James 1:17

Read Introduction to James


“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning”
James now shifts gears and moves from evil to good, from the source of lust to God’s provisions for us. God is a giving God.
Every good gift
The word “gift” denotes the act of giving. The emphasis is on the Giver. God is the Author of each and every good gift. He never solicits us to do evil; He always does good. He always gives on the basis of His character. He does not stop giving to us just because we fail Him.
God gives to us on the basis of His character and not on the basis of our character. God never gives us anything on the basis of who and what we are. God does not bless us because we tithe, witness or pray. We never earn or deserve anything from God.
The word “good” means good of intrinsic value. God’s gifts to us are good because they come from His character and not from our performance. Because God is God, His gifts never lose their intrinsic value. God does not stop giving to us when we fail Him. To insinuate that God is not good or generous is to misrepresent who He is.
and every perfect gift
This second word for “gift” is different from the previous word for “gift.”It refers to the thing given, rather than the act of giving. This is a gift granted as bounty, benefaction. The first word for “gift” emphasizes the donation while the second word for “gift” emphasizes God’s generosity in giving to us. God is both the Giver and a generous source of “good” gifts. The word “every” emphasizes the all-inclusive nature of God propensity to give. Everything that God gives, whether it is spiritual, physical or social, is “perfect.”
is from above,
We do not merit God’s gifts. He gives His gifts “from above” as an act of His grace. The source of our gifts is in the person of God.
and comes down from the Father of lights,
“The Father of lights” is a reference to God as Creator of the heavenly luminaries, the sun, moon and stars.
God is bountiful in His giving to us.
God never lets us down. We fail Him but He never fails us. None of us deserves the right to live on the face of this earth. We deserve death and Hell. The only reason God allows us to walk on this earth is because of His grace. He never charges us for anything. We do not pay Him for the sunshine we enjoy.
“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
“For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7)
Some people have a high IQ. They did not give themselves this ability. God gave them the mental capacity. Everything that we have is “from God.” We love to take the credit for who we are and what we do. When we stop to think, we remember we operate by God’s unadulterated grace. Any prosperity that we possess came from God.

17 Responses to “James 1:17”

  • Thank you for your amazing commentary. I am so happy to have finally found one I enjoy reading. Bless you

  • Brooke, Thank you as well for your blessing.

  • I am trying to put together a council time lesson for AWANA based on this verse. The kids are K-2nd grade. I got lots of good ideas from this article.
    Thank you

  • Becky, I am just back from India. I am blessed that you received help from this passage.

  • I have so blessed to read this detailed bible verse for my quiet time,am full with new knowledge.
    Thank u grant.

  • i cant help not to cry, my Father is soooooooooooo generous, even His Son Jesus Christ give to us. How great is our Lord of lords, King of all kings. thank you so much, no one can fathom the greatnes of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless everyone

  • I have tarried on this verse for a while now and this is the best commentary so far. Believing God for something and to live in the awareness that His giving is good and perfect is so liberating. I can't wait to receive.
    Simply Humbled.

  • I'm totally with you until you state that "we deserve death and hell." I don't think a loving God would want us to deserve death and hell. When he created man, he found us to be very, very good.

  • "None of us deserves the right to live on the face of this earth."? God wanted us to be here and put us here. It was his will that we're here, so I think we most certainly do deserve the right to be here.

  • Bill, before the fall what you say is true but after the fall man is totally depraved (Romans 1-3). Total depravity does not mean that a person is totally immoral necessarily but that man lost his relation to God completely–"all sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Ro 3:23) and there "is none righteous, no not one" (Ro 3:10) [that is, in relation to God; in relation to man some men are more moral than others but all come short of God's glory]. That is why none of us deserve heaven but all deserve hell. We cannot get to heaven by anything we deserve but only on the merit of Christ. That is why later in Ro 3 and on to Ro 4-5 the argument is we are "declared, caused righteous." The Greek for for justify is to cause to be righteous. In other words, man cannot merit anything before God but we receive the merit of Christ. Hope this helps.

  • Why is there no commentary on "with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning"?  This is not something that is talked about as a central theme through out the bible (i.e. giving and gifts).  Would like to hear some simple explanation and some "application".

  • Tyrone, all you have to do is advance to 1:17b

  • Blessings Grant,

    The commentary was inspirationl and delivered in manner easy to follow. 

    I found the exchanges with other readers both inspirational and educational.

    Thank You!


  • Thank you for the commentary/ explanation. I'm really trying not only to read more but to actually understand in its fullness what message the scripture is conveying.. This website comes as a great help in helping me understand. 

  • excellent commentary

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