come down(16), comes down(4), coming(1), coming down(9),descend(3), descended(9), descending(5), descends(1), falling down(1), go down(4), go downstairs(1), going down(3), got out of(1), steps(1), steps down(1), went down(12).
Hiebert - Lights in the original has the definite article, "the lights," and the primary reference is to the well-known celestial lights, the heavenly luminaries that are the sources of light for our earth. As "the Father" of these lights, God is their source of being, and they reflect the glory of their Creator (Ps 19:1; 136:7). As their Creator and Sustainer, He is not to be identified with them. These luminous celestial bodies must not be worshiped as God, but they testify to the Creator's luminous nature. Their glory and dignity declare the nature and essence of God, that "God is light" (1 John 1:5). He is also the Father of all our spiritual illumination (2Co 4:6). (James -- D. Edmond Hiebert) (Hiebert's Excellent Commentaries)
The Psalmist writes…
Vincent feels that lights in this phrase refers to…
Temptations come to lead us into darkness, which is a stark contrast with the essence of the Father, Who is perfect Light. As His children who seek to genuine
Steven Cole feels that in this section James is still speaking in the context of trials and states that…
WITH WHOM THERE IS NO VARIATION OR SHIFTING SHADOW: par' o ouk eni (3SPAI) parallage e tropes aposkiasma: (Nu 23:19; 1Sa 15:29; Ps 122:6; Is 46:10; Mal 3:6; Ro 11:29; Heb 1:11,12; 13:8)
Wuest = there can be no variableness nor shadow which is cast by the motion of turning
No (3756) (ou) indicates absolute negation! He changeth not. He is the unchanging One (Mal 3:6, Heb 13:8). In a world that is spiritually speaking "upside down" and morally "topsy turvy" it is good to have a God Who is neither, instead being the epitome of immutability, an immutability which is in fact infinite. Glory!
Lord Sabaoth, His Name,
Variation (3883) (parallage from para = beside, near + allasso = to change) (Only NT use) (English = “parallax,” the difference between the directions of a body as seen from two different points) refers to a transmission from one condition to another. Parallage denotes a change or variation from an established course or pattern.
Vincent writes that parallage "is not used, as some suppose, in a technical, astronomical sense, which James’ readers would not have understood, but in the simple sense of change in the degree or intensity of light, such as is manifested by the heavenly bodies."
Barclay - What he is stressing is the unchangeableness of God. To do so he uses two astronomical terms. The word he uses for changeableness is parallage, and the word for the turn of the shadow is trope. Both these words have to do with the variation which the heavenly bodies show, the variation in the length of the day and of the night, the apparent variation in the course of the sun, the phases of waxing and waning, the different brilliance at different times of the stars and the planets. Variability is characteristic of all created things. God is the Creator of the lights of heaven--the sun, the moon, the stars. The Jewish morning prayer says, "Blessed be the Lord God who hath formed the lights." The lights change but He who created them never changes. (James 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)
Shifting (5157) (trope from the verb trepo = to turn) (Only NT use) describes literally a turning as of the planets in their orbits, but here used figuratively to depict the immutability or unchangeableness of our God.
MacArthur - From man’s perspective, the celestial bodies have different phases of movement and rotation, change from day to night, and vary in intensity and shadow. But God does not follow that pattern—He is changeless (cf. Mal 3:6; 1Jn 1:5). (MacArthur study Bible : New American Standard Bible)
Spurgeon - There is variableness and there is the shadow of turning in the sun, but in that greater Father of lights there is neither parallax nor tropic; he is evermore the same, and we may go to him with unwavering confidence because he is the same. Oh! what a blessing to such changing creatures as we are to have an unchanging God! “Of his own will.” If you want to know the power of God’s will, it never goes towards evil.
Thomas Manton - This is an astronomical term, taken from the heavenly bodies, which have many revolutions. The heavenly lights have their vicissitudes, eclipses, and decreases; but our sun always shines with the same brightness and glory. Like shifting shadows. The allusion continues. Stars, according to their different light and position, have various shadowings. The nearer the sun is to us, the less shadow it casts; the farther off, the greater the shadow. So we know the sun’s movements by its different shadows. But with the Father of spiritual lights there is no shadow of turning; that is, he does not change but always remains the same. This is a sun that does not set or rise and cannot be overcast or eclipsed. (A Practical Exposition of James - James 1:16, James 1:17; James 1:18)
Another source says that…
Jon Courson is very practical - Not only is God good in the gifts He gives, but in who He is. In Him there is no variableness or shadow of turning. That is, He’s not moody. He doesn’t have bad days. He’s not generous with me one day, but grouchy the next—as I can so often be. We’re variable. We go up and down. God doesn’t. He can be nothing but good. He doesn’t react to me according to how I’m doing with Him. He is faithful when I am faithless (2Timothy 2:13). He is good when I am grumpy. He doesn’t change. He’s locked into His nature. That’s why I love the Lord so much. He’s solid as a Rock. And I can just enjoy Him without worrying about Him being ticked with me or tired of me. He gives nothing but good gifts, for He is a good God. (Jon Courson's Application Commentary).
