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Bible Commentaries

International Critical Commentary NT

James 1

Verses 1-99

COMMENTARY ON THE EPISTLE OF JAMES

————

CHAPTER 1

Epistolary Salutation (1:1)

1. θεοῦ καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, “of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Cf. the similar language of 1 Timothy 1:2, 2 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4. In 2 Peter 1:1, Titus 2:13 θεοῦ seems to refer to Christ, and this is possible in James, but is made unlikely by the absence of the article. Titus 1:1 δοῦλος θεοῦ�James 1:1; both phrases call attention to the fact that the loyalty to Christ does not diminish the service due to God.

δοῦλος. In the O. T. “servant” (עֶבֶד, δοῦλος, θεράπων, παῖς) is regularly used for “worshipper” (e.g. Psalms 34:22); and the corresponding verb is used also of the worship of heathen gods (e. g. 1 Kings 9:6). Names compounded with ‘abd (“servant”) and the name of God, or of a god, are found in Hebrew, and were common among the Phœnicians, Aramæans, and Arabs (EB, art. “Names,” § 37). In particular the prophets are called Jahveh’s servants (e.g. Amos 3:7), and the term is applied as a title of distinction to such worthies as Moses (e.g. 1 Kings 8:53), David (e.g. 2 Samuel 3:18), and many others. The “servant of Jahveh” of Is. 42-53 presents, however, a different problem, and is translated παῖς κυρίου.

In the N.T. δοῦλοι is used in the sense of “attached worshippers” in Luke 2:29, Acts 4:29, Acts 16:17, Revelation 1:1. Paul describes himself as δοῦλος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ in the address of Romans (Romans 1:1) and (with the inclusion of Timothy) in Philippians (Philippians 1:1 δοῦλοι Χ.Ἰ.), and a similar expression is found in Jude vs. 1 and 2 Peter 1:1; cf. Titus 1:1 δοῦλος θεοῦ. It is not a term of special humility, nor is it to be understood as involving a claim to the rank of a prophet or distinguished leader. The writer simply declares himself to belong to Christ as his worshipper, and so commends himself to readers who are also Christians. Note that Paul uses this form of description in the address of Romans and Philippians only, two epistles in which he is consciously striving to avoid the assumption of personal authority and to emphasise the give and take of an equal comradeship in faith.

The immediate origin of this use of δοῦλος is Semitic. A few Greek analogies are collected in Elsner, Observationes sacrae, 1720, on Acts 16:17; cf. Reitzenstein, Hellenist. Mysterienreligionen, 1910, pp. 66, 78. The use of δοῦλος has no bearing on the question of the identity of the author.


ταῖς δώδεκα φυλαῖς, the Christian church conceived as the true Israel, inheriting the rights of the ancient people of God.

The conception of the tribes of the Hebrew people as twelve in number, both at first in the nomadic and later in the settled condition, arose very early, but seems at all times to have been a theory rather than a fact of observation. It may have had an astronomical origin, like some other sacred uses of the number twelve. In Canaan the tribes came to indicate mainly a territorial division, although the theory of an original hereditary classification was maintained. In and after the exile much stress was laid on the idea of the twelve tribes, as is to be observed in the pictures of the past presented by the priest code and the writings of the chronicler, as well as in Ezekiel’s ideal state (e.g. Genesis 35:22-26, Num_2, Ezra 6:17, Ezekiel 48:1-7, Ezekiel 48:23-35).

In later Jewish literature they are frequently referred to. Faithful Israelites within and without Palestine claimed and valued their membership in a tribe (Tobit, Tob. 1:1; Judith, Jude 1:8:2; Anna, Luke 2:36; Paul, Romans 11:1, Philippians 3:5; cf. Letter of Aristeas, §§ 32, 39, 46, 47-59, six scholars�Acts 26:7 τὸ δωδεκάφυλον ἡμῶν; on Test. XII Patr. Benj. 9:2, cf. Charles, in HDB, “Testaments of the XII Patriarchs”; the conception is implied in the plan of the Testaments. In Clem. Rom. 31:4, 55:6 the emphasis on the salvation of the whole Jewish nation resident in various parts of the dominions of Ahasuerus is unmistakable.

The reunion of the twelve tribes in Palestine was a part of the Jewish Messianic hope. See references in Schürer, GJV3, ii, pp. 537 f. This aspect of the hope is suggested in Orac. Sibyll. ii, 171 ἡνίκα δὴ δεκάφυλος�Matthew 19:28, and appears again in the eschatological sealing of twelve thousand from each tribe in Revelation 7:4 ff., and in the twelve gates of the twelve tribes in Revelation 21:12 ff., where, however, the conception and phraseology are derived from Ezekiel 48:30-35.


The term “twelve tribes” thus stands for the integrity of the nation Israel, as it once actually existed, and as it still abides in idea and spiritual fellowship and common hope.

The precise designation “the twelve tribes,” αἱ δώδεκα φυλαί, is found only a few times in the O.T., Exodus 24:4, 28:21, 39:14; Joshua 4:5; cf. Ecclus. 44:23. More common, and with essentially the same meaning, are “the tribes,” αἱ φυλαί, and “all the tribes,” πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαί. To all these expressions, which give the sense of “all Israel,” πᾶς Ἰσραήλ (cf. Ezra 6:17), a limiting genitive is always added unless it is clearly implied in the immediate context. This is usually “of Israel” (Exodus 24:4), but other genitives occur: “of the children of Israel” (Ezekiel 47:13), “of Jacob” (Ecclus. 48:10), “thy” (Deuteronomy 18:5), “your” (Joshua 23:4), “their” (Ezekiel 45:8), “the Lord’s” (Psalms 122:4), “of thine inheritance” (Isaiah 63:17).

The same rule, that a genitive of nearer definition is necessary, holds good in later usage. Thus Acts 26:7 τὸ δωδεκάφυλον ὑμῶν, Revelation 7:4 ἐκ πάσης φυλῆς υἱῶν Ἰσραήλ, 21:12, Clem. Rom. 55:6, Protevangelium Jacobi, 1:1, 3. Cf. the similar expressions resulting from the familiar barbarism of the LXX by which σκῆπτρον (שֶׁבֶט) is used for φυλή, Test. XII Patr. Nephth. 5 τὰ δώδεκα σκῆπτρα τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, Clem. Rom. 31:4 τὸ δωδεκάσχηπτρον τοῦ Ἰσραήλ.


The only known cases where an expression like αἱ δώδεκα φυλαί is used by itself of the nation Israel are the passages Orac. Sibyll. ii, 171 δεκάφυλος�

Cf. Matthew 16:18, where μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν seems to be used in contrast with the ἐκκλησία (קָהָל) τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, Matthew 21:43, 1 Peter 2:9 ἒθνος ἅγιον, λαὸς εἱς περιποίησιν, Galatians 3:7-9, Galatians 3:29, Galatians 3:6:16 τὸν Ἰσραὴλ τοῦ θεοῦ (in contrast to which cf. 1 Corinthians 10:18 τὸν Ἰσραὴλ κατὰ σάρκα), Philippians 3:3 ἡμεῖς γάρ ἐσμεν ἡ περιτομή (cf. Colossians 2:11 ἐν τῇ περιτομῇ τοῦ Χριστοῦ).

Hence the attributes of the nation Israel may be applied directly to the church. Cf. Galatians 3:7-9, where descent from Abraham is so ascribed to all believers, Colossians 2:11, etc. This is one of the fundamental thoughts of Luke and Acts; as well as of the Epistle to the Hebrews, where everything pertaining to the old national religion is shown to belong also (only in the reality, not the shadow) to the new religion. So Barn. 4:6, 13 f., where the covenant is shown to belong to the new people. See Zahn, Einleitung, 1, § 3, note 9. The conception of the new Israel as made up of a symbolical twelve tribes is in accord with this underlying principle of the apostolic age and presents in itself no difficulty. Revelation 21:12, where no thought of any Jewish-Christian particularism is present, approaches closely to such a use. The positive reasons for assuming this meaning are discussed below.

A symbolical use of δώδεκα φυλαί somewhat different from that of James 1:1 is found in Hermas, Sim. 9, 17, where of twelve mountains, from which come the stones used to build a tower (i. e. the church), it is said: δώδεκα φυλαί εἰσιν αἱ κατοικοῦσαι ὅλον τὸν κόσμον. To them the Son of God has been preached through the apostles, while these twelve tribes are themselves further explained as δώδεκα ἔθνη with highly diverse characteristics. Here the twelve tribes, or nations, plainly signify all the nations of the world. The unusual designation is doubtless chosen in order to indicate that as these have now become the field of God’s redemptive activity, they have come into the place of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. The whole world is the new δωδεκάφυλον of the Christian dispensation.

ἐν τῇ διασπορᾷ. διασπορά means “scattering,” “dispersion” (either act or state); cf. Jeremiah 15:7, Daniel 12:2 (LXX), Test. XII Patr. Asher, 7, 1 Peter 1:1. Hence, with the article, ἡ διασπορά is used concretely of the Jews so dispersed, or even of the districts in which they were dispersed. Thus Deuteronomy 30:4, Nehemiah 1:9, Judith 5:19, John 7:35, of either the dispersed or the land of dispersion; Psalms 147:2, Isaiah 49:6, Isaiah 49:2 Macc. 1:27, Ps. Sol. 8:34, of the dispersed. Here it is more naturally taken of the state of dispersion, although the other view is possible. With the article the expression means “in the well-known state of dispersion,” not merely “in dispersion” in the abstract sense. Cf. Psa_139, tit. (Cod. A) and in contrast Jeremiah 15:7 διασπερῶ αὐτοὺς ἐν διασπορᾷ, Test. XII Patr. Asher, 7 ἔσεσθε ἐν διασπορᾷ, 1 Peter 1:1 ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις διασπορᾶς.

The noun διασπορά (Deuteronomy 28:25) is used but a few times in the O. T. It is not a regular representative of any one Hebrew word, and is never used to translate any of the derivatives of גָּלָה. The verb διασπείρω is more common (cf. also the simple σπείρω, Zechariah 10:9), especially in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel; it represents a number of Hebrew verbs, most frequently some form of פּוּץ (30 times out of 58).

διασκορπίζω (in literary use chiefly late, see Lex.) is often used in much the same sense as διασπείρω to refer to the dispersion of Israel, but tends to denote more violent action, as the scattering of a discomfited foe (e. g. Psalms 59:11, Jeremiah 51:20-23). διασκορπισμός, found but five times, remained a descriptive word, and did not attain to the technical significance of διασπορά. σκορπίζω is less common and weaker; σκορπισμός is found but once (in Aq. Sym. Theod. Jeremiah 25:34 [32:20]).

The more common noun to denote the Jewish exile is�Ezra 4:1 υἱοὶ τῆς�Jeremiah 29:1, Jeremiah 29:4, Jeremiah 29:22, Jeremiah 29:31.�Matthew 1:11), which is less common, but represents about the same group of Hebrew words.

παροικία, “sojourn,” “residence as a stranger,” is used a few times to represent גּוֹלָהֽ, Ezra 8:35 υἱοὶ τῆς παροικίας, 1 Ezra 5:7 ἐκ τῆς αἰχαλωσίας τῆς παροικίας, where the parallel translation of Ezra 2:1 has αποικίας. In Ecclesiasticus prol. τοῖς ἐν τῇ παροικίᾳ, it is used in the same sense. It refers to the “sojourn” from the point of view of the land of temporary residence, while�


αἰχμαλωσία, “captivity,” represents in the main the group of words derived from שָׁבָה.

Of the words here considered, αἰχμαλωσία is obviously the most limited in application, referring to the captivity proper;�Jeremiah 29:1, etc.); while ἡ διασπορά means the scattered state, or the scattered section, of the Jewish nation.

Thus διασπορά, always standing in contrast with the idea of visible unity of the nation, calls attention, usually with a certain pathos, to the absence of that unity, whereas�James 1:1.


The statement sometimes made (e. g. Carr, Camb. Gk. Test. pp. xxx, 10; less unguardedly Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, i, pp. 6 f. 9; Mayor3, p. 137) that ἡ διασπορά, “when used without any qualifying words,” means the Eastern Hebrew-speaking part of the dispersion, seems to be wholly without foundation.

The dispersion of the Jews over the world began through capture in war and emigration for trade as early as the ninth century b.c. (cf. 1 Kings 20:34). The forced emigration of many thousands from both the northern and southern kingdom to Assyria and Babylonia, the voluntary settlement in the Greek period of large numbers of Jews in Alexandria and other Egyptian cities, and in Cyrenaica, the planting of Jewish communities of traders and peaceful residents in Antioch and other places of Syria, Asia Minor, and Greece, and the colony of Jews in Rome (partly owing its origin to the captives brought thither by Pompey in 63 b.c. and afterward liberated), as well as those in other cities of Italy, had created by the first century after Christ a vast Jewish population dispersed in all parts of the civilised world, and perhaps amounting to 3,000,000 or 4,000,000 souls.

For a representative list of diaspora Jews, cf. Acts 2:9-11; see also Philo, In Flaccum, 7, and Legat. ad Caium, 36.


EB, art. “Dispersion” (H. Guthe); Schürer, GJV, § 31; Mommsen, Provinces of the Roman Empire, ch. II.

Although perhaps the majority of Jews in the diaspora had thus come to reside abroad through voluntary emigration undertaken out of motives of private interest, and although, apart from occasional disturbances with their neighbours and oppression from the governments, the situation of the Jews seems to have been one of privilege and prosperity, yet the dispersion is uniformly represented by Jewish writers as a grave misfortune destined to be ended by the divine intervention.

The cause of this was partly the fact that the first large emigration was the forced removal in the captivities, so that the tradition became established that exile was an evil, to be followed, when the punishment was over, by return (cf. Isaiah 40:1f.). This traditional feeling seems to be reflected in Ps. Sol. 9:2 ἐν παντὶ ἔθνει ἡ διασπορὰ τοῦ Ἰσραὴλ κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμα τοῦ θεοῦ· ἵνα δικαιωθῇς, ὁ θεός, ἐν τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ σου ἐν ταῖς�Ezekiel 14:1-11, Daniel 1:8; note the disappearance of the ten tribes in the Assyrian captivity, attested, e. g., by Jos. Ant. 11, 5:2).


In times of foreign oppression and distress the desire for restoration of the dispersed must have been strengthened by the sense of weakness felt by the pious community in Palestine (the “poor”), suffering the lack of the help, both moral and material, which might be afforded by the return of the Jews of the diaspora. It then seemed evident that the glory of Israel could be finally manifested only through the concentration in the Holy Land of the power and wealth of the sons of Israel, now scattered among the nations. So, e. g., Tob. 13:4 f.

ταῖς δώδεκα φυλαῖς ταῖς ἐν τῇ διασπορᾷ. For the whole phrase there are two possible interpretations:

(1) “To the dispersed People of God,” i. e. the Christian church at large;

(2) “To the Jews, residing in the dispersion.”

Many different applications of these two senses, separately or in combination, will be found in the commentaries. The second interpretation given above is almost always qualified by a limitation to Christian Jews. This suits the general character of the epistle, but is in no way suggested by the phrase itself, and cannot be regarded as legitimate.

In this phrase, ταῖς ἐν τῇ διασπορᾷ applies not to a part but to the whole of ταῖς δώδεκα φυλαῖς, and the only possible meaning is that all the twelve tribes are “in the dispersion.” It is not legitimate, although common in the commentaries, to take the phrase as meaning “those tribes (of the twelve) which are in the dispersion” (as if it read ταῖς ἐκ τῶν δώδεκα φυλῶν ταῖς ἐν τῇ διασπορᾷ), or “those persons from the twelve tribes who are residing in the dispersion” (as if τοῖς�

The new Israel has a heavenly metropolis (Galatians 4:26 ἡ δὲ ἄνω Ἰερουσαλήμ … ἥτις ἐστὶν μήτηρ ἡμῶν, Hebrews 12:22 προσεληλύθατε Σιὼν ὄρει καὶ πόλει θεοῦ ζῶντος, Ἰερουσαλὴμ ἐπουρανίῳ), where is the seat of its commonwealth (Philippians 3:20). But for the present it sojourns in exile, 1 Peter 1:1 ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις διασπορᾶς, 1:17 τὸν τῆς παροικίας ὑμῶν χρόνον, 2:11 ὡς παροίκους καὶ παρεπιδήμους; cf. also John 17:14-18. The contrast with the old Israel is explicitly drawn out in Hebrews 13:14 οὐ γὰρ ἔχομεν ὧδε μένουσαν πόλιν,�

The idea is intimately connected with the phraseology, though not with the real meaning, of certain O. T. passages, Psalms 39:12, ὅτι πάροικος ἐγώ εἰμι ἐν τῆ γῆ καὶ παρεπίδημος καθὼς πάντες οἱ πατέρες μου, Psalms 119:19, Leviticus 25:23, 1 Chronicles 29:15, Genesis 47:9.


