1 Peter 1:23
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and stays for ever.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) Being born again.—Rather, Having been begotten again. It is not part of the exhortation, as though they had still to be thus begotten, but assigns the moral grounds for the exhortation. It is logically parallel with “seeing ye have purified,” and might be rendered, seeing that ye have been begotten again. For the meaning of the word, refer back to 1Peter 1:3.

Not of corruptible seed.—That is, not of the seed of Abraham, but of the seed of God. This is the argument: “You must learn not to be selfish, or arrogant, as being of the chosen race, but to have a true brotherly feeling and earnest love for the Gentile converts, and for those who, like St. Paul, are specially working for the Gentiles, because your inheritance of the promised ‘salvation’ is grounded, not on your Abrahamic descent, but on your spiritual regeneration, in which matter the Gentile converts are your equals.” That this was the doctrine of St. Peter is certain from his speech at the Council of Jerusalem, “God put no difference between us and them, having purified their hearts by faith;” and again, “It is only through the favour of the Lord Jesus that we hope to be saved, in precisely the same manner as they” (Acts 15:9; Acts 15:11). (Comp., for the argument, 1John 5:1.)

By the word of God.—“Seed,” in the beginning of the clause, is more literally the act of sowing, or engendering, which sowing is carried on “through the living and abiding word of God,” this “word of God” being the actual seed sown. The “seed” of all existence is the spoken Word of God, the expressed will and meaning of creative thought (Psalm 33:6); and so here, even when spoken mediately, through the lips of men (as explained in 1Peter 1:25), it is that which begets men afresh. God creates afresh, though men speak the creative word for Him, just as “it is He that hath made us,” although He does so through natural laws and human powers. The “Word of God” here is, no doubt, the preaching of the gospel, but especially, as it would seem, the preaching of the Resurrection (1Peter 1:3), or of the sufferings and glories of Messiah (1Peter 1:12), the “truth” of the last verse. The part taken by “the Word” in the sacrament of regeneration may be seen again in Ephesians 5:26 and James 1:18; in connection with the other sacrament we may also refer to John 6:63. “Incorruptible” (i.e., imperishable; see 1Peter 1:4; 1Peter 1:18) finds a more energetic paraphrase here in “living and abiding” (the words “for ever” not being part of the true text). The former epithet is a favourite with St. Peter (1Peter 1:3, 1Peter 2:4-5), and is perhaps borrowed from this place by the author to the Hebrews, in connection with the “word of God” (Hebrews 4:12). The epithets serve to prepare the way for the quotation.

1:17-25 Holy confidence in God as a Father, and awful fear of him as a Judge, agree together; and to regard God always as a Judge, makes him dear to us as a Father. If believers do evil, God will visit them with corrections. Then, let Christians not doubt God's faithfulness to his promises, nor give way to enslaving dread of his wrath, but let them reverence his holiness. The fearless professor is defenceless, and Satan takes him captive at his will; the desponding professor has no heart to avail himself of his advantages, and is easily brought to surrender. The price paid for man's redemption was the precious blood of Christ. Not only openly wicked, but unprofitable conversation is highly dangerous, though it may plead custom. It is folly to resolve, I will live and die in such a way, because my forefathers did so. God had purposes of special favour toward his people, long before he made manifest such grace unto them. But the clearness of light, the supports of faith, the power of ordinances, are all much greater since Christ came upon earth, than they were before. The comfort is, that being by faith made one with Christ, his present glory is an assurance that where he is we shall be also, Joh 14:3. The soul must be purified, before it can give up its own desires and indulgences. And the word of God planted in the heart by the Holy Ghost, is a means of spiritual life, stirring up to our duty, working a total change in the dispositions and affections of the soul, till it brings to eternal life. In contrast with the excellence of the renewed spiritual man, as born again, observe the vanity of the natural man. In his life, and in his fall, he is like grass, the flower of grass, which soon withers and dies away. We should hear, and thus receive and love, the holy, living word, and rather hazard all than lose it; and we must banish all other things from the place due to it. We should lodge it in our hearts as our only treasures here, and the certain pledge of the treasure of glory laid up for believers in heaven.Being born again - See the notes at John 3:3.

