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James 4

Passions and Pride

4:1 Where do the conflicts and where 1  do the quarrels among you come from? Is it not from this, 2  from your passions that battle inside you? 3  4:2 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; 4:3 you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, so you can spend it on your passions.

4:4 Adulterers, do you not know that friendship with the world means hostility toward God? 4  So whoever decides to be the world’s friend makes himself God’s enemy. 4:5 Or do you think the scripture means nothing when it says, 5  “The spirit that God 6  caused 7  to live within us has an envious yearning”? 8  4:6 But he gives greater grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.” 9  4:7 So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you. 4:8 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and make your hearts pure, you double-minded. 10  4:9 Grieve, mourn, 11  and weep. Turn your laughter 12  into mourning and your joy into despair. 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.

4:11 Do not speak against one another, brothers and sisters. 13  He who speaks against a fellow believer 14  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. 15  4:12 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? 16 

4:13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into this or that town 17  and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” 4:14 You 18  do not know about tomorrow. What is your life like? 19  For you are a puff of smoke 20  that appears for a short time and then vanishes. 4:15 You ought to say instead, 21  “If the Lord is willing, then we will live and do this or that.” 4:16 But as it is, 22  you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 4:17 So whoever knows what is good to do 23  and does not do it is guilty of sin. 24 

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1 tn The word “where” is repeated in Greek for emphasis.

2 tn Grk “from here.”

3 tn Grk “in your members [i.e., parts of the body].”

4 tn Grk “is hostility toward God.”

5 tn Grk “vainly says.”

6 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

7 tc The Byzantine text and a few other mss (P 33 Ï) have the intransitive κατῴκησεν (katwkhsen) 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 (Ì74 א B Ψ 049 1241 1739 al) have the causative verb, κατῴκισεν (katwkisen), 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 (katoikizw, “cause to dwell”) compared to the intransitive κατοικέω (katoikew, “live, dwell”) in biblical Greek (κατοικίζω does not occur in the NT at all, and occurs one twelfth as frequently as 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.

8 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.

9 sn A quotation from Prov 3:34.

10 tn Or “two-minded” (the same description used in 1:8).

11 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.

12 tn Grk “let your laughter be turned.”

13 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2.

14 tn See note on the word “believer” in 1:9.

15 tn Grk “a judge.”

16 tn Grk “who judges your neighbor.”

17 tn Or “city.”

18 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.

19 tn Or “you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.”

20 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).

21 tn Grk “instead of your saying.”

22 tn Grk “but now.”

23 tn Or “knows how to do what is good.”

24 tn Grk “to him it is sin.”

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