New English Translation
1 From James,[a] a slave[b] of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes dispersed abroad.[c] Greetings!
Joy in Trials
2 My brothers and sisters,[d] consider it nothing but joy[e] when you fall into all sorts of trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. 5 But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed around by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 since he is a double-minded individual,[f] unstable in all his ways.
9 Now the believer[g] of humble means[h] should take pride[i] in his high position.[j] 10 But the rich person’s pride should be in his humiliation, because he will pass away like a wildflower in the meadow.[k] 11 For the sun rises with its heat and dries up the meadow; the petal of the flower falls off and its beauty is lost forever.[l] So also the rich person in the midst of his pursuits will wither away. 12 Happy is the one[m] who endures testing, because when he has proven to be genuine, he will receive the crown of life that God[n] promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil,[o] and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. 15 Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death. 16 Do not be led astray, my dear brothers and sisters.[p] 17 All generous giving and every perfect gift[q] is from above, coming down[r] from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change.[s] 18 By his sovereign plan he gave us birth[t] through the message of truth, that we would be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
Living Out the Message
19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters![u] Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. 20 For human[v] anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.[w] 21 So put away all filth and evil excess and humbly[x] welcome the message implanted within you, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be sure you live out the message and do not merely listen to it and so deceive yourselves. 23 For if someone merely listens to the message and does not live it out, he is like someone[y] who gazes at his own face[z] in a mirror. 24 For he gazes at himself and then goes out and immediately forgets[aa] what sort of person he was. 25 But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there,[ab] and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out—he[ac] will be blessed in what he does.[ad] 26 If someone thinks he is religious yet does not bridle his tongue, and so deceives his heart, his religion is futile. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before[ae] God the Father[af] is this: to care for orphans and widows in their adversity[ag] and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Prejudice and the Law of Love
2 My brothers and sisters,[ah] do not show prejudice[ai] if you possess faith[aj] in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.[ak] 2 For if someone[al] comes into your assembly[am] wearing a gold ring and fine clothing, and a poor person enters in filthy clothes, 3 do you pay attention to the one who is finely dressed and say,[an] “You sit here in a good place,”[ao] and to the poor person, “You stand over there,” or “Sit on the floor”?[ap] 4 If so, have you not made distinctions[aq] among yourselves and become judges with evil motives?[ar] 5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters![as] Did not God choose the poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor![at] Are not the rich oppressing you and dragging you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme the good name of the one you belong to?[au] 8 But if you fulfill the royal law as expressed in this scripture,[av] “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”[aw] you are doing well. 9 But if you show prejudice, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as violators.[ax] 10 For the one who obeys the whole law but fails[ay] in one point has become guilty of all of it.[az] 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,”[ba] also said, “Do not murder.”[bb] Now if you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a violator of the law. 12 Speak and act as those who will be judged by a law that gives freedom.[bc] 13 For judgment is merciless for the one who has shown no mercy. But mercy triumphs over[bd] judgment.
Faith and Works Together
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters,[be] if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can this kind of faith[bf] save him?[bg] 15 If a brother or sister[bh] is poorly clothed and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm and eat well,” but you do not give them what the body needs,[bi] what good is it? 17 So also faith, if it does not have works, is dead being by itself. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.”[bj] Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by[bk] my works. 19 You believe that God is one; well and good.[bl] Even the demons believe that—and tremble with fear.[bm]
20 But would you like evidence,[bn] you empty fellow,[bo] that faith without works is useless?[bp] 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that his faith was working together with his works and his faith was perfected by works. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Now Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness,”[bq] and he was called God’s friend.[br] 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And similarly, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
The Power of the Tongue
3 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters,[bs] because you know that we will be judged more strictly.[bt] 2 For we all stumble[bu] in many ways. If someone does not stumble[bv] in what he says,[bw] he is a perfect individual,[bx] able to control the entire body as well. 3 And if we put bits into the mouths of horses to get them to obey us, then we guide their entire bodies.[by] 4 Look at ships too: Though they are so large and driven by harsh winds, they are steered by a tiny rudder wherever the pilot’s inclination directs. 5 So too the tongue is a small part of the body,[bz] yet it has great pretensions.[ca] Think[cb] how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze. 6 And the tongue is a fire! The tongue represents[cc] the world of wrongdoing among the parts of our bodies. It[cd] pollutes the entire body and sets fire to the course of human existence—and is set on fire by hell.[ce]
7 For every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature[cf] is subdued and has been subdued by humankind.[cg] 8 But no human being can subdue the tongue; it is a restless[ch] evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless the Lord[ci] and Father, and with it we curse people[cj] made in God’s image. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters.[ck] 11 A spring does not pour out fresh water and bitter water from the same opening, does it? 12 Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters,[cl] or a vine produce figs? Neither can a salt water spring produce fresh water.