Not of corruptible seed - "Not by virtue of any descent from human parents" - Doddridge. The result of such a birth, or of being begotten in this way - for so the word rendered "born again" more properly signifies - is only corruption and decay. We are begotten only to die. There is no permanent, enduring life produced by that. It is in this sense that this is spoken of as, "corruptible seed," because it results in decay and death. The word here rendered "seed" - σπορά spora - occurs nowhere else in the New Testament.

But of incorruptible - By truth, communicating a living principle to the soul which can never decay. Compare 1 John 3:9; "His seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."

By the word of God - See the note at James 1:18; "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures." Compare the notes at John 1:13. It is the uniform doctrine of the Scriptures that divine truth is made the instrument of quickening the soul into spiritual life.

Which liveth and abideth forever - This expression may either refer to God, as living forever, or to the word of God, as being forever true. Critics are about equally divided in the interpretation. The Greek will bear either construction. Most of the recent critics incline to the latter opinion - that it refers to the word of God, or to his doctrine. So Rosenmuller, Doddridge, Bloomfield, Wolf, Macknight, Clarke. It seems to me, however, that the more natural construction of the Greek is to refer it to God, as ever-living or enduring; and this interpretation agrees well with the connection. The idea then is, that as God is ever-living, that which is produced directly by him in the human soul, by the instrumentality of truth, may be expected also to endure forever. It will not be like the offspring of human parents, themselves mortal, liable to early and certain decay, but may be expected to be as enduring as its ever-living Creator.

23. Christian brotherhood flows from our new birth of an imperishable seed, the abiding word of God. This is the consideration urged here to lead us to exercise brotherly love. As natural relationship gives rise to natural affection, so spiritual relationship gives rise to spiritual, and therefore abiding love, even as the seed from which it springs is abiding, not transitory as earthly things.

of … of … by—"The word of God" is not the material of the spiritual new birth, but its mean or medium. By means of the word the man receives the incorruptible seed of the Holy Spirit, and so becomes one "born again": Joh 3:3-5, "born of water and the Spirit": as there is but one Greek article to the two nouns, the close connection of the sign and the grace, or new birth signified is implied. The word is the remote and anterior instrument; baptism, the proximate and sacramental instrument. The word is the instrument in relation to the individual; baptism, in relation to the Church as a society (Jas 1:18). We are born again of the Spirit, yet not without the use of means, but by the word of God. The word is not the beggeting principle itself, but only that by which it works: the vehicle of the mysterious germinating power [Alford].

which liveth and abideth for ever—It is because the Spirit of God accompanies it that the word carries in it the germ of life. They who are so born again live and abide for ever, in contrast to those who sow to the flesh. "The Gospel bears incorruptible fruits, not dead works, because it is itself incorruptible" [Bengel]. The word is an eternal divine power. For though the voice or speech vanishes, there still remains the kernel, the truth comprehended in the voice. This sinks into the heart and is living; yea, it is God Himself. So God to Moses, Ex 4:12, "I will be with thy mouth" [Luther]. The life is in God, yet it is communicated to us through the word. "The Gospel shall never cease, though its ministry shall" [Calovius]. The abiding resurrection glory is always connected with our regeneration by the Spirit. Regeneration beginning with renewing man's soul at the resurrection, passes on to the body, then to the whole world of nature.

Being born again: this may refer either:

1. To the general exhortation to holiness, 1 Peter 1:14,15, and then the argument runs thus: Ye are in your regeneration become the children of God, and therefore ought to walk holily as become his children. Or:

2. To the more particular exhortation to brotherly love, 1 Peter 1:22: q.d. You are by your regeneration become spiritual brethren, and therefore ought to live like brethren.

Not of corruptible seed; which is itself corrupted ere any thing can be generated out of it, or out of which nothing is begotten but what is corruptible; so that all such generations tend but to a mortal life.

But of incorruptible; so the word is said to be, because containing still the same, and being immutable in itself, it changes and renews the hearts of those that by faith receive it. Or: it may be understood of its being incorruptible effectively, because it leads, or tends, to an immortal life.

The word of God; the same which he called incorruptible seed, which is the instrument in regeneration, as is implied in the preposition, by, going before it.

Which liveth; this and the following verb may be joined, either:

1. To God, the word of God, who liveth, &c.; or rather:

2. To the word, so our translation reads it, which word liveth, and abideth, &c.; and this agrees best with the testimony of Isaiah in the next verse.

