1:18. "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
James is referring to the New Birth, that is, being born anew of the Spirit and Word of God (John 3:3-7
; Ephesians 5:26
; 1 Peter 1:23
Of his own will. This phrase translates the Greek word boulethei
denoting that the new birth or regeneration is a present reality and not a pipe dream or wish that takes place at some future time as some cults erroneously teach. The Greek word denotes that this is an active expression of God's will. James put this phrase at the beginning of the sentence to emphasize to his readers that the sovereign will of God is the source of our new life in Christ.
Begat he us. This is better rendered as "he brought us forth" as in the NASB and others and refers to the new birth as mentioned previously.
Word of truth. This is the Word of God (John 17:17
). We are regenerated or born anew by the Holy Ghost through the power of the Word of God.
Firstfruits. This is an Old Testament expression that refers to the first and best harvest crops which God required as an offering (Exodus 23:19
; Leviticus 23:9-14
; Deuteronomy 26:1-19
). Christians are the first evidence of the new creation that is to come (2Peter 3:10-13
) and which we enjoy presently in the new life in Christ which is but a foretaste of the glory to come.
Pastor Jack Howell
"Some bring God's curse on them by marking off part of the Bible, calling it erroneous, uninspired, less than the very Word of God."
- Dr. John R. Rice
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God to salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
Proper Principles of Bible Study