The interpretation of the conception of men as strangers and sojourners, given by Philo, De cherub. 34, is not parallel to the Christian idea in James, but it shows how the O. T. passages attracted attention and could lend themselves to such use. The thought of Hermas, Sim. i, resembles Philo, not James.

In early Christian thought the idea gained great prominence. Cf. the classical expression in Ep. ad Diognetum 5 πατρίδας οἰκοῦσιν ἰδίας,�Romans 5:1, Romans 5:5, Romans 5:6; and note the usage by which the church, or the Christians, in any locality are said not to reside but to “sojourn” (παροικεῖν) there, Polyc. Phil. inscr. τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ θεοὕ τῇ παροικούσῃ Φιλίππους; Mart. Polyc. inscr.; Euseb. H. e. iv, 23; Ep. eccl. lugd. et vienn. in Euseb. H.e. v, 1:3.


The emphasis on this mode of thought in later times is familiar, and reaches its classical expression in the great poem of Bernhard of Cluny, De contemptu mundi.

From this usage seems to have arisen the ecclesiastical sense of the word παροικία, that is, “the body of (Christian) aliens” in any place, and so parochia, “parish.” The earliest cases of this use of the noun are Mart. Polyc. inscr., Irenæus in Eus. H. e. v, 24:15, and Apollonius in Eus. H. e. v, 18:9.

παροικία in the sense of the local body of Christians thus took a different turn of meaning from διασπορά, which in this Catholic epistle refers to the whole church; but the metaphor underlying the derived sense is the same in both cases, and up to a certain point the development was parallel. Each takes one side of the meaning of ἐκκλησία. See Lightfoot, note on Clem. Rom. inscr.

The words, then, mean: “To that body of Twelve Tribes, the new Israel, which has its centre in Heaven, and whose members, in whatever place on the earth they may be, are all equally away from home and in the dispersion!” This interpretation implies in the writer a mind capable of conceiving clearly and expressing tersely a strongly figurative expression, but that is not too much to ascribe to the author of this epistle. Cf. 1:17, 18, 23, 3:11, etc. It also assumes that the underlying conception was familiar to the readers.

Of this “symbolical”* interpretation of the address of the epistle important recent advocates have been Holtzmann, von Soden, Jülicher, and Zahn. The chief objection brought against it is that it is deemed inappropriate to the simple address of a letter. But, first, we have here not a real letter sent to a definite group of readers, but a literary form for a tract, or diatribe. And, secondly, even in a real letter the greeting (as distinguished from the outside address intended to guide the carrier) naturally contains not only expressions of affection but descriptive phrases intended to suggest the writer’s relations and attitude to the person addressed, and to some extent even the thoughts with which the letter was to be occupied. This may be seen in all the epistles of Paul, and in the epistles of Ignatius, Clement of Rome, and Polycarp. The same concern is not absent from the greetings and subscriptions of modern letters.

In opposition to the interpretation here defended, the view of the address most widely held adopts the second of the two interpretations referred to above, taking ταῖς δώδεκα φυλαις as if merely equivalent to τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις. The serious grammatical difficulties involved are usually ignored. The phrase is then (in part arbitrarily) limited so as to mean, “to extra-palestinian Jewish Christians” (Beyschlag). Inasmuch as the phrase itself is notably unlimited, this exegetical procedure seems too violent to be permissible. Moreover, if this were the meaning, we should expect to find, as we do not, in the epistle itself some specific allusion to the distinctive circumstances of readers so carefully limited in the address; in fact (see Introduction), the epistle best suits conditions in Palestine. This is felt by Beyschlag, who suggests, wholly without warrant, that διασπορά may refer to everything outside of Jerusalem.

The various forms of this view of the address, intended to obviate one or another of the difficulties under which it labours, require highly artificial and improbable hypotheses. No kind of early, or of ingenious, dating can bring us to a time when a writer addressing Jewish Christians in distinction from unbelieving Jews would have addressed them as “the twelve tribes,” if by the term he meant “the Jews”; and if the term is here used for “the People of God,” then the limitation to Jewish Christians is not contained in it.

To suppose, on the other hand, a time when Christian believers still regarded themselves as full members of the commonwealth of Israel, and had not yet broken their social and religious connection with it (so, e. g., B. Weiss, Einleitung2, p. 398) gives no aid whatever in understanding the phrase itself. No time after the crucifixion is known to us when a Christian teacher could expect a respectful hearing for a didactic tract from both converted and unconverted Jews in the dispersion at large, or would have felt such responsibility for the general moral instruction of all diaspora Jews alike as this writer shows. The promptness of the separation of Christians and Jews in the diaspora is illustrated by all the mission narratives of Acts. Nor can even the unsupported guess of a current limitation of the term ἡ διασπορά to Southern Syria or Babylonia or elsewhere overcome the difficulty that the epistle itself nowhere hints at conditions in any way peculiar to or characteristic of any such district.

On the view of Harnack, that the address was a later addition by a different hand, see Introduction, pp. 47 f. Under such a view the spurious address might have no definite meaning or might have the meaning advocated above. Spitta, who takes the phrase in the literal sense, “To the Jews in the dispersion,” avoids some of the difficulties by regarding the epistle as originally Jewish and not Christian, but he misses the grammatical structure explained above, and has likewise no reason to give for the inexplicable limitation to the diaspora. The “symbolical” interpretation alone will account for that.

χαίρειν scil. λέγει (cf. 2 John, vv. 10, 11); the ordinary opening salutation of a Greek letter, like Latin salutem, shown by the countless papyrus letters preserved to have been current in Greek letters of all periods; cf. Acts 15:23, Acts 23:26, and examples in Deissmann, Bibelstudien, pp. 209-216; Witkowski, Epistolae græcae privatae, 1907; J. A. Robinson, Ephesians, 1903, pp. 276 f.; Milligan, Thessalonians, 1908, pp. 127 f. See also G. A. Gerhard, “Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des griechischen Briefes,” in Philologus, lxiv, 1905, pp. 27-65; Dziatzko, “Brief,” in Pauly-Wissowa, RE; F. Ziemann, De epistularum græcarum formulis sollemnibus (Diss. phil. Halenses, xviii), 1911. It was in common use among Greek-speaking Jews; Esther 16:1 (= 8:13), 1 Ezra 6:7; Ezra 6:1Ezra 6:1 Macc. 10:25, 12:6, 2 Macc. 1:1, 10, 3 Macc. 7:1, Ep. Arist. 41 (ed. Thackeray), (other references in Spitta, ad loc.). The writer does not here show influence from Pauline epistolary forms.

The ordinary greeting of a Hebrew or Aramaic letter seems to have resembled, as among other peoples, the salutation of daily life. Thus (Aramaic) Daniel 4:1 (3:98) שְׁלָמְכיׄן יִשְׂגֵּא εἰρήνη ὑμῖν πληθυνθείη, 6:25; Ezra 4:17, Ezra 5:7 שְׁלָמָא בֹלָּא εἰρήνη πᾶσα (cf. 1 Ezra 6:7 χαίρειν as a translation of the same original). The Peshitto has ܝܠܡܖ for χαίρειν in James 1:1. The same formulas appear in the three Aramaic circular letters of Rabban Gamaliel (first or second century after Christ; texts in G. Dalman, Aramäische Sprachproben, 1896; preserved in the Mishna, jer. Sanh. 18 d and elsewhere) שִׁלָמְבין יִשִׁגֵּא, and in the N. T. χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη, 1 Peter 1:2, 2 Peter 1:2, Jude 1:2 ἔλεος ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη καὶ�Philippians 1:2, 1 Peter 1:2 are probably not due to a combination of the Greek and Hebrew greetings, but to the influence of the priestly benediction, Numbers 6:24-26; cf. J. C. T. Otto, “Ueber den apostolischen Segensgruss,” in Jb. f. deutsche Theol. 1867, pp. 678-697.

For similar (probably Jewish) expansion cf. the letter to the nine and one-half tribes in Apoc. Bar. 78:2: “Thus saith Baruch the son of Neriah to the brethren carried into captivity: mercy and peace” (cf. Galatians 6:16). See Zahn, Einleitung, i, § 6, note 7.


In this general connection the following verses from the epitaph of Meleager, Anthol. græca, vii, 419 (Brunck, i, p. 37), are worth quoting:

ἀλλʼ εἰ μὲν Σύρος ἐσσί, Σαλάμ, εἰ δʼοὖν σύ γε Φοῖνιξ,

Αὔδονις, εἰ δʼ Ἔλλην, Χαῖρε, τὸ δʼαὐτὸ φρᾶσον.

I. ON CERTAIN RELIGIOUS REALITIES (1:2-2:26)

The paragraphs of chs. 1 and 2 are held together by the common underlying purpose of denouncing shams and emphasising various aspects of reality in religion. (See Introduction, supra, pp. 3-5). The first half of this division (1:2-18) treats of matters relating to the development of character, the second half (1:19-2:26) of topics pertaining to religious instruction and public worship.

2-4. The moral use of Trial. Out of trial comes steadfastness and steadfastness makes perfect.

The epistle begins as a didactic essay, and plunges at once into the subject without the introductory paragraph of congratulation, good wishes, assurance of prayerful interest in the person addressed, etc., which is a characteristic standing feature in Greek letters, both Christian and secular; cf. the papyrus letters referred to above, pp. 127 f., together with Romans 1:8 ff., 1 Corinthians 1:4 ff., 2 Corinthians 1:3 ff., Ephesians 1:3 ff., Philippians 1:3 ff., Colossians 1:3 ff., 1 Thessalonians 1:2 ff., 2 Thessalonians 1:3 ff., 2 Timothy 1:3 ff., Philemon 1:4 ff., 1 Peter 1:3 ff., 2 John 1:4, 3 John 1:2-4. It is noticeable that those N. T. “epistles” which have most the character of literary works rather than letters lack this opening paragraph. Thus 1 Timothy and Titus (which for other reasons also are recognised as containing less genuine matter than 2 Timothy), Hebrews, 1 John, Jude, Revelation, and perhaps 2 Peter (where this purpose, however, may be intended by 1:3 ff.). The spurious epistles of Plato and others, which are literary pieces and not real letters, have likewise for the most part nothing corresponding to the opening paragraph common in letters of daily life.


2. πᾶσαν χαράν. πᾶσαν, “all,” is here used, not to denote strict completeness of extension, but as an intensifying adjective, in the sense either of “full,” “supreme” (summus) or (less naturally) of “nothing but,” “unmixed” (merus, Ger. lauter). Cf. Eur. Med. 453, πᾶν κέρδος ἡγοῦ ζημιουμένη φυγῇ.

πᾶς in the singular means (1) “every,” “every kind of” (ἕκαστος, παντοῖος), having this sense only with anarthrous nouns, e.g. Philippians 4:21 πάντα ἅγιον, Matthew 4:23 πᾶσαν νόσον καὶ πᾶσαν μαλακίαν, Colossians 4:12 ἐν παντὶ θελήματι τοῦ θεοῦ;

(2) “whole,” “entire” (ὅλος, totus). In this sense it is used (a) with the article, and in either the attributive or predicate position, Matthew 8:34 πᾶσα ἡ πόλις, Acts 20:18 τὸν πάντα χρόνον; (b) with anarthrous nouns, e. g. Plato, Leges 708 B ξυνάπασα πόλις, “a whole city.” The rule is that the noun lacks the article in cases where without πᾶς it would not have had it.


(3) From this sense of “whole,” is derived the meaning “full,” “complete,” and so “utter” (summus). In this sense it is used with abstract nouns in cases where the idea of quantity or extension is not present, and is found both with and without the article.

Thus Plato, Leges 646 B εἰς ἅπασαν φαυλότητα, “into utter degradation” (Jowett); Lege s952 A πασῃ σπουδῇ μανθάνειν, “with all (complete) zeal”; Respub. 575 Α ἐν πάσῃ�

In the N. T. this usage is common, especially in Paul, where πᾶς becomes a favourite intensifying adjective. Thus Acts 4:29 μετὰ παρρησίας πάσης, 5:23, 17:11 μετὰ πάσης προθυμίας, 20:19, 23:1 πάσῃ συνειδήσει�Romans 7:8, Romans 15:13 πληρώσαι ὑμᾶς πάσης χαρᾶς καὶ εἰρήνης, 15:14, 2 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 8:7 πάσῃ σπουδῇ, 9:8 πᾶσαν αὐτάρκειαν (notice the various senses of πᾶς exemplified in this verse) 12:12, Ephesians 1:8 ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ καὶ φρονήσει, 4:19, 5:9, Philippians 1:9, Philippians 2:29 μετὰ πάσης χαρᾶς, 1 Chronicles 1:28; 1 Chronicles 1:281 Chronicles 1:28 ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ, 3:16, 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 1 Timothy 1:15 and 4:9 πάσης�2 Timothy 4:2, Titus 2:15, Titus 2:3:2, 1 Peter 2:18, 1 Peter 2:5:10, 2 Peter 1:5 σπουδὴν πᾶσαν. In some of these instances, as would be expected, it is not easy to decide certainly between the meaning “full” and the meaning “each” or “every.”

It is evident that this usage is a Greek and not in any degree a Semitic idiom. This sense is the probable one in James 1:2.

(4) Still another use of πᾶς is found in cases where the word, through its position in the sentence, becomes translatable by “unmixed,” “wholly,” “only,” merus, tantummodo, Ger. lauter. Thus Plato, Phileb. 27 E, 28 Α οὐ γὰρ ἂν ἡδονὴ πᾶν�Proverbs 11:23 ἐπιθυμία δικαίων πᾶσα�


The Latin omnis is used in this same way, as Cic. N. D. ii, 21, nulla in cœlo nec fortuna nec temeritas, nec erratio nec varietas inest: contraque omnis ordo, veritas, ratio, constantia.

This method of heightening the effect of the noun is, in many cases, closely akin to the sense discussed under (3) and can be fully distinguished from that only in extreme instances. It is likely that the Greek writer was often, perhaps usually, not conscious of the distinction which our analysis reveals.

See Schleusner, Lexicon in Nov. Test. s. v. πᾶς (Glasgow, 1824, pp. 358 f.); Krüger, Griechische Sprachlehre für Schulen, i, § 50, 11, Anm. 7-13; also Stephanus, Thesaurus, s. v πᾶς (especially ed. Hase and Dindorf, Paris, 1831-65, vol. vi, col. 568).

χαράν “joy,” i.e. “occasion of joy” (cf. Luke 2:10, 1 Thessalonians 2:19), a predicate accusative, the sentence with ὅταν suggesting the real object of ἡγήσασθε.


Probably an allusion is intended to χαίρειν, v. 1. The writer sets forth one notable source of joy. For similar use of the greeting, cf. Tob. 5:10 (Cod. א) εἶπεν αὐτῷ· χαίρειν σοι πολλὰ γένοιτο. καὶ�

Like the Hebrew אָח, “brother,”�Exodus 2:11, Deuteronomy 15:3, Judith 7:30, Tob. 2:2, 2 Macc. 1:1, Matthew 5:47, Acts 13:26. Philo, De caritate, 6 (ii, p. 388), explains�

By Christians the word was used of fellow members in the new Israel, John 21:23, Acts 1:15, Romans 1:13, Romans 16:14, Ephesians 6:21, Philippians 2:25, Hebrews 3:12, 1 Peter 5:12, 2 Peter 1:10, Revelation 1:9. This usage, characteristic of the early Christians, is to be deemed a natural out-growth of the Jewish usage, doubtless stimulated and confirmed, but not originated, by such sayings of Jesus as Mark 3:35, Mat 23:8, cf. Luke 22:32. It would also be made easier to some Gentile Christians through such usages as that of the technical language of the Serapeum of Memphis, where�

As an address,�Judges 19:23, 1 Samuel 30:23, 1 Chronicles 28:2, Judith 7:30, Tob. 7:3, cf. Apoc. Bar. 78:2, 80:1; and still more in the N. T., e. g. Romans 7:4, 1 Corinthians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 1:4, 1 John 3:13; cf. Clem. Romans 1:1 , Romans 1:4:7, Romans 1:2 Clem Romans 1:1, Romans 10:1, Romans 14:1, Ign. Eph., 16:1, Hermas. Vis. 3, 10:3, 4, 1:5, 8, Ep. Barnab. 2:10, and see Goodspeed’s Index patristicus for other references. It is especially characteristic of the speeches in Acts 1:16; Acts 2:29Acts 2:29; Acts 3:17Acts 3:17; Acts 6:3Acts 6:3; Acts 7:2Acts 7:2; Acts 7:26Acts 7:26; Acts 13:15Acts 13:15; Acts 13:26Acts 13:26; Acts 13:38Acts 13:38; Acts 15:7Acts 15:7; Acts 15:13Acts 15:13; Acts 22:1Acts 22:1; Acts 23:1Acts 23:1; Acts 23:5-6Acts 23:5-6; Acts 28:17Acts 28:17; and it may be suspected that it belonged to the homiletical style of the synagogue and was brought thence into Christian hortatory language. It is a form appropriate to a member of a strictly defined society, such as the Jewish or the Christian brotherhood, addressing other members whom he recognises as equals. This character distinguishes the Christian parenetic literature from the O. T. Wisdom-literature. In the latter the conventional form is “My son,” υἱέ (Proverbs 1:8 and passim), or τέκνον (Ecclus. 2:1 and passim), and the situation is conceived to be that of an old man bequeathing his accumulated wisdom to his child or pupil. Cf. Toy on Proverbs 1:8.