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct he should show his works done in the gentleness that wisdom brings.[cm] 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfishness in your hearts, do not boast and tell lies against the truth. 15 Such[cn] wisdom does not come[co] from above but is earthly, natural,[cp] demonic. 16 For where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating,[cq] full of mercy and good fruit,[cr] impartial, and not hypocritical.[cs] 18 And the fruit that consists of righteousness[ct] is planted[cu] in peace among[cv] those who make peace.
Passions and Pride
4 Where do the conflicts and where[cw] do the quarrels among you come from? Is it not from this,[cx] from your passions that battle inside you?[cy] 2 You desire and you do not have; you murder and envy and you cannot obtain; you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask; 3 you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, so you can spend it on your passions.
4 Adulterers, do you not know that friendship with the world means hostility toward God?[cz] So whoever decides to be the world’s friend makes himself God’s enemy. 5 Or do you think the scripture means nothing when it says,[da] “The spirit that God[db] caused[dc] to live within us has an envious yearning”?[dd] 6 But he gives greater grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.”[de] 7 So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and make your hearts pure, you double-minded.[df] 9 Grieve, mourn,[dg] and weep. Turn your laughter[dh] into mourning and your joy into despair. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.
11 Do not speak against one another, brothers and sisters.[di] He who speaks against a fellow believer[dj] or judges a fellow believer speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but its judge.[dk] 12 But there is only one who is lawgiver and judge—the one who is able to save and destroy. On the other hand, who are you to judge your neighbor?[dl]
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into this or that town[dm] and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” 14 You[dn] do not know about tomorrow. What is your life like?[do] For you are a puff of smoke[dp] that appears for a short time and then vanishes. 15 You ought to say instead,[dq] “If the Lord is willing, then we will live and do this or that.” 16 But as it is,[dr] you boast about your arrogant plans.[ds] All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows what is good to do[dt] and does not do it is guilty of sin.[du]
- James 1:1 tn Grk “James.” The word “From” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.
- James 1:1 tn Traditionally, “servant” or “bondservant.” Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). One good translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος) in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force. Also, many slaves in the Roman world became slaves through Rome’s subjugation of conquered nations, kidnapping, or by being born into slave households. sn Undoubtedly the background for the concept of being the Lord’s slave or servant is to be found in the Old Testament scriptures. For a Jew this concept did not connote drudgery, but honor and privilege. It was used of national Israel at times (Isa 43:10), but was especially associated with famous OT personalities, including such great men as Moses (Josh 14:7), David (Ps 89:3; cf. 2 Sam 7:5, 8) and Elijah (2 Kgs 10:10); all these men were “servants (or slaves) of the Lord.”
- James 1:1 tn Grk “to the twelve tribes in the Diaspora.” The Greek term διασπορά (diaspora, “dispersion”) refers to Jews not living in Palestine but “dispersed” or scattered among the Gentiles.
- James 1:2 tn Grk “brothers,” but the Greek word may be used for “brothers and sisters” or “fellow Christians” as here (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 1, where considerable nonbiblical evidence for the plural ἀδελφοί [adelphoi] meaning “brothers and sisters” is cited). Where the plural term is used in direct address, as here, “brothers and sisters” is used; where the term is singular and not direct address (as in v. 9), “believer” is preferred.
- James 1:2 tn Grk “all joy,” “full joy,” or “greatest joy.”