The word of God is said to be a living word, because it enliveneth the hearts of those that entertain it. Being born again,.... As they were of God, according to his abundant mercy, by the resurrection of Christ, to a lively hope of a glorious inheritance; as in 1 Peter 1:3 and therefore seeing they were brethren in a spiritual relation, they ought to love as brethren; being children of the same Father, belonging to the same family and household, having the same spirit, and the same nature and disposition, and being members one of another, and heirs of the same grace and glory; and not only so, but were taught of God their Father, in regeneration, to love one another: it became them highly, therefore, to exercise that grace, and particularly since they were born,

not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible; referring not to seed cast into the earth, which first corrupts and dies, and then is quickened, and rises, and brings forth fruit; but to human seed, and which the Jews call , "the filthy drop" (k); which is in itself corrupt, and is corrupted, and whereby the corruption of human nature is propagated; for whatsoever is born of the flesh is carnal and corrupt; and so the apostle has reference to the first birth, or natural generation of men, in which they are polluted and depraved, and confirms what the evangelist says, John 1:13 that regenerate persons are not "born of blood"; or become new creatures, and holy men, by their natural descent, or first birth, be it from whom it will; for all men are of one blood originally, and that is tainted with sin; nor by the will of fallen creatures, of corruptible men, themselves or others; but of water, and of the Spirit, of the grace of the Spirit of God, which is seed pure and incorruptible, having no mixture or taint of sin, nor any degree of pollution in it, and which remains so; nor can it be corrupted by all the wickedness there is in man's heart; nor by all the pollutions of the world, or temptations of Satan; and this seed is conveyed into the heart by the Spirit of God, in regeneration, and it contains all grace in it,

by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever; for the incorruptible seed, and the ever living and abiding word, are two distinct things; though interpreters generally confound them: and by "the word of God" is either meant the essential Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; who is concerned in regeneration as well as the Father and the Spirit; by whose resurrection, and in consequence of it, the elect of God are begotten again; and who, as the Word, is able to build up all the sanctified ones, and give them the inheritance they are born heirs unto: or the Gospel, the word of truth, which is made use of as a means of begetting souls again; and the rather, since it seems to be so interpreted, 1 Peter 1:25 the phrases, "which liveth and abideth forever", may be either read in connection only with "God", and as descriptive of him, who is the living God, is from everlasting to everlasting, in distinction from idols; and here added, to show that he can give power and efficacy to his word, to regenerate and quicken, and will continue to preserve and make it useful to all his saving purposes; so Jarchi explains the passage in Isaiah 40:8 after referred to, "the word of our God shall stand for ever",

"because he lives and abides, and it is in his power to confirm it therefore it follows, "O Zion, that bringeth good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain"; for because he lives forever, this promise is published.

Or else with the word of God, and is true both of Christ, and of the Gospel. Christ is the Word which lives; in him, as such, is life; he has life in himself as God, as man, and as Mediator; and is the author of life, natural, spiritual, and, eternal; and abides for ever in his person, without any change; and in his offices and grace, and righteousness; he abides a priest continually, has an unchangeable priesthood, and ever lives to make intercession, and of his kingdom there is no end: the same is said of the "Memra", or Word of God, in the Chaldee paraphrase on Hosea 11:9 "I am God", "my word abideth for ever": compare John 12:34. The Gospel also may be said to live, in opposition to the law, which is the killing letter; and because it points out the way of life and salvation to sinners; and is a means of quickening dead sinners, and of ingenerating that faith by which men live on Christ; and of revealing to them that righteousness which is unto justification of life; and of supporting and maintaining spiritual life in them; and of reviving drooping saints; the Syriac version renders it, "the living Word of God": and it remains, and will abide; all its promises, blessings, doctrines, and ordinances, are lasting; it will continue in the world until all the elect of God are gathered in, until the second coming of Christ, and to the end of the world; notwithstanding all the persecutions of men, and cunning, craft of false teachers, and all the ridicule and contempt it is treated with by mockers and scoffers: and will abide in the effects of it, in the hearts of the saints, to all eternity,

(k) Pirke Abot, c. 3. sect. 1. & Bartenora in ib. Zohar in Exod. fol. 62. 1. & 78. 2.