Shadow (644) (aposkiasma from apó = from + skiázo = to shade) (Only NT use) is a shadow that is cast. It is literally the shade cast by an object blocking rays of light from the sun or other source.
Unlike the heavenly bodies, which undergo continual changes, variableness is absolutely not part of the character of God.
Hiebert ties this in with the previous section of James writing that…
Kistemaker - As the earth, sun, moon, and stars move in their ordained courses, we observe the interplay of light and darkness, day and night, the longest and the shortest day of the year, the waning and the waxing of the moon, eclipses, and the movement of the planets. Nature is subject to variation and change. Not so with God! (Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John)
Vincent - This is popularly understood to mean that there is in God not the faintest hint or shade of change, like the phrase, a shadow of suspicion. But the Greek has no such idiom, and that is not James’ meaning. Rev., rightly, renders, shadow tact is cast by turning; referring still to the heavenly orbs, which cast shadows in their revolution, as when the moon turns her dark side to us, or the sun is eclipsed by the body of the moon.
TDNT feels that aposkiasma refers " to the darkness caused on earth by the movement of heavenly bodies."
Is your personal world "shaky" or "shaking"? Then take a moment dearly beloved of the Almighty One and sing loud Hosanna's (Hebrew = Save us now, We pray, -- Ps 118:25, Mt 21:9) to His Name, Who from age to age is the same…
Amplified: And it was of His own [free] will that He gave us birth [as sons] by [His] Word of Truth, so that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
NET: By his sovereign plan he gave us birth through the message of truth, that we would be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
NLT: In his goodness he chose to make us his own children by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his choice possession. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: By his own wish he made us his own sons through the Word of truth that we might be, so to speak, the first specimens of his new creation (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: In accordance with His deliberate purpose He brought us into being by means of the word of truth, resulting in our being a kind of first fruits of His creatures. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: having counselled, He did beget us with a word of truth, for our being a certain first-fruit of His creatures.
|IN THE EXERCISE OF HIS WILL HE BROUGHT US FORTH BY THE WORD OF TRUTH: bouletheis (APPMSN) apekuesen (3SAAI) hemas logo aletheias: (Jn 1:13; 3:3, 4, 5; Ro 4:17; 8:29, 30, 31; 9:15, 16, 17, 18; Ep 2:4,5; Col 1:20,21; 2Thes 2:13,14; 1Peter 1:3,23 ) (by the Word - 1Co 4:15 Eph 1:12 1Pe 1:23 1Jn 3:9)
James continues his discussion of the generous goodness of God as he now associates it with the best gift of all, the new birth or our regeneration by the Spirit. This gift indeed far "outshines" the lights of heaven he has just alluded to in verse 17.
James had just described God as the Father of lights and now proceeds to explain how God is the Father of believers.
Once again in this passage we see the vital importance of the Word of God, the Word of truth in bringing about the new birth. How God's people need to return to His Word of truth which saves us not just the first time (justification) but also saves us daily (sanctification as applied by the Holy Spirit).
Jamieson agrees that James links this verse with every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift noting that…
Exercise of His will (1014) (boulomai) describes a settled desire emanating from one's reason not from one's emotion. This verb connotes more than just wanting a desire or wish to be fulfilled, and can include the idea of choosing one thing over another. Boulomai expresses also the inward predisposition and bent from which active volition proceeds and it is never used of evil people.
This verb boulomai is in the aorist tense (timeless but in context speaks of a completed action) and is a participle (a verbal adjective often ending in "-ing") so that it can be translated more literally as "having made His decision" emphasizing that God acted freely, purposely and graciously. The fact that this verb is emphatically placed first in the Greek sentence makes His will the prominent operator and cause of our regeneration.