πειρασμοῖς, “trials.”

On the uniformly neutral meaning of Hebrew נִסָּה, “try,” “test.” see Driver on Deuteronomy 6:16. This holds for πειράω, πειράζω, πειρασμός in LXX (including Apocrypha), except Ecclus. 2:1, 33:1.

In the N. T. (1) the noun πειρασμός, “trial” (which in secular writers is known only in Dioscur. Præf. 5 τοὺς ἐπὶ τῶν παθῶν πειρασμούς, “experiments on diseases”), has clearly the meaning “affliction,” that being one of the most common tests of character. Luke 22:28, Acts 20:19 μετὰ πἁσης ταπεινοφροσύνης καὶ δακρύων καὶ πειρασμῶν, cf. Ecclus. 2:1, 33:1, Luke 8:13 (cf. Mark 4:17), Hebrews 11:37, 1 Peter 1:6. See E. Hatch, Essays in Biblical Greek, pp. 71 f., Harnack, “Zwei Worte Jesu,” in Sitzungsberichte der kgl. Preuss. Akademie, 1907, pp. 942-947, both of whom give this meaning to πειρασμός in the Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:13. (2) The whole group of words is used to refer to temptation to sin, since that, primarily an assault, is at the same time a test. This development of the meaning accords with the secular use of πειράω, πειράζω, which may be illustrated from the derivative πειρατής, “pirate,” i. e. “attacker.” Thus in James 1:14 the words are flatly used in the sense “seduce to evil.” So Matthew 4:1, Matthew 4:6:13; the name ὁ πειράζων for Satan, Matthew 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 3:5, 1 Corinthians 7:5, 1 Corinthians 7:10:13, 1 Timothy 6:9, etc.; cf. the Jewish prayer in Berachoth, 60 b, translated by Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers2, p. 128. That both meanings can be employed by the same writer in neighbouring contexts may be illustrated by the use of the English “trial” in its several senses.

In the passage before us πειρασμοῖς evidently means “trials,” i. e. adversities, which befall us from without and against our will. According to James (vv. 13 ff.) “temptations” spring mainly from within and could not be a subject for rejoicing. There is no reason, however, to think especially of religious persecution; what James has in mind is the strain put upon faith in Providence and in a good God by the fact that God permits his people to fall into distress of various kinds and to be oppressed by grievous poverty. The people here addressed are not a missionary outpost among the heathen; nothing in the epistle (not even 2:7 and 4:7 ff.) implies the situation revealed by 1 Peter 4:12 ff. They appear to be largely poor and struggling people, subject to the hardships of the poor, cf. 1:10, 2:1 ff. 6. Note the prevalent eagerness to have, implied in 4:1-3.

περιπέσητε, “fall in with,” “encounter,” ordinarily used of unwelcome encounters, as with robbers (Luke 10:30), misfortunes, sicknesses (Proverbs 11:5, Proverbs 11:2 Macc. 6:13); see references in Lexx, Wetstein, and Heisen, pp. 258 f.


ποικίλοις, “divers.”

The classical and higher literary use employed ποικίλος in senses naturally derived from its original meaning of “many-coloured,” “variegated”; thus it meant “complex,” “elaborate,” “diversified,” “intricate,” “subtle,” “ambiguous,” “unstable,” nearly always in contrast with “simple” (Schmidt, Synonymik, iv, pp. 361 f.). In classical writers hardly any clear case can be found of the looser meaning, “various,” “divers,” παντοδαπός, in which the word appears in later and less cultivated use, so Matthew 4:24, Mark 1:34, Luke 4:40, Hebrews 2:4, 1 Peter 1:6, 1 Peter 1:3 Macc. 2:6, ποικιλαις καὶ πολλαῖς ἐδοκίμασας τιμωρίαις, 4 Macc. 7:4, 17:7 μητέρα ἑπτὰ τέκνων διʼ εὐσέβειαν ποικίλας βασάνους μέχρι θανάτου ὑπομείνασαν, 18:21. Hermas offers many cases of this meaning; see Goodspeed, Index, and note especially Mand. 4, 2.3 πολλαὶ καὶ ποικίλαι, Mand. 10, 1.5 χερσοῦνται�

For non-christian use, cf. Aelian, V. h. ix, 8 ὁ δὲ … πολλαῖς καὶ ποικίλαις χρησάμενος βίου μεταβολαῖς, Synes. Ep. 114. The popular weakening of the strict sense of the word, and its employment merely to give greater fulness to the phrase, is seen at its extreme in 2 Timothy 3:6, Titus 3:3, Hebrews 13:9, where ποικίλος seems wholly superfluous. The use here in James is probably of that general type, with little or no emphasis; it is less probable that the word is used here to intensify the idea of πειρασμοῖς, “trials however various,” implying number and severity.

3. τὸ δοκίμιον, “test,” “proof,” here of the act of proving. The word more properly refers to the means of testing (κριτήριον, cf. Proverbs 27:21 δοκίμιον�

In the similar passage 1 Peter 1:7, τὸ δοκίμιον cannot well mean “proof”; δοκίμιον is there a neuter adjective from δοκίμιος = δόκιμος, “proved,” “good.” See Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, 1897, pp. 86 ff.


In other usage also the word makes a natural advance from the idea of “test” to that of “purification” (as with metals) or of “training” (as Herodian, ii, 10:6 δοκίμιον δὲ στρατιωτῶν κάματος�

τῆς πίστεως] om B3 ff syrhcl. The evidence against the words raises a bare suspicion that they were added by conformation to 1 Peter 1:7. To omit them does not alter the general sense.


The word πίστις clearly means in James that fundamental attitude of the man’s soul by virtue of which he belongs to the people of God, cf. 1:6, 2:1, 5, 14. It is taken for granted that the natural effect of πειρασμοί is to imperil persistence in faith. See Introduction, p. 40.

κατεργάζεται, “works,” “achieves”; the force of κατα- is “perfective.” See Moulton, Prolegomena, pp. 111 ff., Sanday on Romans 7:15. Cf. Romans 5:3 ἡ θλίψις ὑπομονὴν κατεργάζεται.

χατεργάζεται is found only eleven times in LXX; while in the N. T., apart from this instance and 1 Peter 4:3, it occurs only in Paul (twenty times).

ὑπομονήν, “steadfastness,” “staying-power,” not “patience.” On the distinction, cf. Lightfoot on Colossians 1:11, Trench, Synonyms, § liii.


ὑπομένω, ὑπομονή have in classical Greek a considerable range of meanings springing from the root-meaning “stay” and including “endurance,” “firmness,” “submission,” “patience,” etc.

In the Greek O. T. ὑπομονή is used chiefly for Hebrew מִקְוֶה, תִּקְוֶה, “hope,” “expectation,” e. g. Psalms 71:5 ὅτι σὺ εἷ ἡ ὑπομονή μου, κύριε· κύριος ἡ ἐλπίς μου ἐκ νεότητός μου. So Theodotion, Job 17:15, translates תקוח once by ὑπομονή, while Aquila repeatedly substitutes ὑπομονή in this sense for ἐλπίς of LXX. This meaning is found by some in 2 Thessalonians 3:5, Revelation 1:9, Revelation 3:10, but the passages are all capable of different explanation.

In Ecclus. 2:14, 17:24, 41:2 ὑπομονή occurs in the sense “patience,” 38:27 “diligence,” 16:13 ὑπομονὴν εὐσεβοῦς, “the constancy of the pious.” In the last sense ὑπομονή and ὑπομένω are found many times in 4 Maccabees, where the virtue of religious constancy in spite of adversity and even torture (17:23 τὴν ἐπὶ ταῖς βασάνοις … ὑπομονήν) is celebrated in the great instances of Eleazar and of the mother of the seven sons. It is there associated with�Joshua 2:7 πολλὰ�


ὑπομονή, meaning “constancy,” was thus a virtue highly prized by the Jews and frequently exemplified by cases from their history beginning with that of Abraham, notably those mentioned in 4 Maccabees. It is, indeed, a characteristic Jewish virtue of all time, and the Christian emphasis on it is a part of the inheritance from Judaism. Chrysostom calls it βασιλὶς τῶν�

In the N. T. ὑπομονή is chiefly used in this sense of unswerving constancy to faith and piety in spite of adversity and suffering. Thus Luke 8:15, Luke 21:19 ἐν τῇ ὑπομονῇ ὑμῶν κτήσεσθε τὰς ψυχὰς ὑμῶν, Romans 15:4 f., 2 Peter 1:6, Hebrews 10:36, Hebrews 12:1, Revelation 2:2, Revelation 2:3, Revelation 2:19. The noun and its verb occur but rarely in the Synoptic Gospels, and not at all in John, but are characteristic of the vocabulary of Paul and the apostolic age. 1 Peter 2:20, where ὑπομένω is twice used in the sense of “endure uncomplainingly and patiently,” is an exception to the more usual emphasis on loyal “firmness.”

In James 1:3 ὑπομονή means, then, not “uncomplaining patience” (so, e. g., Spitta), nor merely “endurance” as a single act or concrete state, but rather that permanent and underlying active trait of the soul from which endurance springs—“constancy,” or “steadfastness,” thought of as a virtue. Cf. 5:11, where the meaning is the same, and 1:12.

A closely similar thought is found in Romans 5:3 f. καὶ καυχώμεθα ἐν ταῖς θλίψεσιν, εἰδότες ὅτι ἡ θλίψις ὑπομονὴν κατεργάζεται, γάζετραι, ἡ δὲ ὑπομονὴ δοκιμήν, ἡ δὲ δοκιμὴ ἐλπίδα, ἡ δὲ ἐλπὶς οὐ καταισχύνει. It is not necessary, however, to assume literary dependence. For the rhetorical figure of climax, cf. 1:14 f., Romans 10:14, 2 Peter 1:5 ff., Wisd. 6:17 ff.; see Blass-Debrunner, § 493, for other references.

On joy in trial, cf. 2 Macc. 6:12-17, 4 Macc. 7:22, 11:12, Matthew 5:11 f., Acts 5:41, 1 Peter 1:6 f.; on the whole theory of punishment as chastening, cf. Psalms 66:10 ff., Wisd. 11:9, Proverbs 3:11, Proverbs 3:12, Judith 8:25-27. On affliction as a test to be expected in the life of the pious, cf. Ecclus. 2:1-5, Judith 8:25, 1 Peter 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:12.


Spitta’s contention that James has in 1:2-4 the case of Abraham already in mind is not made out. Abraham was indeed one of the great examples of constancy in faith in spite of searching trial, cf. Judith 8:25-27, 1 Macc. 2:52, Ecclus. 44:20, 4 Macc. 6:14, 22, 9:21, 13:12, 14:20, 16:19 f. 17:6, 18:20, 23, Jubilees 17, 19, Pirke Aboth, v. 4. But there is no reason whatever for assuming in our verse reference to any specific case of constancy.

4. δέ, “and,” not “but.” This verse turns to remoter, but essential, consequences of πειρασμοί.

ἔργον τέλειον ἐχέτω. We must not rest satisfied with constancy, but must see that it produces those further fruits which make up completeness of character. The thought, here very summarily expressed, is the same as in Romans 5:3 f., 2 Peter 1:5-7. For the phrase cf. John 17:4 τὸ ἔργον τελειώσας.

The constancy here referred to is constancy in faith, from which completed character may be expected to spring. This is closely similar to the characteristic Pauline doctrine of faith working itself out (or, made effective) in love, Galatians 5:6, Rom 6:1-23, cf. v. 22 νυνὶ δὲ ἐλευθερωθέντες�


“To have a perfect work” is taken by many to mean “be perfected,” in respect either to duration until the end or to other completeness. The verse would then urge merely that the constancy which trials produce be made by voluntary effort a perfect constancy.

This is a less natural meaning for the phrase itself, and it gives a weaker sense than the interpretation “produce its full and proper fruits,” which is, moreover, supported by the analogy of Romans 5:3f., 2 Peter 1:5-7.


τελειοι καὶ ὁλόκληροι. A perfect and complete character is recognised as the aim of the whole process.

τελειος, “finished,” “perfect,” is a favourite word of James, thus 1:17, 25, 3:2, cf. 2:22.

The idea of “maturity,” “adult growth,” either physical (Hebrews 5:14, 1 Corinthians 14:20) or spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:6, 1 Corinthians 13:11, Colossians 1:28, Colossians 4:12), does not seem present in James’s use, which is rather akin to that of Matthew 5:48, Matthew 19:21.

For the use of τέλειος, referring to the natural aim of moral effort, the O. T. use of תָּמִים, “perfect,” “innocent,” and שָׁלֵם, “perfect,” “single-(minded),” laid ample foundation. So תָּם, תָּמים, of Noah, Genesis 6:9; Job 1:1; Deuteronomy 18:13, Psalms 18:26, Psalms 37:37, and often; שלם, 1 Kings 8:61, 1 Kings 11:4.


A similar Greek use grew out of the simple meaning of the word, cf. Philo, Leg. all. ii, 23 (of Moses in contrast to the ordinary immature man), and other passages quoted by Mayor, also the Stoic sayings in Stobæus, Anthol. ii, 7, 11, g, πάντα δὲ τὸν καλὸν καὶ�

As τέλειος means “complete” in the sense of “perfect,” “finished,” so ὁλόκληρος means “complete in all its parts,” no part being wanting or inadequate. The distinction is well illustrated by Trench, Synonyms, § xxii. ὁλόκληρος is not common with a moral application, cf. 4 Macc. 15:17 τὴν εὐσέβειαν ὁλόκληρον, Wisd. 15:3 ὁλόκληρος δικαιοσύνη. It was customary to use the two words together merely to give a fuller phrase, as here, cf. Colossians 4:12, τέλειοι καὶ πεπληροφορημένοι. Many examples of such use of τέλειος and ὁλόκληρος in combination, drawn from Philo, Plutarch, Dio Chrysostom, etc., will be found in Mayor, Trench, Spitta, and Heisen, Novae hypotheses, pp. 312 ff. Compare English “meet and right,” “good and sufficient,” German “klipp und klar, ” etc.


5-8. Divine aid to this perfectness is gained through Prayer. But blessings come only in answer to the prayer of steadfast loyalty in faith.

The external connection is made here by λείπεται (v. 4 λειπόμενοι); cf. vv. 1, 2 χαίρειν, χαράν, v. 4 τέλειον, τέλειοι, vv. 5, 6 αἰτείτω, etc. The main topic of the section is prayer (not wisdom), the point being that real prayer requires unwavering faith. The marked resemblance between these verses and Hermas, Mand. 9, shows that behind both lie current homiletical language and ideas.

5. σοφία (cf. James 3:13, James 3:15, James 3:17) is not to be taken in the popular Stoic sense of “Science,” ἐπιστήμη θείων καὶ�Colossians 1:9), which is reflected in Paul’s use, e. g. 1 Corinthians 1:20, 1 Corinthians 1:22 Ἕλληνες σοφίαν ζητοῦσιν, 2:1, 4, 6, 3:19, and (with reference to the Christian substitute for the world’s wisdom) 1 Corinthians 1:30, 1 Corinthians 2:6 f. 1 Corinthians 2:3:18, Ephesians 1:8, Ephesians 3:10, Colossians 2:3, ἐν ᾧ εἰσὶν πάντες οἱ θησαυροὶ τῆς σοφίας καὶ γνώσεως�2 Chronicles 1:10-12, Wisd. 7:7 ff. 8:7, 9:10-18, and of this Proverbs (e. g. ch. 2, see Toy on Proverbs 1:2-4), Ecclesiasticus (cf. ch. 1, especially vv. 14-20, 51:13-22), and the Wisdom of Solomon treat.

Abundant passages in this literature refer to this wisdom as coming from God, and him alone, Proverbs 2:6 κύριος δίδωσιν σοφίαν, καὶ�


πᾶσιν διδόντος. God’s readiness to give is a motive to prayer.

On the idea of God as ready and desirous to give to all, cf. Psalms 145:15-19, Ps. Song of Solomon 4:13-15, Test. XII Patr. Gad 7:2, Philo, De cher. 34, Leg. alleg. i, 13 ὅτι φιλόδωρος ὢν ὁ θεὸς χαρίζεται τὰ�Matthew 5:45, Matthew 5:7:7, Matthew 5:11.