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Peter 1:23. ἀναγεγεννημένοι] gives the ground of the preceding exhortation, by referring to the regeneration from incorruptible seed already accomplished, which, as it alone renders the ἀγαπᾷν ἐκτενῶς possible, also demands it. Luther: “as those who are born afresh;” cf. 1 John 4:7; 1 John 5:1. This regeneration is described, as to the origin of it, by the words which follow, and withal in such a way that here, as in 1 Peter 1:18, the position is strengthened by placing the negation first.

οὐκ ἐκ σπορᾶς φθαρτῆς, ἀλλὰ ἀφθάρτου] σπορά, strictly, “the sowing, the begetting,” is not here used with this active force (Aretius: satio incorrupta h. e. regeneratio ad vitam aeternam. Fronmüller: “the energizing principle of the Holy Spirit”), but it is “seed,” because, as de Wette says, the epithet suggests the idea of a substance. By σπορὰ φθαρτή is to be understood not the semen frugum, but the semen humanum (de Wette, Wiesinger, Weiss, Schott, Hofmann); cf. John 1:13.

The question arises, in what relation do ἐκ σπορᾶς ἀφθάρτου and διὰ λόγου stand to one another? The direct connection of the figurative expression (σπορά) with the literal (λόγος), and the correspondence which evidently exists between ἀφθάρτου and ζῶντος κ. μένοντος, do not allow of the two ideas being considered as different, nor of σπορά being taken to denote the “Holy Spirit” (de Wette-Brückner). On the other hand, the difference of the prepositions points to a distinction to which, from the fact that σπορά is a figurative, λόγος a real appellative (Gerhard, Weiss, Schott[103]), justice has not yet been done. The use of the two prepositions is to be understood by supposing a different relation of the same thing (of the λόγος) to the regeneration; in ἐξ we have its point of departure, and not merely its “originating cause” (Hofmann[104]); we have the word of God looked upon as the principle implanted in man working newness of life (Ὁ ΛΌΓΟς ἜΜΦΥΤΟς, Jam 1:21); ΔΙΆ, on the other hand, points to the outward instrumentality by which the new life is effected.

ΔΙᾺ ΛΌΓΟΥ ΖῶΝΤΟς ΘΕΟῦ ΚΑῚ ΜΈΝΟΝΤΟς] refers back to 1 Peter 1:22 : ἘΝ Τῇ ὙΠΑΚΟῇ Τῆς ἈΛΗΘ.; the Christian is laid under obligation to continued sanctification ἘΝ ὙΠ. Τ. ἈΛ., inasmuch as he has been begotten again to newness of being, by the word of God, i.e. the word of truth.

λόγος Θεοῦ is every word of divine revelation; here especially the word which, originating in God, proclaims Christ, i.e. the gospel. Schwenkfeld erroneously understands by it the Johannine Logos, which, indeed, even Didymus had considered possible.

On the construction of the adj. ζῶντος and ΜΈΝΟΝΤΟς, Calvin says: possumus legere tam sermonem viventem Dei, quam Dei viventis; he himself prefers the second combination; thus also Vulg., Oecum., Beza, Hensler, Jachmann, etc. Most interpreters give preference, and with justice, to the first, for which are decisive both the contents of the following verses, in which the emphasis is laid, not on the abiding nature of God, but of the word of God, and the position of the words—otherwise ζῶντος, on account of the subsequent ΚΑῚ ΜΈΝΟΝΤΟς, must have stood after ΘΕΟῦ. The superaddition of ΜΈΝΟΝΤΟς arises from the circumstance that this attribute is deduced from the previous one, and is brought in so as to prepare the way for the passage of Scripture (1 Peter 1:25 : ΜΈΝΕΙ) (de Wette[105]). The characteristics specified by these attributes are applicable to the word of God, not in its form, but in its inner substance. It is living in essence as in effect, and it is enduring, not only in that its results are eternal, but because itself never perishes. If the subjoined εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα be spurious, then without it the ΜΈΝΕΙΝ must not be limited to the present life.[106]

[103] Weiss is of opinion that, as an explanation of the metaphor, διά only can be employed with λόγος, not ἐκ, which belongs exclusively to the figure. This is, however, incorrect; διά would doubtless not have been suited to σπορά, but ἐκ might very well have been used with λόγου (Cf. John 3:5), indeed, must have been so if the λόγος itself were regarded as σπορά. The two prepositions express, each of them, a different relation.

[104] Also in the passages quoted by Hofmann, John 1:13; John 3:5, Matthew 1:18, ἐκ indicates more than a mere causal action.