Boulomai - 37x in the NT - Matt. 1:19; 11:27; Mk. 15:15; Lk. 10:22; 22:42; Jn. 18:39; Acts 5:28, 33; 12:4; 15:37; 17:20; 18:15, 27; 19:30; 22:30; 23:28; 25:20, 22; 27:43; 28:18; 1 Co. 12:11; 2 Co. 1:15, 17; Phil. 1:12; 1 Tim. 2:8; 5:14; 6:9; Tit. 3:8; Philemon 1:13; Heb. 6:17; Jas. 1:18; 3:4; 4:4; 2 Pet. 3:9; 2 Jn. 1:12; 3 Jn. 1:10; Jude 1:5
The NAS renders boulomai as am unwilling*(1), desire(2), desired(1), desires(1), desiring(1), desirous(1), intend(1),intended(2), intending(2), like(1), want(7), wanted(2), wanting(2), will(1), willing(3), wills(3), wish(1), wished(1),wishes(1), wishing(3).
Robertson says boulomai indicates…
Jamieson writes that this speaks…
TDNT writes that boulomai means…
In context, James explains what prompted a Holy God to save sinners who are unholy into saints who are holy! It was His choice (Related Ref: ekletos; Chosen in Christ). It was by His free will. It had nothing to do with our merit. He was not forced by anyone to save anyone. It is a reflection of His marvelous, magnanimous grace upon grace. Let us stop and offer up a sacrifice of praise (Heb 13:15-note) for so great a salvation (Heb 2:3-note).
Hiebert writes that…
As William MacDonald aptly explains…
Matthew Poole writes that exercise of His will means…
We see similar description of God's exercise of His will in our salvation in Paul's letter to Timothy where he spoke of God…
Brought us forth (616) (apekueo from apo = from, used with the sense of "to cease from" + kuéo = swell, be pregnant) means to "cease from" pregnancy and thus literally describes the birthing process. To bring forth from the womb. To begat, to bear, to give birth.
It is notable that apekueo is never used for creation, so that James is not explaining the creation of a living human race in general, but the re-creation (redemption) of a spiritually dead human race.
Brought forth in the aorist tense in context speaks of a once for all action in the past, an accomplished act, a completed new birth (indicative mood = it was a real event) at the time of our conversion when spiritual new life became a historical reality. This truth is a direct assault on the aberrant teaching that one can lose their "new birth"! How could we be "unbegat" or "unbirthed"?
As Hiebert rightly states…
There is an striking contrast in the two births James describes in this section, the first beginning with lust and ending in death (Jas 1:14-15), and the second beginning with light (Father of lights) and ending in life!
The UBS Handbook notes that…
In his Gospel, John teaches about the close association of light and life writing that…
Robertson comments that in context apekueo speaks of…
The 2 NT uses are both figurative, James 1:15 below personifying Sin as producing or bringing forth its vile offspring, death.
Apekueo in James 1:18 is in dramatic contrast to the only other NT use by James, for here we see God begets new life in sinners who are dead in their trespasses and sins.
John wrote that…
Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers explaining that…
Peter presents a similar begetting of believers initiated by the Word explaining to his readers that…
Peter went on to explain later in this same chapter…
John in a very important NT passage, also speaks of this new birth and it's radical effect on new creatures in Christ (2Cor 5:17) writing that…
Word (3056) (logos from lego = to speak with words; English = logic, logical) means something said and describes a communication whereby the mind finds expression in words. Although Lógos is most often translated word which Webster defines as "something that is said, a statement, an utterance", the Greek understanding of lógos is somewhat more complex. In Scripture Jesus is the Divine Logos (John 1:1). In this context James is referring to the living power of the living word (Heb 4:12-note; 1Pe 1:23) of Scripture to bring forth spiritual life in one who is spiritually dead (Eph 2:1-note). In that sense, the phrase word of truth speaks of the gospel for as Paul taught this word has the intrinsic power to bring about a new birth. Thus Paul wrote…
Word of truth (five times in NAS)
The Word or the Message marked by or characterized by truth (genitive as appositional) or a message which proclaims truth (genitive as objective). This is the divine means used in our regeneration. The word of truth is a direct reference to the Gospel (cf Col 1:5-note), a message that embodies the divine truth of God in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. As we proclaim the Gospel in the power of the Spirit, God's message effects regeneration in the hearts of those who hear and receive the truth. We see this pattern in the following cross references…
There is no substitute
Jameison agrees that word of truth is a synonym for…
Matthew Poole writes that…
Of truth (225) (aletheia from a = without + lêthô = that which is hidden or concealed, the combination meaning out in open) is the the unconcealed reality lying at the basis of and agreeing with an appearance; the manifested, the veritable essence of matter. It literally describes that which is contains nothing hidden.
