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James 2:19-20

Context
2:19 You believe that God is one; well and good. 1  Even the demons believe that – and tremble with fear. 2 

2:20 But would you like evidence, 3  you empty fellow, 4  that faith without works is useless? 5 

1 tn Grk “you do well.”

2 tn Grk “believe and tremble.” The words “with fear” are implied.

3 tn Grk “do you want to know.”

4 tn Grk “O empty man.” Here the singular vocative ἄνθρωπε (anqrwpe, “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).

5 tc Most witnesses, including several important ones (א A C2 P Ψ 33 Ï sy bo), have νεκρά (nekra, “dead”) here, while Ì74 reads κενή (kenh, “empty”). Both variants are most likely secondary, derived from ἀργή (argh, “useless”). The reading of the majority is probably an assimilation to the statements in vv. 17 and 26, while Ì74’s reading picks up on κενέ (kene) earlier in the verse. The external evidence (B C* 323 945 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.



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