- James 1:8 tn Grk “a man of two minds,” continuing the description of the person in v. 7, giving the reason that he cannot expect to receive anything. The word for “man” or “individual” is ἀνήρ (anēr), which often means “male” or “man (as opposed to woman).” But it sometimes is used generically to mean “anyone,” “a person,” as here (cf. BDAG 79 s.v. 2).sn A double-minded man is one whose devotion to God is less than total. His attention is divided between God and other things, and as a consequence he is unstable and therefore unable to receive from God.
- James 1:9 tn Grk “brother.” Here the term “brother” means “fellow believer” or “fellow Christian” (cf. TEV, NLT “Christians”; CEV “God’s people”). The term broadly connotes familial relationships within the family of God (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 2.a).
- James 1:9 tn Grk “the lowly brother,” but “lowly/humble” is clarified in context by the contrast with “wealthy” in v. 10.
- James 1:9 tn Grk “let him boast.”
- James 1:9 tn Grk “his height,” “his exaltation.”
- James 1:10 tn Grk “a flower of grass.”
- James 1:11 tn Or “perishes,” “is destroyed.”
- James 1:12 tn The word for “man” or “individual” here is ἀνήρ (anēr), which often means “male” or “man (as opposed to woman).” However, as BDAG 79 s.v. 2 says, here it is “equivalent to τὶς someone, a person.”
- James 1:12 tc Most mss ([C] P 0246 5 436 442 1611 M) al read ὁ κύριος (ho kurios, “the Lord”) here, while others have ὁ θεός (ho theos, “God”; 4 33vid 323 945 1175 1243 1735 1739 1852 2492 al). However, several significant and early witnesses (P74 א A B Ψ 81 2344 co) have no explicit subject. In light of the scribal tendency toward clarification, and the fact that both κύριος and θεός are well represented, there can be little doubt that the original text had no explicit subject. The referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity, not because of textual basis.
- James 1:13 tn Or “God must not be tested by evil people.”
- James 1:16 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2.
- James 1:17 tn The first phrase refers to the action of giving and the second to what is given.
- James 1:17 tn Or “All generous giving and every perfect gift from above is coming down.”
- James 1:17 tn Grk “variation or shadow of turning” (referring to the motions of heavenly bodies causing variations of light and darkness).
- James 1:18 tn Grk “Having willed, he gave us birth.”
- James 1:19 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2.
- James 1:20 tn The word translated “human” here is ἀνήρ (anēr), which often means “male” or “man (as opposed to woman).” But it sometimes is used generically to mean “anyone,” “a person” (cf. BDAG 79 s.v. 2), and in this context, contrasted with “God’s righteousness,” the point is “human” anger (not exclusively “male” anger).
- James 1:20 sn God’s righteousness could refer to (1) God’s righteous standard, (2) the righteousness God gives, (3) righteousness before God, or (4) God’s eschatological righteousness (see P. H. Davids, James [NIGTC], 93, for discussion).
- James 1:21 tn Or “with meekness.”
- James 1:23 tn The word for “man” or “individual” is ἀνήρ (anēr), which often means “male” or “man (as opposed to woman).” However, as BDAG 79 s.v. 2 says, here it is “equivalent to τὶς someone, a person.”
- James 1:23 tn Grk “the face of his beginning [or origin].”
- James 1:24 tn Grk “and he has gone out and immediately has forgotten.”
- James 1:25 tn Grk “continues.”
- James 1:25 tn Grk “this one.”
- James 1:25 tn Grk “in his doing.”
- James 1:27 tn Or “in the sight of”; Grk “with.”
- James 1:27 tn Grk “the God and Father.”
- James 1:27 tn Traditionally, “affliction.” BDAG 457 s.v. 1 has “difficult circumstances” for this specific context, but since this is somewhat lengthy, “adversity” was preferred instead.
- James 2:1 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2.
- James 2:1 tn Or “partiality.”
- James 2:1 tn Grk “do not have faith with personal prejudice,” with emphasis on the last phrase.
- James 2:1 tn Grk “our Lord Jesus Christ of glory.” Here δόξης (doxēs) has been translated as an attributive genitive.
