James 1:17

Gift (dosi) --boon (dwrhma). Both old substantives from the same original verb (didwmi), to give. Dosi is the act of giving (ending -si), but sometimes by metonymy for the thing given like ktisi for ktisma ( Colossians 1:15 ). But dwrhma (from dwrew, from dwron a gift) only means a gift, a benefaction ( Romans 5:16 ). The contrast here argues for "giving" as the idea in dosi. Curiously enough there is a perfect hexameter line here: pasa do / si aga / qh kai / pan dw / rhma te / leion. Such accidental rhythm occurs occasionally in many writers. Ropes (like Ewald and Mayor) argues for a quotation from an unknown source because of the poetical word dwrhma, but that is not conclusive. From above (anwqen). That is, from heaven. Cf. John 3:31 ; John 19:11 . Coming down (katabainon). Present active neuter singular participle of katabainw agreeing with dwrhma, expanding and explaining anwqen (from above). From the Father of lights (apo tou patro twn pwtwn). "Of the lights" (the heavenly bodies). For this use of pathr see Job 38:28 (Father of rain); 2 Corinthians 1:3 ; Ephesians 1:17 . God is the Author of light and lights. With whom (par wi). For para (beside) with locative sense for standpoint of God see para twi qewi ( Mark 10:27 ; Romans 2:11 ; Romans 9:14 ; Ephesians 6:9 . Can be no (ouk eni). This old idiom (also in Galatians 3:28 ; Colossians 3:11 ) may be merely the original form of en with recessive accent (Winer, Mayor) or a shortened form of enesti. The use of eni en in 1 Corinthians 6:5 argues for this view, as does the use of eine (einai) in Modern Greek (Robertson, Grammar, p. 313). Variation (parallagh). Old word from parallassw, to make things alternate, here only in N.T. In Aristeas in sense of alternate stones in pavements. Dio Cassius has parallaxi without reference to the modern astronomical parallax, though James here is comparing God (Father of the lights) to the sun ( Malachi 4:2 ), which does have periodic variations. Shadow that is cast by turning (troph aposkiasma). Troph is an old word for "turning" (from trepw to turn), here only in N.T. Aposkiasma is a late and rare word (aposkiasmo in Plutarch) from aposkiazw (apo, skia) a shade cast by one object on another. It is not clear what the precise metaphor is, whether the shadow thrown on the dial (aposkiazw in Plato) or the borrowed light of the moon lost to us as it goes behind the earth. In fact, the text is by no means certain, for Aleph B papyrus of fourth century actually read h troph aposkiasmato (the variation of the turning of the shadow). Ropes argues strongly for this reading, and rather convincingly. At any rate there is no such periodic variation in God like that we see in the heavenly bodies.