unfoldingWord® Translation Notes https://www.unfoldingword.org/utn/
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Every good gift and every perfect gift

These two phrases mean basically the same thing. James uses them to emphasize that anything good that a person has comes from God. (See: rc://en/ta/man/translate/figs-doublet)

the Father of lights

God, the creator of all the lights in the sky (sun, moon, and stars), is said to be their “Father.” (See: rc://en/ta/man/translate/figs-metaphor)

With him there is no changing or shadow because of turning

This expression pictures God as an unchanging light, like the sun, moon, planets, and stars in the sky. This is in contrast to shadows here on earth that constantly change. AT: “God does not change. He is as as constant as the sun, moon, and stars in the sky, rather than like shadows which appear and disappear on earth” (See: rc://en/ta/man/translate/figs-simile)

to give us

The word “us” refers to James and his audience. (See: rc://en/ta/man/translate/figs-inclusive)

give us birth

God, who brought us eternal life, is spoken of as if he had given us birth. (See: rc://en/ta/man/translate/figs-metaphor)

the word of truth

The true message of God. This is spoken of as if it were the means by which God “gave us birth.” (See: rc://en/ta/man/translate/figs-metaphor) (See: rc://en/ta/man/translate/figs-synecdoche)

a kind of firstfruits

James is using the traditional Hebrew idea of firstfruits as a way to describe the value of the Christian believers to God. He implies that there will be many more believers in the future. AT: “a kind of first offering to be made to God in the great celebration of harvest”(See: rc://en/ta/man/translate/figs-simile)


  • rc://en/tw/dict/bible/kt/gift
  • rc://en/tw/dict/bible/kt/godthefather
  • rc://en/tw/dict/bible/kt/wordofgod
  • rc://en/tw/dict/bible/other/firstfruit