Genesis 1:3
New International Version
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

New Living Translation
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

English Standard Version
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Berean Study Bible
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

King James Bible
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

New King James Version
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

New American Standard Bible
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

NASB 1995
Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.

NASB 1977
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Amplified Bible
And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Christian Standard Bible
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

American Standard Version
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.

Contemporary English Version
God said, "I command light to shine!" And light started shining.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And God said: Be light made. And light was made.

English Revised Version
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Good News Translation
Then God commanded, "Let there be light"--and light appeared.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Then God said, "Let there be light!" So there was light.

International Standard Version
God said, "Let there be light!" So there was light.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And God said: 'Let there be light.' And there was light.

Literal Standard Version
and God says, “Let light be”; and light is.

NET Bible
God said, "Let there be light." And there was light!

New Heart English Bible
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

World English Bible
God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

Young's Literal Translation
and God saith, 'Let light be;' and light is.

Additional Translations ...
Study Bible
The First Day
2Now the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. 3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.…

Cross References
2 Corinthians 4:6
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Genesis 2:4
This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made them.

Psalm 33:6
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the stars by the breath of His mouth.

Psalm 33:9
For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm.

Treasury of Scripture

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.


Psalm 33:6,9
By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth…

Psalm 148:5
Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.

Matthew 8:3
And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.


Job 36:30
Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea.

Job 38:19
Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof,

Psalm 97:11
Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.


(3) And God said.--Voice and sound there could be none, nor was there any person to whom God addressed this word of power. The phrase, then, is metaphorical, and means that God enacted for the universe a law; and ten times we find the command similarly given. The beauty and sublimity of the language here used has often been noticed: God makes no preparation, He employs no means, needs no secondary agency. He speaks, and it is done. His word alone contains all things necessary for the fulfilment of His will. So in the cognate languages the word Emir, ruler, is literally, speaker. The Supreme One speaks: with the rest, of hear is to obey. God, then, by speaking, gives to nature a universal and enduring law. His commands are not temporary, but eternal; and whatever secondary causes were called into existence when the Elohim, by a word, created light, those same causes produce it now, and will produce it until God recalls His word. We have, then, here nature's first universal law. What is it?

Let there be light: and there was light.--The sublimity of the original is lost in our language by the cumbrous multiplication of particles. The Hebrew is Yhi or wayhi or. Light is not itself a substance, but is a condition or state of matter; and this primaeval light was probably electric, arising from the condensation and friction of the elements as they began to arrange themselves in order. And this, again, was due to what is commonly called the law of gravitation, or of the attraction of matter. If on the first day electricity and magnetism were generated, and the laws given which create and control them, we have in them the two most powerful and active energies of the present and of all time--or possibly two forms of one and the same busy and restless force. And the law thus given was that of gravitation, of which light was the immediate result.

Verses 3-5. - The evolution of the cosmos was accomplished by a series of Divine formative works which extended over a period of six successive days. In the character of those cosmic labors a progression is distinctly visible, though not continuous throughout Unless, with Aristotle, the celestial luminaries are regarded as ζῶα λογικά, and so classed in the category of organized and living beings, it is impossible to find in their production an advance upon the preceding vegetation. Arbitrary transpositions of the days, as of the third and fourth, in order to make the first half of the creative week an inorganic, and the second half an organic, era, are inadmissible. The arrangement of the days that accords most exactly with the requirements of the case, and most successfully preserves the order and connection of the record, is that which divides them into two triads (Lange, Kalisch, Dana, etc.), as exhibited underneath: -