ἁπλῶς. Properly means “simply,” but here clearly shown by what follows to have a moral sense, “graciously,” “bounteously,” “generously.”

The adverb is found only here in the N. T., but the noun ἁπλότης is not uncommon. In Romans 12:8 ὁ μεταδιδοὺς ἐν ἁπλότητι, 2 Corinthians 8:2, 2 Corinthians 8:9:11, 2 Corinthians 8:13 τῇ … ἁπλότητι τῆς κοινωνίας εἰς αὐτούς, Jos. Antiq. 7, 13:4 τῆς ἁπλότητος καὶ τῆς μεγαλοψυχίας, it means “liberality,” “generosity,” “single-minded attention to the gift with no thought of self”; cf. Ecclus. 20:14, “The gift of a fool shall not profit thee; for his eyes are many instead of one”; also Plut. De adulat. p. 63 F, τὸ δὲ τοῦ κόλακος ἔργον οὐδὲν ἔχει δίκαιον, οὐδʼ ἁπλοῦν, οὐδʼ ἐλευθέριον. Sanday, on Romans 12:8, quotes the important passages from Test. XII Patr. Issach. (περὶ ἁπλότητος) in which the various qualities of the single-minded man are set forth; note especially Issach. 3:8, on generosity, and see also Charles’s valuable notes in his English translation, 1908, pp. 102-105.


The adverb ἁπλῶς itself is used in this sense (“freely,” “liberally”) by Hermas, Mand. ii, 4 and 6.

For various unacceptable senses given to ἁπλῶς here, see Beyschlag, and for full references, see Hort, ad loc.

μὴ ὀνειδίζοντος describes God’s giving as full and free, in contrast to the meanness which after a benefaction calls it unpleasantly to the mind of the one benefited. That this disagreeable trait of human nature was prominent in ancient times is attested, e. g. by Ecclus. 41:22 μετὰ τὸ δοῦναι μὴ ὀνείδιζε, 18:15-18, 20:14-16 (cf. also, for a slightly different aspect, 29:22-28), Plut. De adulat. p. 64 A, πᾶσα ὀνειδιζομένη χάρις ἐπαχθὴς καὶ ἄχαρις, Schol. on Eur. Orest. 1238 ὀνείδη, τῶν εὐεργεσιῶν τὰς ὑπομνήσεις; see further Wetstein and Mayor.

6. ἐν πίστει, cf. 5:15. Explained by μηδὲν διακρινόμενος as meaning “in constancy (ὑπομονή) of faith.” “Faith” is the fundamental religious attitude, not an incidental grace of character, and the words mean here more than “in confidence that he will receive his request.” ὁ διακρινόμενος is a man whose allegiance wavers, not one tormented by speculative intellectual questionings, which do not fall within James’s horizon. This is indicated by v. 7, which shows (as Beyschlag well remarks) that the kind of waverer whom James has in mind fully expects to receive some benefit from God.

διακρινόμενος, “wavering,” “doubting,” literally “divided,” “at variance with one’s self”; cf. Matthew 21:21, Mark 11:23, Romans 4:20 (cf. Sanday’s note) 14:23, James 2:4. This sense is found in Protev. Jac. 11, Clem. Rom. ii, 40 (see the passages in Mayor), but has not been pointed out in writings earlier than the N. T. For�Eph_3, Test. XII Patr. Zab. 7:2, the meaning is not certainly the same as here; see Zahn, Ignatius von Antiochien, 1873, p. 429, note 1.


On the general thought of the necessity of faith to success in prayer, cf. passages mentioned above, those given below on δίψυχος, v. 18, and Ecclus. 7:10 μὴ ὀλιγοψυχήσῃς ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ σου, Wisd. 1:1 ff., Enoch 91:4, Herm. Mand. 9, αἴτου�

κλύδωνι, “wave of the sea,” but with emphasis rather on size and extension than on separateness and succession (κῦμα), hence often used in a collective sense. It probably means here “the surge of the sea,” “the billowing sea”; cf. Luke 8:24 ἐπετίμησεν τῷ�


ἀνεμιζομένῳ, “wind-driven,” a very rare word for the classical�

The point of comparison in James is the ordinary instability of the heaving sea, not the unusual violence of a storm. The sentence is made less forcible through the excessive elaboration of the figure. For the figure itself, cf. passages quoted above, Isaiah 57:20, Ecclus. 33:2, ὁ ὑποκρινόμενος ἐν αὐτῳ [sc. νόμῳ] ὡς ἐν καταιγίδι πλοῖον, Ephesians 4:14 with Robinson’s note and references, Jude, v. 13. Note also the elaborate metaphor of 4 Macc. 7:1-3, where the man of steadfast piety is described as a helmsman tenax propositi; and see references in Mayor, and Heisen, pp. 451 f.

7. γάρ. Introduces a second time, in another and more direct form, the reason for v. 6a. Cf. Hermas, Sim. 4:6 πῶς οὖν, φησίν, ὁ τοιοῦτος δύναταί τι αἰτήσασθαι παρὰ τοῦ κυρίου καὶ λαβεῖν, μὴ δουλεύων τῷ κυρίῳ; also James 4:3 and note.

οἰέσθω. οἶμαι is found in N. T. only here and John 21:25, Philippians 1:17, δοκέω having taken its place (cf. Matthew 3:9 μὴ δόξητε). It is often used, as here, “with collateral notion of wrong judgment or conceit” (L. and S.). So in Attic; and cf. Job 11:2, Job 11:1 Macc. 5:61, 2 Macc. 5:21.

ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος, with a suggestion of disapproval, or contempt, as Mark 14:21, Matthew 12:45.


τοῦ κυρίου, i. e. God, cf. v. 5. In Paul always, or nearly always, of Christ, except in quotations.

8.�

The word is not found in secular literature nor in LXX or N. T. except here and James 4:8, but is correctly formed according to the analogy of διχόνους (Philo, De merc. meretr. 4, p. 269), δίγλωσσος (ibid.; Ecclus. 5:9), διγνωμος, δικάρδιος, δίλογος (1 Timothy 3:8), διπρόσωπος (Test. XII Patr. Aser 2, etc.), δίστομος, δισώματος, etc. It is not at all likely to be the coinage of this writer.

In early Christian writings δίψυχος and διψυχέω (see Goodspeed, Index) are frequent, occurring in Hermas about forty times, especially in Mand. 9; Clem. Romans 11:2 (of persons like Lot’s wife), 23:3 πόρρω γενέσθω�Romans 11:2 the same quotation is given as from ὁ προφητικὸς λόγος, which Lightfoot conjectures to be “Eldad and Modad.” Cf. Didache 4, Barn. 19, 20 (διπλοκαρδία), 2 Clem. Rom. 19 (διψυχίαν); see Mayor for some later instances.


A. H. Clough’s poem, entitled Dipsychus, has brought the word into English.

The idea so neatly put by δίψυχος has similar expression in a series of phrases found in classical Greek, such as δίχα θυμὸν ἔχοντες (Homer), ἐγένοντο δίχα αἱ γνῶμαι (Herodotus), etc., all meaning “be at variance,” “be in doubt.”

Somewhat closer are the O. T. passages, Psalms 12:2 (11:3) ἐν καρδίᾳ καὶ ἐν καρδίᾳ, “with a double heart,” 1 Chronicles 12:33, Ecclus. 1:28 ἐν καρδίᾳ δισσῇ, 2:12-14 (where “go two ways,” and “lose ὑπομονή” are parallel, and are closely connected with οὐ πιστεύει), Hosea 10:2. See also Enoch 91:4, Matthew 6:24, and Tanchuma on Deuteronomy 26:16 (quoted by Schöttgen), ecce scriptura monet Israelitas et dicit ipsis quo tempore preces coram domino effundant ne habeant duo corda, unum ad deum s. b. alterum vero ad aliam rem. In Test. XII Patr. Aser 3, Benj. vi; a similar thought is associated with the idea of the good and the evil “root”; see Bousset, Religion des Judentums2, pp. 400 f. Classical references are given by Wetstein, Mayor, Heisen, p. 475. Singleness of soul was prized in the Gentile world (Plato, Epictetus), but the connection of single-mindedness and prayer seems characteristic of Jewish or Christian thought.


Cf. also the verb διστάζω (especially in Clem. Rom. 23:3, above).

ἀκατάστατος, “unstable,” “unsteady,” “fickle,” “inconstant,” a disparaging predicate applied to ὁ διακρινόμενος.

The word is found in N. T. only here and 3:8, in LXX once (Isaiah 54:11, as parallel to ταπεινή), Sym. three times;�


The adjective and noun are used to describe character in Polybius, vii, 4:6 (of a youth).

ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ὁδοῖς αὐτοῦ, i. e. his whole conduct is like his attitude toward faith. For the Hebraism “ways” in the sense of “habitual course of conduct,” see Psalms 91:11, Psalms 145:17, Proverbs 3:6 (πάσαις ὁδοῖς σου), and Prov. passim, Wisd. 2:16, Ecclus. 11:26, 17:15, 19, etc., Jeremiah 16:17, Ezekiel 7:8, Ezekiel 7:9, Acts 14:16, 1 Corinthians 4:17; cf. v. 11 below, ἐν ταῖς πορείαις αὐτοῦ.

The expression�Isaiah 54:11, and for ὁδοί Psalms 91:11, Romans 3:16 (where the quotation is taken as relating not to conduct but to experience). This is the view of many commentators, ancient and modern, but the sentence seems to call for a characterisation of the man rather than a prophecy of his fortunes.


9-11. Poverty no evil and wealth no advantage

The writer returns to the πειρασμοί of v. 2. That these fall heavily on the poor man is not an evil for him but an elevation, of which he should boast as a privilege. Likewise let the rich man boast when brought low by adversity; for riches are transitory things, and he should be only glad to lose them in a way which conduces to his moral welfare, cf. Luke 6:20-26.

9. καυχάσθω, “boast,” over a privilege or a possession, corresponding to χαρὰν ἡγήσασθε. The word is used in the O. T. of “any proud and exulting joy,” and so here (in secular Greek it did not have this development), cf. Ecclus. 10:21, 39:8, Jeremiah 9:23 f. τάδε λέγει κύριος· μὴ καυχάσθω ὁ σοφὸς ἐν τῇ σοφίᾳ αὐτοῦ, καὶ μὴ καυχάσθω ὁ ἰσχυρὸς ἐν τῇ ἰσχύι αὐτοῦ, καὶ μὴ καυχάσθω ὁ πλούσιος ἐν τῷ πλούτῳ αὐτοῦ,�Psalms 32:11, Psalms 32:2 Cor. 11:30, cf. 23-29, 12:9.


ὁ�

ὁ ταπεινός, “humble,” “lowly,” of outward condition, not (as 4:6) inner spirit. Cf. Ecclus. 11:1, 29:8, 1 Macc. 14:14, Ps. 9:39 (10:18), 82 (81):3 ταπεινὸν καὶ πένητα, Proverbs 30:14 (24:37), Ecclesiastes 10:6, Isaiah 11:4, Dan. 3:37, Job 5:11 τὸν ποιοῦντα ταπεινοὺς εἰς ὕψος, Luke 1:52. See Trench, Synonyms, § xlii.


ἐν τῷ ὕψει.

The lowly should find the elevation he so much craves in the moral gain achieved through trials, cf. 1 Corinthians 7:22.


Others make ὕψος refer to the heavenly reward of the pious. This is, of course, included in the advantage of the lowly, but it is not said here that the elevation is only future.

The actual moral dangers of wealth in the early church are well illustrated by Hermas, Vis. iii, 6.

The exaltation of the humble was the promise of the prophets (e. g. Isaiah 54:11 f.) and the hope of Israel, Proverbs 3:34, Psalms 18:27, 138:6; cf. Luke 14:11 ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὑψῶν ἑαυτὸν ταπεινωθήσεται καὶ ὁ ταπεινῶν ἑαυτὸν ὑψωθήσεται. These are now realised. But note the moralistic turn given to apocalyptic ideas; in 1 Peter 1:3 the eschatological framework of Jewish and Christian thought is far nearer the surface of the writer’s consciousness.


10. The two interpretations of v. 10 divide on the question whether or not�

τῇ ταπεινώσει. The bringing low of the rich through loss of property, standing, etc., cf. Luke 1:48, Philippians 3:21. This might be by reason of his Christian profession, for the rich man was peculiarly exposed to loss in time of persecution (cf. the result of anti-semitic persecution at Alexandria, as described by Philo, Leg. ad Gaium, 18); but it might well come about through other causes, and would always be a πειρασμός that would put a severe strain on faith in the goodness of God.

τῇ ταπεινώσει is taken by some as strictly parallel to τῷ ὕψει and so meaning Christian “humility.” “Let the rich man make his humble spirit, not his wealth, his boast,” cf. Ecclus. 3:18, 7:17, ταπείνωσον σφόδρα τὴν ψυχήν σου … ὅτι ἐκδίκησις�1 Peter 5:5).

On the transitoriness of riches, cf. Job 24:24, Job 27:21, Psalms 49:16-20, Wisd. 5:8 ff., Ecclus. 11:18 f., Matthew 6:19, Luke 12:16-21, Luke 16:19-31, Philo, De sacrificantibus, 10 (M, ii, 258):

“God alone, it says (Deuteronomy 10:21), shall be thy boast (αὔχημα) and greatest glory. And pride thyself neither on wealth nor on glory nor high position nor beauty of person nor strength nor the like things over which the empty-minded are wont to be elated; reckoning that in the first place these things have no share in the nature of good, and that secondly they are subject to speedy change, fading (μαραινόμενα), as it were, before they have well blossomed �


ὅτι ὡς ἄνθος χόρτου παρελεύσεται. Through the same interest in warning against high estimation of riches which appears in 2:1 ff. 6-8, 5:1-6, the writer is led on in this clause and v. 11 to describe the certainty of loss to the rich. The passage sets forth the sure fate of the typical rich man.

The passage is dependent on Isaiah 40:6 f. πᾶσα σὰρξ χόρτος καὶ πᾶσα δόξα�1 Peter 1:24).


ἄνθος χόρτου is the LXX rendering of Hebrew צִיץ הַשָׂדֶה, “flower of the field.” In Psa_103 (102):15 the same Hebrew is rendered more correctly ἄνθος τοῦ�Matthew 6:28, Matthew 6:30, of grain, Matthew 13:26), and the flower thought of is any flower growing in the field, just as in the Hebrew. The original comparison in Isaiah 40:6 f. relates to life in general, for which the spectacle familiar in the Orient of the grass and flowers suddenly withered by heat and drought is a common figure; thus Psalms 90:5 f. 102:11 ὡσεὶ χόρτος, 103:15, Job 14:2 ὥσπερ ἄνθος, Isaiah 51:12; and (of the wicked) Psalms 37:2, Job 15:30-33.


παρελεύσεται. The rich man “will pass away,” “disappear,” i. e. in any case his riches will pass away and he will cease to be a rich man. (This is merely elaborated in vv. 11 and 12.) Therefore he should congratulate himself on the opportunity of moral gain described in vv. 2-4 and on the ταπείνωσις which substitutes real values for transitory ones.

παρελεύσεται includes the consequences of death, but also the work of moth and rust (Matthew 6:19, Matthew 6:20). This is better than, with some interpreters, to take παρελεύσεται as meaning “die,” for the rich is no more sure to die than the poor. The rich needs to be reminded not of the certainty of death but of the transitoriness of wealth.

11.�Isaiah 40:7 LXX. See Burton, Moods and Tenses, § 43, Blass, § 57, 9, Buttmann (Thayer’s translation), p. 202; Winer (Moulton’s translation), pp. 346 f.; J. H. Moulton, Prolegomena, p. 135.

Winer (Thayer’s translation), pp. 277 f., takes a different view, holding the aorists to be narrative, as in a parabolic story; cf. Matthew 13:24 ff.

σὺν τῷ καύσωνι. καύσων means “burning heat,” Genesis 31:40, Dan. 3:67 (Theod. Codd. AQ), Isaiah 25:5 (Theod.), Luke 12:55, Matthew 20:12; or “sirocco,” Hebrew קָדִים (Job 27:21, Hosea 13:15, Jonah 4:8, Ezekiel 17:10, Ezekiel 19:12), the southeast wind common in Palestine in spring and destructive of young growth by reason of its extreme and withering dryness. See Benzinger, Hebr. Archäologie, pp. 29 f., DD.BB. art. “Wind.” It is often, as here, difficult to decide between the two possible meanings (e. g. Ecclus. 18:16, 43:3, Judith 8:3). For the A.V., “a burning heat,” R.V. has substituted “the scorching wind.”


ἐξέπεσεν, “faded,” “wilted,” from Isa 40:7, cf. Isaiah 28:1, Isaiah 28:4, Job 14:2, Job 14:15:30, 33.


