“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Explanation and Commentary of James 1:17
God is the giver of anything that is good. There is more good than most people realize. James has been discoursing on trials, and even these are good and perfect gifts. Everything that we have is a gift from God, undeserved. After salvation and adoption, every gift from God is a bonus.
Every situation, no matter how difficult, is a gift designed to bring us good in both this life and the next. Those who do not understand this will run the risk of seeing God as one who changes. They think that one day God is good and blessing them with pleasant gifts. The next he is either unaware of what satan is doing, or he is powerless, or just not good anymore. But this is a deception. The Father of the heavenly lights does not change. He has been good and perfect from eternity past. He is good and perfect today. He will be good and perfect tomorrow, along with everything that he does, and everything that he gives.
This is meant to be a great encouragement and will lead to a muscular faith that can handle the trials of life. God never changes. He is good all the time, and all the time he is good.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of James 1:17
#1 “Every good and perfect gift is from above,”
It is true that Satan has a kind of authority on earth in the current age to cause trouble (Jn 12:31). But it is equally true that Satan is on a leash held by God (Job 1-2). We would tell Satan what Joseph told his brothers, “What you intended for evil, God meant for good” (Gen 50:20). No good and pleasant thing comes from any place other than God. Even when we work hard for something, we would be right to thank God for blessing the fruit of our labors. As well, no hard thing should be considered anything less than a perfect gift from God for our good for us to respond properly and faithfully. In this way, we will grow to be like Him.
#2 “coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
The heavenly lights burn bright all the time. The Sun burns hot and bright, but daily is hidden from our view by the shifting shadows of the rotation of the earth. Our perspective gets shadowed, but the reality is unchanged. The sun continues to burn bright and hot. Like the heavenly lights, no matter what your perspective is of the goodness of God or his gifts, both pleasant and painful, God is burning bright and hot in His goodness, holiness, perfection, and loving fatherly attitude towards His children, who He never ceases raising up into the likeness of His beloved Son.
Bible Study with Commentary on James 1:17
Sermon on James 1:17
An 8 Minute Expert Overview of the Letter of James
Four Examples of Good Gifts from God.
Wisdom is one of the perfect gifts that God can give to man. There are many examples of people that asked for this gift. The most popular of them is King Solomon. He was young when he became a King, and he needed the wisdom to be able to rule well.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
2. The Fruits of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
The fruits of the spirit are not things that we build by ourselves or have the power to manifest. They come as a gift. Having joy, for example, is a gift. Joy is in the presence of God. This means for one to have these gifts, one must get closer to God. The gift that brings the fruit of the Spirit will be the next example of a gift from God.
3. Gift of Salvation.
This is the greatest gift than a man can ever get from God. It’s a gift of freedom from the chains and darkness. It is a gift that gives an escape from death.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
We cannot boast that we are saved by our powers, we have no power to save ourselves from sin and hell – salvation is from God as a gift through Christ. Gift of salvation then brings the next gift.
4. Gift of eternal life.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Jesus is a gift from God and has given us the gift of eternal life.
Biblical Translations of James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
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.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.