1. Light.

2. Air, Water.

3. Dry Land and Plants.

4. Lights.

5. Fowl, Fish.

6. Animals and Man = - each triad Beginning with the Making of Light, and ending with a double creation, and the works performed On the Second having each a definite Relation to the labors executed On the First On the First creative Day the formative energy of the Divine Word, eliminates the light from the dark chaotic mass of earth, on the second uplifts the atmosphere above the waters, and on the third distinguishes the dry land from the sea - at a later period in this same day clothing the dry land with vegetation, as if to prophesy some correspondingly higher advance in the creation work at the close of the second series. At this stage, instead of pressing forward with its operations, the demiurgic potency of the invisible Artificer appears to pause, and, reverting to the point from which it started, enters on its second course of labors. On the fourth day the light developed on the first is concentrated and permanently fixed in the celestial luminaries; on the fifth the air and waters, which were separated on the second, are filled with fowl and fish, their respective inhabitants; and on the sixth the dry land of the third day is occupied by animals, the mute prediction of the third day's vegetation being fulfilled by the creation of man. Verse 3. - Day one. And God said. This phrase, which is ten times repeated in the narrative of the six days' work, is commonly regarded as an instance of anthropomorphism, a peculiarity of revelation, and of this chapter in particular, at which rationalism affects to be offended. But any other mode of representing the Deity would have failed to convey to finite minds an intelligent idea of his nature. "Touching the Almighty, who can find him out?" The most that God himself could do in communicating to his creature man a conception of his ineffable and unapproachable Godhead was to supply him with an anthropomorphic image of himself - "the Word made flesh." Deeper insight, however, into this sublime statement discerns that "anthropomorphism" does not exhaust its significance. God spoke; but to whom? "This was an omnipotent word," says Luther, "spoken in the Divine essence. No one heard this word uttered but God himself... The Father spoke within." It is observable too that every time the word goes forth from Elohim it is followed by instantaneous movement in the chaos, as if the word itself were inherently creative. Remembering, then, that the doctrine of a personal Logos was not unknown to the later theology of the Old Testament (cf. Psalm 33:6; Psalm 148:5), and is clearly revealed in the New (John 1:1; Hebrews 11:3), it is difficult to resist the inference that here we have its roots, and that a correct exegesis should find in the creative word of Elohim an adumbration of the Devar Jehovah of the Hebrew Psalter, the Logos of John's Gospel, and the Rema Theou of the writer to the Hebrews. Let there be light: and there was light. The sublimity of these words, which arrested the attention of the heathen Longinus ('De Sublimitate,' 9.), and which Milton ('Paradise Lost,' 7.) and Du Bartas, an elder poet (viz. Kitto in loco), have tried to reproduce, is in great measure lost in our English version. Γενηθήτω φῶς καὶ ἐγένετω φῶς (LXX.) and sit lux et fuit lux (Vulg.) are superior translations of יְהִי־אור וַיְהִי־אוד which might be rendered, "Light be, and light was."' With reference to their import, the least satisfactory explanation, notwithstanding the eminent names that have lent it their support (Bush, Kitto, Murphy, Wordsworth), is that which understands the sun to have been created a perfectly finished luminous body from the first, though hitherto its light had been intercepted by the earth's vapors, which were now dispersed by Divine command. But the language of Elohim is too exalted to be applied to so familiar a phenomenon as the dissipation of terrestrial mists, and, besides, expressly negatives the hypothesis in question by affirming that the light was summoned into being, and not simply into appearance. The historian, too, explicitly asserts that the light was, i.e. began to be, and not merely to be visible. A modification of this view, viz., that the sun and moon were now created, but did not become visible until the fourth day (Inglis), must likewise be rejected, as according neither with ver. 1, which says that the heavenly bodies were created in the beginning, nor with vers. 16, 17, which declare that not until the fourth day were they constituted sources of light for the earth. The exigencies of the text, as well as the ascertained facts of physical science, require the first day's work to be the original production of light throughout the universe, and in particular throughout our planetary system (Kalisch, Lange, Delitzsch, Dawson). Calvin, though much more deeply concerned about the refutation of Servetus, who maintained that the Word only began to be with the creation of light, was able to perceive that this light was independent of the sun and moon; in this agreeing with Augustine, who, however, conjectured it to be not material, but spiritual in its nature ('De Genesi ad Literam,' lib. 1, 100. 3). Nor does it in the slightest conflict with ver. 1 to suppose that light was now for the first time produced, light being a mode or condition of matter, and not a distinct element or substance, as was at one time believed. Luminosity is simply the result of incandescence, although what specific change is effected on the constitutions or adjustments of the molecules of a body by the process of heating which renders it luminous science is unable to explain. Any solid body can be rendered incandescent by being heated up to between 700° and 800° Fahrenheit. Any liquid that can absorb as great a quantity of heat likewise emits light. Gases do not appear to be capable of incandescence, though the phenomena attending their sudden condensation discover light-producing properties in their composition. As to how the light of incandescent bodies is transmitted to the eye, the Pythagorean and Newtonian theory of small, impalpable particles of luminous matter being constantly emitted from their surfaces towards the eye may be said to have been successfully displaced by that of Descartes, Huygens, and Euler, which accounts for the phenomena of vision by the existence throughout space, and in the interstitial spaces of bodies, of an infinitely attenuated ether, which is thrown into undulations by luminous bodies precisely as the atmosphere is made to vibrate by bodies which are sonorous. But whichever theory be adopted to solve the mystery of its transmission, that of emanation or of undulation, it is impossible to resist the conclusion that the creation of light, which formed the opus operatum of the first day, was in reality the evolution from the dark-robed, seething mass of our condensing planet (and probably from the other bodies in our solar system) of that luminous matter which supplies the light. It seems unnecessary to add that it could not have been either the subterranean fire which produced the igneous rocks of geology (Tayler) or caloric (Clarke); though, as aor is used in Scripture for heat (Isaiah 44:16), fire (Isaiah 31:9; Ezekiel 5:2), the sun (Job 31:26), lightning (Job 37:3), and there is every reason to believe that light, heat, and electricity are only modifications of the same force, we may be warranted in embracing all the three in its significance.

Parallel Commentaries ...

And God
אֱלֹהִ֖ים (’ĕ·lō·hîm)
Noun - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 430: gods -- the supreme God, magistrates, a superlative

וַיֹּ֥אמֶר (way·yō·mer)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Consecutive imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 559: To utter, say

“Let there be
יְהִ֣י (yə·hî)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect Jussive - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1961: To fall out, come to pass, become, be

א֑וֹר (’ō·wr)
Noun - common singular
Strong's Hebrew 216: Illumination, luminary

and there was
וַֽיְהִי־ (way·hî-)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Consecutive imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1961: To fall out, come to pass, become, be

אֽוֹר׃ (’ō·wr)
Noun - common singular
Strong's Hebrew 216: Illumination, luminary

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