18. βουληθείς, of His own wish, denoting absolute freedom from necessity or external cause of any kind. βούλομαι and βούλησις are strictly used of the end, not of the means to the end: εἰ δή τι τέλος ἔστι τῶν πρακτῶν ὃ διʼ αὑτὸ βουλόμεθα, Arist. Eth. N. I. 2. 1; ἡ μὲν βούλησις τοῦ τέλους ἐστὶ μᾶλλον, ἡ δὲ προαίρεσις τῶν πρὸς τὸ τέλος, Eth. N. III. 2. 9. See Stewart’s Eth. N. ad loc. cit.
ἀπεκύησεν. The recurrence of this rare word (see above, Jam 1:15) throws into forcible contrast the generation of sin, and the new birth from the Father of lights. This is the more striking as ἀποκύειν is a word strictly used of the mother, not as here of the Father, ‘begat.’ The word generally used in this sense is γεννᾶν. Comp. the use of τίκτειν, Il. II. 742; Aesch. Eum. 630.
The aorist points to the single act of regeneration, as in 1Co 6:11 ἀλλὰ ἀπελούσασθε, ἀλλὰ ἡγιάσθητε, ἀλλὰ ἐδικαιώθητε ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ κυρίου, κ.τ.λ.
λόγῳ ἀληθείας, by the word of truth, the instrument by which the work is effected.
λόγος ἀληθείας is the word or message which conveys the truth, the revelation of the truth. Comp. ὁ λόγος τῆς σωτηρίας ταύτης, Act 13:26; ὁ λόγος τῆς ἀληθείας τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, Col 1:5; ὁ λόγος τῆς ἀληθείας, 2Ti 2:15; ὅ ἦν ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς ὅ ἀκηκόαμεν … περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς, κ.τ.λ., 1Jn 1:1. Comp. also the frequent ἀμὴν λέγω of our Lord (note the variant ἀληθῶς λέγω, Luk 12:44); in St John always the repeated ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω. See especially, as bearing on this passage, St Joh 3:3; Joh 3:5 ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω σοι, ἐὰν μή τις γεννηθῇ ἐξ ὕδατος καὶ πνεύματος οὐ δύναται εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ.
In the passages quoted above ὁ λόγος τῆς ἀληθ. or τῆς σωτηρίας is the Gospel, that divine revelation by which God regenerated the world in Christ,—a sense which it bears here; but there is a nearer approach to the personal λόγος of Joh 1:1 here than in the other passages. The message of truth in Christ is proved to be the regeneration (ἡ παλινγενεσία) first of Israel, then of the world. The repeated ἡμᾶς points to the privilege of Israel.
εἰς τὸ εἶναι. A final clause denoting the end or object of the spiritual creation.
ἀπαρχήν τινα, a kind of firstfruits. τινα qualifies the boldness of the expression, Winer III. 2 a. In the Hebrew ritual ἀπαρχή meant the firstfruits of men and cattle and harvest, consecrated and offered to God: οἴσετε τὸ δράγμα ἀπαρχὴν τοῦ θερισμοῦ ὑμῶν πρὸς τὸν ἱερέα, Lev 23:10. See also Deu 26:2; Exo 23:19 : ἀπαρχὴ therefore besides the primary meaning of ‘firstfruits’ as the promise of harvest and dedication of the coming harvest carried into the New Covenant the thought of consecration to God. Comp. οἴδατε τὴν οἰκίαν Στεφανᾶ, ὅτι ἐστὶν ἀπαρχὴ τῆς Ἀχαίας, 1Co 16:15; οὖτοι ἠγοράσθησαν ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἀπαρχὴ τῷ θεῷ καὶ τῷ ἀρνίῳ, Rev 14:4.
τῶν αὐτοῦ κτισμάτων, His creatures. The gift of the Incarnation is literally and truly a new life, and the result is a new creature: ὥστε εἴ τις ἐν Χριστῷ καινὴ κτίσις, 2Co 5:17. See Gal 6:15. Thus Christ is πνεῦμα ζωοποιοῦν, 1Co 15:45, because it is by the spiritual communication of His own life that the new creature is effected. With this conception of the new birth as a gift of the Father of lights comp. the use of φωτίζειν, φώτισμα, φωτισμός, as baptismal expressions: οἱ φωτιζόμενοι ἑπτὰ ἡμέρας λαμπροφοροῦσιν, Suicer, sub voc. φωτίζειν.