Father of Lights (James 1: 17)

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Father of Lights (James 1: 17). In (James 1: 17), we read, “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.”

There are different understandings of what this Scripture means, and I don’t pretend to be the authority on it. At the same time, I believe Scripture, itself reveals some of the meaning.

The word translated “Father” is “pater”, which menas father or parent. In Scripture, “pater” is also used to mean “generator” or “originator” or transmitter of anything.”

The word “light” is translated from the word “phos”which is from another word meaning “to shine or make manifest especially by rays”. In Scripture, “phos” is sometimes metaphorically used to refer to truth and its knowledge, together with the spiritual purity associated with it (Source: BlueLetterBible.org).

In (Genesis 1:3), we see that God’s first recorded words were, “Let there be light,” referring to the light of day or daylight. Then in verse 14 of that chapter, God says, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens….”, referring to luminary bodies and used of the sun and moon.

These are natural, physical ‘lights’ (coming from a different Hebrew root word). But there also seems to be a spiritual meaning in “Father of lights.”

Consider, for example, Psalm 119: 130 “The entrance of thy (God’s) words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple.” The word translated “light” here is “owr”, which means to be or become light or become bright. It’s used sometimes of the eyes of a faint person when he begins to recover (Source: Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon).

Also, consider the prophecy in Isaiah 9:2 “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Matthew 4:16 repeats this promise, nothing its fulfillment in Jesus.

In Luke 2:32, we see Simeon lay eyes on Jesus as a child and say to the Lord, “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel”.

And John 1:1-5 says, “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God …. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all makind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Jesus is revealed in Scripture as light and God as the Father of lights. God’s heart is to bring light into our darkness. Psalm 119: 105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” And Colossians 1:13 says that God has delivered us out of the control and dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.

We can choose to live in darkness, but the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that we don’t have to, because we can choose to serve the Father of Lights who brings light into our darkness.

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