The Greek word is used in the sense not only of “fall off,” but also of “fail,” “come to naught.” The specific meaning “fade” is contained in the Hebrew נָבֵל and so in translation became attached to ἐκπίπτειν.

ἡ εὐπρέπεια, “comeliness,” “goodly appearance.” Only here in N. T., cf. Ecclus. 24:14 (of olive-tree). The word is common in LXX as in classical writers, with a suggestion of fitness to the object and its relations, and so sometimes gains a notion of stateliness or majesty, which καλός, κάλλος, do not have. Cf. Psalms 93:1 κύριος ἐβασίλευσεν, εὐπρέπειαν ἐνεδύσατο, Wisd. 7:29 εὐπρεπεστέρα ἡλίου, and other references given by Hort.


τοῦ προσώπου αὐτοῦ, “of its face,” i. e. “form and appearance.”

Under the influence of the extended meanings of the Hebrew פָּנִים the word πρόσωπον proceeded in translation to the sense “surface.” Cf. Job 41:13 (of stripping off the crocodile’s scales) τίς�2 Samuel 14:20 τὸ πρόσωπον τοῦ ῥήματος τούτου, “the situation, attitude, appearance, of this affair”; Genesis 2:6 τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γῆς. From this to the meaning “outward form and appearance” is not a long step.

ἐν ταῖς πορείαις αὐτοῦ is figurative, like ὁδοῖς, v. 8, and refers to the experiences and fortunes of the rich, cf. Proverbs 2:7, Proverbs 4:27 τὰς δὲ πορείας σου ἐν εἰρήνῃ προάξει. To take it of literal journeys is wholly inappropriate to the context.


Hort’s interesting interpretation is probably oversubtle: “The common interpretation of ‘goings’ as a mere trope for ‘doings’ seems too weak here. The force probably lies in the idea that the rich man perishes while he is still on the move, before he has attained the state of restful enjoyment which is always expected and never arrives. Without some such hint of prematurity the parallel with the grass is lost.”

μαρανθήσεται, “wither,” “waste away.” So Wisd. 2:8, Job 24:24, but outside the Bible more often of the decay of other things than plants. The reference is to the loss of riches and earthly prosperity, not to eternal destiny.


12. The Reward of Steadfastness



This verse recurs to the thought of vv. 2-4. The sub-paragraph should end after v. 12, not before it, as in WH.’s text.

μακάριος�

This form of praising a virtue is very common in the O. T., especially in Psalms and Ecclesiasticus, for Hebrew אַשְׁרֵי דָאִישׁ.�Psalms 1:1, Psalms 84:5, Proverbs 8:32, Ecclus. 14:1, 20, 26:1, Isaiah 56:2, Job 5:17 μακάριος δὲ ἄνθρωπος ὃν ἤλεγξεν ὁ κύριος, 4 Macc. 7:22 διὰ τὴν�Daniel 12:12 (Theod.) μακάριος ὁ ὑπομένων.

This precise formula is not found elsewhere in the N. T. (except Romans 4:8, quoted from LXX), although beatitudes are abundant, e. g. Matthew 5:3-11, Matthew 11:6, Luke 1:45, Luke 23:29, John 20:29, Romans 14:22, 1 Peter 3:14. Cf. Hermas, Vis. 2, 2:7 μακάριοι ὑμεῖς ὅσοι ὑπομένετε τὴν θλίψιν.


Both in form and substance this verse in James is characteristically Jewish and Biblical. On the interesting difference from the abundant and familiar Greek and Latin congratulatory expressions, see E. Norden, Agnostos Theos, 1913, pp. 100 f.; G. L. Dirichlet, De veterum macarismis (Religionsgeschichtliche Versuche und Vorarbeiten, 14), 1914.

ὑπομένει, “endureth”; i. e. “shows constancy under”; cf. Zechariah 6:14 LXX ὁ δὲ στέφανος ἔσται τοῖς ὑπομένουσιν. The word may also be taken as future, ὑπομενεῖ.


πειρασμόν, “trial,” as in v. 2. Inner enticement to evil would have to be resisted, not endured.

δόκιμος γενόμενος, “having shown himself approved,” cf. Romans 5:4. This is another way of saying ὑπομένει, not a further condition of receiving the crown.

τὸν στέφανον τῆς ζωῆς. A crown (עֲטָרָה) was worn for ornament by the Jews, as by other peoples of antiquity, being sometimes a wreath of leaves or flowers (e. g. Judith 15:13, cf. Wisd. 2:3, etc.) worn at feasts (Song of Solomon 3:11, Isaiah 28:1, Isaiah 28:3, Ecclus. 32:2, etc.), weddings, and occasions of joy, sometimes a crown of gold (e. g. Ezekiel 16:12, Ezekiel 23:42, Esther 8:15, Ep. Jeremiah 9:1 Macc. 10:20, 13:37, 2 Macc. 14:4; cf. 2 Samuel 12:30 = 1 Chronicles 20:2, where the crown of gold was probably on the head of an idol, see H. P. Smith on 2 Samuel 12:30). At least in the case of golden crowns it served as a badge of dignity and rank (cf. Philo, De somn. ii, 9), and could be used as a gift of honour (just as with the Greeks, cf. Epist. Arist. 320).

Such a crown (usually of gold) is sometimes spoken of as worn by a king (Psalms 21:3, Sir. 40:4, Zechariah 6:11, Zechariah 6:14, Jeremiah 13:18, Ezekiel 21:26 (31)), but others also could wear it, and it was not intended as a symbol of dominion. Many gold chaplets in the form of leaves have been found in ancient graves and are to be seen in museums. The ordinary badge of royalty (βασιλείας γνωρίσματα, Lucian, Pisc. 35; insigne regium, Tac. Ann. xv, 29) was not a crown (στέφανος) but a fillet (διάδημα, Hebrew כֶּתֶר), Esther 1:11, Esther 1:1 Esd. 4:30, Wisd. 5:16, Ecclus. 11:5, 47:6, Isaiah 62:3, Isaiah 62:1 Macc. 1:9, etc.). Not until the time of the later Roman emperors did the obliteration of the actual distinction between crown and diadem take place which has determined the meaning of the words in modern usage.


From the Greeks the Jews became familiar with the custom of giving a wreath as a prize to victors in games. This was an important, but incidental, result of the general employment of chaplets (στέφανοι) as ornaments and badges of honour.

See EB and HDB and Hastings, Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, “Crown”; DCA, “Coronation” and “Crown”; Trench, Synonyms, § xxiii; Lightfoot on Philippians 4:1; J. Köchling, De coronarum apud antiquos vi et usu (Religionsgesch. Versuche und Vorarbeiten, 14), 1914.

στέφανος is often figuratively used in the O. T. in the sense of “honourable ornament” or “mark of dignity” (Proverbs 1:9 στέφανον χαρίτων, 4:9, 12:4 γυνὴ�Job 19:9, Isaiah 28:5 ἔσται κύριος σαβαὼθ ὁ στέφανος τῆς ἐλπίδος, Lamentations 5:16, Ecclus. 1:11 φόβος κυρίου … στέφανος�

The corresponding verb στεφανόω is used of the bestowing of marks of favour and honour (Psalms 8:6 δόξῃ καὶ τιμῇ ἐστεφάνωσας αὐτόν, 103:4 τὸν στεφανοῦντά σε ἐν ἐλέει, 3 Macc. 3:28, on which see Deissmann, Bibelstudien, p. 261, Hebrews 2:7, Hebrews 2:9), just as it is by late secular writers (Polyb. Diod. Plut. papyri; see Deissmann, l. c.) in the sense merely of “reward.”


For the figurative use of the crown as a prize, see 4 Macc. 17:11-16; cf. 9:8, Wisd. 4:2. Similarly, of victory over pleasure, love of money, etc., Heraclit. Ep. iv; Philo, Leg. all. ii, 26, iii, 23.

For rabbinical references to crowns, see Taylor, SJF2, p. 72, note 23. Test. XII Patr. Benj. 4:1 [Imitate the good man’s compassion] ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς στεφάνους δόξης φορέσητε, belongs to the same group as the similar N. T. passages discussed below.

In the N. T. στέφανος is used of the thorn-chaplet put on the head of Jesus (Matthew 27:29, Mark 15:17, John 19:2, John 19:5), of wreaths used as prizes (1 Corinthians 9:25), of golden crowns as badges of dignity (Revelation 4:4, Revelation 4:10, Revelation 4:6:2, Revelation 4:9:7, Revelation 14:14, also 12:1), of a crown of stars, and in the figurative senses of a prize (2 Timothy 4:8 ὁ τῆς δικαιοσύνης στέφανος ὃν�1 Corinthians 9:25) and of an honourable ornament, or badge of dignity (Philippians 4:1, 1 Thessalonians 2:19 τίς γὰρ ἡμῶν ἐλπὶς ἢ χαρὰ ἢ στέφανος καυχήσεως, 3:11).

This last sense, of a figurative “honourable ornament,” seems to be the meaning in 1 Peter 5:4 καὶ φανερωθέντος τοῦ�Revelation 2:10 δώσω σοι τὸν στέφανον τῆς ζωῆς, and in the passage of James under discussion. There is no reason whatever for thinking of a royal crown, and no need of introducing any reference to the use of wreaths as prizes in the Greek games. That metaphor, which implies competition and so exclusion, is not an adequate one as the basis of the N. T. use (cf. 2 Clem. Rom_7, where this very difficulty is felt), and crowns were in fact acquired in other ways as well as by contending in the games. The idea is rather of a mark of honour to be given by the Great King to his friends. An excellent case of this figurative use is Ep. Arist. 280 καθὼς σὺ τοῦτο ἐπιτελεῖς, εἶπε, μέγιστε βασιλεῦ, θεοῦ σοι στέφανον δικαιοσύνης δεδωκότος. Righteousness here constitutes the crown, and it is a gift, not a prize.

The metaphor of the crown for the blessed reward of the pious was evidently already familiar before the N. T. authors wrote. This is shown not only by Test. XII Patr. Benj. 4 already quoted, but also by the form of the several N. T. passages. Note the use of the definite article, the variation in the added genitive, and the acquaintance with the idea implied in ἡμεῖς δὲ ἄφθαρτον, 1 Corinthians 9:25. It may even be that στέφανος, like στεφανόω, had already gained the simple meaning “reward.”

τῆς ζωῆς, epexegetical genitive, as 1 Peter 5:4, Ep. Arist. 280. The blessed life of eternity constitutes the crown. Cf. Revelation 2:10.

ἐπηγγείλατο sc. ὁ θεός, cf. 1 John 5:16. There is no promise of the O. T. or of our Lord in just this form (cf. Deuteronomy 30:15-20), and a reference to Revelation 2:10 δώσω σοι τὸν στέφανον τῆς ζωῆς is unlikely. Eternal life as the reward for the friends of God was a fundamental idea of later Jewish and of Christian eschatology, cf. Ps. Sol. 13:10, Enoch 58:3, 4 Ezra 8:52 ff., Mark 9:43, John 3:15, John 10:10, Romans 2:7, Revelation 2:7, etc.



E. Zeller, however, argues in Zeit. f. wissensch. Theol. 1863, pp. 93-96, that Revelation 2:10 is the promise referred to.


ἐπηγγείλατο] ΒאΑΨ minn ff boh. The addition of a subject is emendation, thus:

+ κύριος C min.

+ ὁ κύριος KLP minnpler syrhcl.

+ ὁ θεός minn vg syrpesh.

τοῖς�

Note the resemblance to 2 Timothy 4:8. Von Soden suggests dependence on some liturgical form, but this is unnecessary. The idea and phrase are strongly characteristic of Deuteronomy. Cf. Exodus 20:6, καὶ ποιῶν ἔλεος εἰς χιλιάδας τοῖς�Deuteronomy 7:9 τοῖς�Psalms 5:11, Psalms 145:20, Ecclus. 31:19, Bel v. 38, Romans 8:28. See passages from O. T. and other Jewish literature mentioned in Spitta, p. 30. Cf. the similar expression in James 2:5 τῆς βασιλείας ἧς ἐπηγγείλατο τοῖς�


13-18. When under temptation, do not excuse yourselfby saying that temptations proceed from God. They come from man’s evil passion. God sends only good gifts to us, for we are his children and the first-fruits of his creation.

The passage has no doctrinal purpose other than to warn the readers against resorting to a current excuse for sin. The connection with the preceding is made by the aid of the ambiguity of the word πειραζόμενος, which means both “tried” and “tempted.” The temptations intended do not appear to be restricted to those involved in “trials.”

13. μηδεὶς … λεγέτω. Cf. μὴ εἴπῃς, Ecclus. 5:4, 6, 15:11.

πειραζόμενος. Evidently means (cf. vv. 14 f.) temptation to sin, not merely external trial. See on πειρασμοῖς, v. 2, and cf. 1 Timothy 6:9 εἰς πειρας μὸν καὶ παγίδα. The excuse shows that the writer is not thinking of a state of religious persecution, with the consequent temptation to complete renunciation of faith in Christ or in God, but rather of ordinary temptation. In the case supposed the person tempted either has yielded, or is on the point of yielding; he is called ὁ πειραζόμενος, instead of ὁ ἁμαρτών, by a kind of euphemism. He excuses himself by declaring that the temptation came from God. Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:13 makes a similar exhortation in curiously different form: “Do not excuse yourselves by thinking that your temptation is greater than man can bear.”


Warning against this natural and common impulse of frail humanity is found clearly expressed in Ecclus. 15:11-20, μὴ εἴπῃς ὅτι Διὰ κύριον�

Proverbs 19:3


That the idea was often expressed among Greeks of many periods is seen from the following instances:

Homer, Odyss. i, 32-34 (Zeus speaks),

ὢ πόποι, οἷον δή νυ θεοὺς βροτοὶ αἰτιόωνται.

ἐξ ἡμέων γάρ φασι κάκʼ ἔμμεναι· οἱ δὲ καὶ αὐτοὶ

σφῆσιν�

ἀπό. The preposition�Galatians 1:1; J. H. Moulton, Prolegomena, pp. 102, 237.


ἀπό] א minn read ὑπό, by an unnecessary emendation to a more usual phrase.

ἀπείραστος (class.�

ἐπιθυμία, a word in itself applicable to any desire, whether innocent or wrong, is here used of desire for something forbidden, “lust” (E.V.) in the broader sense of that word. The source of temptation is desire, and lies within, not without, the man. There is no emphasis here, as in Ecclus. 15:14-20, on free will; on the other hand, any conception of an outside, personified, Power, such as Paul employs in Romans 7:8, Romans 7:10, Romans 7:13, Romans 7:17, is foreign to this passage. The conception is far simpler and more naïve than either of these.

On ἐπιθυμία, see Trench, Synonyms, § lxxxviii, and cf. 4:1, 2 Peter 1:4, 2 Timothy 3:6, Titus 3:3.

Ecclus. 18:30 f. 5:2, 4 Macc. 1:22 πρὸ μὲν οὖν τῆς ἡδονῆς ἐστιν ἐπιθυμία· μετὰ δὲ τὴν ἡδονὴν χαρά, 4 Macc. 1:31, 32, 2:1, 4, 6, 3:2, 11, 12, 5:23. In these passages the word is used with various shades of meaning. Cf. Philo, Quod omn. prob. liber, 22 εἰ μὲν γὰρ [ἡ ψυχὴ] πρὸς ἐπιθυμίας ἐλαύνεται ἢ ὑφʼ ἡδονῆς δελεάζεται. On the significance of ἐπιθυμία in Philo’s system, see J. Drummond, Philo Judæus, 1888, ii, pp. 302-306, and note especially De concup. 1 f., M. pp. 348-350; De sacerd. honor. 3, M. p. 235, where ἐπιθυμία is vividly set forth as the source of sin. The background of James’s use is current popularised conceptions of Hellenistic philosophy. The Stoic discussion of the word in Stobæus, 2, 7 (Wachsmuth’s ed. pp. 87-91) is instructive in this respect. See also on James 4:1 f.


There seems no sufficient reason for introducing the thought of the jeser ha-ra here, although the function is closely similar. See F. C. Porter, “The Yeçer Hara,” in Yale Biblical and Semitic Studies, 1902, pp. 91-158.

ἐξελκόμενος καὶ δελεαζόμενος, “when he is lured and enticed” (by it).

These words were applied to the hunter or, especially, the fisherman, who “lures” his prey from its retreat (ἐξέλκειν) and “entices” it (δελεάζειν) by bait (δέλεαρ) to his trap, hook, or net. The two words thus merely refer to different aspects of the same process. They are a natural figure of speech for the solicitation of illicit desire, and the combination of one or both with ἐπιθυμία or ἡδονή is repeatedly found in Philo and in Greek writers. Cf. the sentence from Philo quoted above and the many illustrative passages given by Mayor and Hort; also 2 Peter 2:14, 2 Peter 2:18.


