Discontinued Yachtsman220 Bible Study Blog

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Astro Physics Lesson from James 1:17 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.


The following information is a batch of 4 block quotes relating to a unique series of words in James 1:17. The science of astronomy had not yet emerged when this was written. The movements of the sun, moon, planets, and stars had not been understood well enough to build a planetarium that could simulate those movements.
https://www.azscience.org/attractions/dorrance-planetarium/Imagine a gift coming down from the Father of Lights. Read on and you will know a little more about the four words translated "nor shadow of turning."
16 (WuestNT) Stop being deceived, my brethren, beloved ones. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the lights, with whom there can be no variableness nor shadow which is cast by the motion of turning. In accordance with His deliberate purpose He brought us into being by means of the word of truth, resulting in our being a kind of first fruits of His creatures.[1]



The Complete Word Study Dictionary τροπή [See Stg: <G5157>] tropé; gen. tropés, fem. noun from trépō (n.f., see anatrépō <G396>), to turn. A turning, turning back as of the heavenly bodies in their courses (James 1:17; Sept.: Deut. 33:14; Job 38:33). [2]






Variation (parallagē). Old word from parallassō, to make things alternate, here only in N.T. In Aristeas in sense of alternate stones in pavements. Dio Cassius has parallaxis 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 (tropēs aposkiasma). Tropē is an old word for "turning" (from trepō to turn), here only in N.T. Aposkiasma is a late and rare word (aposkiasmos in Plutarch) from aposkiazō (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 (aposkiazō 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 hē tropēs aposkiasmatos (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.[3]
TURNING
trope (τροπή, 5157), used especially of the revolution of the heavenly orbs (akin to trepo, “to turn”), occurs in Jas. 1:17, “(neither shadow) that is cast by turning,” RV (KJV, “of turning”). For a more detailed treatment of the passage, see SHADOW, No. 2.¶[4]

In conclusion The Father of the lights gives every good and every perfect gift, and He has the attribute of being without variableness like the sun, moon, planets and stars, those lights we can observe from earth. This is a good thing, it is re-assuring. I found out about this when reading James chapter 1 out of WuestNT, which was more specific about it than most of the other translations I had read.
Appendix Bibliography
[1] (WuestNT) Wuest, K. S. (1961). The New Testament: an expanded translation. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.




[2]THE COMPLETE WORD STUDY DICTIONARY: NEW TESTAMENT Based on the lexicon of Edward Robinson (as revised by Alexander Negris and John Duncan), with constant reference to and citations from the works of John Parkhurst and Hermann Cremer. Greek words in the text are transliterated and coded throughout according to the numbering system found in James Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. General Editor Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D. Managing Editor Warren Baker, D.R.E. Associate Editor Rev. George Hadjiantoniou, Ph.D. Copyrights The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament Copyright © 1992 By AMG International, Inc. Revised edition, 1993. All rights reserved. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. Electronic Edition STEP Files Copyright © 2005, QuickVerse. All rights reserved. The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament.
[3] Robertson, A.M., D.D., LL.D., Litt. D., Archibald Thomas. Word Pictures in the New Testament.. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1930. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.




[4]Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Vol. 2, p. 647). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

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