- James 2:2 tn The word for “man” or “individual” here is ἀνήρ (anēr), which often means “male” or “man (as opposed to woman).” But as BDAG 79 s.v. 2 says, “equivalent to τὶς someone.”
- James 2:2 tn Grk “synagogue.” Usually συναγωγή refers to Jewish places of worship (e.g., Matt 4:23, Mark 1:21, Luke 4:15, John 6:59). The word can be used generally to refer to a place of assembly, and here it refers specifically to a Christian assembly (BDAG 963 s.v. 2.b.).
- James 2:3 tn Grk “and you pay attention…and say,” continuing the “if” clauses from v. 2. In the Greek text, vv. 2-4 form one long sentence.
- James 2:3 tn Or “sit here, please.”
- James 2:3 tn Grk “sit under my footstool.” The words “on the floor” have been supplied in the translation to clarify for the modern reader the undesirability of this seating arrangement (so also TEV, NIV, CEV, NLT). Another option followed by a number of translations is to replace “under my footstool” with “at my feet” (NAB, NIV, NRSV).
- James 2:4 tn Grk “have you not made distinctions” (as the conclusion to the series of “if” clauses in vv. 2-3).
- James 2:4 tn Grk “judges of evil reasonings.”
- James 2:5 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2.
- James 2:6 tn This is singular: “the poor person,” perhaps referring to the hypothetical one described in vv. 2-3.
- James 2:7 tn Grk “that was invoked over you,” referring to their baptism in which they confessed their faith in Christ and were pronounced to be his own. To have the Lord’s name “named over them” is OT imagery for the Lord’s ownership of his people (cf. 2 Chr 7:14; Amos 9:12; Isa 63:19; Jer 14:9; 15:16; Dan 9:19; Acts 15:17).
- James 2:8 tn Grk “according to the scripture.”
- James 2:8 sn A quotation from Lev 19:18 (also quoted in Matt 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14).
- James 2:9 tn Or “transgressors.”
- James 2:10 tn Or “stumbles.”
- James 2:10 tn Grk “guilty of all.”
- James 2:11 sn A quotation from Exod 20:14 and Deut 5:18.
- James 2:11 sn A quotation from Exod 20:13 and Deut 5:17.
- James 2:12 tn Grk “a law of freedom.”
- James 2:13 tn Grk “boasts against, exults over,” in victory.
- James 2:14 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2.
- James 2:14 tn Grk “the faith,” referring to the kind of faith just described: faith without works. The article here is anaphoric, referring to the previous mention of the noun πίστις (pistis) in the verse. See ExSyn 219.
- James 2:14 sn The form of the question in Greek expects a negative answer.
- James 2:15 tn It is important to note that the words ἀδελφός (adelphos) and ἀδελφή (adelphē) both occur in the Greek text at this point, confirming that the author intended to refer to both men and women. See the note on “someone” in 2:2.
- James 2:16 tn Grk “what is necessary for the body.”
- James 2:18 tn There is considerable doubt about where the words of the “someone” end and where James’ reply begins. Some see the quotation running to the end of v. 18; others to the end of v. 19. But most punctuate as shown above. The “someone” is then an objector, and the sense of his words is something like, “Some have faith; others have works; don’t expect everyone to have both.” James’ reply is that faith cannot exist or be seen without works.
- James 2:18 tn Or “from.”
- James 2:19 tn Grk “you do well.”
- James 2:19 tn Grk “believe and tremble.” The words “with fear” are implied.
- James 2:20 tn Grk “do you want to know.”
- James 2:20 tn Grk “O empty man.” Here the singular vocative ἄνθρωπε (anthrōpe, “man”) means “person” or even “fellow.” Cf. BDAG 82 s.v. ἄνθρωπος 8 which views this as an instance of rhetorical address in a letter; the pejorative sense is also discussed under the previous heading (7).
- James 2:20 tc Most witnesses, including several significant ones (א A C2 P Ψ 5 33 81 436 442 1611 1735 1852 2344 2492 M al sy bo), have νεκρά (nekra, “dead”) here, while P74 reads κενή (kenē, “empty”). Both variants are most likely secondary, derived from ἀργή (argē, “useless”). The reading of the majority is probably an assimilation to the statements in vv. 17 and 26, while P74’s reading picks up on κενέ (kene) earlier in the verse. The external evidence (B C* 323 945 1175 1243 1739 sa) for ἀργή is sufficient for authenticity; coupled with the strong internal evidence for the reading (if νεκρά were original, how would ἀργή have arisen here and not in vv. 17 or 26?), it is strongly preferred.