The language thus has its analogies outside of the O. T., in Greek writers. This figure is not necessarily connected with that which is worked out in v. 15; and there is no evidence that the words ἐξελκόμενος καὶ δελεαζόμενος suggested in themselves the practises of the harlot, or that these are in mind in either verse.

15. Illicit desire leads to sin, and sin causes death

εἶτα introduces, with a change of figure, the practical result of the temptation arising from ἐπιθυμία. When indulged (cf. 4 Macc. 3:1-5) desire bears its natural fruit, first sin, then, ultimately, death. This follows (εἶτα) the enticement of temptation.

For the metaphor (which is purely decorative), cf. Psalms 7:14 (15) ἰδοὺ ὠδίνησεν�


συλλαβοῦσα τίκτει.

Cf. Genesis 21:2, Genesis 38:3, etc. The two ideas have no independent significance in the figure. That the issue is due to a union with the will (Beyschlag) is not indicated as in the writer’s thought. Such psychological analysis is found in Philo, but is beyond the range of James; and the idea, when developed carefully, proves inconsistent with this context, see Spitta, p. 37. There is no reason for thinking of Adam and Eve, in spite of Justin Martyr, Dial. p. 327 (other references in Schneckenburger and Spitta); nor of the devil as father (Spitta). But the quotations from Philo and Test. XII Patr. (e. g. Benj. 7) given by Spitta, ad loc., attest the frequent use of this figure to express similar ideas.


ἁμαρτίαν. “Sin,” collectively and in general; “pravae actiones et cogitationes.” Desire for what is forbidden tempts the man, and thus is the source of sin. Cf. Apoc. Mos. 19 ἐπιθυμία γάρ ἐστιν κεφαλὴ πάσης ἁμαρτίας.

ἡ δὲ ἁμαρτία. Takes up ἁμαρτίαν; hence the article.

ἀποτελεσθεῖσα, “when it has become complete, fully developed,” “has come to maturity.” The word (on which see Hort) is drawn from the figure of the successive generations, and it is not necessary to determine wherein in fact the complete maturity of sin consists; sin is “complete” when it is able to bring forth its inevitable baneful fruit, death. The “perfect work” (cf. v. 4) of sin is death.

ἀποκυεῖ, cf. v. 18. The verb is frequently used of animals, hence appropriate here; otherwise it is a medical rather than a literary word.

Neither�Luke 13:32;�James 1:18.

θάνατον. Death as an objective state, brought upon man as the result of sin, and the opposite of blessed life with God (cf. v. 12 στέφανον ζωῆς, and 5:20) and cf. Romans 6:21 f. Romans 6:6:23 τὰ γαὶρ ὀψώνια τῆς ἁμαρτίας θάνατος, 8:6, Wisd. 1:12 ff.. Cf. Philo, De plant. Noe 9, M. p. 335. See also Matthew 7:13, Matthew 7:14.


16-18. God, on the other hand, sends solely and consistently good gifts, as befits the relation of a father to his first-born.

16. μὴ πλανᾶσθε. “Do not err,” “be not deceived.” As in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Corinthians 15:33, Galatians 6:7, used to introduce a pointed utterance. Cf. Ign. Php_3, Eph. 16, which may, however, be dependent on 1 Corinthians 6:9.


On�

δώρημα, “present,” “donation,” “benefaction”; cf. Romans 5:16. A mainly poetical word. Not quite happily rendered by R.V. “boon.”


For the difference between διδωμι and δωρέομαι with their cognates, see Mayor’s and Hort’s notes, together with the huge collection of material in Heisen, pp. 541-592. The latter series of words often has the idea of generous giving; but here in James there is no special distinction intended, the repetition being solely for rhetorical effect, and very probably part of a poetical allusion or quotation.

τέλειον, cf. 1:4, 25, 3:2. “Perfect” in this case (note parallel to�

ἄνωθεν, i. e. οὐρανόθεν, cf. 3:15, 17, John 3:31, John 19:11, referring to that which is from God.


So Philo, De somn. 1, 26 διὰ τὰς ὀμβρηθείσας ἄνωθεν δωρεὰς�

ἀπὸ τοῦ πατρὸς τῶν φώτων, i. e. God, here described as the creator of the heavenly bodies (cf. Psalms 136:7 τῷ ποιήσαντι φῶτα μεγάλα μόνῳ, Jeremiah 4:23 ἐπέβλεψα … εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν, καὶ οὐκ ἦν τὰ φῶτα αὐτοῦ), and thus as the ultimate source of all light and of all blessing, cf. Psalms 36:9 ἐν τῷ φωτί σου ὀψόμεθα φῶς.

This designation and the developed figure which follows, in which God as the Sun of Righteousness (cf. Malachi 4:2) is contrasted with the physical sun, seem to be suggested by the thought of the good gifts which descend from the heavens, at once the abode of God and the location of the sun. That it was natural to a Jew is shown by the benediction before Shema: “Blessed be the Lord our God who hath formed the lights.” Perhaps it hints at the thought of God’s nature as light. No astrological allusion is to be found here.

For πατήρ in this sense, cf. Job 38:28 (ὑετοῦ πατήρ and the whole verse), and note Philo’s constant use of ὁ πατὴρ τῶν ὅλων in sense of “the Creator.” Cf. Apocalypse of Moses, 36 (as read in Ceriani, Monumenta sacra et profana, v, 1) ἐνώπιον τοῦ φωτὸς τῶν ὅλων, τοῦ πατρὸς τῶν φώτων; Testament of Abraham (ed. M. R. James, 1892), Recension B, c. 7, πατὴρ τοῦ φωτός; Ephraem Syr. Opera, v, col. 489 (see above, p. 96).


Philo’s lofty thought of God as “archetypal Splendor” is mainly interesting here as showing the total absence from the mind of James of such metaphysical speculation, although he sees the ideal and poetical aspects of light. See Philo, De cherub. 28 (M. i, p. 156), De somn. i, 13 (M. i, p. 632), quoted by Hort.

παρʼ ᾧ. For παρά c. dat. used in the mention of an attribute, cf. Job 12:13, Ephesians 6:9, Romans 9:14, etc. Cf. also παρὰ τῷ θεῷ, Mark 10:27, Matthew 19:26, Luke 18:27, Romans 2:11, Ephesians 6:9; so Genesis 18:14 (Cod. A). Perhaps the indirectness of statement is due to a certain “instinct of reverence” (Hort), cf.�

The affirmation is that to send good gifts belongs to God’s unvarying nature. In this he is unlike the sun, which sends now the full light of noon, now the dimness of twilight, and which at night sends no light at all. God’s light ever shines; from him proceeds no turning shadow. So 1 John 1:5 ὁ θεὸς φῶς ἐστὶν καὶ σκοτία οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν αὐτῷ οὐδεμία.

Closely similar are Isaiah 60:19, Isaiah 60:20 καὶ οὐκ ἔσται σοι ἔτι ὀ ἥλιος εἰς φῶς ἠμέρας, οὐδὲ�

For the contrast between God and the heavens, the moon, and the stars, cf. Job 15:15, Job 25:5 f.. See also Enoch 41:8, “For the sun changes oft for a blessing or a curse”; Ecclus. 17:31 τί φωτεινότερον ἡλίου; καὶ τοῦτο ἐκλείπει. Cf. Epictetus, Diss. i, 1410, where the limitation of the sun, which is not able to illuminate the space where the shadow of the earth falls, is contrasted with the power of God (ὁ καὶ τὸν ἥλιον αὐτὸν πεποιηκὼς καὶ περιάγων).

The comparison of God with the sun is a natural one under any monotheistic conception. See Mayor’s or Schneckenburger’s references to Philo and Plato, also 1 John 1:5 with Westcott’s note.

For the idea of the immutability of God, cf. Malachi 3:6 διότι ἐγὼ κυριος ὁ θεὸς ὑμῶν καὶ οὐκ ἠλλοίωμαι, Hebrews 7:13-18, Philo, Leg. all. ii, 9; ii, 22 πάντα τὰ ἄλλα τρέπεται, μόνος δὲ αὐτὸς ἄτρεπτός ἐστι, and passages in Mayor3, p. 61. Cf. Clem. Al. Strom. i, 24, p. 418 τὸ ἑστὸς καὶ μόνιμον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὸ ἄτρεπτον αὐτοῦ φῶς καὶ�


οὐκ ἔνι] אR minn have substituted the weaker and more familiar οὐκ ἔστιν.

παραλλαγή, “variation.” This does not seem to be an astronomical terminus technicus, although in general senses (e. g. of the “variation” in the length of the day and in the daily course of the sun through the heavens; cf. references in Mayor3, p. 60, and Gebser, Brief des Jacobus, p. 83) it is used by astronomers, and its resemblance to the term παράλλαξις, “parallax,” gives it a quasi-astronomical sound. The contrast intended is mainly with the sun and moon, as being the most important and most changeable φῶτα.

παραλλαγὴ ἢ τροπῆς�

“The only quite trustworthy evidence from internal character for derivation from a common proximate original consists in the presence of such erroneous identical readings as are evidently due to mere carelessness or caprice of individual scribes, and could not easily have escaped correction in passing through two or three transcriptions … א and B have in common but one such reading” [viz. the one in James 1:17 here under discussion].


In order to account for the origin of this reading of אB, which he assumed to be obviously false, Hort made the following ingenious suggestions: (1) that�

Wordsworth, SB, i, p. 138, in part following Est, Commentarius in epistolam Jacobi, 1631, thinks that the modicum of ff and the momenti of Augustine imply ῥοπή, ῥοπῆς, “turn of the scale,” and that one or the other of these represents the original Greek. But neither ῥοπή nor ῥοπῆς makes good sense, and although (cf. Isaiah 40:15) a “little thing” may cause a “turn of the scale,” the Latin word modicum is not a natural translation for the Greek ῥοπή. Hence modicum obumbrationis is probably only a loose and general translation of τροπὴ�


The genitive�

τροπή, “turning,” “change,” is another semi-astronomical word. It is used technically for the solstice (hence English, “tropic”), so Deuteronomy 33:14 ἡλίου τροπῶν, Wisd. 7:18 τροπῶν�Job 38:33 ἐπίστασαι δὲ τροπὰς οὐρανοῦ, cf. references in L. and S. s. v., especially Plato, Tim. 11, p. 39 D.


The word is also used in the sense of change in general, and with reference to human fickleness and frailty; see Philo, Leg. all. ii, 9; De sacr. Abel. et Cain. 37, and references given at length by Mayor3, p. 61. These various meanings make possible the figurative use here, in which there is allusion to both senses. To exclude altogether the astronomical allusion, as some do, unduly weakens the passage and overlooks the suggestions of ὁ πατὴρ τῶν φώτων, παραλλαγή, and�

A specific reference to the Jews is sometimes found here, and can be supported by Jeremiah 2:3, by Philo, De const. princ. 6 (ii, p. 366), where Israel is called�

The reference to Christians is entirely possible and makes a better connection with v. 19. In that case�Song of Solomon 8:9); and κτισμάτων refers to all creation, but with particular thought of men. The associations of�


If ἡμᾶς is taken to refer to Christians, it must be understood of believers in general, not of the first generation only (Huther) or of Jewish Christians (Beyschlag).

The objections brought against this view are (1) that the context (vv. 12-17) has discussed the subject from general points of view, with no reference to Christians as distinct from others; (2) that for the Gospel ὁ λόγος τῆς�Ephesians 1:13, Colossians 1:5, 2 Timothy 2:15; note, in a different sense, λόγος�Psalms 119:43, 2 Corinthians 6:7); (3) that instead of κτισμάτων some word expressly denoting “men” would have been expected. These objections do not seem conclusive.

The other view, urged by Spitta and especially Hort, takes ἡμᾶς of mankind, begotten by God’s word to be supreme among created things, cf. Ecclus. 15:14. The objection which seems decisive against this is that the figure of begetting was not used for creation (Genesis 1:26 does not cover this), whereas it came early into use with reference to the Christians, who deemed themselves “sons of God.”

The idea of a divine begetting and of the entrance into Christian life as a new birth has its roots in Greek not in Jewish thought. So Clem. Alex. Strom. v, 2 (p. 653 Potter) καὶ παρὰ τοῖς βαρβάροις φιλοσόφοις τὸ κατηχῆσαί τε καὶ φωτίσαι�John 3:3 in Lietzmann, Handbuch zum Neuen Testament; A. Dieterich, Eine Mithras-liturgie2, 1910, pp. 134-155, 157 ff. On the verb�John 1:13, John 1:3:John 1:3-8, 1 John 2:29, 1 John 2:3:9, 1 John 2:4:7, 1 John 2:8, 1 John 2:5:1, 1 John 2:4, 1 Peter 1:3, 1 Peter 1:23 (cf. Hort’s note on 1 Peter 1:3), Titus 3:5.

λόγῳ�2 Corinthians 6:7, Colossians 1:5, Ephesians 1:13, and perhaps 2 Timothy 2:15 it is the gospel of salvation.


There is no connection between this verse and Philo’s figure, often repeated in one and another form, of the generative word of God (cf. Leg. alleg. iii, 51, ὁ σπερματικὸς καὶ γεννητικὸς τῶν καλῶν λόγος ὀρθός, and references in Spitta, pp. 45 f.); the idea is utterly different.

ἀπαρχήν τινα, “a kind of first-fruits”; τινα indicates a figurative expression, cf. Winer-Schm. § 26. 1. a.

The “first-fruits,” both of the body and of the field, were sacred, and were often offered to God. See EB, “Firstborn,” HDB, “First-fruits,” Schürer, GJV, § 24, II.

The figure is found with reference to Israel in Jeremiah 2:32 Thessalonians 2:13 (Codd. BFG, etc.) and Revelation 14:4. But the figure does not seem very common in Jewish thought. With Greek writers the word is more frequent in a figurative sense, see L. and S. and the Scholiast on Eur. Or. 96 quoted in Lex. s. v., which says that�

κτισμάτων, cf. 1 Timothy 4:4 (Revelation 5:13, Revelation 8:9); not used elsewhere in N. T., cf. Wisd. 13:5. In O. T. found only in Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, 3 Maccabees; not used in this sense in secular writers, and to be associated with the Jewish use of κτίζω and its derivatives.

Von Soden, misled by his failure to see any adequate connection of thought for v. 18, wished to take κτισμάτων of God’s new creation (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17 καινὴ κτίσις, Galatians 6:15, Ephesians 2:10, Ephesians 4:24), within which these particular Christians addressed are distinguished by reason of their subjection to fiery trials. But (1) this does not suit�


19-27. Let your aim be not speech, but attentive hearing; not hearing only, but doing; not empty worship, but good deeds.

The thought here turns to the need of reality and sincerity in religious instruction and public worship (1:19-2:26).

19-21. To hear is better than to speak; listen to the Word

19. ἴστε] BאcAC minn ff vg boh syrhcl.mg.

ἴστω] א*.

ἴστε δέ] A bohmss.

ὥστε] KLP minnpler syrpesh hcl.txt.

om] minn.

ἔστω δέ] BאCP* minn ff vg boh.

καὶ ἔστω] A 33.

ἔστω] KLP2 minnpler syrpesh. hcl.

The Antiochian reading (ὥστε … ἔστω) is a characteristic emendation.

ἴστε, “know this.” The address�

For this view it may also be urged that James 4:4 has οἴδατε as the indicative. ἴστε is the sole form of the imperative, and the more literary form of the indicative. Note ἴσασι in Acts 26:4; Hebrews 12:17 has ἴστε (probably indicative), 10:30 οἴδαμεν; Ephesians 5:5 ἴστε is probably indicative.


πᾶς ἄνθρωπος, not limited to teachers, but cf. 3:13.

ταχὺς εἰς τὸ�

In view of the reference to the Word in vv. 21-22 (note διό), it is likely that ταχὺς εἰς τὸ�Galatians 4:21.

εἰς τό. This can be justified in Greek as a development of the meaning “with reference to,” cf. Luke 12:21, Romans 16:19, Dio Chrys. Or. 32, p. 361 Α ἐγὼ δὲ μᾶλλον ἂν ὐμᾶς ἐπῄνουν βραδὺ μὲν φθεγγομένους ἐγκρατῶς δὲ σιγῶντας· γίνου πρὸς ὀργὴν μὴ ταχὺς�


ἀκοῦσαι, λαλῆσαι, ὀργήν.

Ecclus. 5:11 γίνου ταχὺς ἐν�Ecclesiastes 7:9, Ecclesiastes 9:18. See below on 3:1-10. Cf. Pirke Aboth, ii, 14, “Be not easily provoked,” also v, 17, and note Matthew 5:22.


The interpretation of ὀργή given by Bengel (ut nil loquatur contra deum nec sinistre de deo), followed by Gebser, Calvin, Spitta, who take the anger as impatience against God, has little to commend it. On the other hand, Beyschlag’s interpretation of ὀργή as “passionate disposition (leidenschaftliche Gemüthsverfassung)” of every kind, showing itself in murmurings against God and in fanaticism, as well as in quarrels, goes too far. The writer is thinking of what men ordinarily know as anger, against whomsoever directed. Its opposite is good temper and self-restraint.