Aletheia - 109x in the NT - Matt. 22:16; Mk. 5:33; 12:14, 32; Lk. 4:25; 20:21; 22:59; Jn. 1:14, 17; 3:21; 4:23f; 5:33; 8:32, 40, 44ff; 14:6, 17; 15:26; 16:7, 13; 17:17, 19; 18:37f; Acts 4:27; 10:34; 26:25; Rom. 1:18, 25; 2:2, 8, 20; 3:7; 9:1; 15:8; 1 Co. 5:8; 13:6; 2 Co. 4:2; 6:7; 7:14; 11:10; 12:6; 13:8; Gal. 2:5, 14; 5:7; Eph. 1:13; 4:21, 24f; 5:9; 6:14; Phil. 1:18; Col. 1:5f; 2Th 2:10, 12f; 1 Tim. 2:4, 7; 3:15; 4:3; 6:5; 2 Tim. 2:15, 18, 25; 3:7f; 4:4; Tit. 1:1, 14; Heb. 10:26; Jas. 1:18; 3:14; 5:19; 1 Pet. 1:22; 2 Pet. 1:12; 2:2; 1 Jn. 1:6, 8; 2:4, 21; 3:18f; 4:6; 5:6; 2 Jn. 1:1ff; 3 Jn. 1:1, 3f, 8, 12. The NAS renders aletheia as certainly(1), most certainly(1), rightly(1), truly(2), truth(104).
The basic understanding of aletheia is that it is the manifestation of a hidden reality. For example, when you are a witness in a trial, the attendant says "Raise your right hand. Do you swear that you will tell the truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?" And you say, "I do" and you sit down. The question is asking "Are you willing to come into this courtroom and manifest something that is hidden to us that only you know so that you will bear evidence to that?" And when you do speak the truth, you are manifesting a hidden reality.
Truth then is the correspondence between a reality and a declaration which professes to set it forth. To say it another way, words are true when they correspond with objective reality. Persons and things are true when they correspond with their profession. Hence a truth is a declaration which has corresponding reality, or a reality which is correctly set forth. Since God is Himself the great reality, that which correctly sets forth His nature is pre-eminently the Truth. Thus truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality as defined by God. Whatever God says is true and therefore is worthy of one's trust.
TDNT explains the origin of this word this way…
Paul uses the same phrase word of truth in his defense of his ministry so that it might not be discredited but that…
SO THAT WE WOULD BE A KIND OF FIRST FRUITS AMONG HIS CREATURES: eis to einai (PAN) hemas aparchen tina ton autou ktismaton: (Lev 23:10 Jer 2:3 Am 6:1 Heb 12:23 Rev 14:4 )
So that (1519)(eis) is a preposition that primarily conveys the idea of motion into something (most often translated "into" or "unto") but is used here to introduce the purpose of God's begetting us by His Word of truth.
Spurgeon - It is a very delightful idea that we are presented to God as “a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” There is a whole harvest behind us, as Paul also reminds us in Romans 8:19-21 : “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
Kind (5100)(tis) generally is translated some one or a certain one.
Vincent writes that in the present context tis is translated kind and serves to indicate "the figurative nature of the term (first fruits). The figure is taken from the requirement of the Jewish law that the first-born of men and cattle, and the first growth of fruits and grain should be consecrated to the Lord. The point of the illustration is that Christians, like first-fruits, should be consecrated to God."
Hiebert - God's regenerating work in believers looked forward to a glorious goal: "that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created." "That we might be" indicates purpose, but that does not imply that the purpose is as yet unrealized. The divine purpose that we should be His first fruits was fulfilled. The new birth that the readers, along with James, have experienced has given them the position and character as "first fruits." (James -- D. Edmond Hiebert) (Hiebert's Excellent Commentaries)
First fruits (536) (aparche from apó = away from + árchomai = to begin) (see also the discussion First Fruits, Christ - As OT Prophecy of His Resurrection) is first of all an OT technical term used to describe the first portion of a grain harvest or fruit harvest or the first portion of an animal offering, as from one's herd. The first fruits as will be discussed more below represented the first portion of an offering (grain or animal) or the firstborn male (Ex 13:12, 13, 14, 15, Nu 18:15, 16), all of which were to be set aside (considered holy) and considered as belonging specifically to the Lord. The first portion of the harvest was regarded both as a first installment and as a pledge of the final delivery of the whole and were offered to God in thanksgiving for His goodness in providing them.
