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James 1:17 Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.

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James 1:17 >

      17. gift . . . gift--not the same words in Greek: the first, the act of giving, or the gift in its initiatory stage; the second, the thing given, the boon, when perfected. As the "good gift" stands in contrast to "sin" in its initiatory stage (Jas 1:15), so the "perfect boon" is in contrast to "sin when it is finished," bringing forth death (2Pe 1:3).
      from above--(Compare Jas 3:15).
      Father of lights--Creator of the lights in heaven (compare Job 38:28 [ALFORD]; Ge 4:20, 21; Heb 12:9). This accords with the reference to the changes in the light of the heavenly bodies alluded to in the end of the verse. Also, Father of the spiritual lights in the kingdom of grace and glory [BENGEL]. These were typified by the supernatural lights on the breastplate of the high priest, the Urim. As "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" (1Jo 1:5), He cannot in any way be the Author of sin (Jas 1:13), which is darkness (Joh 3:19).
      no variableness . . . shadow of turning-- (Mal 3:6). None of the alternations of light and shadow which the physical "lights" undergo, and which even the spiritual lights are liable to, as compared with God. "Shadow of turning," literally, the dark "shadow-mark" cast from one of the heavenly bodies, arising from its "turning" or revolution, for example, when the moon is eclipsed by the shadow of the earth, and the sun by the body of the moon. BENGEL makes a climax, "no variation--not even the shadow of a turning"; the former denoting a change in the understanding; the latter, in the will.

JFB.


Questions Related to this Verse

Where in Scripture does it talk about blessings from God?

Where in Scripture does it talk about the gifts and blessings of God both now and in heaven?

Where in scripture does it mention that God is a father?

Where in Scripture does it mention that God is good?

Where in Scripture does it mention that God never changes?

Where in Scripture does it talk about God being perfect in wisdom?

Where in scripture does it talk about eternal punishment?

Where in Scripture does it say that God is immutable and never changes?

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James Images and Notes

The Book of James

James 1:22-25 - But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

James 4:17 - Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin.

James in The New Testament - A Brief Overview

Icon of St. James the Just
Icon of St. James the Just

Introduction to The Book of James

Brief Summary. The epistle of James has a clear focus on the necessity of Christian works, and this is in contrast but not in conflict with the doctrine of justification by faith set forth by the apostle Paul. The heart of the book of James takes one back to the time of Abraham, who believed first before any works, and he was justified before God. This is because God knew his heart and saw him through his omniscient eyes. Since man cannot see into of other men's hearts, he can only see the true faith of an individual by his works. To James Christian works do not make a man saved, but is the true test that a genuine Christian has already received salvation. Some of the points that James brings up is hearing the word of God and not doing the word of God, loving worldly possessions more than giving, not restraining the tongue, not trusting in God's providence, partiality toward the rich and contempt for the poor, and other attitudes and actions which would not be in harmony with a "pure and undefiled religion."

Summary of The Book of James

Author. The author of this epistle identifies himself as "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ." Most scholars agree that the book of James was written by James the Just, brother of our Lord (Matt. 13:55; Gal. 1:9), and leader of the mother Church at Jerusalem (Gal. 2:9). He is the same James to whom Jesus appeared, according to the words of Paul, and who made the speech at the Jerusalem council admitting Gentiles into the Church. James acted as president of the conference on circumcision (Acts 15:18; Acts 12:17; 21:18). Paul called him one of the "pillars of the Church." Josephus spoke of James as a man of "preeminent justice."

Date. There is no doubt that the book of James was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, but there is no way to be certain exactly when the book of James was written. The Epistle was written from Jerusalem, probably about 61 AD.

Audience. James addresses his book, "to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad," which indicates that he was writing from Jerusalem to the Jews of the "dispersion" and  "my brethren," indicates that these were Jewish Christians living away from Jerusalem.

Outline of the Book of James

Faith Tested by Trials - Chapter 1
Faith Shown by Works - Chapter 2
Faith Proven by Conduct - Chapters 3-4
With Faith Comes Persecution - Chapter 5

 

Jesus written in Hebrew
The Name Jesus In Ancient Hebrew Text
"Yeshua" in First Century Hebrew Text. This is how the name "Jesus" would have been written in ancient Hebrew documents. The four letters or consonants from right to left are Yod, Shin, Vav, Ayin (Y, SH, OO, A). Jesus is the Greek name for the Hebrew name Joshua or Y'shua which means "The LORD or Yahweh is Salvation".

James Maps and Resources

Map of the Roman Empire (14 A.D.) - This map reveals the Roman Empire during the time shortly after the birth of Jesus, in 14 AD at the time of the death of Augustus. The order which prevailed in this extensive empire, the good military roads, and the use of Koine Greek as the general language of culture throughout the area were among the factors which multiplied the rapid spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's First Missionary Journey (48 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia Minor where Paul visited in his first missionary journey. Around 48 AD, in the springtime, Paul and his companions Barnabas and Mark were sent on a mission from the church in Antioch. This would be the first of Paul's Missionary Journey's. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's Second Missionary Journey (51 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia and Greece where Paul visited in his second missionary journey. Paul re-visits a couple cities in Asia, one of which was Lystra where he was stoned and left for dead a few years earlier. He later has a vision that leads him over to Greece and Paul and his companions travel and minister in various cities in Greece (Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens and Corinth. Later Paul returns to Ephesus and finally to Caesarea and Antioch. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's Third Missionary Journey (54 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia and Greece where Paul visited in his third missionary journey. On Paul's third missionary journey he returned to the cities he had first visited on his first missionary journey. During this time he decided to remain in Ephesus for about 3 years, and this city was the main focus of his activities and an important Christian community (Acts 19). (Color Map)

Map of the New Testament World - This map reveals the "Nations" within the ancient world during the first century A.D., the time of the New Testament. The map includes the areas of Israel, Asia, Greece, and Italy. (Color Map)

Map of New Testament Greece This map reveals the cities within Greece in the ancient world during the first century A.D.,The map includes the principal cities of Greece like: Athens, Corinth, and Thessalonica, and provinces like Macedonia and Achaia. (Color Map)

Map of New Testament Asia - This map shows the cities within Asia Minor during the first century A.D., the time of the New Testament. The map includes the principal cities of Asia including Tarsus, Ephesus, and Colossae, and provinces like Galatia and Pamphilia. (Color Map)