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James 1:18

    James 1:18 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Of his purpose he gave us being, by his true word, so that we might be, in a sense, the first-fruits of all the things which he had made.

    Webster's Revision

    Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

    World English Bible

    Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

    Definitions for James 1:18

    Begat - To bear; to bring forth.

    Clarke's Commentary on James 1:18

    Of his own will begat he us - God's will here is opposed to the lust of man, James 1:15; his truth, the means of human salvation, to the sinful means referred to in the above verse; and the new creatures, to the sin conceived and brought forth, as above. As the will of God is essentially good, all its productions must be good also; as it is infinitely pure, all its productions must be holy. The word or doctrine of truth, what St. Paul calls the word of the truth of the Gospel, Colossians 1:5, is the means which God uses to convert souls.

    A kind of first fruits - By creatures we are here to understand the Gentiles, and by first fruits the Jews, to whom the Gospel was first sent; and those of them that believed were the first fruits of that astonishing harvest which God has since reaped over the whole Gentile world. See the notes on Romans 8:19, etc. There is a remarkable saying in Philo on this subject, De Allegoris, lib. ii. p. 101: God begat Isaac, for he is the father of the perfect nature, σπειρων εν ταις ψυχαις, sowing seed in souls, and begetting happiness.

    Barnes' Notes on James 1:18

    Of his own will - Greek "willing." βουληθεὶς boulētheis. The idea is, that the fact that we are "begotten" to be his children is to be traced solely to his will. He purposed it, and it was done. The antecedent in the case on which all depended was the sovereign will of God. See this sentiment explained in the notes at John 1:13. Compare the notes at Ephesians 1:5. When it is said, however, that he has done this by his mere will, it is not to be inferred that there was no reason why it should be done, or that the exercise of his will was arbitrary, but only that his will determined the matter, and that is the cause of our conversion. It is not to be inferred that there are not in all cases good reasons why God wills as he does, though those reasons are not often stated to us, and perhaps we could not comprehend them if they were. The object of the statement here seems to be to direct the mind up to God as the source of good and not evil; and among the most eminent illustrations of his goodness is this, that by his mere will, without any external power to control him, and where there could be nothing but benevolence, he has adopted us into his family, and given us a most exalted condition, as renovated beings, among his creatures.

    Begat he us - The Greek word here is the same which in James 1:15 is rendered "bringeth forth," - "sin bringeth forth death." The word is perhaps designedly used here in contrast with that, and the object is to refer to a different kind of production, or bringing forth, under the agency of sin, and the agency of God. The meaning here is, that we owe the beginning of our spiritual life to God.

    With the word of truth - By the instrumentality of truth. It was not a mere creative act, but it was by truth as the seed or germ. There is no effect produced in our minds in regeneration which the truth is not fitted to produce, and the agency of God in the case is to secure its fair and full influence on the soul.

    That we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures - Compare Ephesians 1:12. For the meaning of the word rendered "first-fruits," see the note at Romans 8:23. Compare Romans 11:6; Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Corinthians 16:15; Revelation 14:4. It does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament It denotes, properly, that which is first taken from anything; the portion which was usually offered to God. The phrase here does not primarily denote eminence in honor or degree, but refers rather to time - the first in time; and in a secondary sense it is then used to denote the honor attached to that circumstance. The meaning here is, either.

    (1) that, under the gospel, those who were addressed by the apostles had the honor of being first called into his kingdom as a part of that glorious harvest which it was designed to gather in this world, and that the goodness of God was manifested in thus furnishing the first-fruits of a most glorious harvest; or,

    (2) the reference may be to the rank and dignity which all who are born again would have among the creatures of God in virtue of the new birth.

    Wesley's Notes on James 1:18

    1:18 Of his own will - Most loving, most free, most pure, just opposite to our evil desire, Jas 1:15. Begat he us - Who believe. By the word of truth - The true word, emphatically so termed; the gospel. That we might be a kind of first - fruits of his creatures - Christians are the chief and most excellent of his visible creatures; and sanctify the rest. Yet he says, A kind of - For Christ alone is absolutely the first - fruits.