20. ἐργάζεται, more naturally taken to mean “do,” “practise,” than in the rarer sense, “effect,” “produce,” “bring about,” which properly belongs to κατεργάζομαι (cf. v. 3). Hence δικαιοσύνην is to be taken as equivalent to τὸ δίκαιον, “righteous action” (cf. 2:9 ἁμαρτίαν ἐργάζεσθε). Cf. Acts 10:35, Hebrews 11:33, Psalms 15:2 ἐργαζόμενος δικαιοσύνην, and the common O. T. phrase ποιεῖν τὴν δικαιοσύνην, e. g. Genesis 18:19. The opposite of ἐργάζεσθαι δικαιοσύνην is ἐργάζεσθαι ἁμαρτίαν, 2:9. δικαιοσύνην θεοῦ then means “righteousness which God approves” (cf. Matthew 6:33, Matthew 6:4 Macc. 10:10), and the phrase is here due to the contrast with ὀργὴ�


The whole sentence means: “Wrath doeth not righteousness,” i. e. “Out of wrath righteous action does not spring.” It is doubtless intended as a warning against wrong use of the doctrine that anger is sometimes valuable as an engine of righteousness.

Another interpretation, however, gives to ἐργάζεται the rarer sense “effect,” “produce” (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:10), and refers the phrase “produce righteousness” to the effect of the teacher’s anger on a pupil, cf. Zahn, Einleitung, i, § 4, note 2.


οὐκ ἐργάζεται] B־Act_3 minn.


οὐ κατεργάζεται] CKLP minnpler.

External attestation, possibility of conformation to 1:3, and transcriptional tendency to strengthen the verb decide for ἐργάζεται. κατεργάζεται may have been intended to have the sense “produce.”

21. διό, “acting on this principle.” An exhortation to a meek and receptive spirit. The emphatic word is πραΰτητι.

ἀποθέμενοι, “stripping off.” For the same collocation, διὸ�Ephesians 4:25. Cf. also 1 Peter 2:1Romans 13:12, Ephesians 4:22 ff., Colossians 3:5 ff., Clem. Rom_13, Ps.-Clem. Epistle to James, 11.

The word is used of clothes, but also of the removal of dirt from the body (cf. 1 Peter 3:21 σαρκὸς�


ῥυπαρίαν, “filthiness” (cf. 2:2), probably carrying out the figure of clothes. Evil habits and propensities in general seem to be meant.

ῥυπαρίαν is complete in itself and does not need to be connected with κακίας. The force of πᾶσαν, however, probably continues to περισσείαν, which would otherwise have the article.

For O. T. use of the figure of dirty clothes, cf. Zechariah 3:4. Derivatives of ῥύπος are used in Philo (e. g. De mut. nom. 21) and in Greek writers to denote moral defilement (see references in Mayor).

περισσείαν κακίας, “excrescent wickedness,” “superfluity of naughtiness” (A.V.), cf. Romans 5:17 τὴν περισσείαν τῆς χάριτος. κακίας is genitive of apposition, and the phrase calls attention to the fact that wickedness is in reality an excrescence on character, not a normal part of it. Cf. Philo, De somn. ii, 9, where he uses the figure of pruning off sprouts, καθάπερ γὰρ τοῖς δένδρεσιν ἐπιφύονται βλάσται περισσαί κτλ.; De sacr. 9 τὰς περιττὰς φύσεις τοῦ ἡγεμονικοῦ, ἃς αἱ ἄμετροι τῶν παθῶν ἔσπειράν τε καὶ συνηύξησαν ὁρμαὶ καὶ ὁ κακὸς ψυχῆς γεωργὸς ἐφύτευσεν,�John 15:2.

This is more forcible than to take the phrase to mean merely “abundance of evil,” i. e. “the abounding evil,” “the great amount of evil,” which we find in our hearts, cf. 2 Corinthians 8:2, Luke 6:45. Still less natural is the interpretation of some who make περισσεία equivalent to περίσσευμα, “remainder” (cf. Mark 8:8), i. e. from the past life.* For other unacceptable interpretations, see Mayor and Beyschlag.


The fact that the Aramaic סְרַח seems to be used to mean both “be foul” and “be abundant,” as well as “sin,” is probably of merely curious interest. See Buxtorf, Lexicon, cols. 1549-1550. More significant is the use of ῥυπαρία in the sense of sordid meanness by Teles (ed. Hense2, pp. 33, 37) and Plutarch, De adul. et amico, 19.

κακίας, “naughtiness” (A.V.), “wickedness” (R.V.). This more general meaning (cf. ῥυπαρίαν) is better here than the special sense of “malice,” which is not rendered appropriate to the context even by ὀργή, and is not the natural opposite of πραΰτης; cf. Acts 8:22. See, however, Lightfoot on Colossians 3:8, Trench, Synonyms, § xi.


ἐν πραΰτητι, “meekness,” “docility.” The contrast is with ὀργή rather than κακίας. Cf. 3:13. Calvin: significat modestiam et facilitatem mentis ad discendum compositae. This is the centre of the whole disposition recommended in vv. 19-21. Cf. Ecclus. 3:17, 4:8, 10:28, 45:4 (ἐν πραΰτητι in each case).

Cf. Lightfoot on Colossians 3:12, Trench, Synonyms, § xlii; Heisen, Novae hypotheses, p. 637, gives some good Greek definitions of meekness.

δέξασθε, Jeremiah 9:20, Proverbs 1:3, Proverbs 2:1, Proverbs 4:10, Ecclus. 51:16.

This seems to refer (like δέξασθαι εἰς τὴν καρδίαν σου in Deuteronomy 30:1), not to the mere initial acceptance of the gospel, preached and heard, but (cf. ἔμφυτον) to attention to the knowledge of God’s will, cf. Matthew 11:14, 1 Corinthians 2:14. The Christian’s ideal should not be much talking (which leads to angry strife) but meek and docile listening to the voice of God. There lies the way to salvation.


τὸν ἔμφυτον λόγον. ἔμφυτος, from ἐμφύειν, “implant,” may mean “implanted” (R.V.), “innate” (Wisd. 12:10), “intrinsic,” “deep-rooted.”

ἔμφυτος often means the “natural”—in contrast to the “taught” (Plato, Eryx, 398 C διδακτὸν ἡ�

Cf. 4 Ezra 9:31, “For, behold, I sow my law in you, and it shall bring forth fruit in you, and ye shall be glorified in it for ever”; 4 Ezra 8:6, Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (v. 14, “But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it”).

There is probably no allusion to the parable of the sower; yet cf. Mark 4:20, Luke 8:18.


The interpretation here given is substantially the one most common in modern commentaries. Similarly “Œcumenius” takes the whole phrase as referring to conscience, ἔμφυτον λόγον καλεῖ τὸν διακριτικὸν τοῦ βελτίονος καὶ τοῦ χείρονος, καθʼ ὃ καὶ λογικοὶ ἐσμὲν καὶ καλούμεθα.

Hort’s note gives valuable material, and Heisen, Novae hypotheses, pp. 640-699, has collected a great number of more or less apposite quotations, and fully presented the older history of the exegesis. Calvin, De Wette, and others take ἔμφυτον as proleptic, “Receive the word and let it become firmly planted” (Calvin: ita suscipite ut vere inseratur); but the attributive position seems hardly to admit this.

The ancient versions translate as follows:

Bohairic, “newly implanted.”

Syriac, Peshitto, “received in our nature.”

Latin,

Cod. Corb. (ff) genitum.

Cod. Bob. (s) insitum.

Vulgate insitum.

The Latin insitus means “implanted” or “engrafted” or “innate”; see the instructive examples from Cicero and other writers in Harpers’ Latin Dictionary.

The history of the English translation has been as follows:

Wiclif, 1380, “insent or joyned”; 1388, “that is planted.”

Tyndale, 1526, “that is grafted in you.”

Great Bible, 1539, “that is graffed in you.”

Geneva, 1557, “that is graffed in you.”

Rheims, 1582, “engrafted.”

A.V. 1611, “engrafted.”

R.V. 1881, “implanted,” mg. “inborn.”

σῶσαι. Cf. 2:14, 4:12, 5:20, Romans 1:16 οὐ γὰρ ἐπαισχύνομαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, δύναμις γὰρ θεοῦ ἐστὶν εἰς σωτηρίαν, Acts 20:32.

τὰς ψυχὰς ὑμῶν. Cf. 5:20, 1 Peter 1:9 σωτηρίαν ψυχῶν, Hebrews 10:39 εἰς περιποίησιν ψυχῆς, Ep. Barnab. 19:10 μελετῶν εἰς τὸ σῶσαι ψυχὴν τῷ λόγῳ.


Evidently, when this was written, not merely the idea of salvation but the phrase “salvation of the soul” was fully current.

22-25. But hearing only, without doing, is valueless

Cf. 2:14-26, “Faith without works is valueless”; 3:13, “Wisdom which does not issue in peace is of the earth.”

22. γίνεσθε. γίνεσθαι serves in many cases as a kind of aorist of εἶναι. Hence the imperative γίνεσθε is used like an aorist imperative to convey a “pungent” exhortation to “be,” not merely to “become.” ἔστε as imperative is not found in the N. T. Cf. James 3:1, Matthew 6:16, Matthew 6:24:44, 1 Corinthians 14:20, Ephesians 5:21. There is no need of the elaborate translation “show yourselves” or “prove yourselves” (cf. Lex. s. v. γίνομαι, 5. a), nor of any other of the subtleties which the commentators offer. See Blass-Debrunner, §§ 335-337.

That hearing the commands of a law, or a teacher, must be followed by doing them is an obvious precept of ethics, often overlooked in practise in all ages. Cf. Ezekiel 33:32, Matthew 7:24 πᾶς οὖν ὅστις�Luke 8:21, Luke 11:28, Luke 12:47.

The antithesis of hearing and doing is frequently found in the Talmud. Cf. Pirke Aboth, i, 16; i, 18, R. Simeon b. Gamaliel I.: “All my days I have grown up amongst the wise, and have not found aught good for a man but silence; not learning but doing is the groundwork; and whoso multiplies words occasions sin,” iii, 14, R. Chananiah b. Dosa: “Whosesoever works are in excess of his wisdom, his wisdom stands; and whosesoever wisdom is in excess of his works, his wisdom stands not,” iii, 27, v, 20; also Sifre on Deuteronomy 11:13, quoted in Taylor, SJF2, p. 50, note 23; T. B. Shabbath 88 a, quoted in Mayors, p. 69, note 1. Cf. also Philo, De prœm. et pœnis, 14 τὰς θείας παραινέσεις … μὴ κενὰς καὶ ἐρήμους�


Cf. Seneca, Ep. 108. 35 sic ista ediscamus ut quae fuerint verba sint opera.

ποιηταὶ λόγου, “doers of the word.”

This sense, “carry out what is commanded,” for ποιεῖν and its derivatives ποιητής and ποίησις, is a Hebraism (cf. עשׂה) and peculiar to Biblical Greek. See Lex.. s. v. ποιεῖν, and cf. 1 Macc. 2:67 τοὺς ποιητὰς τοῦ νόμου. In classical Greek ποιητὴς τοῦ νόμου means νομοθέτης.

ἀκροαταί. Found three times in James (1:22, 23, 25); elsewhere in N. T. only Romans 2:13, οὐ γὰρ οἱ�

ἀκροαταί naturally suggests hearing the public reading of the Scriptures in Jewish or Christian worship, cf. Revelation 1:3 οἱ�


μόνον�

παραλογιζόμενοι ἑαυτούς, “deceiving yourselves” by the notion that hearing is sufficient. Cf. v. 26, Galatians 6:3, Matthew 7:21-23, Romans 2:17-25. ἑαυτούς for ὑμεῖς αὐτούς, cf. J. H. Moulton, Prolegomena, p. 87.


23. ὅτι, “because,” introduces, as a kind of argument, a brief illustrative parable.

οὐ is the appropriate negative, because οὐ ποιητής, as a single idea, is opposed to�

More congenial to the Jewish point of view, and hence more common in the O. T., is κτίσις, “creation,” which is often used collectively in the later books (e. g. Psalms 104:24, Judith 16:14, Wisd. 16:24, Ecclus. 49:16, 3 Macc. 2:2, 7), in much the same sense as γένεσις in Philo.

Beyschlag states strongly certain difficulties of the usual interpretation of τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γενέσεως, but fails to discover an acceptable substitute for the meaning given above. The meaning “birth” (cf. e. g. Genesis 32:9 εἰς τὴν γῆν τῆς γενέσεώς σου) is hardly adequate, since a man sees in the glass not merely the gift of birth but also the acquisitions of experience.


ἐσόπτρῳ. The ancients, like the modern Japanese, had polished metal mirrors of silver, copper, or tin. Cf. EB, “Mirrors,” HDB, “Mirror.”

The figure of a mirror is frequently used by Greek ethical writers (see references in Mayor, pp. 71 f.), but otherwise than here, with reference to the reflection of the actual, not of the ideal, man. Philo, De vita contempl. 10, compares the law (ἡ νομοθεσία) to a mirror for the rational soul (ἡ λογικὴ ψυχή), in a manner which recalls James’s figure.

24. κατενόησεν, ἐπελάθετο. Probably gnomic aorist, which is intrinsically a form of popular expression, not a literary nicety. Cf. Buttmann (transl. Thayer), p. 201, and see 1:11 and note. For ἐπελάθετο, cf. Hermas, Vis. iii, 13:2

ἀπελήλυθεν, perfect, because of reference to a lasting state (“is off,” “is gone”), not merely, like the other verbs, to a momentary act. See J. H. Moulton, Prolegomena, p. 144.

For similar alternation of gnomic perfect and aorist, see Plato, Protag. 328 B. But cf. Buttmann (transl. Thayer), p. 197, where any “subtile distinction” is denied.

25. παρακύψας, “look in.” This compound has lost all trace of any sense of “sideways” (παρα-), or of stooping (κύπτω) to look, cf. John 20:5, John 20:11, 1 Peter 1:12, Ecclus. 14:23, 21:23. The figure is of looking (“peeping,” “glancing”) into a mirror, and is here brought over in a metaphor from the simile of v. 24. See F. Field, Otium norvicense, iii2, p. 80 (on Luke 24:12), pp. 235 f. (on James 1:25); cf. ἐγκύπτω, Clem. Rom. 40:1, with Lightfoot’s note.


The word often implies “a rapid, hasty, and cursory glance,” see the good examples quoted by Hort; but that shade of meaning seems here excluded by the latter half of the verse.

νόμον τέλειον τὸν τῆς ἐλευθερίας, shown by the context to be the same as τὸν ἔμφυτον λόγον of v. 21; cf. 2:12 νόμου ἐλευθερίας.

The omission of the article is frequent with νόμος (cf. 2:8, 12, and see Sanday’s note on Romans 2:12); but this explanation is here unnecessary, since the term is further defined by an attributive expression with the article, cf. Galatians 3:21; see Blass-Debrunner, § 270; Winer, § 20. 4; J. H. Moulton, Prolegomena, p. 74; L. Radermacher, Neutestamentliche Grammatik, 1911, pp. 19, 89.

τέλειον, cf. 1:17, Romans 12:2 τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, τὸ�Psa_19 and 119), “the ideal perfection which is the goal of life” (Sanday). Philo, De vita Mos. ii, 3, M. p. 136 οἱ νόμοι κάλλιστοι καὶ ὡς�


τὸν τῆς ἐλευθερίας, “the law characterised by freedom.”

This expression means “the law in the observance of which a man feels himself free.” It could have been used of the Mosaic law by a devout and enthusiastic Jew; cf. Deuteronomy 28:47, Psalms 1:2, 19:7-11, 40:8, 54:6, 119:32, 45, 97.


Cf. Pirke Aboth, iii, 8, R. Nechonyiah b. ha-Kanah (c. 80 a.d.): “Whoso receives upon him the yoke of Torah, they remove from him the yoke of royalty and the yoke of worldly care”; vi, 2, R. Jehoshua b. Levi (c. 240 a.d.): “Thou wilt find no freeman but him who is occupied in learning of Torah,” with Taylor’s notes on both passages; see the glorification of the law of Moses in contrast to other laws which were imposed, ὡς οὐκ ἐλευθέροις�

To a Christian “the perfect law of liberty” would include both the O. T. (parts of it perhaps being spiritually interpreted, cf. Matthew 5:17-48, 1 Corinthians 9:21, Romans 3:27, Romans 8:2, Ep. Barnab. 10) and the precepts and truths of the Gospel; cf. 2:8-12, where the ten commandments and the commandment of love are all explicitly said to be a part of the law. The use of the phrase by a Christian implies that he conceived Christianity as a law, including and fulfilling (Matthew 5:17) the old one. This is not inconsistent with an early date, for even Paul cannot avoid sometimes (1 Corinthians 9:21, Romans 3:27, Galatians 6:2) referring to the new system as a law. Cf. John 13:34, 1 John 2:7 f., 1 Timothy 1:7 θέλοντες εῖναι νομοδιδάσκαλοι (used of persons who present themselves as Christian teachers). See Introduction, supra, pp. 37 f.