- James 2:23 sn A quotation from Gen 15:6.
- James 2:23 sn An allusion to 2 Chr 20:7; Isa 41:8; 51:2; Dan 3:35 (LXX), in which Abraham is called God’s “beloved.”
- James 3:1 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2.
- James 3:1 tn Grk “will receive a greater judgment.”
- James 3:2 tn Or “fail.”
- James 3:2 tn Or “fail.”
- James 3:2 tn Grk “in speech.”
- James 3:2 tn The word for “man” or “individual” is ἀνήρ (anēr), which often means “male” or “man (as opposed to woman).” But it sometimes is used generically to mean “anyone,” “a person,” as here (cf. BDAG 79 s.v. 2).
- James 3:3 tn Grk “their entire body.”
- James 3:5 tn Grk “a small member.”
- James 3:5 tn Grk “boasts of great things.”
- James 3:5 tn Grk “Behold.”
- James 3:6 tn Grk “makes itself,” “is made.”
- James 3:6 tn Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
- James 3:6 sn The word translated hell is “Gehenna” (γέεννα, geenna), a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew words ge hinnom (“Valley of Hinnom”). This was the valley along the south side of Jerusalem. In OT times it was used for human sacrifices to the pagan god Molech (cf. Jer 7:31; 19:5-6; 32:35), and it came to be used as a place where human excrement and rubbish were disposed of and burned. In the intertestamental period, it came to be used symbolically as the place of divine punishment (cf. 1 En. 27:2; 90:26; 4 Ezra 7:36).
- James 3:7 tn Grk (plurals), “every kind of animals and birds, of reptiles and sea creatures.”
- James 3:7 tn Grk “the human species.”
- James 3:8 tc Most mss (C Ψ 1611 1739c 1244 M as well as a few versions and fathers) read “uncontrollable” (ἀκατασχετόν, akatascheton), while most of the more significant witnesses (א A B K P 1175 1243 1735 1739* latt co) have “restless” (ἀκατάστατον, akatastaton). Externally, the latter reading should be preferred. Internally, however, things get a bit more complex. The notion of being uncontrollable is well suited to the context, especially as a counterbalance to v. 8a, though for this very reason scribes may have been tempted to replace ἀκατάστατον with ἀκατασχετόν. In a semantically parallel early Christian text, ἀκατάστατος (akatastatos) was considered strong enough of a term to denounce slander as “a restless demon” (Herm. 27:3). On the other hand, ἀκατάστατον may have been substituted for ἀκατασχετόν by way of assimilation to 1:8 (especially since both words were relatively rare, scribes may have replaced the less familiar with one that was already used in this letter). On internal evidence, it is difficult to decide, though ἀκατασχετόν is slightly preferred. However, in light of the strong support for ἀκατάστατον, and the less-than-decisive internal evidence, ἀκατάστατον is deemed more likely to be the initial reading.
- James 3:9 tc Most later mss (M), along with several versional witnesses, have θεόν (theon, “God”) here instead of κύριον (kurion, “Lord”). Such is a predictable variant since nowhere else in the NT is God described as “Lord and Father,” but he is called “God and Father” on several occasions. Further, the reading κύριον is well supported by early and diversified witnesses (P20 א A B C P Ψ 33 81 945 1241 1739), rendering it as the overwhelmingly preferred reading.
- James 3:9 tn Grk “men”; but here ἀνθρώπους (anthrōpous) has generic force, referring to both men and women.
- James 3:10 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2.
- James 3:12 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2.
- James 3:13 tn Grk “works in the gentleness of wisdom.”
- James 3:15 tn Grk “This.”
- James 3:15 tn Grk “come down”; “descend.”
- James 3:15 tn Grk “soulish,” which describes life apart from God, characteristic of earthly human life as opposed to what is spiritual. Cf. 1 Cor 2:14; 15:44-46; Jude 19.