In the present passage James uses aparche or first fruits much like Paul does in Ro 16:5 (note) to describe new converts, those who have been born again, regenerated by the Spirit, born from above by the Father of lights.
G M Burge explains that…
First fruits (see dictionary discussions) is related to the Jewish term that refers to that which is set apart to God before remainder could be used. Under the Mosaic Law Israel was to bring the first fruits of the grain to the LORD and in this act they were acknowledging that all produce was God's. The first fruits of a harvest of grain was an indication of a greater harvest to come.
FIRST-FRUITS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Below is a summarization of the OT teaching regarding first fruits…
Most of the NT uses of aparche are by Paul who utilizes the metaphor of first fruits in three ways in the NT:
(1) Of those who participate in the First Resurrection. (See notes on The Two Resurrections - "First" and "Second" - on a timeline) The use of aparche in this context speaks of the relationship between the resurrection of Christ and the subsequent resurrection of those who are in Christ by grace through faith (1Cor 15:20, 23). Christ’s resurrection is the “first fruit of those who have fallen asleep” (1Cor 15:20), and like the first fruits of the harvest, it is a taste and a guarantee of the full harvest of resurrection yet to come. (see also the discussion First Fruits, Christ - As OT Prophecy of His Resurrection)
(2) Of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is called first fruit in (Ro 8:23-note) (cf. Holy Spirit as a “downpayment” in 2Co 1:22; 5:5; see Eph 1:14-note), a foretaste of our supernatural life in the age to come.
(3) Of Converts. When Paul speaks of his first converts in a region, he calls them the “first fruits” (cf "first fruits of Achaia" in 1Co 16:15). Epaenetus ("praised") was the first convert (and predictive of a greater harvest to follow) from Asia who became part of Paul’s “offering of the Gentiles” to the Lord (see Ro 15:16-note).
There are 8 uses of aparche in NAS…
Romans 8:23 (note) And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
Romans 11:16 (note) And if the first piece (first fruit = Abraham who was holy or set apart by God) of dough be holy, the lump is also; and if the root be holy, the branches (Gentile converts, the see of Abraham) are too. (Comment: Paul used the metaphor of first fruits to explain how Gentile salvation had Jewish roots in Abraham.)
Romans 16:5 (note) also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia.
1 Corinthians 15:20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming (Comment: Christ's resurrection guarantees the resurrection of all believers. Christ is the firstfruits, the One Who starts it off, the One making a beginning, and thus the One giving promise that those who belong to Christ will also be raised at His future return.)
1 Corinthians 16:15 Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints),
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
James 1:18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures.
Revelation 14:4 (note) These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.
Here are the 57 uses of aparche in the Septuagint (LXX) (Ex 22:29; 23:19; 25:2, 3; 35:5; 36:6; 38:24; Lev 2:12; 22:12; 23:10; Nu 5:9; 15:20, 21; 18:8, 11, 12, 29, 30, 32; 31:29; Deut. 12:6, 11, 17; 18:4; 26:2, 10; 33:21; 1Sa 2:29; 10:4; 2Sa 1:21; 2Chr. 31:5, 10, 12, 14; Ezra 8:25; Neh. 10:37, 39; 12:44; 13:5; Ps 78:51; 105:36; Ezek. 20:31, 40; 44:30; 45:1, 6f, 13, 16; 48:8, 9, 10, 12, 18, 20, 21; Mal. 3:8)
First fruits of His creatures - This is a most precious description of believers as God's creatures, who are being singled out and separated from the rest of humanity. O, how I fear I take this truth too often, too much for granted. Forgive me Father.
Hiebert writes that…
Jamieson has an interesting thought commenting that…
Creatures (2938) (ktisma from ktízo = to create, form or found) describes that which is created. A created thing. A creature.
Ktisma - 4x in the NT - 1 Tim. 4:4; Jas. 1:18; Rev. 5:13; 8:9. The NAS renders ktisma as created(2), created thing(1), creatures(2).
It is slightly different than ktisis, creation. Ktisis stresses the work of the original formation of an object and represents something which has undergone a process of creation. Ktisma stresses the result of this work and represents something which is the product of creation.
TDNT has an interesting comment regarding this word group [ktizo, ktisis, ktisma, ktistes):
Steven Cole applies this section of James to how we handle trials and relates our handling of them to our knowledge of God's attributes writing that…