The use of the term “law” in this inclusive sense is plainly of Jewish origin and illustrates the direct Jewish lineage of Christianity. But the tendency to conceive Christianity as essentially a system of morals (a “new law”) was not specifically Jewish. It seems to have been present from primitive times in the common Gentile Christianity. “The Pauline conception of the Law never came to prevail, and Christendom at large did not know how, nor dare, to apply criticism to the O. T. religion, which is Law. (Without criticising the form they spiritualized the contents.) Consequently the formula that Christianity consists of Promise plus Spiritual Law is to be regarded as of extreme antiquity (uralt)” (Harnack, Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte, i2, p. 250; i4, p. 317).

Being the product of a permanent trait of human nature, to be seen in all ages, this moralism was not confined to any limited locality or single line of tradition in early Christianity. The doctrine of Christianity as law is emphasised in the Shepherd of Hermas, cf. Vis. i, 3:4, Sim. v, 5:3, 6:3, viii, 3:2 with Harnack’s note. See also Barn. 2:6 (ὁ καινὸς νόμος τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἄνευ ζυγοῦ�

(2) That law which by the new covenant has become implanted in the souls of men, written in their hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-34), so that the fulfilment of it springs from inner spontaneous impulse, not from enforced conformity to externally imposed precepts; in a word, the gospel on that side on which it is a rule of conduct (so Beyschlag).


The chief difference of this view from the one adopted above is that the latter takes the “law of liberty” in the sense of Christianity conceived as law, while Beyschlag takes it of that element in Christianity which is law. The real difference is not great. Beyschlag’s main interest here is to show that the phrase does not imply the legalistic conception of Christianity of the Old Catholic period, and in this he is probably right.

(3) The Christian law in distinction from the Jewish, because it consists of positive and not of negative precepts. On this, see supra.

Philo enforces the same thought with a different figure. De sacr. Abel. et Cain. 25, “After having touched knowledge, not to abide in it (μὴ ἐπιμεῖναι) is like tasting meat and drink and then being prevented from satisfying one’s hunger.”

ἔργου, the addition of ἔργου to ποιητής gives a certain emphasis, “a doer who does.”

μακάριος, cf. v. 12. See John 13:17, Luke 12:43, Seneca, Ep. 75, 7 non est beatus qui scit illa sed qui facit.

τῇ ποιήσει αὐτοῦ probably means collectively the man’s whole conduct (Hebrew מַעֲשֶׁה), cf. Daniel 9:14 (Th.), but not without allusion to the preceding ποιητής; “he will be worthy of congratulation in these deeds of his.”


μακάριος does not mean “prosperous” (Huther, Beyschlag, and others), but is the opposite of “blameworthy.”

26-27. Careful attention to worship is no substitute for self-restraint, purity of life, and good works.

The connection with the preceding is here made in two ways: (1) by the advance from the more general precept of reality, “not hearing but doing,” to the more specific, “not mere worship but doing good”; (2) by the reference in v. 26 to the sin of uncontrolled speech (cf. v. 19).

26. δοκεῖ, “thinketh”, i.e. “seemeth to himself.” Cf. v. 13 μηδεὶς λεγέτω; and, for the same use of δοκεῖν, Galatians 6:3, 1 Corinthians 10:12, John 5:39.


θρησκός.

This adjective is not found elsewhere excepting in lexicons, but derivatives are common, notably θρησκεία (vv. 26, 27), which means “religious worship, especially, but not exclusively, external, that which consists in ceremonies” (Lex.). θρησκός means “given to religious observances.” The Greek words have somewhat the same considerable range of meaning as the English word “worship,” with reference to the inner and the external aspects of religious worship. Mayor quotes a useful series of passages from Christian writers; see Trench, Synonyms, § xlviii; E. Hatch, Essays in Biblical Greek, pp. 55-57; and Lex. In the present verse θρησκός doubtless refers to attendance on the exercises of public worship, but also to other observances of religion, such as almsgiving, prayer, fasting (cf. Matthew 6:1-18, Matthew 6:2 Clem. Romans 16:4). The passage implies that a large and recognised field of religious observance was naturally and obviously open to the persons whom James has in mind.


For both thought and language, cf. Philo, Quod det. pot. insid. 7: “Nor if anyone in his abundant wealth builds a temple with splendid contributions and expenditures, or offers hecatombs and never ceases sacrificing oxen, or adorns the temple with costly offerings, bringing timber without stint and workmanship more precious than any silver and gold, shall he be reckoned with the pious (μετʼ εὐσεβῶν�

ἀπατῶν καρδίαν ἐαυτοῦ. Cf. Test. XII Patr. Nephth. 3 μὴ οὖν σπουδάζετε … ἐν λόγοις κενοῖς�Acts 14:17.


μάταιος, from μάτην, “in vain,” “failing of its essential purpose.” His very θρησκεία, in itself good, becomes useless, because spoiled by this fault of character. Cf. v. 20, and νεκρά, 2:17, 26.

The fact that μάταιος in the O. T. is specially used of idols and idol-worship (e. g. Jeremiah 2:5; Jer 10:3, cf. Acts 14:15, 1 Peter 1:18) adds point to this sentence. Cf. Spitta, p. 57, notes 2 and 3.


27. θρησκεία

This is not a definition of religion, but a statement (by an oxymoron) of what is better than external acts of worship. James had no idea of reducing religion to a negative purity of conduct supplemented by charity-visiting.

Cf. Coleridge, Aids to Reflection, Introductory Aphorisms XXIII (and Note [8]): “Morality itself is the service and ceremonial (cultus exterior, θρησκεία) of the Christian religion.”

The thought is the same as that of the prophets, cf. Micah 6:6-8, Isaiah 1:10-17, Isaiah 58:6, Zechariah 7:4-10, Proverbs 14:2. Cf. Clem. Al. Strom. vi, § 77, p. 778 P, οὗ (viz. he who keeps the commandments) δ̔ ἐστὶ τὸ θρησκεύειν τὸ θεῖον διὰ τῆς ὄντως δικαιοσύνης, ἔργων τε καὶ γνώσεως, and among Greek writers, Isocrates, Ad Nicocl. p. 1836 E, ἡγοῦ δὲ θῦμα τοῦτο κάλλιστον εἶναι καὶ θεραπείαν μεγίστην ἄν ὡς βέλτιστον καὶ δικαιότατον σαυτὸν παρέχης. In the higher forms of heathen Hellenistic religious thought “a spiritual idea of God is contrasted with anthropomorphic conceptions and naïve worship of idols, while purity of heart, as the best sacrifice, and adhesion to the will of God, as the true prayer, are contrasted with foolish prayers and vows”; see P. Wendland, Hellenistisch-römische Kultur2, 1912, p. 87, and note 8 (references).


καθαρὰ καὶ�

The two words are often found in Greek writers in an ethical sense and together, Dion. Hal. A.R. viii, 435; Plut. Pericl. 39; also Philo, Leg. all.i, 15, De animal. sacrif. idon. 13; Hermas, Mand. 2, 7, Sim. v, 7, Test. XII Patr. Joshua 4:6, etc.

For�Hebrews 7:26, 1 Peter 1:4; in the O. T. only found in Wisdom and 2 Maccabees.

The words are naturally used with θρησκεία, because ritual purity and spotlessness was required in all ancient worship, Jewish and heathen, and was never more insisted on among the Jews than by the Pharisees in the first Christian century (cf. Mark 7:3 ff., Matthew 23:25). There is no special contrast meant (as Spitta thinks) to heathen worship.

παρὰ τῷ θεῷ, “in God’s judgment,” “such as God approves,” cf. Luke 1:30, 1 Peter 2:4, 1 Peter 2:20, Romans 2:13, 2 Thessalonians 1:6, Proverbs 14:12, Wisd. 9:10, 12:7, etc. This is a good Greek use of παρά (see Winer, § 48, d. 6.; L. and S. s. v.), which, with other expressions (Luke 24:19 ἐναντίον, Luke 1:15 ἐνώπιον, etc.), is the equivalent of the Hebrew בְּעֵינֵי, לִפְנֵי.


θεῷ καὶ πατρί.

θεῷ καὶ πατρί] אC2KL minn.

τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί] BC*P minn.

τῷ θεῷ καὶ τῷ πατρί] A.

τῷ θεῷ πατρί] minn.

The usage in the N. T. is to write either θεὸς πατήρ (e. g. Romans 1:7, Galatians 1:3, and often) or ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατήρ (e. g. 1 Corinthians 15:24 and, with ἡμῶν added, Galatians 1:4, etc.). The only instance of θεὸς καὶ πατήρ, excepting the present one, is the easily explicable case Ephesians 4:6; the only cases of ὁ θεὸς πατήρ are Colossians 1:3 (τῷ θεῷ πατρί in Codd. BC* and versions; τῷ θεῷ τῷ πατρί in Codd. DFG), 3:17, and possibly 1:12. Hence probably the article is a conformatory emendation and the formula here unique in the N. T.

The phrases ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατήρ and θεὸς πατήρ are found at the opening and elsewhere in Paul’s epistles and other N. T. writings, but nowhere in the Gospels,* Acts, 1 John, or Hebrews. They evidently belong to the common semi-liturgical religious language which at once grew up among the early Christians, but not at all to the tradition of Jesus’ sayings. This designation of God is possibly used here because it is the care for God’s fatherless ones (cf. Psalms 68:5) which is enjoined.

ἐπισκέπτεσθαι, used of visiting the sick, in Matthew 25:36, Matthew 25:43, Ecclus. 7:35, and also in secular Greek, e. g. Xen. Cyr. v, 4:10; Plut. De san. præc. 15, p. 129 C.

ὀρφανοὺς καὶ χήρας, the natural objects of charity in the community, cf. e. g. Deuteronomy 27:19, Ecclus. 4:10 γίνου ὀρφανοῖς ὡς πατήρ, καὶ�Acts 6:1, Barn. 20 (the Two Ways), Polyc. 6, Hermas, Mand. viii, 10.


For abundant further references, see Spitta, p. 57, note 5; Weinel, Die Wirkungen des Geistes und der Geiste, p. 145, note; Gebhardt and Harnack on Hermas, Mand. viii, 10.

ἐν τῇ θλίψει αὐτῶν, i. e. the affliction of their bereavement. Cf. John 11:19, and Edersheim, Jewish Social Life, pp. 172 f., for the Jewish custom.

ἄσπιλον, “unstained.” For the same phrase, τηρεῖν ἄσπιλον, cf. 1 Timothy 6:14.


ἀπό, see Buttmann, § 132, 5.

τοῦ κόσμου. Cf. 4:4 ἡ φιλία τοῦ κόσμου, 2:5.

This twofold statement of a moral ideal, compactly expressed in the latter half of this verse, is elaborated at great length in Hermas, Mand. viii. The comparison is instructive and points clearly to current religious modes of expression among the Jews.

κόσμος in the ethical sense in which it represents the world as opposed, or at least alien, to God is found only in Paul, James, 2 Peter, and the Gospel and First Epistle of John. In the writings of John this sense is pushed to an extreme of sharp opposition. The usage, which is evidently wholly familiar to James and his readers, must have its origin in Jewish modes of thought (cf. the use of עוֹלָם and עָלְמָא in later Jewish literature for κόσμος, not merely for αἰών), but the history of the ethical sense of the word has not been worked out.

See HDB, art. “World”; PRE, art. “Welt”; Dalman, Die Worte Jesu, i, 1898, pp. 132-146 (Eng. transl. pp. 162-179).











EB Encyclopœdia Biblica, 1899-1903.

HDB J. Hastings, A Dictionary of the Bible, 1898-1902.

Schürer, E. Schürer, Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi, 41901-1909.

Zahn, Theodor Zahn, Einleitung in das Neue Testament, 31906-1907.

Lex. J. H. Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 1886.

L. and H. G. Liddell and R. Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, 71883.

Mayor J. B. Mayor, The Epistle of St. James, 1892, 21897, 31910.

* The interpretation here defended is not strictly “symbolical,” for the Christians doubtless believed themselves to be in a real, and not a symbolical, sense the true Twelve Tribes of Israel, who had succeeded by legitimate spiritual inheritance to the title of the People of God. Their attitude was not different from that which has, for instance, made the O. T. a Christian book, and has often expressed itself in the characteristic language of modern Protestantism.

* Possibly Ecclus. 19:18 ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ is to be reckoned here.

† This passage from the Philebus is specially significant because πᾶν agrees with the predicate, not, as the logical analysis might seem to require, with the subject (ἡδονή).

‡ Hatch and Redpath, s.v. πᾶς, have overlooked this fact.

Krüger K. W. Krüger, Griechische Sprachlehre für Schulen, 41861-1862.

* Probably written before the Christian era as a rhetorical exercise, perhaps at Athens. See Susemihl, Gesch. d. griech. Litteratur in der Alexandrinerzeit, 1892, ii, pp. 581-585.

Winer G. B. Winer, A Grammar of the Idiom of the New Testament, Thayer’s translation, 21873.

Buttmann A. Buttmann, A Grammar of the New Testament Greek, Thayer’s translation, 1876.

J. H. Moulton, A Grammar of New Testament Greek. Vol I. Prolegomena, 1906, 31908.

Heisen H. Heisen, Novae hypotheses interpretandae epistolae Jacobi, Bremen, 1739.

Schmidt, J. H. H. Schmidt, Synonymik der griechischen Sprache, 1876-1886.

Goodspeed, E. J. Goodspeed, Index patristicus, 1907.

Trench, R. C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament, 121894.

Blass-Debrunner A. Debrunner, Friedrich Blass’ Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Griechisch, vierte vöilig neugearbeitete Auflage, 1913.

* The limitation of σοφία to the wisdom requisite for the state of mind recommended in v. 2 is not justified.

† But there is no reason for thinking, with Spitta, that Solomon is in mind in the passage, or that in v. 5 πᾶσιν refers to “all” in contrast to Solomon alone.

Zahn Theodor Zahn

* Lev. rabba, c. 1; see Bacher, Die Agada der Tannaiten2, i, p. 6.

Burton, E. D. Burton, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek, 41900.

Blass F. Blass, Grammatik des Neutestamentlichen Griechisch, 21902.

DCA W. Smith and S. Cheetham, A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, 1893.

Taylor, C. Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers, 21897.

Gebser A.R. Gebser, Der Brief des Jakobus, Berlin, 1828.

SB Studia biblica et ecclesiastica; Essays chiefly in Biblical and Patristic Criticism, 1890—.

* Possibly modicum has been substituted for an original translation, momentum, “movement.” This latter word may well have been misunderstood in the sense of “a little,” “a particle”; and in that case modicum would be a correct and unambiguous synonym.

† A similar misreading is found in the repeated quotation by Augustine of Romans 7:13 ἁμαρτωλὸς ἡ ἁμαρτία in the translation aut peccatum; so e. g. Ep. 82, § 20 (Vienna ed. vol. xxxiv, p. 372. 5), Contra duas epistulas Pelagianorum, i, 14. See C. H. Turner in JTS, xii, p. 275.


Bultmann R. Bultmann, Der Stil der Paulinischen Predigt und die kynisch-stoische Diatribe (Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments, xiii), 1910.

* The emendator whose hand appears so often in A 33 seems to have substituted περίσσευμα in his text (so A 33 442).

Heisen H. Heisen, Novae hypotheses interpretandae epistolae Jacobi, Bremen, 1739.

Blass-Debrunner A. Debrunner, Friedrich Blass’ Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Griechisch, vierte vöilig neugearbeitete Auflage, 1913.

Taylor, C. Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers, 21897.

Mayor J. B. Mayor, The Epistle of St. James, 1892, 21897, 31910.

Lex. J. H. Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 1886.

J. H. Moulton, A Grammar of New Testament Greek. Vol I. Prolegomena, 1906, 31908.

EB Encyclopœdia Biblica, 1899-1903.

HDB J. Hastings, A Dictionary of the Bible, 1898-1902.

Buttmann A. Buttmann, A Grammar of the New Testament Greek, Thayer’s translation, 1876.

Winer G. B. Winer, A Grammar of the Idiom of the New Testament, Thayer’s translation, 21873.

Trench, R. C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament, 121894.

L. and S. H. G. Liddell and R. Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, 71883.

* In Matthew 6:8 the reading ὁ θεὸς ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν of Codd. א*B and sah. vers. is probably an emendation for ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν of all other authorities, while John 6:27, John 8:41 are different.

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Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on James 1". International Critical Commentary NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/james-1.html. 1896-1924.