James 1:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

James 1:18, NIV: "He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created."

James 1:18, ESV: "Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."

James 1:18, KJV: "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."

James 1:18, NASB: "In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures."

James 1:18, NLT: "He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession."

James 1:18, CSB: "By his own choice, he gave us birth by the word of truth so that we would be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."

What does James 1:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous verses, James urged Christians to tell themselves the truth about who God is. He cares for them, even when—especially when—the trials come. God is the giver of every good thing in our lives. He is the unchanging source of any good we have ever had, have now, or will ever experience in the future.

Now James completes that thought with an example of one of God's greatest good gifts to us. God gave us new life in Christ. That's an essential truth, but also something easy to take for granted. It's a necessary thought to hold on to in the middle of trials. Specifically, God brought us forth—or gave us birth—by His own will. He wanted to! God has cared about us from the beginning.

James writes that God gave us birth by the Word of truth. Maybe James uses the "Word of truth" to refer to Christ as the means by which He saved us. He may also be referring to God's act of creation, bringing us to life as He brought the world to life with a word. In either case, we Christians are the "firstfruits" of His creation, likely meaning we have standing above all the rest of what He has made.

What more evidence do we need that our God is good and loving and powerful and faithful to us? No matter how dark our circumstances in the moment, nothing can change the enormous good gift that God has given to us in Christ.