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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
James 1

 

 

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Introduction

ἰακώβου ἐπιστολή

IN several codd. the superscription is more fully expressed, whilst to ἐπιστολή the word καθολική is added, and to ἰακώβου the words τοῦ ἀποστόλου, also τοῦ ἁγίου ἀποστόλου, and in one τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ θεοῦ.

CHAPTER 1

James 1:3. Instead of Rec. τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως, after A B* C G K א, etc., several vss. (Lachm. Tisch. 7), Buttm. reads, after B** some min. etc., τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν without τῆς πίστεως. The addition τῆς πίστεως, it is true, is suspicious, as it may be derived from 1 Peter 1:7 (de Wette), but the testimonies for its genuineness are too important to declare it spurious.

Instead of δοκίμιον there is also the reading δοκιμεῖον, and in three min. δοκίμον.

James 1:7. Instead of ἄνθρωπος, Buttm. reads simply ἄνθρωπος, a reading which Tisch. 7 leaves entirely unnoticed.

The same is also the case in respect of ἀδελφός, James 1:9; א has the article in both places.

James 1:11. B omits after προσώπου the demonstrative αὐτοῦ.

Instead of πορείαις, A, 40, 89, 98, ed. Colinaei, read πορίαις, a reading on which Theile rightly remarks: familiari librariis τοῦ ει et ι permutationi debetur; there is no word πορία = εὐπορία in the Greek language. Codex 30 apud Mill. reads εὐπορίαις evidently as an interpretation. The conjecture: ἐμπορίαις, which has been proposed by Hammond, Castalio, and Junius, is arbitrary.

James 1:12. Instead of ἀνήρ, A, some min. and vss. read ἄνθρωπος; an unnecessary change.

After ἐπηγγείλατο the Rec. has κύριος, after G K, etc. (instead of which some min. and vss. read θεός; C: κύριος), which, however, after A B א, etc., is to be regarded as an insertion (Lachm. Tisch. de Wette, Wiesinger; on the other hand, Theile, Reiche, Bouman, Lange consider κύριος as the correct reading).

James 1:13. א alone reads ὑπό instead of ἀπό.

The article τοῦ before θεοῦ is, according to almost all authorities, to be obliterated as spurious.

James 1:19. Instead of the Rec. ὥστε, after G K, several min. and vss. B C ( א: ἴστω, corrected ἴστε), several min. Vulg. and other vss. read ἴστε: A: ἴστε δέ; Lachm. has adopted the reading ἴστε; Tisch. now (7) reads ὥστε; whilst Theile, Lange ( ἴστε δέ) consider the reading ἴστε as the original, de Wette, Wiesinger, Reiche, Bouman have rejected it from internal reasons; as, however, on a careful consideration (see exposition), no internal reasons exist against its genuineness, and the external testimonies are for it, it merits the preference.

Instead of ἔστω, Rec., after G K, etc. (Tisch. 7) Lachm., reads ἔστω δέ, after B C, א. Codex A has καὶ ἔστω (Lange).

James 1:20. The Rec. οὐ κατεργάζεται (Tisch.), after C* G K, et al.; Lachm. has adopted οὐκ ἐργάζεται, after A B C*** א, et al.; de Wette, Wiesinger, Bouman consider the compound, and Lange the simple verb, as the correct reading. On the distinction of these modes of reading, see exposition.

James 1:22. ΄όνον, which the Rec., after A C G K א, many min., places before ἀκροαταί, stands after it in B, some min. etc.; so read Lachm. and Tisch. It is possible that the reading of the most of the codd. is a correction, because one united μόνον according to its meaning with μή; still the Rec. must be regarded as the original reading from authorities.

James 1:25. οὗτος, which the Rec., after G K, many min. and vss., has before οὐκ ἀκροατής (Tisch. 7), is wanting in A B C א, etc.; Lachm. has omitted it; it is difficult to consider it genuine, for not only is the testimony of the most weighty authorities against it, but also the addition from the following οὗτος is not difficult to be explained from the want of a connecting particle after παραμείνας; whilst de Wette hesitates, Wiesinger, Bouman, Lange are for its retention.

James 1:26. After εἰ a δέ is found in C (Lachm.), which, however, appears to be inserted only for the sake of a closer connection of the verse with the preceding.

The words ἐν ὑμῖν after εἶναι are to be obliterated (after A B C א, with Tisch. Lachm. Reiche, and others).

James 1:27. Tisch., after C** G K, etc., has omitted the article τῷ before θεῷ; the weightiest authorities, A B C* א, corrected, etc., however, are in favour of its retention (Lachm.).


Verse 1

James 1:1. Address and greeting. James calls himself a “servant of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Oecumenius correctly: θεοῦ μὲν τοῦ πατρὸς, κυρίου δὲ τοῦ υἱοῦ; some expositors have incorrectly taken θεοῦ καὶ κυρίου together as applied to ἰησ. χρ. There is here no combination of the Old and New Testaments in this conjunction (against Lange). It is to be observed that in the apostolic addresses our Lord’s name is always given in full: ἰησοῦς χριστός.

δοῦλος] is here an official appellation, which, however, belongs not only to the apostles, but to every possessor of an ecclesiastical office received from the Lord; comp. particularly Philippians 1:1 : παῦλος καὶ τιμόθεος, δοῦλοι ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, and Jude 1:1. In this name the consciousness is expressed that the office is a service in which not our own will, nor the will of other men, but only of God or of Christ, is to be fulfilled. Oecumenius: ὑπὲρ πᾶν δὲ κοσμικὸν ἀξίωμα οἱ τοῦ κυρίου ἀπόστολοι τό δοῦλοι εἶναι χριστοῦ καλλωπιζόμενοι, τοῦτο γνώρισμα ἑαυτῶν βούλονται ποιεῖσθαι, καὶ λέγοντες καὶ ἐπιστέλλοντες καὶ διδάσκοντες.

ταῖς δώδεκα φυλαῖς ταῖς ἐν τῇ διασπορᾷ] A designation of the people of Israel living outside of Palestine, and dispersed among the Gentiles. On αἱ δώδεκα φυλαί it is to be observed, that although this appellation of the people of Israel after the exile does not occur in the Apocrypha, yet the people who returned were still regarded as the twelve tribes (1 Esdras 7:8-9); as the people of the twelve tribes are the covenant people, to whom the promises given to the patriarchs refer; from which it is to be explained that in the N. T. the number twelve is particularly emphasized (Matthew 19:28; Revelation 7:4-8; Revelation 21:12), and that James designates by this name the people to whom the promise was fulfilled. On τῇ διασπορᾷ, see Deuteronomy 30:4; Nehemiah 1:9; Psalms 147:2; 2 Maccabees 1:27 (Jeremiah 15:7); John 7:35; Winer’s Realwörterbuch, article “Zerstreuung.” Whether this designation is to be understood in a literal or symbolical sense, see Introduction, sec. 2. Laurentius, Hornejus, Hottinger, Pott, Gebser, Kern, Schneckenburger, Neander, Guericke, Schmid (bibl. Theol.), Wiesinger, and others correctly consider the Epistle as addressed to Jewish Christians; only it is to be observed that with the early composition of the Epistle these are not here to be considered as contrasted with the Gentile Christians. Had the author been conscious of such a contrast, it would have been elsewhere indicated in the Epistle itself.

χαίρειν] sc. λέγει; see 1 Maccabees 10:18; 1 Maccabees 10:25; 1 Maccabees 15:16; 2 Maccabees 1:1; and in the N. T. Acts 15:23; Acts 23:26 (2 John 1:11). It is to be observed that this very form of greeting, elsewhere not used in the N. T. Epistles, occurs in the writing proceeding from James, Acts 15:23 (Kern); the pure Greek form of greeting is more fully: χαίρειν καὶ ὑγιαίνειν καὶ εὖ πράττειν, 2 Maccabees 9:19.


Verse 2

James 1:2. James begins with the hortative words: πᾶσαν χάραν ἡγήσασθε] esteem it complete joy. πᾶσα χάρα, complete joy = nothing but joy. Luther: “Esteem it pure joy.” Many old expositors incorrectly explain πᾶσα = μεγίστη, summum, perfectum gaudium;(35) it is more correct to resolve the adjective here by the adverb πάντως, ὅλως (Carpzov), with which the explanation of Theile coincides: rem revera omnique ex parte laetam. The meaning is: the πειρασ΄οί are to you a joy which is entire joy, excluding all trouble. See Hom. Od. xi. 507. πᾶσαν ἀληθείην μυθήσομαι, i.e. “of Neoptolemus I will declare to thee the whole truth” (i.e. nothing but the truth, which excludes all falsehood).

χαρά, a metonymy = gaudendi materia, res laeta; see Luke 2:10.

It is not improbable that James by this exhortation to joy refers to the χαίρειν in James 1:1; comp. James 1:5; James 1:19 (Wiesinger).

The address ἀδελφοί ΄ου (or ἀδελφοί alone, James 4:11, James 5:7; James 5:9; James 5:19; also ἀδελφοί ΄ου ἀγαπητοί, James 1:16; James 1:19, James 2:5), which is James’ constant form, expresses the consciousness of fellowship, namely, the fellowship in nationality and belief (Paraeus), with the readers.(36)

ὅταν πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποικίλοις] περιπίπτειν involvit (a) notionem adversi, (b) notionem inviti atque inopinati (Theile); it is synonymous with ἐμπίπτειν (see Luke 10:30 compared with Luke 1:36), but has a stronger meaning: to fall into something, so that one is entirely surrounded by it; thus in the classics it is particularly used of misfortune: συμφοραῖς, Plato, Leg. ix. 877e; ζημίαις καὶ ὀνείδεσι, Isocrates, i. 39.

By πειρασ΄οί are commonly here understood the θλίψεις, which are prepared for Christians on account of their faith by an unbelieving world (comp. Luke 8:13 : καὶ ἐν καιρῷ πειρασ΄οῦ ἀφίστανται; in connection with Matthew 13:21 : γενο΄ένης θλίψεως διωγ΄οῦ διὰ τὸν λόγον, εὐθὺς σκανδαλίζεται); and undoubtedly James had these in view. Yet there is nothing in the context which necessitates us to such a limitation; rather the additional epithet ποίκιλοι justifies us to extend the idea, and to understand by it all the relations of life which might induce the Christian to withdraw from the faith, or to become wavering in it. When Lange explains πειρασ΄οί specially of “the allurements and threats by which the Gentiles on the one side, and the fanatical Jews on the other, and also the Ebionites, who were already in the field, sought to draw the readers to their side,” he founds this particular statement on his erroneous view of the tendency of the Epistle. To refer the idea only to inward temptations (Pfeiffer) is the more erroneous, as it is even questionable whether James had these in view at all.

On ποικίλοις, see 2 Corinthians 6:4 ff; 2 Corinthians 11:23 ff. The adjective does not allude to the different sources from which the πειρασ΄οί sprung, but is to be referred to their manifold forms. In a far-fetched manner, Lange finds in ποικίλοις, according to its original meaning, “an allusion to the manifold-dazzling glitter of colours of the Jewish-Christian and Jewish temptations, in which they might even represent themselves as prophetic exhortations to zeal for the glory of God.”

Inasmuch as the Christian has to rejoice not only in the πειρασμοῖς, but on account of them, Oecumenius strikingly observes: τὴν κατὰ θεὸν λύπην καὶ τοὺς πειρασμοὺς τούτους καὶ ἐπαινετοὺς οἶδε καὶ χαρᾶς ἀξίους· δεσμὸς γὰρ οὗτοί εἰσιν ἀῤῥαγής, καὶ αὔξησις ἀγάπης καὶ κατανύξεωςοὐ γάρ ἐστιν ἐκτὸς γυμνασίων οὔτε κοσμικῶν οὔτε τῶν κατὰ θεὸν στεφάνων ἀξιωθῆναι. With reference to joy in θλίψεις, see Matthew 5:11-12; Acts 4:23 ff; Acts 5:41; Romans 5:3; also Sirach 2:1 ff.; particularly comp. the parallel passage 1 Peter 1:6.


Verses 2-12

James 1:2-12. Exhortation in reference to the endurance of temptations.


Verse 3

James 1:3. γινώσκοντες] whilst ye may know (“in the consciousness,” de Wette). The participle, when closely connected with the imperative, participates in its meaning; see author on 2 Timothy 2:23; comp. 1 Corinthians 15:58; Colossians 3:24; Colossians 4:1; Hebrews 10:34, and other passages. It is neither simply the imperative: Luther, “and know ye,” nor simply a confirmation, so that it may be rendered by γινώσκετε γάρ (Pott).

ὅτι τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν ( τῆς πίστεως). τὸ δοκίμιον (only here and in 1 Peter 1:7) = τὸ δοκιμεῖον, is properly the means of proving: quo quid exploratur (Pott); quo rei, quae sub examen vocatur, manifestatur sinceritas eaque probatur omne id intrinseca virtute possidere, quod extrinsecus specie ac nomine prae se fert (Heisen): thus = κριτήριον; so in Dionysius Halicarnassus, rhetor. 11: δεῖ δὲ ὥσπερ κανόνα εἶναι καὶ στάθμην τινὰ καὶ δοκίμιον ὡρισμένον πρὸς τις ἀποβλέπων δυνήσεται τὴν κρίσιν ποιεῖσθαι; yet generally to the idea of proving is attached that of purification and verification. Theile = probamentum; thus Herodian, ii. 10, 12: δοκίμιον δὲ στρατιωτῶν κάματος ἀλλʼ οὐ τρυφή; and the LXX. Proverbs 27:21 : δοκίμιον ἀργυρίῳ καὶ χρυσῷ πύρωσις; comp. Proverbs 17:3; Psalms 12:7; Sirach 2:5. Many expositors, as Semler, Pott, Hottinger, Schneckenburger, Theile, Bouman, adhere to the import of means, whether of proof or of purification and verification,(37) whilst they understand thereby the above-mentioned πειρασ΄οί. In this case τὸ δοκί΄ιον stands for τοῦτο τὸ δοκί΄ιον (Pott); but the necessity of supplying τοῦτο is decisive against this interpretation; besides, δοκί΄ιον in 1 Peter 1:7 cannot have that meaning. In that passage δοκί΄ιον is = the verification effected by proof; see author in loco: and thus it is probable that this import is also here to be retained (Oecumenius = τὸ κεκριμένον, τὸ δεδοκιμασμένον, τὸ καθαρόν); τὸ δοκίμιον then is = δοκι΄ή in Romans 10:4. The distinction, that in that passage δοκι΄ή is designated as the effect, but in this as the cause of ὑπομονή, is not against this view, for, as Tirinus well says: duae res saepe sibi invicem sunt causa.(38) Most expositors, both ancient and modern, however, explain δοκίμιον here by exploratio, probatio, proof in an active sense; thus Didymus, Bede, Calvin, Laurentius, Beza, Piscator, Paraeus, Serarius, Paes, Hornejus, Baumgarten, de Wette, Kern, Wiesinger, Lange, etc. Then is valid what Bede says in reference to Romans 5:4 : Verborum differentia non sensuum in his sermonibus esse probatur Apostolorum, since there θλῖψις, here proof by θλῖψις, is named as the cause of ὑπομονή. Though there is nothing against this idea, this explanation is wanting in linguistic accuracy.(39) The meaning is, in essentials, the same, whether we read τῆς πίστεως or not; for the δοκίμιον of Christians consists in nothing else than that of their faith, by which they are Christians.

πίστις is here not used objectively = id cui fides habetur, ipsa Jesu Christi doctrina (Pott), but subjectively, assured confidence in the gospel, whose contents are Jesus Christ, as the necessary foundation of Christian conduct.

κατεργάζεται ὑπομονήν] κατεργάζεσθαι is distinguished from ἐργάζεσθαι in that it expresses the actual accomplishment (Meyer on Romans 1:27).

ὑπομονή is faithful endurance ( μένειν) under ( ὑπο) the temptations ( πειρασμοῖς). Baumgarten: “enduring constancy;” Theile: “stedfastness,” perseverantia, quod majus est quam patientia.(40) The importance of ὑπομονή for Christians is evident from Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:13; comp. also James 5:7 ff. On the connection of ὑπομονή with ἐλπίς, see Cremer under the words ἐλπίς and ὑπομονή.


Verse 4

James 1:4. The verification of faith effected by the πειρασμοί produces ὑπομονή, and on this account temptations should be to the Christian an object of joy, as it depends on them that ὑπομονή is of the right kind. This is indicated in this verse. Oecumenius rightly observes: σκόπει οὐκ εἶπε τὴν ὑπομονὴν ὁριστικῶς, ὅτι ἔργον τέλειον ἔχει, ἀλλὰ προστακτικῶς ἐχέτω· οὐ γὰρ προϋποκειμένην ἀρετὴν ἐξαγγέλλει, ἀλλὰ νῦν ἐγγινομένην, ὡς χρὴ γίνεσθαι νομοθετεῖ.

δὲ ὑπομονὴ ἔργον τέλειον ἐχέτω] The emphasis is not placed on ἔργον,—that ὑπομονή has an ἔργον is understood of itself,—but on τέλειον (Wiesinger). James wishes that the ἔργον of ὑπομονή among Christians be τέλειον, in order that they may be τέλειοι: as he, moreover, strongly emphasizes τέλειον εἶναι. In explaining the thought, de Wette confounds the abstract ( ὑπομονή) with the concrete ( ὑπομένων), and understands by ἔργον τέλειον “the active virtue which the patient man must perfectly have.” This explanation of de Wette agrees in essentials with the explanations of Erasmus, Calovius, Morus, Pott, Augusti, Gebser, Kern, Schneckenburger, according to which ἔργον τέλειον is distinguished from ὑπομονή, and the moral activity which the Christian has to exercise with his ὑπομονή indicated. Thus Erasmus: quemadmodum in malis tolerandis fortis est et alacris, ita in bonis operibus exercendis sibi constet. Pott: perseverantiae fructus sit perfectum virtutis studium. This interpretation is, however, incorrect; it not only gives rise to unjustifiable changes of meaning, as that of ὑπομονή into ὑπομένων, or of ἐχέτω into παρεχέτω (Pott), or into κρατείτω (Schulthess), but gives also a thought which with the following ἵνα κ. τ. λ. would be tautological. Most expositors (even Brückner,(41) in opposition to de Wette) refer ἔργον τέλειον to ὑπομονή itself; ἔργον = work, realization (Wiesinger); comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 : τὸ ἔργον τῆς πίστεως; for the ὑπομονή of the Christian is not only a suffering, but even more a doing. This doing is to be τέλειον, that is, not only, as many interpreters explain, enduring to the end (Luther: “patience is to continue stedfast to the end;” Calvin: haec vera crit patientia, quae in finem usque durabit; similarly Jerome, Serarius, Salmero, Estius, Gomarus, Piscator, Piraeus, Hornejus, Carpzov, Semler, Hottinger, etc.), but complete, and that not only in respect of its internal condition,—so that it is wanting in no essential points of true ὑπομονή,—but also in respect of its activity (Lange(42)), so that it in no way yields to the πειρασ΄οῖς, which yielding occurs when a man by the temptations is determined to something which does not correspond with the principle of faith. Bouman: Haec ὑπο΄ονή consummatum opus habet, quando ita se gerit, in quo habitat, homo, ut universam per vitam et animum et linguam et pedes regat ac moderetur. That ὑπο΄ονή in this manner has an ἔργον τέλειον is necessary, in order that Christians may be perfect and entire, which as Christians they should be. This James indicates in the following words: ἵνα ἦτε τέλειοι καὶ ὁλόκληροι] ἵνα is not here ἐκβατικῶς (which Baumgarten and Pott regard as possible), but τελικῶς, in order that. De Wette and Wiesinger incorrectly refer it to the future judgment.

τέλειοι and ὁλόκληροι are synonymous terms; τέλειος is properly “that which has attained its aim,” ὁλόκληρος “that which is complete in all its parts, is entire.” Both expressions are found in the LXX. as the translation of תָּמִים (Genesis 6:9; Ezekiel 15:5); besides this verse, ὁλόκληρος in the N. T. only occurs in 1 Thessalonians 5:25 ( ὁλοκληρία, Acts 3:16).(43) It is true that both τέλειος (in the LXX. and in the classics) and ὁλόκληρος (particularly in Philo, but not in the LXX.) are used with special reference to sacrifice; to which, however, there is here no allusion (against Kern). Still more arbitrary is the interpretation of Storr: qui superiores e certamine discedebant.

ἐν μηδενὶ λειπόμενοι] the negative expression added for strengthening the two positive expressions; as in James 1:5 : ἁπλῶς καὶ μὴ ὀνειδίζοντος, and in James 1:6 : ἐν πίστει, μηδὲν διακρινόμενος. As regards the expression itself, ἐν μηδενί is not to be taken, with de Wette, as a supplement to λειπόμενοι, as the supplement to this verb is always in the genitive; therefore the expression has been correctly translated by Wiesinger and in this commentary, not by wanting nothing, but by wanting in nothing (which Lange has overlooked). The question, however, occurs, can λειπόμενοι be explained as = wanting? This idea is not contained in the verb by itself, and therefore can hardly be attributed to it when it stands absolutely, as here. It is therefore safer to take λείπεσθαι in its usual meaning, and thus, with Lange, to explain λειπόμενοι by coming short of, namely, short of the goal marked out to the Christian. It is incorrect, with Pott, to say: tota loquendi ratio ab iis qui cursu … relinquuntur et seperantur (so also Lösner, Krebs, Storr, Augusti); for although the verb in classical writers has often this reference, yet there is here no mention of a relation to others, and accordingly the appeal to Polybius, p. 1202, ed. Gronov.: ἐν τῇ πρὸς ῥωμαίους εὐνοίᾳ παρὰ πολὺ τἀδελφοῦ λειπόμενος, does not suit. According to the meaning here given, λειπόμενοι forms a strong contrast to τέλειοι.


Verse 5

James 1:5. εἰ δέ τις ὑμῶν λείπεται σοφίας] is chiefly connected with ἐν μηδενὶ λειπόμενοι. εἰ is not = quoniam, quandoquidem (Estius, Laurentius), but the thought is hypothetical; εἴ τις = ὅστις; see Wahl on the word εἰ.

λείπεται σοφίας is to be explained as κτεάνων λειφθεὶς καὶ φίλων, in Pindar i. 2. 11, “without wealth and friends,” properly “left behind of, or falling short of;” accordingly without wisdom. Usually the meaning wanting, lacking, is given to λείπομαι, which, however, is not linguistically justified. James by σοφία, as Wiesinger correctly observes, does not mean “an arbitrary part of Christian perfection,” but the essential foundation of Christian conduct, τὸ αἴτιον τοῦ τελείου ἔργου (Oecumenius); for σοφία is here the living insight, rooted in the πίστις, i.e. the insight compelling to action in what is the Christian’s duty, both in whole and in its particular parts, especially in the πειρασμοῖς (James 1:2) (comp. the praise of wisdom in the Proverbs of Solomon, in the Wisdom of Solomon, and in the Book of Ecclesiasticus). Wisdom can only be given by God ( κύριος δίδωσι σοφίαν καὶ ἀπὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ γνῶσις καὶ σύνεσις, Proverbs 2:6), and as a divine χάρισμα it has an impress definitely distinguishing it from the wisdom of the world; see chap. James 3:15; James 3:17.(44) The connection does not constrain us, with Bouman and others, to conceive the idea of σοφία only in reference to the πειρασμοί (James 1:2), and to understand by it only the doctrine concerning the Christian conduct in the πειρασμοῖς, expressed in James 1:2 (Calvin: Sapientiae nomen ad circumstantiam praestantis loci restringo, acsi dicerete. si haec doctrina ingenii vestri captu altior est, petite a Domino, ut vos Spiritu suo illuminet), or that conduct itself. The idea of σοφία is rather to be understood in its completeness (Theile, de Wette, Kern, Wiesinger). The reason why James here mentions it is because it was especially necessary to the Christian in his πειρασμοῖς; Brückner: “James thinks here of wisdom (in itself of a more general acceptation), inasmuch as it is necessary rightly to estimate and rightly to resist the trial, in order that it might not be converted into an internal temptation, instead of being the path to perfection.”(45)

αἰτείτω παρὰ κ. τ. λ.] the same construction in Matthew 20:20; Acts 3:2; 1 John 5:15.

τοῦ δίδοντος θεοῦ] instead of τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ δίδοντος, as Codex A reads. By the selected order of the words here, not only is the idea of giving emphatically placed near to the request, but also the participle almost becomes an attributive adjective; God is indicated as the Giver absolutely. Accordingly—as Baumgarten, Gebser, and others correctly remark—no definite object as τὴν σοφίαν (Bouman) is to be supplied.

πᾶσιν and ἁπλῶς are added as a more detailed statement; τοῖς αἰτοῦσιν is from the context to be supplied to πᾶσιν (Calvin, Estius, Piscator, Laurentius, etc.); or, better still, οἶς δίδωσι. The adverb ἁπλῶς, only here in the N. T., is either to be understood as an ethical additional statement of δίδοναι = ἐν ἁπλότητι (Romans 12:8) (so Pott, Hottinger, Kern, Theile, Bouman, uncertainly Wiesinger), or = simply, without further ceremony (so de Wette).(46) In the latter case it is prominently brought forward that God in the giving had only this in view. It is incorrectly rendered benigne (Bede, Vorstius, and others), affluenter (Erasmus, Grotius, and others), or as equivalent to συντόμως, καθάπαξ (Hesychius). By μὴ ὀνειδίζοντος—as καί shows

ἁπλῶς is not more closely defined, but a new point in the mode of the divine giving is added, and so that He does not reproach him to whom He gives, does not abuse him. ὀνειδίζειν is generally taken in the more special sense of upbraiding (Luther: “and upbraideth no man”); for which the expression in Demosthenes is appealed to: τὸ τὰς ἰδίας εὐεργεσίας ὑπομιμνήσκειν καὶ λέγειν μικροῦ δεῖν ὅμοιόν ἐστι τῷ ὀνειδίζειν; still more surely does Plutarch, de aud. 33, speak for this meaning: πᾶσα ὀνειδιζομένη χάρις ἐπαχθὴς καὶ ἄχαρις; also in Sirach 18:18; Sirach 20:15; Sirach 41:22, the word appears to have this more special reference.(47) Still there is no proof that James did not take it in its more general sense. Semler: non tantum significat molestam commemorationem beneficiorem, sed etiam qualemcunque reprehensionem (so also Schneckenburger, de Wette).(48) It is incorrect to explain ὀνειδίζειν as equivalent to aliquem ignominose cum repulsa dimittere (Morus, Zachariae, Carpzov, Storr, Augusti, Stolz, Hottinger); the refusal of a petitioner may be considered as a καταισχύνειν of the same, but ὀνειδίζειν never occurs in this sense, not even in Sirach 20:15. The reason why James subjoins the particular statement ἁπλῶς κ. τ. λ. is by it to encourage to αἰτεῖν (Zwinglius: ut mentes alliciat, ut ad hunc unum in omni necessitate adcurrant); perhaps also with “a side glance to the rich” (James 1:10, chap. James 5:9 ff.), who do not give ἁπλῶς, and when they do give, give only ὀνειδίζοντες (Wiesinger).

καὶ δοθήσεται αὐτῷ] impersonal: “it shall be given him;” namely, what he asks; here, wisdom. It is erroneous directly to supply σοφία to δοθήσεται as the subject (Lange), because James here evidently wishes to emphasize the relation of the giving to the asking, and accordingly the object is suppressed; comp. on this thought particularly 1 Kings 3:9-12 (2 Chronicles 1:10-12).


Verse 6

James 1:6. A more particular statement how prayer must be made; αἰτείτω δὲ ἐν πίστει] With αἰτείτω the αἰτείτω in James 1:5 is resumed; δέ indicates the carrying out of the thought.

The prayer, if it is to be heard, must be a εὐχὴ τῆς πίστεως, chap. James 5:15 (comp. Sirach 7:10 : μὴ ὀλιγοψυχήσῃς ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ σου).

ἐν πίστει] that is, in the confident assurance of being heard; on what this is founded is not here expressed. The explanation of Calvin: fides est quae Dei promissionibus freta nos impetrandi, quod petimus, certos reddit (similarly Baumgarten), expresses what is in itself true, but is not here indicated by James. Some ancient commentators incorrectly supply to πίστει as a more definite statement ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ.

The object of the prayer (namely, τὴν σοφίαν) is not here named, where only the necessary condition of prayer is treated of. The remarks made by many expositors on the manner in which the Christian should ask for external good things are here inappropriate.

μηδὲν διακρινόμενος] expresses the same idea as ἐν πίστει, only in a negative form; μηδέν is here, as frequently, adverbial = on no account, nulla ratione. διακρίνεσθαι is, according to N. T. usage, to doubt; compare besides Acts 10:20; Acts 11:12 : particularly Matthew 21:21 : ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν καὶ, μὴ διακριθῆτε; Romans 4:20 : οὐ διεκρίθη τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ; Romans 4:23; it is not = ἀπιστεῖν (Luke 24:21), or ἀπειθεῖν (John 3:36), but includes in it the essential character of ἀπιστία; while πίστις says “Yes” and ἀπιστία “No,” διακρίνεσθαι is the conjunction of “Yes” and “No,” but so that “No” has the preponderance; it is that internal wavering which leans not to πίστις, but to ἀπιστία. The deep-lying ground of it is pride, and so far Theophylact is right in saying διακρινόμενος δὲ μεθʼ ὑπεροψίας αἰτῶν, ὑβριστὴς ὁμολογουμένως, διακρινόμενος; whereas Oecumenius, in the words: λέγων ἐν σεαυτῷ, ὅτι πῶς δύναμαι αἰτησαί τι παρὰ τοῦ κυρίου καὶ λαβεῖν, ἡμαρτηκὼς τοσαῦτα εἰς αὐτόν, brings out a point which belongs not to διακρίνεσθαι, but to a yet weak faith.(49) Comp. with this passage Hermas James 29: tolle a te dubitationem et nihil omnino dubites petens aliquid a Deo.

The following words: γὰρ διακρινό΄ενος κ. τ. λ., are annexed to the preceding διακρινό΄ενος, more clearly explaining it (in figurative language) with reference to the exhortation αἰτείτω κ. τ. λ.; but the reason of this exhortation is given in James 1:7. The first γάρ, accordingly, has the meaning of namely, whereas the second has that of for. According to this interpretation, the relation of the thoughts expressed in James 1:6-7 is more correctly recognised than when we say that the first γάρ assigns the reason why we should pray nothing doubting, but that this thought is only brought to a conclusion in James 1:7 (Wiesinger, and so in the earlier edition of this commentary, where it is said that the sentence taken together would read: γὰρ διακρινό΄ενος, ἐοικὼς κλύδωνι ΄ὴ οἰέσθω, ὅτι λή΄ψεταί τι κ. τ. λ.). Lange incorrectly supposes that the first γάρ has a more limited meaning, whilst it declares the διακρινό΄ενος as incapable of praying aright; whereas the second γάρ refers in a wider sense to the unbelieving condition of the man to God, and therefore is to be rendered by also.

ἔοικε] only here in the N. T. and in James 1:23.

κλύδων θαλάσσης] only here in the N. T. and in Luke 8:24 ( κλυδ. τοῦ ὓδατος); usually κῦ΄α. The verb κλυδωνίζεσθαι occurs in Ephesians 4:14; Isaiah 57:20, LXX. The point of comparison is contained in the subjoined words: ἀνε΄ιζο΄ένῳ καὶ ῥιπιζο΄ένῳ] The verb ἀνε΄ίζεσθαι is entirely an ἅπαξ λεγ. occurring nowhere else, equivalent to ἀνε΄οῦσθαι, found in classical language (see Hegesippus James 6: ἁλὸς ἠνε΄ω΄ένης) = agitated, i.e. agitated by the wind. The verb ῥιπίζε ιν (only here in N. T.) is also elsewhere used to denote the agitation or excitement of water by the wind; see Dio Chrysostom, xxxiii. p. 368 B: δῆ΄ος ἄστατον κακὸν καὶ θαλάσσῃ πάνθʼ ὅ΄οιον, ὑπʼ ἀνέ΄ου ῥιπίζεται; Philo, de mundo: πρὸς ἀνέμου ῥιπίζεται τὸ ὕδωρ. Heisen incorrectly explains ῥιπίζεσθαι as equivalent to calefieri et accendi; the word never has this meaning, although used of the kindling of fire.(50) The two expressions (which Lange incorrectly denies) are synonymous, and are placed together only for the sake of strengthening the idea. The opinion that ἀνεμίζ. refers to agitation coming from without, and ῥιπίζ. to agitation coming from within (Bengel), is without foundation; also the assertion that the former word denotes the cause and the latter the effect (Theile, Wiesinger) is not entirely correct, as ἀνεμίζεσθαι itself expresses the effect.

By this image the mind of the doubter is characterized as unsteady and wavering, to which a calm and sure rest is wanting.(51) Comp. Isaiah 57:20-21, LXX.: οἱ δὲ ἄδικοι κλυδωνισθήσονται καὶ ἀναπαύσασθαι οὐ δυνήσονται, οὐκ ἔστι χαίρειν ( שָׁלוֹם) τοῖς ἀσεβέσιν.(52)


Verse 7

James 1:7. μὴ γὰρ οἰέσθω] On γάρ, see James 1:6; it is neither the simple particle of transition (Pott), nor equivalent to ergo (Calvin), nor is it to he explained, with Winer [E. T. 558], according to its derivation from γε and ἄρα, by thus indeed; but is the reason for the exhortation in James 1:6; hence for.

The warning: μὴ οἰέσθω, supposes the fancy of the doubter, that he will receive something from God in answer to prayer; similarly Matthew 3:9 : μὴ δόξητε.

ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος] refers back to διακρινόμενος. Although not in ἐκεῖνος (in itself), yet in the whole mode of expression, there is something disparaging.

By λήμψεται,(53) instead of δοθήσεται (James 1:5), is not intended to be indicated, that the fault of not being heard lies not with God but with man; rather he receives not, because God gives not.

τί naturally refers to what the doubter asks; thus scil. αἰτουμένων. The definite object (wisdom) above spoken of is not here meant; for the particular thought is founded on a general declaration. By κύριος Christ is not to be understood, but, as in chap. James 4:10, James 5:4; James 5:10, according to O. T. usage, God.

The designation of God as the Lord naturally suggested itself to James, because he was here speaking of the power of God manifested in giving or not giving; it is not, as Lange thinks, chosen in order to characterize God as “Jehovah the living covenant-God, who has now fully manifested Himself in Christ.”


Verse 8

James 1:8 contains neither the subject to λήμψεται (Baumgarten), nor is it to be understood as an exclamation = vae homini inconstanti (Pott). Many expositors consider ἀνὴρ δίψυχος as the subject and ἀκατάστατος the predicate, wanting the copula (Luther: “a doubter is unstable;” so Calvin, Schneckenburger, de Wette, Lange, and others); but according to this construction the idea δίψυχος falls too much into the background, and also the train of thought would be too unconnected. It is better to take both ἀνὴρ δίψυχος and ἀκατάστατος κ. τ. λ. as in apposition to ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος. It is true that the character of the doubter has already been given in James 1:6 by ἔοικε κ. τ. λ., but, on the one hand, only figuratively, and, on the other hand, without giving prominence to his ethical character, which James now introduces in order strongly to confirm the thought expressed in James 1:7; which exposition is far from being “a feeble tautology” (Lange). Less stress is to be put on the want of the article (Schneckenburger, de Wette), as it would be here hardly suitable. Correctly Winer, p. 497 [E. T. 670]: “he, a double-minded man;” so also Wiesinger, Brückner, Bouman, and others. Only according to this construction is the full meaning given to the idea δίψυχος. The word is not to be taken merely as another expression for διακρινόμενος (Luther, Beza, Grotius, Cremer, and others; Luther directly renders it “a doubter”), but it characterizes the inward nature of the doubter. According to the mode in which δισώματος, δικάρδιος, δίγλωσσος, and similar words are formed, δίψυχος (which occurs neither in the classics nor in the LXX. and the Apocrypha, but besides here only in chap. James 4:8, and the Church Fathers) properly denotes having two souls; it thus describes the doubter as a man who has, as it were, two souls contending against each other: one of which is turned to God, and one of which is turned away from God (thus to the world); who, accordingly, will be at the same time φίλος τοῦ θεοῦ and φίλος τοῦ κόσμου, although φιλία τοῦ κόσμου is ἔχθρα τοῦ θεοῦ (chap. James 4:6).(54) This double-mindedness (or what is the same thing, division of soul) expresses the wavering to and fro, between πίστις and ἀπιστία generally, so particularly also in prayer; therefore it is called, Constitut. Ap. vii. 11: μὴ γίνου δίψυχος ἐν προσευχῇ εἰ ἔσται, οὐ, and Clemens Romanus: ταλαίπωροι οἱ δίψυχοι, οἱ διστάζοντες τὴν ψυχήν; comp. Sirach 1:28 : μὴ προσέλθῃς αὐτῷ ( κυρίῳ) ἐκ καρδίᾳ δίσσῃ.

δίψυχον εἶναι is to be understood neither as the reason (Wiesinger) nor as the result (Lange), but as the characteristic nature of διακρίνεσθαι.

The word ἀνήρ is here as in Matthew 7:24; Psalms 32:2, LXX. Lange thinks that James used it because the dangers of which he warns them are more especially the dangers which threaten the men among the Jews.

As a second apposition James adds: ἀκατάστατος ἐν πασαῖς ταῖς ὅδοις αὑτοῦ] for where there is a want of unity in the internal life, it is also wanting in the external conduct. The δίψυχος, being actuated sometimes by one impulse and sometimes by another, is unsteady and inconstant in his intentions and actions ( ἐν ταῖς ὅδοις αὑτοῦ; comp. Psalms 91:11; Jeremiah 16:17; Proverbs 3:6, etc.); he walks not on one path, but as it is said in Sirach 2:12 : ἐπιβαίνει ἐπὶ δύο τρίβους.(55) The word ἀκατάστατος is found only again in chap. James 3:8 and in the LXX. Isaiah 54:11 as the translation of סֹעֵר; the substantive ἀκαταστασία occurs in chap. James 3:16, besides in Luke and in the Epistles to the Corinthians.

The reason why the doubter is not heard is accordingly the disunion in which he is with himself, both in his internal and in his external life; God gives the heavenly gift of wisdom, which according to its nature is ἁγνή, only to him who ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ (Matthew 22:37), has given to God an undivided disposition.


Verse 9-10

James 1:9-10. James subjoins to the idea that the doubter should not think that he should receive anything, the exhortation to the lowly brother; δέ non solum apponendo, sed opponendo gravius hortatur (Theile). At first view the natural sense is, with de Wette, Wiesinger, and most expositors, to take ἀδελφός as the general idea, which is specified by ταπεινός and πλούσιος. According to this view, ταπεινός is not equivalent to ταπεινὸς τῇ καρδίᾳ, Matthew 11:29, but, in opposition to πλούσιος, must be taken in its proper sense: afflictus, particularly poor; on the other hand, πλούσιος is the earthly rich, equivalent to opulentus, fortunatus, affluens rebus externis. The exaltation ( τὸ ὕψος), in which the brother of low degree is to glory, can naturally only be the heavenly dignity, which the Christian by his faith in Christ possesses, and whose future completion is guaranteed to him by the promise of the Lord; and, corresponding to this, by ταπείνωσις is to be understood the lowliness, which “belongs to the rich man as a Christian through Christ” (Wiesinger), which is essentially the same with his exaltation. There is nothing against this idea in itself; the same oxymoron would be contained in the expression, were we to say, according to 1 Corinthians 7:22 : “the δοῦλος rejoices in his ἐλευθερία, and the ἐλεύθερος in his δουλεία.” But the context is against this explanation: not only because the distinction of Christians into rich and poor would be here introduced quite unexpectedly, but also because James 1:2; James 1:12 show that the connection of the ideas in this section is the reference to the πειρασμοί which Christians have to endure. Several expositors have assumed this reference in the idea ταπεινός; thus, among moderns, Theile, whilst to the explanation of Morus: carens fortunis externis omninoque calamitosus, he adds: πειρασμῶν περιπεσών, James 1:2; δεδιωγμένος ἕνεκεν δικαιοσύνης, Matthew 5:10; πάσχων διὰ δικαιοσύνης, 1 Peter 3:14; but by this the simple contrast between ταπεινός and πλούσιος is destroyed; for then πλούσιος must be taken as the rich Christian who had not suffered persecution, which would be evidently meaningless. If, on the other hand, the rich man who shares the lot of persecution with the poor is to be understood (as Laurentius explains it: dives, sc. frater, qui ipse erat una cum paupere fratre in dispersione, direptionem bonorum suorum propter Christi evangelium passus; similarly Erasmus, Hornejus, and others), such a reference is not to be found in the idea ταπεινός in itself; if one puts it into the idea ταπείνωσις, so that by this is to be understood the suffering condition of persecution, in which the πλούσιος is placed, or by which he is threatened (Gebser: “he rejoices in his lowliness, into which he may be brought by persecution”), then there is no reason to find in ταπεινός the idea of poverty expressed. Thus, then, in this view the train of thought, referring it to πειρασμοί, becomes indistinct and confused; and yet this reference is required by the context. But also what directly follows is against the idea of considering the πλούσιος as well as the ταπεινός as a Christian ( ἀδελφός); for, apart from the fact that such a rich man would require no such pressing intimation of the perishableness of riches as is contained in the following clauses, it is carefully to be observed that in the words ὅτιπαρελεύσεται, and in James 1:11 : οὕτω καὶ κ. τ. λ., the subject is πλούσιος and not πλούτος, as that explanation would render necessary; Winer: dives non habet, quo glorietur, nisi ab humilitate sua, nam divitiae mox periturae sunt; so also de Wette, Theile, Wiesinger, and others. This change of the subject is evidently unjustifiable. James says, not of riches, but of the rich man, παρελεύσεται, μαρανθήσεται, which evidently is only valid of the rich man who forms a contrast to ταπεινὸς ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ. Brückner, in order to avoid the change of subject, explains it of “the rich man according to his external relations;” but this reference is not only arbitrarily introduced, but it weakens the train of thought. That such a bad sense should be given by the author to the idea πλούσιος, is evident both from chap. James 2:6-7, where he represents the πλούσιοι as the persecutors of the Christians, and from chap. James 5:1-6, where they are threatened with condemnation; besides, the word is elsewhere used in the sacred Scriptures in a bad sense; comp. Luke 6:24-26; Isaiah 53:9, where עָשִׂיר is parallel with רשׁעִים; Sirach 13:3 : πλούσιος ἠδίκησεπτωχὸς ἠδίκηται; Sirach 17:18 : τί κοινωνήσει λύκος ἀμνῷ; οὕτως ἁμαρτωλὸς πρὸς εὐσεβῆτίς εἰρήνη πλουσίῳ πρὸς πένητα. If πλούσιος stands in relation of contrast to ἀδελφὸς ταπεινός, then the Christian condition cannot be understood by ταπείνωσις, or scarcely with Bouman: animi, nihil sibi arrogantis, modestia; but only the destruction described in the following words: ὄτι κ. τ. λ., into which the rich man on account of his pride has fallen; comp. Luke 6:24-26.(56) The verb to be supplied is neither αἰσχυνέσθω (Oecumenius, Estius, and others) nor ταπεινούσθω, but καυχάσθω (comp. Winer, p. 548 [E. T. 777]). This certainly does not appear suitable, but the expression of James has its peculiar pointedness in this, that the ταπείνωσις, to which the rich man is devoted, is indicated as the only object of his boasting.(57) To this irony (if it be called so)—which already the author of the commentary on the Lamentations in Jerome’s works, and after him Lyra, Thomas, Beza, and others have recognised in our passage—less objection is to be taken, as this was so natural to the deeply moral spirit of James, in opposition to the haughty self-confidence of the rich man opposed to the lowly Christian.

For a more exact explanation of these two verses, the following remarks may suffice. The connection of James 1:9 with the preceding is as follows: let the brother of low degree glory amid his temptations in his exaltation (Gunkel). The idea καυχᾶσθαι is neither exhausted by laetari, Ἀ̓ γαλλιᾶσθαι, 1 Peter 1:6, Matthew 5:12 (Gebser), nor by commemorare, praedicare (Carpzov); it indicates rather glorying, proceeding from the confident assurance of superiority; Theile: notio gloriandi involvit notas 1 gaudendi, 2 confidentiae, 3 externe expressi.

ἀδελφός, according to the above explanation, refers only to ταπεινός, not to πλούσιος, which rather forms the contrast set over against that idea. By ταπεινός is not indicated a kind of ἀδελφοί, but is the characteristic mark of true Christians. It is incorrect to take ταπεινός here as entirely equivalent to πτῶχος; it goes beyond the idea of πτῶχος, indicating the Christian according to his entire lowly condition in the world, which also is not inapplicable to him who is perhaps rich in worldly wealth, especially as these riches have no true value for him. Comp. moreover, 1 Corinthians 1:26 : οὐ πολλοὶ δυνατοί, οὐ πολλοὶ εὐγενεῖς. ταπεινός is the Christian, in so far as he is despised and persecuted by the world ( τεταπεινω΄ένος καὶ κατησχυ΄΄ένος, Psalms 74:21, comp. 1 Corinthians 1:27), is inwardly distressed ( ἐν παντὶ θλιβό΄ενος, ἔξωθεν ΄αχαί, ἔσωθεν φόβοι, 2 Corinthians 7:5), and walks in humility before God; the opposite of all this is comprehended in πλούσιος. On ὓψος, Theile rightly remarks: sublimitas … non solum jam praesens sed etiam adhuc futura cogitari potest = ζωή illa, quae in coelis perficienda in terris jam est. Incorrectly, de Wette understands by this “present exaltation;” as little also does ὓψος indicate only “the stedfast courage of the Christian” (Augusti); and still less is it equivalent to divitiae, as Pott thinks, who finds only the thought here expressed: ταπεινός dives sibi videatur.

By ἐν is not to be understood the condition in which (Schneckenburger), but, according to the prevailing linguistic usage of the N. T., the object upon which the glorying is to take place; comp. Romans 5:3.

The words ὅτι ὡς ἄνθας χόρτου παρελεύσεται announce wherein the ταπείνωσις of the rich consists. As regards the construction, it forms one simple sentence. Baumgarten incorrectly construes παρελεύσεται with πλούσιος, and considers ὅτι ὡς ἄνθος χόρτου, sc. ἐστι, as a parenthesis, by which an epigrammatic sharpness is conveyed to the preceding sentence. The figure, which is further drawn out in James 1:11, is of frequent occurrence in the O. T., whilst with the quickly fading grass and its flower is not only man generally (comp. Job 14:2 : ὥσπερ ἄνθος ἀνθῆσαν ἐξέπεσεν; Psalms 103:15 : ἄνθρωπος ὡσεὶ χόρτος ὡσεὶ ἄνθος τοῦ ἀγροῦ οὓτως ἐξανθήσει; Isaiah 40:6-7 : πᾶσα σὰρξ χόρτος, καὶ πᾶσα δόξα ἀνθρώπων ὡς ἄνθος χόρτου· ἐξηράνθη χόρτος καὶ τὸ ἄνθος ἐξέπεσε; comp. 1 Peter 1:24), but also specially, as here the ungodly(58) (comp. Psalms 37:2 : ὡσεὶ χόρτος ταχὺ ἀποξηρανθήσονται, καὶ ὡσεὶ λάχανα χλόης ταχὺ ἀποπεσοῦνται; see also Psalms 90:6), compared.

ἄνθος is here, not as in Isaiah 11:1, LXX. translation of נֵצֶּר = germen, surculus (Hottinger), but the flower; however, the combination צִיץ חָצִיֹר is not found in Hebrew; in Isaiah 40:7 it is צִיץ הַשָׂדֶה. παρέρχεσθαι, in the meaning of destruction, often occurs in the N. T. (so also in the Hebrew עָבַר); also in the classics: Soph. Trach. 69: τὸν παρελθόντʼ ἄροτον.


Verse 11

James 1:11. A further expansion of the image. The aorists ἀνέτειλε, ἐξήρανε, etc., do not precisely stand for the present (Grotius, Piscator, Hottinger, and others), but represent the occurrence in a concrete manner as a fact which has taken place, by which the description gains in vividness (comp. Isaiah 40:7), which is still more vividly portrayed by the simple succession of finite verbs. See Winer, p. 248 [E. T. 346, 347] and p. 417 [E. T. 590]; A. Buttmann, p. 175. It is only confusing to convert ἀνέτειλεἐξήρανε into ἀνατείλας or ἐὰν ἀνατέλλῃἐξήρανε.

By the word καύσων is often in the LXX. (comp. besides Ezekiel 17:10; Ezekiel 19:12, Hosea 13:15 : Jeremiah 18:17; Jonah 4:8; where ἄνεμος or πνεῦμα is added, particularly Job 27:21; Hosea 12:1) meant the hot east wind ( קָדִים), which, blowing over the steppes of Arabia, is very dry and scorching to vegetation (see Winer’s Reallexicon: word, Wind); here, however, as in Isaiah 49:10 ( שָׁדָב closely united with שֶׁמֶשׁ), Sirach 18:16 (comp. also Sirach 43:3, where it is said of the sun: καὶ ἐναντίον καύματος αὐτοῦ τίς ὑποστήσεται), Matthew 20:12, Luke 12:55, it has the meaning “heat, burning” (against Grotius, Pott, Hottinger, Kern, Schneckenburger, Winer, Wahl, Lange, Bouman, and others), as the parching effect is attributed not to the καύσων as something different from the sun, but to the sun itself.(59) It is arbitrary to explain it as if it were written: ἠγέρθη γάρ, ἅ΄α τᾷ ἀνατεῖλαι τὸν ἥλιον, καύσων; as Gebser says: “the burning wind rising with the sun is the image.” Laurentius incorrectly understands by the sun “Christ,” and by the rising of the sun “the day of the Lord;” thus the whole is an image of the judgment destroying the rich, yet so that the individual parts are to be retained in their appropriate meaning.(60)

καὶ ἐξήρανε κ. τ. λ.] The same expressions in Isaiah 40:7.

ἐκπίπτειν, i.e. not simply the withering (Isaiah 28:1; Isaiah 28:4, LXX.), but the actual falling off of the flower, is a consequence of the blighting of the plant.

εὐπρέπεια] the opposite of ἀπρέπεια is used in the classics chiefly of external appearance; in the N. T. it is an ἅπ. λεγ.

τὸ πρόσωπον = פָּנִים, Psalms 104:30; comp. Luke 12:56; Matthew 16:3 : species externa. αὐτοῦ refers, not as the first αὐτοῦ, to τὸν χόρτον, but τὸ ἄνθος, on which the emphasis rests (comp. James 1:10, de Wette, Wiesinger, Bouman).(61)

οὓτω] thus quickly, thus entirely (Wiesinger); καί is not purely superfluous (Wiesinger), but, referring back to the image, heightens the comparison.

πλούσιος ΄αρανθήσεται] It is to be observed that here also πλούσιος and not πλοῦτος is the subject. ΄αραίνεσθαι, in the N. T. an ἅπ. λεγ., is found in the LXX. as the translation of יָבֵשׁ, Job 15:30; in the same meaning in the Wisdom of Solomon James 2:8. The figurative expression is explained by what goes before.

ἐν ταῖς πορείαις αὑτοῦ] not “on his journeys” (Laurentius, Piscator, Herder), also not “on his journeyings of fortune” (Lange); but = ἐν ταῖς ὅδοις αὐτοῦ, James 1:8 (comp. Proverbs 2:8, LXX.). The prominent idea is that the rich man, overtaken by judgment, perishes in the midst of his doings and pursuits, as the flower in the midst of its blossoming falleth a victim to the scorching heat of the sun. Luther’s translation: “in his possession,” is explained from the false reading πορίαις. See critical notes.


Verse 12

James 1:12. Whilst the rich man is condemned in the judgment, the ἀδελφὸς ταπεινός, who suffers the πειρασμόν proceeding from the rich man, is blessed. This blessedness forms the conclusion of the series of thought begun at James 1:2. To μακάριος ἀνήρ (see Psalms 1:1, and frequently in O. T.) not ἔστω, but ἐστί is to be supplied. No special emphasis is to be put on ἀνήρ; comp. James 1:8; James 1:20; incorrectly Thomas: beatus vir, non mollis vel effoeminatus, sed vir; and not less incorrectly Lange, who explains ἀνήρ here as he does in James 1:8. ὂς ὑπομένει πειρασμόν] is not = ὃς πειρασμοῖς περιπίπτει or ὃς πειρασμὸν πάσχει (Hottinger); comp. James 1:3; it is the man who does not succumb to the temptations which he has to endure. Laurentius: aliud est ferre crucem, aliud preferre. To supply ὄταν περιπέσῃ (Wiesinger) is unnecessary.

The following sentence beginning with ὅτι adduces the reason of the μακαρισμός: for being approved, he will receive the crown of life. By δόκιμος γενόμενος] is given not so much the condition as the cause, why he that endureth temptation will receive the crown of life; the being approved is the consequence of ὑπομένειν πειρασμόν.

δόκιμος is not, with Krebs, Lösner, Augusti, Pott, and others, to be referred as a figurative expression to the trial preceding the contests of athletes; but if a conscious figurative reference is to be assumed at all (which de Wette, Brückner, and Wiesinger not without reason consider as doubtful), it is to be referred to the purification of metals by fire (Hornejus, Gebser, Schneckenburger, Theile, and others(62)). In τὸν στέφανον τῆς ζωῆς] (“not the crown which is peculiar to eternal life, i.e. which is imparted to it,” Gunkel) τῆς ζωῆς is not the genitive of possession (Lange), but of apposition: ζωή, i.e. the eternal blessed life, is itself the crown of glory with which he that endures is adorned; comp. Revelation 2:10; 1 Peter 5:4; 2 Timothy 4:8. It is at least doubtful if there is here any allusion to the reward of the victor in the Greek games,—which is maintained by Zwingli, Michaelis, Hensler, Pott, de Wette, Wiesinger, and others, and contested by Semler, Augusti, Schneckenburger, Hottinger, Theile, Brückner, and others,—as even among the Jews, without any reference to a contest, a crown or diadem is regarded as the symbol of peculiar honour; comp. besides Psalms 21:4 (Brückner), especially Wisdom of Solomon James 5:16, 17: δίκαιοι εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ζῶσιλήψονται τὸ βασίλειον τῆς εὐπρεπείας καὶ τὸ διάδημα τοῦ κάλλους ἐκ χειρὸς κυρίου; with Paul, on the other hand, such an allusion frequently occurs. The certainty of receiving this crown of glory is founded on the divine promise: ὃν ἐπηγγείλατο ( κύριος) τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν αὐτόν] If κύριος is the correct reading, we are to understand not Christ (Baumgarten, Schneckenburger), but God (Gebser, Theile, Wiesinger).

The expression τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν αὐτόν (comp. Psalms 97:10; Psalms 145:20; Romans 8:28, etc.) intimates that ὑπο΄ένειν πειρασ΄όν is a proof and testimony of love to God, and is accordingly a proof how careful James was to designate love as the essence of true faith (so also Lange); therefore the repetition of the same addition in chap. James 2:5. On the whole passage, comp. particularly 2 Timothy 4:8.


Verse 13

James 1:13. To ὃς ὑπομένει πειρασμόν James opposes ὃς πειράζεται;(63) whilst the former gains ζωή, the end to which the latter approaches is θάνατος (James 1:15).

First James disclaims a vain justification of the latter, and then describes the process of πειράζεσθαι. The vain justification is introduced with the direct words of the πειραζό΄ενος: ὅτι ἀπὸ θεοῦ πειράζο΄αι, and then disclaimed by the expression: θεὸς ἀπειραστός ἐστι κακῶν κ. τ. λ.

By the direct transition from the preceding to this verse, it is supposed that by the πειραζό΄ενος spoken about, in contrast to ὃς ὑπο΄ένει πειρασ΄όν (James 1:12), is to be understood the person who does not endure the temptation, and consequently is not proved by it, but who succumbs under it, whilst he suffers himself to be enticed to falling away—to sin. Pott: qui tentatione vincitur, ad peccandum vincitur; Theile: agit Jacobus de turpi tentatione per tristem (tentationem); so also Olshausen, Schneckenburger, Kern, and others. This connection is denied by others; thus Calvin says: de alio tentationes genere disserit; and Wiesinger in the strongest manner: “this appears as the design of the apostle: to distinguish as much as possible those πειρασμοῦς and this πειράζεσθαι, to place the latter as totally different from the former.” But the close connection with the preceding constrains us to the opinion that James has considered both in reference to each other, the πειρασ΄οί occasioning the πειράζεσθαι which takes place when ἐπιθυ΄ία is excited by it.(64) It is arbitrary to take the verb πειράζεσθαι in the clause: μηδεὶς πειραζόμενος, in another sense than in the following clause: ἀπὸ θεοῦ πειράζομαι, as Hottinger asserts: hic verbum πειράζεσθαι bis dicitur sensu diversi; priori loco simpliciter: adversa pati; posteriori: malis sollicitari ad defectionem (similarly Grotius, Semler; also Lange); for, according to this interpretation, the excuse: ὅτι κ. τ. λ., would not correspond to the supposition contained in μηδεὶς πειραζόμενος. In justification of this view, Matthew 8:30 cannot be appealed to, where the same word ( νεκρόν) is used, in the same sentence in different meanings, namely, in a proper and figurative meaning, as here the relation is entirely different.

Some expositors (Pott, Schneckenburger, and others), without reason, paraphrase λεγέτω by “cogitet, sibi persuadeat.” Since the words which immediately follow are introduced in the direct form, it is better to retain the usual meaning of λέγειν, by which it is in itself evident that the external speaking presupposes an internal, on which it is here natural to think.

James makes the πειραζόμενος thus briefly express the excuse, by which he would justify himself: ὅτι ἀπὸ θεοῦ πειράζομαι, by which he transfers the guilt from himself to God.(65) ὅτι is the form of quotation frequently occurring in the N. T., except with Paul. ἀπὸ θεοῦ is emphatically placed first. ἀπό is not equivalent to ὑπό; the former points to the more distant, the latter to the nearest cause, though by later writers ἀπό with passive verbs is sometimes used as equivalent to ὑπό. Here, however, the usual signification of ἀπό is to be retained, for the πειραζό΄ενος, introduced as directly speaking, would certainly not stigmatize God as the direct tempter (comp. Matthew 4:1). See Winer, p. 332 [E. T. 464]. James does not with these words refer to any particular doctrine of religion and philosophy, perhaps to the doctrine of the Pharisees and Essenes on εἱμαρμένη (Bull, Ittig, Schneckenburger, and others), or the doctrine of Simon Magus (Calovius), but only considers generally the peculiar bias of the natural man to charge God somehow with the blame of πειράζεσθαι, recognisable in the answer of Adam to the question of God.(66)

James grounds the rejection of the idea contained in μηδεὶςλεγέτω that the πειράζεσθαι, proceeds from God, by a sentence comprising two members: γὰρ θεὸςοὐδένα. The word ἀπείραστος, an ἅπαξ λεγ. in the N. T., has in classical Greek—in which, however, the form ἀπείρατος ( ἀπείρητος) almost always occurs—either the passive meaning untempted, that is, what is not tempted or proved, or the active meaning: he who has made no trial, equivalent to inexperienced. Some expositors take the word in the second meaning; thus Schulthess: in Deum nulla malorum experentia; de Wette, Brückner, and others.(67) But, on account of the close connection with πειράζειν, the word has here, as most expositors assume, an ethical meaning. Yet it is incorrect to explain it actively, with Luther (God is not a tempter to evil; Vulgate: intentator), because this clause would then be tautological with the following. It is rather to be taken passively: untempted of evil, by which the idea passes from tentatus to that of tentabilis; Winer, p. 175 [E. T. 242, 243]. By the Church Fathers God is often named simply ἀπείραστος; so Ignat. ad Philipp.: τί πειράζεις τὸν ἀπείραστον; Photius, contra Manich. iv. p. 225: πειράζειν ἐπιχειρήσασι τὸν ἀπείραστον. By this predicate the holiness of God, which is raised above all temptation to evil, is indicated, and is the motive likewise to the following thought.(68)

κακῶν is not masculine, but neuter; not misery (Oecumenius), but evil.(69)

πειράζει δὲ αὐτὸς οὐδένα] expresses the consequence of the preceding and the pointed contrast to ἀπὸ θεοῦ πειράζομαι. πειράζει is placed first for the sake of emphasis. By αὐτός, which most interpreters pass over, is brought forward not God’s action in contrast to “being tempted” (Theile: ipse quoque non tentat idem ille Deus, qui tentari nequit; Wiesinger: “He, self-active;” so also Lange), but shows that the πειράζειν indeed takes place, but from another cause ( ἴδια ἐπιθυμία) than from God. The meaning of the whole verse is as follows: Let no man, when he is tempted (inwardly enticed) to evil, say, From God I am tempted: for God suffers no temptation; but ( δέ) as to the temptation, He (God) tempteth no man: but every man is tempted, etc.(70) As regards the apparent contradiction of this with other passages of the Holy Scriptures, where the sins of men are referred to God as their reason (Genesis 22:1; Deuteronomy 8:2, etc.), Calvin correctly remarks: Quum Scriptura excoecationem vel obdurationem cordis tribuit Deo, neque illi initium assignat, neque facit mali auctorem, ut culpam sustinere debeat. In his autem duobus solum Jacobus insistit.


Verse 14

James 1:14. That “ πειράζεσθαι proceeds not from God,” is the thought of James 1:13. Whence comes it then? The answer is given in this verse: “Every man is tempted, when he is drawn out and allured by his own lust.” The words ὑπὸ τῆς ἴδ. ἐπιθυμίας belong not to πειράζεται (Theile, Wiesinger), but to ἐξελκόμενος καὶ δελεαζόμενος (Luther, Baumgarten, Semler, Knapp, Grashof, Hottinger, de Wette, Brückner, Lange, and others), as otherwise these ideas would drag too much, and would receive their closer reference only by supplying something, as ὑπʼ αὐτῆς (Wiesinger). will describe πειράζεσθαι according to its process; he therefore places the idea first, and then gives in what follows how it occurs, consequently the construction πειράζεταιἐξελκόμενος requires not to be altered into πειραζόμενοςἐξελκύεται (Schneckenburger).

πειραζόμενος, as is evident from what goes before, is to be supplied to ἔκαστος; it corresponds to οὐδένα, James 1:13. The attribute ἰδίας is emphatic, expressing the contrast to αὐτός in James 1:13. It is brought prominently forward because ἐπιθυμία has its ground not in God, but belongs to man.

By ἐπιθυμία is not denoted “innocent sensuousness,” but it occurs here, as everywhere in the N. T. (except where its specific object is named, as in Luke 22:15; Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:17), even without the addition of κακή, σαρκική, or some similar adjectives, in sensu malo; yet it is not to be understood as original sin: “the sinful tendency, the same as Paul calls ἁμαρτία in Romans 7:7” (Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 469; Wiesinger); rather ἐπιθυμία here is the same as in Romans 7:7, namely, lust for the forbidden action springing from original sin (which Paul designates as the ἁμαρτία which χωρὶς νόμου is “ νεκρά,” but by the commandment revives, and πᾶσαν ἐπιθυμίαν κατεργάζεται). So also Brückner.(71)

James does not here speak of the origin and development of sin in general, but he wishes to mention, in contrast to ἀπὸ θεοῦ πειράζομαι, by what sinful man is tempted to the definite act of sin, so that he had no occasion to refer to original sin.

With regard to the form of expression, Pott correctly says: ἐπιθυ΄ία, ἁ΄αρτία et θάνατος personarum vim habent; imaginem meretricis suppeditant voces συλλαβεῖν, τίκτειν, ἀποκύειν, nec non et ἐξέλκειν atque δελεάζειν. The two words ἐξέλκειν and δελεάζειν sind verba e re venatoria et piscatoria in rem amatoriam et inde in nostrum tropum translata (Schneckenburger); this at least is valid of δελεάζειν. The meaning: protrahere in littus (Pott, and also de Wette), does not here lie at the root of the idea ἐξέλκειν ( ἅπαξ λεγ. in N. T.), for then it would require to be placed after δελεάζειν (as also Wieseler, Brückner, and Lange observe); Schulthess more correctly explains it: elicere bestias ex tuto ubi latent in locum hamis retibusque expositum; but it is probable that James had not the original figure so definitely before his eyes. Many interpreters (Menochius, Grotius, Laurentius, Pott, Hottinger, Baumgarten, Theile, and others) supply a bono to ἐξέλκ. and ad malum to δελεάζ., or something similar; yet incorrectly, as the idea is rather that ἐπιθυ΄ία as a harlot entices man, that is, his will, to herself; the ἐξ in ἐξέλκ. is thus to be explained, that man, enticed by the allurements of ἐπιθυ΄ία, is enticed to forsake his former position (as the place where he remained hitherto concealed); Schneckenburger: statu quasi suo et loco se extrahi et dimoveri ipse patitur. It is incorrect to explain ἐξέλκειν as equivalent to προσέλκειν, or as an intensified form instead of ἕλκειν.(72) The being taken, captive by ἐπιθυ΄ία is indicated by δελεαζό΄ενος.(73) δελεάζειν, in the N. T. used here only and in 2 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 2:14; 2 Peter 2:18, is also among classical writers used figuratively only in sensu malo; comp. particularly, Plato, Tim. lxix. 6: ἡδονὴ μεγίστων κακῶν δέλεαρ; Plut. de ser. Num. Vind.: τὸ γλυκὺ τῆς ἐπιθυμίας ὥσπερ δέλεαρ ἐξέλκειν ( ἀνθρώπους).


Verse 15

James 1:15. Continuing the image used in James 1:14, James in this verse describes what is the fruit which proceeds from δελεάζεσθαι ὑπὸ τῆς ἰδίας ἐπιθυμίας: Lust having conceived (i.e. become pregnant) bringeth forth sin, and sin when it is completed bringeth forth death. The object of this representation is not to give a doctrine of sin,—its origin and its end,—but by indicating the fruit of πειράζεσθαι, to demonstrate that it is not from God. By εἶτα the result of πειράζεσθαι, namely τίκτει ἁμαρτίαν, is indicated as directly following upon it; συλλαβοῦσα forms the transition to it, which occurs by ἐπιθυμία taking the will of man captive; it, as it were, becomes pregnant, so that it bears sin.

συλλαβοῦσα τίκτει] corresponds to the Hebrew וַתַּהַר וַתֵּלֶד, which is uniformly in the LXX. translated by συλλαβοῦσα ἔτεκε (Genesis 4:5; Genesis 4:17; Genesis 30:17, and other passages). By ἁμαρτία without the article, the fruit of ἐπιθυμία, according to its quality, is indicated in an entirely general manner. Sin born by lust again carries in itself its own fruit ( κύημα), which, having come to completion, ( ἀποτελεσθεῖσα), is brought forth out of itself ( ἀποκύει). According to de Wette, by ἁμαρτία in the first clause is to be understood “the resolution or internal act,” but in the second clause ( ἁμαρτία ἀποτελεσθεῖσα), “sin accomplished in the external act,” thus acts of sin. This, however, is incorrect, as—(1) by δὲ ἁμαρτία the ἁμαρτία already mentioned is again taken up, and therefore must have the same meaning; and (2) ἀποτελεῖν ἁμαρτίαν cannot mean “sin accomplished.”(74) Wiesinger, with regard to τίκτει ἁ΄αρτίαν, correctly observes: “ ἁ΄αρτία is sin, but whether the internal or external act is not stated;” yet ἀποτελεσθεῖσα added in the following clause shows that James considered ἁ΄αρτία as something gradually developed, for ἀποτελεῖν is not equivalent to τίκτειν (so that ἀποτελεσθεῖσα would be = τεχθεῖσα, Baumgarten: “sin brought or produced into the world in such a manner”), but completed: thus ἁμ. ἀποτ.=“sin which has attained to its complete development.” It is not entirely corresponding to the idea of James when Calvin (with whom most recent critics

Kern, Schneckenburger, Theile, Wiesinger, and others—agree) explains it as “the entire sinful life” (non unum aliquod opus perpetratum, sed cursus peccandi completus; vita impia et scelerata). As James considers ἁμαρτία itself personified, it is ἀποτελεσθεῖσα when it has grown to such fulness of power that it rules man’s whole life. According to this idea, it is indeed correct when several interpreters explain ἀποτελ. by adulta; thus Bouman: peccatum, quum ad adultam pervenit aetatem; yet, linguistically, this explanation is not to be justified, as ἀποτελεῖσθαι is not equivalent to adolescere. The explanation given in the earlier edition of this commentary, that by ἁ΄αρτία is meant the act of sin, is erroneous, because such a limitation of the general idea is not indicated; on this account it is not correct to think on ἐπιθυμία and ἁ΄αρτία as a single definite lust and sin.

Brückner considers the addition of ἀποτελεσθεῖσα is made only “in order that ἁ΄αρτία, which was at first represented as a child, might again be represented as a mother.” This, however, is incorrect; the origin and growth (or, more correctly, the completion) of sin by no means occur “in reality together at one moment;” sin bears death, which it carried in itself at the first, only when it is not interrupted in its development by a higher life-power, but has attained to its complete form.

By θάνατος, by which James indicates the fruit of completed sin according to its nature, is to be understood, not only temporary death (Pott: homines peccando mortales factos esse omnes consentiunt N. T. scriptores), but, as the opposite of the ζωή which God has promised, and will give to them who love Him, eternal death; see Romans 6:23 : τὰ ὀψώνια τῆς ἁμαρτίας, θάνατος· τὸ δὲ χάρισμα θεοῦ, ζωὴ αἰώνιος. If, therefore, nothing but θάνατος is the end to which πειράζεσθαι conducts, this cannot possibly have its reason in God, who works ζωή, and therefore it is absurd to say ἀπὸ θεοῦ πειράζο΄αι (James 1:13).

The expression ἀποκύει (only here and in James 1:18 in the N. T.) is distinguished from τίκτει only in this, that it indicates more definitely that ἁ΄αρτία from the beginning is pregnant with θάνατος. By the explanation: meretur mortem (Bede, Laurentius, and others), a relation is introduced foreign to the context. On the mode of writing ἀποκυεῖ and ἀποκύει, see Winer, p. 80 [E. T. 107]; Schirlitz, p. 184 f.


Verse 16

James 1:16 introduces the statement which follows as one particularly important. Not only the exhortation: μὴ πλανᾶσθε, but also the added address: ἀδελφοί μου ἀγαπητοί, shows how important this observation appeared to the author. A new line of thought, unconnected with the preceding, does not indeed begin with this verse; μὴ πλανᾶσθε must not therefore be considered, with Hornejus, Gebser, and others, only as the concluding formula to what goes before. Theile correctly observes: ubi antecedentia respicit, nunquam finit cohortationem, sed ita interpositum est, ut continuet ac firmet, nunc illustrando, nunc cavendo. The same formula is found in 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Galatians 6:7 (similarly 1 John 3:7); in all those places it precedes a thought certain to the Christian conscience, by which a preceding expression is confirmed in opposition to a false opinion: this is also the case here. Grotius inserts an entirely foreign reference when he says: hoc vult: ne putate vestrum studium sufficere sine precibus; see Luke 18:1. There is here no reference whatever to prayer.


Verse 17

James 1:17. The sentiment in this verse, introduced by James 1:16, is designed for the complete rejection of ἀπὸ θεοῦ πειράζομαι; the good comes from God, therefore πειράζεσθαι cannot come from God. The idea of the good is indicated by two synonymous expressions: δόσις ἀγαθή and δώρημα τέλειον. By δόσις, which has here not an active, as in Philippians 4:5 (Bouman, Lange), but a passive signification (as frequently in classical Greek and in the Apocrypha), and by δώρημα, the same thing is indicated—in contrast to ἰδία ἐπιθυμία, James 1:14—as something given and presented, which thus proceeds not from man himself. By δώρημα τέλειον the idea already contained in δόσις ἀγαθή is heightened, δώρημα more definitely indicating the gift ( δόσις) as a free present (which Gunkel incorrectly denies; see Romans 5:16, where δώρημα is parallel with χάρισμα), and τέλειον the idea of the good ( ἀγαθή) as morally perfect(75) It is arbitrary to refer the two expressions to different gifts, and by δόσις to understand the gifts of the kingdom of nature or of the present life, and by δώρη΄α those of the kingdom of grace or of the future life. Also ἀγαθή is not, with Didymus, to be restricted to the idea of the useful. Several interpreters (Raphelius, Stolz, Rosenmüller, Bengel, Augusti, Pott, Hottinger, and others) put an exclusive force on πᾶς, as if it were = non nisi, “nothing but;” but the thought is weakened thereby. James designs to say not only—in contrast to the derivation of πειράζεσθαι from God—that only good (thus not evil) gifts come from Him, but likewise that good gifts all come only from God (thus from none else) (Stier); πᾶς is accordingly to be taken in its usual meaning; but ἀγαθή and τέλειον are to be emphasized. Schneckenburger arbitrarily explains it as if James had written: πᾶσα δόσις καὶ πᾶν δώρη΄α ἄνωθεν καταβαῖνον τέλειόν ἐστι.(76)

ἄνωθεν] = οὐράνοθεν (Acts 14:17; Acts 26:13; ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, John 6:32-33), is put first for the sake of emphasis.

ἐστι καταβαῖνον] are not, with Wolf, Bengel, Kern, Bouman, and others, to be separated, so that ἐστι is to be joined to ἄνωθεν, and καταβαῖνον is added as an epexegesis; but to be united, and are put instead of καταβαίνει, only that by the participle the quality of the verbal idea is more brought out; see chap. James 3:15; so also Wiesinger and A. Buttmann, p. 266 [E. T. 310]; Winer, p. 311 [E. T. 438], and Schirlitz, p. 317, on the other hand, regard the expression as entirely equivalent to καταβαίνει.

The expression καταβαῖνον is explained from ἄνωθεν. The explanation of Laurentius: non cadens, sed descendens, quia ordinarie bona sua dona dat, is far-fetched.

ἀπὸ τοῦ πατρὸς τῶν φώτων] an epexegesis to the preceding. By τὰ φῶτα is to be understood neither spiritual light, whether knowledge (Hornejus), or joy (Michaelis), or goodness, wisdom (Wolf: omnis perfectio, bonitas, sapientia et prosperitas), or something similar, nor the spirits of light (Schol. ap. Matt.: ἤτοι τῶν ἀγγελικῶν δυνάμεων· τῶν πεφωτισμένων ἀνθρώπων; Lange: “the whole series of organs of revelation from Abraham to Christ, as the representatives of all good spirits”). Nor is there here any allusion to the Urim and Thummim of the high priest (Heisen); but by it are meant, as almost all modern expositors recognise, the heavenly bodies (see LXX. Psalms 135 :(136)7; Jeremiah 4:23) = φωστῆρες, LXX. Genesis 1:14. God is designated as the πατήρ of these, because He is their Creator and Preserver. This designation, for which Job 38:28 cannot be appealed to, is surprising, as it is without analogy either in the O. or N. T. (otherwise with profane writers and Philo). It has, however, its ground in this, that James considers the light of the heavenly bodies as a reflection of the essential light of God. Since God is the Father of light, the symbol of the holy ones (Wiesinger), so He Himself must be light, and thus nothing dark (consequently not πειράζεσθαι), but rather only all that is light, can proceed from Him. As the Father of lights, God, however, outshines these: their light is changing; His, on the contrary, is without change. The following words: with whom there is no variation nor shadow (in consequence) of change, express this idea; i.e., whilst with the stars a παραλλαγή or τροπῆς ἀποσκίασμα occurs, there is nothing similar to this with God.(77) According to Grotius, with whom various expositors agree, these expressions are termini technici of astronomy. But, in opposition to this, it is to be observed that παραλλαγή never occurs as an astronomical term (see Gebser in loco), and the astronomical signification of τροπή = solstitium, solstice ( τροπαὶ θεριναί and χει΄εριναί; comp. Wisdom of Solomon 7:18 : τροπῶν ἀλλαγάς), is not here suitable, as the sun is not mentioned specially, nor is an ἀποσκίασ΄α effected by the solstice. James here uses not the language of astronomy, but that of ordinary life (Wiesinger).

παραλλαγή is to be understood quite generally, variation. James adds to this general idea, in order to bring prominently forward that the essential light of God is not, as is the case with the stars, obscured by anything, the more definite idea τροπῆς ἀποσκίασμα. ἀποσκίασμα has not an active (de Wette: “casting a shadow”), but a passive signification, being shaded (so Brückner); and τροπῆς assigns the reason ( ἀποσκίασ΄α quae oritur e τροπῇ, Schneckenburger): thus the shadowing of the stars, which is effected by their changeable position:(78) for that James has founded his idea in a change in the stars themselves is not probable.(79) Luther’s translation: “the change of light and darkness” (similarly Stolz: “changing obscuration”), is only justified if it were said τροπὴ ἀποσκιάσ΄ατος. Deviating entirely from the above explanation, the Greek interpreters take ἀποσκίασ΄α = ἴχνος; Oecumenius: ἀντὶ τοῦ· οὐδὲ ΄έχρις ὑπονοίας τινὸς ὑποβολή; Suidas: ἀντὶ τοῦ· ἀλλοιώσεως καὶ ΄εταβολῆς ἴχνος· καὶ ὁ΄οίω΄α φαντασίας; and following them several recent writers; Morus: ne tantillum mutationes; Rosenmüller: no shadow of change; so Hensler and others. But in this signification ἀποσκίασ΄α never elsewhere occurs; also the here essential idea of obscuration (Bengel: ἀποσκίασμα, opponitur luminibus) would be lost.

The form ἔν ι (besides here in the N. T. in 1 Corinthians 6:5; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11) is not, with Buttmann, II. 375; Winer, p. 74 [E. T. 96]; Schirlitz, 171, and others, to be taken as a peculiar form of ἐν, but is the abbreviation of ἔνεστι (A. Buttmann, p. 64 [E. T. 72]); comp. 1 Corinthians 6:5 : οὐκ ἔνι ἐν ὑ΄ῖν σοφὸς οὐδὲ εἶς (see Meyer in loco). ἔνι, however, is not, with Pott, to be explained as precisely equivalent with ἐστιν, yet the meaning of the preposition ἐν is so weakened, as the verb could be construed with any other preposition, as here with the preposition παρά, which here, as frequently in the N. T., stands for “what spiritually belongs to another, is in another’s possession;” Demosthenes, de cor. p. 318, 13: εἰ δʼ οὖν ἐστι καὶ παρʼ ἐμοί τις ἐμπειρία τοιαύτη.


Verse 18

James 1:18. Most interpreters subordinate the thought contained in this verse to the preceding, regarding it either as an example (Laurentius: loquitur Ap. in his verbis de generatione spirituali ut sit quasi exemplum aliquod istorum donorum spiritualium, quae sunt desuper) or as a confirmation and a proof (thus Gebser, Kern, Wiesinger, Bouman; also Lange(80)); on the contrary, according to Theile and de Wette,(81) its relation is that of co-ordination. But in both explanations the peculiar significance which this verse has in the context is mistaken. It is to be recognised as a principal thought, not only because the succeeding exhortations flow from it, but also because the preceding development only comes to its close in it; whilst only in βουληθεὶς ἀπεκύησεν ἡμᾶς is not only the assertion ἀπὸ θεοῦ πειράζομαι completely refuted, but also all the earlier mentioned assertions have their sure foundation. It is accordingly not a confirmation of James 1:17, but rather a special inference from the general idea of that verse.

βουληθεὶς ἀπεκύησεν ἡμᾶς] The verb itself testifies that here the discourse is of the new birth, and not of natural birth, for ἀποκύειν is Synonymous with γεννᾷν; but the man γεγεννημένος ἐκ θεοῦ (1 John 3:9; see also 1 Peter 1:23) is not man in himself, but man born again. Unsatisfactorily Pott explains ἀποκύειν = facere, efficere, since by this the specific idea of the verb, that the foundation of the life of him who is born again lies in God, and that he is θείας φύσεως κοινωνός (2 Peter 1:4), is lost.

ἡμᾶς] not us as men, nor us as Jewish Christians, but us as Christians.

The verse emphatically commences with βουληθείς, by which is expressed not a contrast to the merit of human works (Bede: non nostris, sed beneficio suae voluntatis; similarly Calvin, Hornejus, Grotius, etc.), nor to “the Jewish claims of righteousness” (Lange), but it is designed prominently to bring forward the thought that the new birth rests on the divine will—the work is that which God has peculiarly willed. But if this be the case, how can πειράζεσθαι proceed from Him? Without sufficient reason, Bengel, Kern, Schneckenburger, Wiesinger, and others put the additional idea of love in βουληθείς.(82)

λόγῳ ἀληθείας] The instrument of ἀποκυῆσαι is the λογος ἀληθείας, that is, the gospel,(83) which is so called because “ ἀληθεία in its entire reality is inherent in it” (Harless on Ephesians 1:13). The words: εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡ΄ᾶς ἀπαρχήν τινα τῶν αὑτοῦ κτισ΄άτων] express the aim of this new birth, by which is not indicated what Christians, as those who are born of God, ought to become, but what they are, according to the intention of God.(84) By τινα added to ἀπαρχήν the mode of expression is indicated as figurative, for, as Calvin correctly remarks, τινα similitudinis est nota, nos quodammodo esse primitias (so also Gebser, Hottinger, Kern, Wiesinger, and others). Also Bengel recognises this, but he puts therein a false reference, observing: quaedam habet modestiam, nam primitiae proprie et absolute est Christus. Still more incorrect is it, with Lange, to explain τινα, that James considered the angels of God as a different kind of first-fruits of creation. Laurentius correctly says: ἀπαρχή allusio est ad ritum legalem in Vetum Testamentum de consecratione primogenitorum, frugum, jumentorum et hominum (so also Calvin, Hornejus, Wiesinger, and others; unsatisfactorily de Wette: “chosen and holy”). The word has here, as everywhere in the O. T., and predominantly among the classics, a religious signification, namely, “the first-fruits dedicated to God;” so that James by this expression indicates Christians, as a fruit dedicated to the service of God. But ἡμᾶς emphatically repeated shows that James does not here state the nature of Christians generally, but what the position is which he and those Christians occupy who, according to Romans 8:23, possess τὴν ἀπαρχὴν τοῦ πνεύ΄ατος (see Meyer in loco). They are a kind of first-fruits of God’s creatures, because they, as being born of God, are dedicated to God first among all His creatures. The glorification, which is destined for the whole world, was first imparted to Christians then living.(85) In the N. T. ἀπαρχή is sometimes so used that the religious signification steps into the background (thus in 1 Corinthians 15:20; 1 Corinthians 15:23; Romans 8:23; Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:15; otherwise in Romans 11:16 and Revelation 14:5); and accordingly several expositors explain the expression of James as equivalent to οἱ πρῶτοι τῶν κτισμάτων αὑτοῦ. But against this is, on the one hand, the added τινα, and on the other hand, the existing necessity of conceiving as added to κτισμάτων an attribute, as νέων or καίνων, since the expression τὰ κτίσματα θεοῦ is not taken by itself, those who are born again, but generally, the creatures of God. It is still more arbitrary to take ἀπαρχή as equivalent to πρῶτοι, in the sense of τιμιώτατοι (Oecumenius; Morus: omnium creaturarum carissimi et dignissimi; the favourites among His creatures), and then to refer the verse to the dignity of man generally, as the Scholiast explains: τὴν ὁρωμένην κτίσιν φησίν, ἧς τιμιώτερον τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἔδειξεν.(86) By αὑτοῦ (Lachmann and Buttmann, αὐτοῦ; Tischendorf, ἑαυτοῦ), emphatically added, the creatures are indicated as God’s property.


Verse 19

James 1:19. To James 1:18 is annexed at first the exhortation to hear, and then in James 1:22 the more extended exhortation, not only to be hearers, but also doers of the word. By the reading ὥστε, the connection with the preceding is evidently expressed, ὥστε being with the following imperative, as in 1 Corinthians 3:21, Philippians 2:12 = itaque, therefore. This reading is, however, suspicious, as not only predominant authorities declare for the reading ἴστε, but also ἴστε might be easily changed into ὥστε, in order to mark the thoughts in this verse as an inference from James 1:18. It is true the δέ after ἔστω, conjoined with this reading (in B and C), appears to be harsh; but it may be explained from this, that the sentence ἔστωταχὺς εἰς τὸ ἀκοῦσαι κ. τ. λ. is introduced as being almost a proverbial expression. The reading of A: ἔστε δὲκαὶ ἔστω, appears to be a correction, in order to unite this verse more closely with the preceding. ἴστε may be either indicative (comp. Hebrews 12:17; usually οἴδατε) or imperative; it is at all events to be referred, not to what goes before,(87) but to what follows, as otherwise τοῦτο, or something similar, by which it would be referred back to James 1:18, would require to be added. Semler explains it as an indicative, paraphrasing it: non ignoratis istud carmen; Sirach 5:11 : γίνου ταχὺς ἐν ἀκροάσει σου κ. τ. λ. As, however, the sentence in question is here expressed in different words, so it is not to be assumed that James would here refer to that passage in Ecclesiasticus. It is thus better to consider ἴστε as an imperative, as it then corresponds to μὴ πλανᾶσθε (James 1:16), and serves strongly to impress the following sentence on the readers, in favour of which also is the address ἀδελφοί μου ἀγαπητοί, added here as well as there; see also chap. James 2:5 : ἀκούσατε, ἀδ. μ. ἀγ.

The sentence is entirely general: let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. Whilst Laurentius and others consider this as a sententia generalis, which stands in no internal connection with the preceding, but is pressed upon the readers in its entire generality, most interpreters supply to ἀκοῦσαι directly taken from the preceding τὸν λόγον ἀληθείας; thus Estius, Gataker, Gomar, Piscator, Hornejus, Baumgarten, Rosenmüller, Pott, Hottinger, Gebser, de Wette, Wiesinger, and others; but this is arbitrary, particularly as πᾶς ἄνθρωπος points to the universality of the sentence. However, the intention of James is not to inculcate it on his readers in its general sense, but he wishes rather that they, as Christians, should apply it to their Christian conduct; so that for them ἁκοῦσαι certainly refers to λόγος τῆς ἀληθείας (Heisen, Schneckenburger,(88) Theile). ὑμῶν is therefore not to be supplied to πᾶς ἄνθρωπος, still we may say with Semler: pertinet ad Christianos, quatenus sunt Christiani; but the expression is, as part of the general sentence, likewise to be retained in its general meaning; but what holds good of all men, in a peculiar manner holds good of Christians.

The ideas ταχύς and βραδύς, in the N. T. only here (in Luke 24:25, βραδύς has a different meaning), form a direct contrast; as in Philo, de conf. ling. p. 327 B: βραδὺς ὠφελῆσαι, ταχὺς βλάψαι (see Dio O. 32). By βραδὺς εἰς ὀργήν added to the second clause, James announces what kind of speaking he means, namely, speaking ἐξ ὀργῆς.(89) But from James 1:20 it is evident that by ὀργή—which, as Cremer correctly remarks, denotes not the passive affection, but active displeasure directed toward any one—is to be understood sinful and passionate zeal. βραδύς is to be taken in both clauses in the same sense, which—as is often the case with expressions in figurative language—goes beyond the literal and direct idea of the word, as Hornejus correctly explains it in reference to the second clause: ita jubet tardos ad iram esse, ut ab eo nos prorsus retrahat. Several expositors refer both clauses, others at least the second chiefly or alone, to the conduct toward God, with or without an express reference to James 1:13.(90) But this is incorrect; the ὀργή to which James alludes is rather carnal zeal, which will censure its neighbour, whose fruit is not εἰρήνη, but ἀκαταστασία (chap. James 3:16). The warning is addressed to those Christians who misuse the gospel (the λόγος ἀληθείας) as the Pharisees did the law, not for their own sanctification, but for the gratification of their censoriousness and quarrelsome temper; see chap. 3. Although James with this exhortation has specially in view the conduct of Christians in their assemblies, yet λαλῆσαι must not be restricted to the idea of mere teaching (Bede, Hornejus, Hottinger, de Wette, Brückner, and others). λαλῆσαι is a more comprehensive term than διδάσκειν, which is included in it.


Verse 20

James 1:20 gives the reason of the exhortation βραδὺς εἰς ὀργήν: for the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God. The preponderance of authorities decides against the reading κατεργάζεται, and in favour of ἐργάζεται. From the fact that δικαιοσύνην is twice in the N. T., namely Acts 10:35 and Hebrews 11:33, joined with the simple verb, it does not follow that ἐργάζεται is a later correction (against de Wette, Wiesinger), especially as κατεργάζεσθαι is also found united with abstract substantives, as in Romans 1:27 with τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην, in Romans 2:9 with τὸ κακόν, and in Romans 7:18 with τὸ καλόν. With the reading ἐργάζεται,—and also with κατεργάζεται, when this latter, as is frequently the case (see especially Romans 2:9-10), is synonymous with the former,

δικαιοσύνη is equivalent to τὸ δίκαιον, as is frequently the case in the O. and N. T.; see Acts 10:35 above referred to, and the frequently occurring phrase: ποιεῖν τὴν δικαιοσύνην, Genesis 18:19; Isaiah 56:1; Matthew 6:1; 1 John 2:29; 1 John 3:7; 1 John 3:10; Revelation 22:11. θεοῦ is added in contrast to ἀνδρός for the sake of a more exact statement, so that δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ is the righteousness willed by God(91) (similar to τὸ δίκαιον ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ, Acts 4:19; Luther: “the wrath of man works not that which is right before God”); so Beza, Hornejus, Wolf, Bengel, de Wette, Bouman, and others correctly explain it. The opposite of δικαιοσύνην θεοῦ ἐργάζεσθαι is ἁμαρτίαν ἐργάζεσθαι, chap. James 2:9 (comp. Matthew 7:1 : ἐργαζ. τὴν ἀνομίαν; 1 Maccabees 9:23 : ἐργαζ. τὴν ἀδικίαν; also comp. Romans 2:10 : ἐργαζ. τὸ ἀγαθόν; Galatians 6:10). James was the more constrained to give prominence to this idea, as ὀργή itself and the words flowing from it were considered by the pharisaical disposition of Christians, against whom this warning is directed, and of whom it was said: ζῆλον θεοῦ ἔχουσιν, ἀλλʼ οὐ κατʼ ἐπίγνωσιν, Romans 10:2, as something that was pleasing to God. With the reading κατεργάζεται this verb may also be equivalent to effect, to bring about (as James 1:3). Gebser, Grashof, and others understand, in accordance with this view, by δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ: “the condition of justification before God;” but, on the one hand, an unsuitable thought is expressed by this, and, on the other hand, a mode of expressing the idea δικαιοσύνη τοῦ θεοῦ, peculiar to Paul, is without ceremony ascribed to James. But as little is it to be justified when Wiesinger, following Hofmann (Schriftbew. I. ed. 1, p. 548 f.), finds expressed in the words of James, that “one by wrathful zeal effects not on others the δικ. θεοῦ, i.e. that state of righteousness in which God begets men by His word of truth.”(92) Though δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ can denote the righteousness wrought by God, yet this idea is here unsuitable, since no man could entertain the opinion that his wrath could do what can only be effected by God. Also in this case James would only emphasize an impossibility of ὀργή, whereas he was required to bring prominently forward its rejection; moreover, on others is inserted into the text.(93) The same reasons are also decisive against the explanation of Brückner (“the wrath of man works not the righteousness which God accomplishes—this generally stated both in respect to the ἀνήρ and in respect to others on whom one strives to work”), in which a twofold reference is arbitrarily assumed. Brückner correctly rejects the explanation of Lange, that James speaks against “the delusion of wrath, which imagines to administer and accomplish in the world the righteousness of God especially against unbelievers,” because there is no reference to this in the context; it is, moreover, linguistically unmaintainable, as ἐργάζεσθαι does not mean “to administer and accomplish.”

ἀνδρός stands here as in James 1:8; James 1:12; it forms a contrast neither to the child (Thomas: ira fortis et deliberate non dicit pueri, qui cito transit), nor to the woman (Bengel: sexns virilis maxime iram alit), nor to ἄνθρωπος, James 1:19 (Lange).


Verse 21

James 1:21. James infers ( διό) from the thought in James 1:20 the exhortation ἐν πραΰτητι δέξασθε τὸν ἔμφυτον λόγον, with evident reference to ἀπεκύησεν ἡμᾶς λόγῳ ἀληθείας (James 1:18). He places before this exhortation the participial clause: ἀποθέμενοικακίας] laying aside all filthiness and abundance of wickedness, i.e. all filthy and abundantly prevalent wickedness. The word ῥυπαρία ( ἅπ. λεγ. in the N. T.) is here figurative (synonymous with ἀκαθαρσία in Romans 6:19 and other places), as ῥυπαρός and ῥυπαρεύω, Revelation 22:11 ( ῥυπαρός occurs in its literal sense in chap. James 2:2 : ῥύπος in 1 Peter 3:21). Several interpreters (Calvin, Rosenmüller, Baumgarten, Hornejus, Bouman, Lange, and others) take it here as standing alone, equivalent to moral uncleanness (see 2 Corinthians 7:1 : πᾶς μολυσμὸς σαρκὸς καὶ πνεύματος), either generally “every immoral disposition,” or specifically as avaritia (Storr), or scortatio (Laurentius), or vitia intemperantiae, gulae et lasciviae (Heisen), or “filth in a religious theocratical sense” (Lange); but it is better to join ῥυπαρίαν with κακίας (Theile, de Wette, Wiesinger, and others), so that the ethical judgment of the author on the κακία is thereby expressed (comp. Acts 15:20; Revelation 17:4), equivalent to πᾶσαν κακίαν ῥυπαράν, or less exactly ῥυπαίνουσαν τὸν ἄνθρωπον (Schol. on Matt.); only the idea is more strongly brought forward by the substantive than by the adjective. The word περισσεία, united to ῥυπαρίαν by the copulative καί (not as Schneckenburger thinks exegetical; in the cited passages, John 1:16 and 1 Corinthians 3:5, the position of καί is entirely different), foreign to classical Greek, has in the N. T. the signification abundance, properly: “abundance flowing over the measure,” which Lange incorrectly renders “outflow, communication of life;” see Romans 5:17; 2 Corinthians 8:2; 2 Corinthians 10:15. Nevertheless the word has been here taken in a meaning corresponding to ῥυπαρία, and has been explained as = περίσσωμα excrementum (Beza, Piscator, Erasmus, Schmid, and others), or also growth (Lösner, Pott, Hottinger, Kern, Schneckenburger, de Wette). But both meanings are arbitrary. The defenders of the second explanation indeed appeal to the passage in Philo, de vict. off. p. 854 B: περιτέμνεσθετὰς περιττὰς φύσεις (fortasse ἐμφύσεις, de Wette) τοῦ ἡγεμονικοῦ; but from this passage it does not follow that περισσεία can be explained de ramis in vite vel arbore abundantibus falceque resecandis (Lösner). It is equally unjustifiable when Küttner, Michaelis, Augusti, Gebser, Bouman, and others explain περισσεία κακίας as “ κακία surviving from earlier times,” and thus take περισσεία as synonymous with περίσσευμα (Mark 8:8). Against all these arbitrary views Theile, Wiesinger, Brückner correctly retain the word in the same sense which it has elsewhere in the N. T., so that περισσεία κακίας is the abundance of κακία, i.e. the abundantly existing κακία; only ἐν ὑμῖν is hardly to be supplied as if James had only his readers specially in view (Theile: quod lectoribus peculiare erat).

κακία is not here synonymous with πονηρία (1 Corinthians 5:8) = vitiositas (Semler, Theile, and others), but, according to the context, in contrast with ἐν πραΰτητι, as in Ephesians 4:31, Colossians 3:8, Titus 3:3, 1 Peter 2:1, a more special idea, namely, the hostile disposition toward our neighbour which we call malignity (Cremer: malevolence, as social faultiness). Wiesinger inaccurately takes it as equivalent to ὀργή, as that is only one of the proofs of κακία; incorrectly Rosenmüller = morositas.(94) On ἀποθέμενοι, comp. Ephesians 4:25; 1 Peter 2:1; Hebrews 12:1.(95) The participle precedes as a subordinate thought to δέξασθε, because in consequence of man’s sinful nature room can only be made for the good by the rejection of the bad. Also, where similar sentences are co-ordinate, the exhortation to ἀποτίθεσθαι precedes; comp. Romans 13:12, Ephesians 4:22-23, and also the exhortation of Christ: μετανοεῖτα καὶ πιστεύετε, Mark 1:15.

In the positive exhortation: ἐν πραΰτητι δέξασθε τὸν ἔμφυτον λόγον] ἐν πραΰτητι emphatically precedes, in contrast to the κακία from which flows ὀργή. πραΰτης (= πραότης) denotes a loving, gentle disposition toward our neighbour; comp. 1 Corinthians 4:21, 2 Timothy 2:25, Titus 3:2, and other passages; the opposite is ὀριλότης (Pape’s Gr. Wörterb.); incorrectly Calvin: hoc verbo significat modestiam et facilitatem mentis ad discendum compositae. ἐν πραΰτητι does not therefore mean docili animo (Grotius, Rosenmüller, Hottinger), nor “with a modest disposition, which recognises the good deeds of Christianity” (Gebser). Also ἐν πρ. δέξασθε is not a pregnant construction, as if the sense were: monet … illo λόγῳ duce πραΰτητα exerceant (Schneckenburger); but James exhorts to the reception of the word ἐν πραΰτητι, in contrast to those who hear the word in order to use it as a weapon of hatred (condemning others).

δέξασθε (opp. to λαλῆσαι, James 1:19) corresponds to ἀκοῦσαι, but expresses more than that, namely: “the inner reception, the taking hold of it with the heart;” comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:6. The object belonging to it: τὸν λόγον ἔμφυτον, can only be the same as what was called the λόγος ἀληθείας in James 1:18 (Wiesinger); it is neither “the reason innate in man “(Oecumenius: τὸν διακριτικὸν τοῦ βελτίονος καὶ τοῦ χείρονος· καθʼ καὶ λογικοὶ ἐσμὲν καὶ λεγόμεθα; see Constit. Apost. viii. 12: νόμον δέδωκας ἔμφυτον), nor the so-called inner light of the mystics, nor the gospel “in its subjective form of life” (Lange). The verb δέχεσθαι is opposed to these explanations. James designates the gospel a λόγον ἔμφυτον, inasmuch as it was no longer strange to the hearts of his readers as Christians; also because it was not merely transmitted (Hottinger: ἔμφυτος = traditus), but implanted.(96) The verb δέξασθε does not conflict with this, as the word by which the new birth is effected among Christians is to them ever proclaimed anew, and must by them be ever received anew, in order that the new life may be preserved and increased in them. It is therefore not necessary, against the use of language, to change the idea: verbum quod implantatum or insertum est, into: verbum quod implantatur or inseritur, or to assume here a prolepsis, as is undoubtedly the case in 1 Corinthians 1:8, Philippians 3:21 (see Meyer in loco), and 1 Thessalonians 3:13 (Lünemann in loco), and with Calvin to explain it: ita suscipite ut vere inseratur (similarly Semler, de Wette,(97) and others). The mode in which the adjective is united with the substantive is opposed to a prolepsis, which would be only imaginable were it said: τὸν λόγον ἔ΄φυτον ταῖς καρδίαις ὑ΄ῶν, or something similar.

For the strengthening of the exhortation expressed, James annexes to τὸν ἔ΄φυτον λόγον the clause τὸν δυνά΄ενον σῶσαι τὰς ψυχὰς ὑ΄ῶν, by which, on the one hand, the value of the λόγος is prominently brought forward, and, on the other hand, is indicated what result ought to arise from the hearing of the word. By the verb δυνά΄ενον not the freedom of the human will (Serrarius: quod potest salvare, ut arbitrii libertas indicetur), but the power of the word is emphasized; it is, as Paul says, δύναμις θεοῦ εἰς σωτηρίαν πάντι τῷ πιστεύσντι (Romans 1:16). But if it has this power, man must receive it, and that in a right manner, so that it may prove its efficacy in him and save his soul. It is to be observed that James says this of his readers, whom he had previously designated as born again (James 1:18). Thus, according to James, Christians by the new birth do not as yet possess σωτηρία (the future salvation), but its obtainment is conditioned by their conduct.

Instead of τὰς ψυχὰς ὑ΄ῶν, James might simply have written ὑ΄ᾶς, but Schneckenburger correctly warns: cave pro mera sumas circumscriptione personalis; animi enim proprie res agitur; see chap. James 5:20.


Verse 22

James 1:22. The exhortations given in James 1:19 form the starting-point for what follows. The next section, to the end of chap. 2, is attached to the thought ταχὺς εἰς τὸ ἀκοῦσαι, which is continued in δέξασθε τὸν ἔμφυτον λόγον. The word must be so heard and received that it produces a corresponding activity. James first expresses this thought briefly and definitely: “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” The verb γίνεσθε is neither intended to express the successionem perpetuam horum exercitiorum (Semler), nor to indicate that hitherto the readers had not been ποιηταὶ λόγου; this indication is contained in the whole exhortation, but not in the verb, which is to be translated not by become, but by be; comp. chap. James 3:1; Matthew 6:16; Matthew 10:16; Matthew 24:44; John 20:27; Romans 12:16.(98) The particle δέ unites this verse with the preceding as its completion. The readers ought to be ποιηταὶ λόγου, namely, of the λόγος ἔμφυτος (James 1:21), or of the λόγος ἀληθείας (James 1:18), the gospel, inasmuch as it requires a definite Christian conduct, and on this account in James 1:25 is expressly called a νόμος. On ποιηταί, comp. James 4:11; 1 Maccabees 2:67; Romans 2:13 (John 7:19 : ποιεῖν τὸν νόμον); in the classical language, ποιητὴς νόμου is the lawgiver. Theile correctly observes: substantiva plus sonant quam participia; the substantive expresses the enduring relation.

In the reading μὴ ἀκροαταὶ μόνον, μόνον is closely united with ἀκροαταὶ: not such who are only hearers. The word ἀκροατής, in classical Greek “an attentive hearer,” occurs in the N. T. only here and in Romans 2:13, but both times without that additional meaning. On the thought, comp. besides Romans 2:13 (where the same contrast is expressed), Matthew 7:21 ff.; Luke 11:28; John 13:17.

παραλογιζόμενοι] belongs to the subject contained in γίνεσθε (de Wette, Wiesinger), deceiving your own selves, and not as a more exact definition of ἀκροαταί, “hearers who deceive themselves” (Stolz, Gebser, Schneckenburger, Lange). The import of the word (besides here in the N. T. only in Colossians 2:4, in the O. T. Genesis 29:25, LXX.; synonymous expressions are found in James 1:26; Galatians 6:3; 1 John 1:8) is to draw false inferences, to deceive by sophistical reasoning. The warning is directed against such who deceive themselves by sophisms on the utility of mere hearing.


Verse 23

James 1:23. This exhortation is confirmed by a comparison. Therefore: ὅτι, which is not superfluous (Pott). This verse expresses the similitude; James 1:24 the tertium comparationis. A hearer, who is not a doer, is to be compared to a man who contemplates his bodily form in a glass. Hornejus, Rosenmüller, Semler, Pott, and others, attach to the word κατανοεῖν the additional meaning of a transitory observation, against the etymology and the linguistic use of the word (comp. Luke 12:24; Luke 12:37; Acts 7:31-32; Acts 11:6). The point of transitoriness, or, more correctly, of transitory contemplation, is contained not in the verb, but in the situation, which in James 1:24 is prominently brought forward by καὶ ἀπελήλυθεν. On the rhetorical usage of again resuming the foregoing subject (which is here expressed by εἴ τις κ. τ. λ.) by οὗτος, see Winer, p. 144 [E. T. 199]; A. Buttmann, p. 262 [E. T. 347]; on ἔοικε, see James 1:6; ἀνδρί, as in James 1:8, and frequently with James.(99)

τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γενέσεως αὐτοῦ] By πόρσωπον is here meant not the whole form (Baumgarten, Hensler, Pott, Schneckenburger), but the face. By τῆς γενέσεως is “more plainly indicated the sphere of mere material perception, from which the comparison is taken, as distinguished from the ethical sphere of ἀκροᾶσθαι” (Wiesinger). γένεσις denotes not so much the natural life as the natural birth, so that the phrase is to be interpreted: the countenance which one possesses by his natural birth. See Eustathius in Od. ix. p. 663, 25.(100)

Whether αὐτοῦ belongs to the whole idea, or only to the genitive, is uncertain. Winer, p. 212, leaves it undecided; Wiesinger is for the first rendering; but the union here (as well as in Colossians 1:13) with the genitive appears to be more natural.


Verse 24

James 1:24. With this verse begins the explanation of the image given in James 1:25 (therefore γάρ), whilst κατανοεῖν τὸ πρόσωπον τ. γεν. αὐτοῦ is again resumed by κατενόησεν ἑαυτόν. By ἀπελήλυθεν the point of the mere transitoriness of the contemplation in the glass only before presupposed is brought forward, and by ἐπελάθετο the result of such a contemplation is added, by which the points of application, which James employs, are brought out. The emphasis lies on ἀπελήλυθεν and εὐθέως ἐπελάθετο. The form of representation is here the same as in James 1:11. It is not a particular instance which may occur (Wiesinger), but a general statement which is here introduced in the form of a single incident, as the contemplating oneself in the glass is always only a temporary and not a permanent state. The hearing of the word answers to κατανοσεῖν; the averting of the mind from what is heard to ἀπέρχεσθαι; and the being unconcerned about what is heard, by which the realization of the word in the life is prevented, to εὐθέως ἐπιλανθάνεσθαι. James can only think on man according to his ethical condition in relation to the demands of the divine will, as corresponding to πρόσωπον τ. γ. or ἑαυτόν in the application. It is true that he does not definitely state this; but from this it does not follow that James, overlooking all other considerations, has had only in view generally the contents of the word, because the comparison of the word with a glass, which gives to him who looks in it to see his own image, would be without meaning.(101) On the use of the perfect ( ἀπελήλυθεν) between the aorists, see Winer, p. 243 f. [E. T. 340].

On ὁποῖος ἦν, Wiesinger correctly remarks, “namely in the glass.”


Verse 25

James 1:25 does not give the simple application of the image, but rather describes, with reference to the foregoing image, the right hearer, and says of him that he is μακάριος ἐν τῇ ποιήσει αὐτοῦ. In this description the three points named in James 1:24 are carefully observed: παρακύψας εἰς κ. τ. λ. answers to κατενόησεν ( ἐν ἐσόπτρῳ), παραμείνας to ἀπελήλυθεν, and οὐκ ἀκροατὴς ἐπιλησμονῆς to ἐπελάθετο. The sentence consists of a simple combination of subject and predicate; γενόμενος is not to be resolved into the finite verb γίνεται (Pott). The predicate commences, after the subject is summed up, in οὗτος with μακάριος.

This is also the case with the textus receptus, where a οὗτος is put before οὐκ ἀκροατής; for, since with this reading the first οὗτος is simply resumed by the second οὗτος (before μακάριος), equivalent to hic, inquam, the words οὐκ ἀκροατὴςἔργου only serve to give a more exact designation of the subject, παρακύψαςκαὶ παραμείνας being thus more clearly defined. Thus these words begin not the apodosis or principal sentence, as if James would here, in contrast to James 1:24, show that the right hearing and appropriation leads to the doing, (and thereby) to the blessedness of doing (against Wiesinger). Were this his object, he would have been obliged to put the finite verb instead of the participle γενόμενος, and a καί after ἔργου. The subject is accordingly: but whosoever looks into the perfect law of liberty and continueth therein, being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man.

The aorist participles are explained from the close connection of this verse with the preceding, where the same tense was used. There is no copulative καί before the participial clause οὐκ ἀκροατὴς κ. τ. λ., because the doing of the law is the necessary consequence of the continued looking into it, and it would otherwise have the appearance as if παρακύπτειν and παραμένειν could take place without ποιεῖν following.(102) The verb παρακύπτειν (properly bending oneself near an object in order to view it more exactly, Luke 24:12; John 20:5; John 20:11; 1 Peter 1:12; Sirach 14:23; Sirach 21:23) refers back, indeed, to κατανοεῖν, but is a stronger idea. James has fittingly chosen this verb as verbum ad imaginem speculi humi aut mensae impositi adaptatum (Schneckenburger; see also Theile, Wiesinger). Luther inaccurately translates it: looketh through. As the accent is on παρα, the verb παρα΄είνας is used afterwards. By εἰς is expressed not only the direction to something, but the intensity of the look into the inner nature of the law. παραμείνας (not continueth therein, as Luther translates it, but thereat) is added to παρακύψας,—without the article, because the two points are to be considered as most closely connected,—indicating the continued consideration of the νό΄ος, from which action necessarily follows. Schneckenburger incorrectly gives to the verb παρα΄ένειν here (appealing to Acts 14:22; Galatians 3:10; Hebrews 8:9) the meaning to “observe the law;” but the subject treated of here is not the observance, but “the appropriation which leads to action” (Wiesinger), or “the remaining in the yielding of oneself to the object by contemplating it” (Lange). By νόμος τέλειος τῆς ἐλευθερίας(103) is meant neither the O. T. law, nor lex naturalis (Schulthess), but λόγος ἀληθείας (James 1:18), thus the gospel, inasmuch as it places before the Christian—by reason of redemption—the rule of his life. This evangelical νόμος, indeed, resembles the O. T. νόμος in expressing no other will of God, but differs from it in that it only is the νόμος τῆς ἐλευθερίας, the νόμος τέλειος. It not only confronts man as enjoining, but, resting on the love of God, it creates the new life from which joyful obedience springs forth voluntarily and unconstrained; it gives ἐλευθερία, which the O. T. νόμος was not able to give, and thus proves itself as the perfect law in contrast to the imperfect law of the Old Covenant. It is true that even in the O. T. the sweetness of the law was subject of praise (Psalms 19:8-11), but the life-giving power belonged to the law only in an imperfect manner, because the covenant on which it rested was as yet only one of promise and not of fulfilment. It is accordingly incorrect to explain the additional attribute as if James considered the O. T. law, according to the Pauline manner, as a ζυγὸς δουλείας (Galatians 5:1), for of this there is no trace.(104) Many expositors understand by νό΄ος τέλειος κ. τ. λ. the gospel, as the joyful message of salvation, or the doctrina evangelii, or simply gratia evangelii, namely, in contrast to the O. T. economy, which, however, corresponds neither to the language of James nor to his mode of contemplation.

In the additional participial sentence, the ideas ἀκροατὴς ἐπιλησ΄ονῆς and ποιητὴς ἔργου are opposed to each other. ἀκροατὴς ἐπιλησ΄ονῆς (the word, foreign to classical Greek, is in the N. T. a ἅπ. λεγ.; it is found in Sirach 11:27; among classical writers: ἐπιλήσ΄η, ἐπιλησ΄οσύνη) is = ἀκρ. ἐπιλήσ΄ων, a hearer to whom forgetfulness belongs. To ποιητής ἔργου is attached in order to make still more prominent the idea of activity, which indeed is already contained in ποιητής. The singular does not properly stand for the plural (Grotius: effector eorum operum, quae evangelica lex exigit), but “is designed to import that it here results in something, in the doing of work” (Wiesinger). Those ideas, which appear not to correspond, yet form a true antithesis, since the law is inoperative on the forgetful hearer, but incites him who is an attentive hearer to a corresponding activity of life. James says of him who is thus described: he ( οὗτος) is blessed in his deed. ποίησις in N. T. ἅπ. λεγ., in Sirach 19:20 : ποίησις νό΄ου. The preposition ἐν is not to be exchanged with διά, for by ἐν the internal connection of doing and blessedness is marked; Brückner: “the blessing innate in such doing is meant.” ἔσται is therefore not to be referred to tire future life; but it is by it announced what is even here directly connected with the ποίησις; James, however, certainly considered this ΄ακαριότης as permanent. The thought here expressed refers to the last words of James 1:21, completing them, showing that the λόγος has the effect there stated ( σῶσαι τὰς ψυχάς) in him who so embraces it that it leads him to ποίσις.(105)


Verse 26

James 1:26. Whilst James—in contrast to the hearers who fail in proof by works—will describe the true θρησκεία (James 1:27), he first refers to the false θρησκεία of those who—slothful in action—are ταχεῖς εἰς τὸ λαλήσαι (James 1:19). If any one thinks to serve God, not bridling his tongue, but deceiving his heart, his worship is vain.

εἴ τις δοκεῖ] δοκεῖ here denotes (as in Matthew 6:7; Matthew 24:44; 1 Corinthians 3:18; otherwise in 1 Corinthians 7:40) the false opinion which one has of something; it is not = videtur (Calvin, Gataker, Theile, and others); Luther correctly translates: “if any one imagines.”

θρῆσκος εἶναι] θρῆσκος, which elsewhere occurs neither in the N. T. nor in the classics (the substantive besides here and in James 1:27, in the N. T. in Colossians 2:18 and Acts 26:5), is not equivalent to εὐσέβεια, inasmuch as it refers to external worship, the manifestation of εὐσέβεια, without, however, having in itself the secondary idea of mere externality. Incorrectly Theile = religiosus singulatim cujus nimia, nimis externa est religio, superstitiosus. In an arbitrary manner, Schneckenburger infers from the adjectives καθαρὰ καὶ ἀμίαντος (James 1:27) that it is here said of θρησκεία, quam in accurata lustrationum observatione constantem putabant Judaei ac Judaeochristiani,(106) of which there is no trace in the whole Epistle. The following words: μὴ χαλιναγωγῶν τὴν γλῶσσαν αὑτοῦ, indicate in what the θρησκεία of the readers consisted. It is incorrect, with Rosenmüller, Theile, and others, to supply exempli causa, and, as most interpreters do, to resolve the participle by although; James will blame those who reckon zeal in speaking as a sign of θρησκεία.(107) The verb χαλιναγωγεῖν, in the N. T. only in James, is also found in classical language only in the later classics; comp. the expression in Plato, de legg. ii.: ἀχάλινον κεκτημένοι τὸ στόμα.

By the second participial sentence: ἀλλὰ ἀπατῶν καρδίαν αὑτοῦ, James expresses his judgment—already indicated by the expression μὴ χαλιναγωγῶν—on the opinion of serving God by λαλεῖν ἐν ὀργῇ. Pott correctly: sc. eo quod nimian docendi licentiam et linguae extemperantiam pro vera θρησκείᾳ habet. The clause belongs not to the apodosis (Schneckenburger), but, as in form so in meaning, is closely connected with the preceding participle. The expression ἀπατᾷν καρδίαν αὑτοῦ corresponds to παραλογίζεσθαι ἑαυτόν (James 1:22), but is a stronger form, although it does not indicate only the consequence resulting from zeal (Lange); comp. Test. Napht. III. p. 665: μὴ σπουδάζετεἐν λόγοις κενοῖς ἀπατᾷν τὰς ψυχὰς ὑμῶν. Erasmus incorrectly explains ἀπατᾷν by sinere aberrare. The apodosis, which emphatically begins with τούτου, declares that such a θρησκεία is not only without fruit (Baumgarten), but without actual contents, is thus foolish and vain, corresponding to the thought: ὀργὴ δικαιοσύνην θεοῦ οὐ ( κατ) εργάζεται (James 1:20).


Verse 27

James 1:27. To θρησκεία μάταιος is opposed θρησκεία καθαρὰ καὶ ἀμίαντος παρὰ τῷ θεῷ]. καθαρός and ἀμίαντος are synonymous expressions (Pott, Theile, and others); the second word does not add any new idea to the first. Some expositors (Baumgarten, Bengel, Knapp, Wiesinger) arbitrarily refer the first word to what is internal, and the second to what is external. The second word ἀμίαντος (which occurs only here and in Hebrews 7:20; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 1:4), corresponding to its connection with μιαίνω, μιάσμα, brings more vividly forward purity as a being free from that by which the holy is defiled. The purity of true θρησκεία is, by the words παρὰ τῷ θεῷ κ. τ. λ., marked as absolute. παρά, in the judgment of, equivalent to ἐνώπιον, as in 1 Peter 2:20; comp. Winer, p. 352 [E. T. 493]; Schirlitz, p. 340. That by this “the attitude of a servant before the face of the commanding lord” (Lange) is indicated, is a pure fiction. To τῷ θεῷ is emphatically added καὶ πατρί, by which the relation of God, which the author has chiefly in view, is expressed: that of love. God, by reason of His love, can only esteem that worship as pure which is the expression of love. The contents of pure worship is given in the following infinitive clauses, according to its positive and negative side; still James evidently does not intend to give an exhaustive definition, but he merely brings forward—in reference to the wants of his readers—two chief points. Hermas, I. 2, mand. 8, gives a description of these two sides of worship, comprehending as much as possible all particulars. The first point is: the visiting of the widows and the fatherless in their affliction, as a manifestation of compassionate love. If it is said that the particular here stands for the universal (the species pro genere, Hottinger, