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James 4:5-6

4:5 Or do you think the scripture means nothing when it says, 1  “The spirit that God 2  caused 3  to live within us has an envious yearning”? 4  4:6 But he gives greater grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.” 5 

1 tn Grk “vainly says.”

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

3 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.

4 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.

5 sn A quotation from Prov 3:34.

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