- James 3:17 tn Or “willing to yield,” “open to persuasion.”
- James 3:17 tn Grk “fruits.” The plural Greek term καρπούς has been translated with the collective singular “fruit.”
- James 3:17 tn Or “sincere.”
- James 3:18 tn Grk “the fruit of righteousness,” meaning righteous living as a fruit, as the thing produced.
- James 3:18 tn Grk “is sown.”
- James 3:18 tn Or “for,” or possibly “by.”
- James 4:1 tn The word “where” is repeated in Greek for emphasis.
- James 4:1 tn Grk “from here.”
- James 4:1 tn Grk “in your members [i.e., parts of the body].”
- James 4:4 tn Grk “is hostility toward God.”
- James 4:5 tn Grk “vainly says.”
- James 4:5 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- James 4:5 tc The Byzantine text and a few other mss (P 5 33 436 442 1243 1611 1735 1852 2344 2492 M) have the intransitive κατῴκησεν (katōkēsen) here, which turns τὸ πνεῦμα (to pneuma) into the subject of the verb: “The spirit which lives within us.” But the more reliable and older witnesses (P74 א B Ψ 049 1241 1739 al) have the causative verb, κατῴκισεν (katōkisen), which implies a different subject and τὸ πνεῦμα as the object: “The spirit that he causes to live within us.” Both because of the absence of an explicit subject and the relative scarcity of the causative κατοικίζω (katoikizō, “cause to dwell”) compared to the intransitive κατοικέω (katoikeō, “live, dwell”) in biblical Greek (κατοικίζω does not occur in the NT at all, and occurs much less frequently than κατοικέω in the LXX), it is easy to see why scribes would replace κατῴκισεν with κατῴκησεν. Thus, on internal and external grounds, κατῴκισεν is the preferred reading.
- James 4:5 tn Interpreters debate the referent of the word “spirit” in this verse: (1) The translation takes “spirit” to be the lustful capacity within people that produces a divided mind (1:8, 14) and inward conflicts regarding God (4:1-4). God has allowed it to be in man since the fall, and he provides his grace (v. 6) and the new birth through the gospel message (1:18-25) to counteract its evil effects. (2) On the other hand the word “spirit” may be taken positively as the Holy Spirit and the sense would be, “God yearns jealously for the Spirit he caused to live within us.” But the word for “envious” or “jealous” is generally negative in biblical usage and the context before and after seems to favor the negative interpretation.sn No OT verse is worded exactly this way. This is either a statement about the general teaching of scripture or a quotation from an ancient translation of the Hebrew text that no longer exists today.
- James 4:6 sn A quotation from Prov 3:34.
- James 4:8 tn Or “two-minded” (the same description used in 1:8).
- James 4:9 tn This term and the following one are preceded by καί (kai) in the Greek text, but contemporary English generally uses connectives only between the last two items in such a series.
- James 4:9 tn Grk “let your laughter be turned.”
- James 4:11 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2.
- James 4:11 tn See note on the word “believer” in 1:9.
- James 4:11 tn Grk “a judge.”
- James 4:12 tn Grk “who judges your neighbor.”
- James 4:13 tn Or “city.”
- James 4:14 tn Grk “who” (continuing the description of the people of v. 13). Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
- James 4:14 tn Or “you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.”
- James 4:14 tn Or “a vapor.” The Greek word ἀτμίς (atmis) denotes a swirl of smoke arising from a fire (cf. Gen 19:28; Lev 16:13; Joel 2:30 [Acts 2:19]; Ezek 8:11).
- James 4:15 tn Grk “instead of your saying.”
- James 4:16 tn Grk “but now.”
- James 4:16 tn Or “you boast in your arrogance.” The translation in the text is based on two points: (1) The verb καυχάομαι (kauchaomai, “boast”) often uses the preposition ἐν (en) to indicate the focus of the boast (see BDAG 536 s.v. 1). (2) ἀλαζονεία (alazoneia, “arrogance”) here is plural and likely refers to the specific plans mentioned in v. 13.
- James 4:17 tn Or “knows how to do what is good.”
- James 4:17 tn Grk “to him it is sin.”
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