[105] Hofmann strangely enough explains the position of Θεοῦ by assuming it to be placed as an apposition between the two predicates to which it serves as basis; he accordingly thinks the words should be written thus: διὰ λόγου ζῶντος, Θεοῦ, καὶ μένοντος(!).

[106] The word, as the revelation of the Spirit, is eternal, although changeable, according to its form; to the word also applies what Paul says, 1 Corinthians 15:54 : this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality. Luther admirably says: “The word is an eternal, divine power. For although voice and speech pass away, the kernel remains, i.e. the understanding, the truth which the voice contained. Just as, when I put to my lips a cup which contains wine, I drink the wine, although I thrust not the cup down my throat. Thus it is with the word which the voice utters; it drops into the heart and becomes living, although the voice remains outside and passes away. Therefore it is indeed a divine power, it is God Himself.”1 Peter 1:23. ἀναγεγεννημένοι. So St. John ἀγαπῶμεν ἀλλήλους ὅτιπᾶς ὁ ἀγαπῶν ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ γεγέννηται; cf. Ephesians 4:17; Ephesians 5:2.—ἐκ σπορᾶς ἀφθάρτου, i.e., of God regarded as Father and perhaps also as Sower (cf. 1 Peter 1:24); the two conceptions are combined in 1 John 3:9, πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἁμαρτίαν οὐ ποιεῖ ὅτι σπέρμα αὐτοῦ μένει. Compare Philo, Leg. All., p. 123 M. Λείανἐξ οὐδενὸς γεννητοῦ λαμβάνουσαν τὴν σπορὰν.… ἀλλʼ ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ.—διὰ λόγουμένοντος, the connection of ζῶντος κ. μέν. is doubtful; the following quotation might justify the abiding word and Hebrews 4:12, the living word in accordance with Deuteronomy 32:47cf. 3, ἐλπίδα ζῶσαν. On the other hand the rendering of the Vulgate, per verbum dei vivi et permanentis, is supported by Daniel 6:26 (αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν θεὸς μένων καὶ ζῶν) and supports St. Peter’s argument: earthly relationships must perish with all flesh and its glory; spiritual kinship abides, because it is based on the relation of the kinsfolk to God living and abiding. For the word of God as the means of regeneration, cf. Jam 1:18, βουληθεὶς ἀπεκύησεν ἡμᾶς λόγῳ ἀληθείας. For its identification with ῥῆμα of the quotation, cf. Acts 10:36 f.23. being born again] Better, having been begotten again, the verb being the same as that in 1 Peter 1:3. The “corruptible seed” is that which is the cause of man’s natural birth, and the preposition which St Peter uses exactly expresses this thought of an originating cause. In the second clause, on the other hand, he uses the preposition which distinctly expresses instrumentality. The “word of God” is that through which God, the author of the new life, calls that life into being.

by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever] The Greek order of the words leaves it doubtful whether the two predicates belong to “the word,” or to “God,” but the sequence of thought is decisive in favour of connecting them with the former. They are used to shew that the word of God, which is the seed of the new birth, is, as has been said, incorruptible. They prepare the way for the emphatic reiteration in 1 Peter 1:25, that the “word of the Lord” endureth for ever, the same word being used in the Greek as for the “abideth” of this verse.

It is obvious that the word of God is more here than any written book, more than any oral teaching of the Gospel, however mighty that teaching might be in its effects. If we cannot say that St Peter uses the term LOGOS with precisely the same significance as St John (John 1:1; John 1:14), it is yet clear that he thinks of it as a divine, eternal, creative power, working in and on the soul of man. It was “the word of the Lord” which had thus come to the prophets of old, of which the Psalmist had spoken as “a lamp unto his feet,” and “a light unto his path” (Psalm 119:105). St Peter’s use of the term stands on the same level as that of the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, who speaks of “the word of God” as “quick and powerful … a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12-13). It is, i.e., nothing less than God manifested as speaking to the soul of man, a manifestation of which either the preached or the written word may be the instrument, but which may work independently of both, and is not to be identified with either.1 Peter 1:23. Ἀναγεγεννημένοι, being born again) Hence their brotherhood.—ἐκ σπορᾶς, of sowing) The Word of God is the seed, σπόρος: the preaching of the Word of God, the sowing, σπορά. Therefore of is not afterwards repeated, but the phrase, by the Word, is used.—ζῶντος καὶ μένοντος, living and abiding) This is connected with the Word, 1 Peter 1:25. The Gospel bears incorruptible fruits, and not dead works; because it is in itself incorruptible. The living Word is full of efficacy; abiding for ever, it is free from all corruption.Verse 23. - Being born again; rather, having been begotten again. St. Peter repeats the verb used already in ver. 3. It is the highest argument for brotherly love; the children of the one Father are all brethren; they should "love as brethren" (1 Peter 3:8). Not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. The word used here (σπορά) means, properly, "sowing;" but, like σπόρος (Luke 8:11), it stands also for the seed; and here the epithets "corruptible" and "incorruptible" seem to necessitate this second meaning. In the passage quoted from St. Luke, the seed (σπόρος) is identified with the Word. "The seed is the Word of God." Here there seems to be a distinction. God's elect are begotten again of incorruptible seed through the Word. The use of different prepositions, ἐκ and διά apparently implies a difference between the seed and the Word. In the conversation with Nicodemus the Lord had said, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." And he continues, "That which is born of the flesh [ἐκ τῆς σαρκός, which seems to correspond with the ἐκ σπορᾶς φθαρτοῦ of St. Peter] is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit;" where the Greek words, τὸ γεγεννημένον ἐκ τοῦ Πνεύματος, "that which is begotten of the Spirit," correspond very nearly with ἀναγεγεννημένοι ἐκ σπορᾶς ἀφθάρτου, "those who are begotten again of incorruptible seed." Then the incorruptible seed is the Holy Spirit of God, the Source of all spiritual life; it is the Spirit that "beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God;" "To be spiritually minded is life." Comp. 1 John 3:9, "Whosoever is born of God ( γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ) cloth not commit sin: for his seed (σπέρμα) abideth in him: and he cannot sin because he is born of God"). There is a different explanation of this last passage: "God's seed, that is, his children, abide in him." But on the whole, it seems to be parallel with this verse, and to teach the same doctrine, that the first gift of the Spirit is the germ of spiritual life, and that that precious germ, abiding in the true children of God, lives and energizes "till we come... unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13). But if the Holy Spirit of God is, in the deepest sense, the Seed of the new birth, the Word is the instrument. God's elect are begotten again through the Word, the Word preached, heard, read, pronounced in holy baptism. The Word preached by St. Peter on the great Day of Pentecost was the means by which three thousand souls were led to be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (comp. James 1:18, "Of his own will begat he us with the Word of truth"). Again, the Word preached derives its power from the personal Word, from him who is the Word of God. "All things were made through him" (John L 3; Hebrews 1:2); and as the first creation was through him, so is the new creation. He is "the Beginning of the creation of God" (Revelation 3:14); for he is our Life, the life hidden in the heart. He is the Word of life: "He that hath the Son hath life" (1 John 5:12); "Through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father" (Ephesians 2:18). It is through the Lord Jesus Christ that we receive the grace of the new birth. The words, "which liveth and abideth," may be connected with the Divine Name: "God, who liveth and abideth; "or, as in our version, with "the Word." The last connection seems most suitable here (comp. ver. 25, "The Word of the Lord abideth for ever;" and Hebrews 4:12, "The Word of God is quick and powerful'). The most ancient manuscripts omit the words, "forever." Being born again (ἀναγεγεννημένοι)

Rev., having been begotten again. Compare James 1:18.

Of (ἐκ) seed - by (διά) the word

Note the difference in the prepositions; the former denoting the origin or source of life, the latter the medium through which it imparts itself to the nature.

Word of God (λόγου Θεοῦ)

The gospel of Christ. Compare 1 Peter 1:25, and Peter's words, Acts 10:36. Also, Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 1:5; James 1:18. Not the personal Word, as the term is employed by John. Nevertheless, the connection and relation of the personal with the revealed word is distinctly recognized. "In the New Testament we trace a gradual ascent from (a) the concrete message as conveyed to man by personal agency through (b) the Word, the revelation of God to man which the message embodies, forming, as it were, its life and soul, to (c) The Word, who, being God, not only reveals but imparts himself to us, and is formed in us thereby" (Scott, on James 1:18, "Speaker's Commentary").

Seed (σπορᾶς)

Nowhere else in the New Testament. Primarily, the sowing of seed.

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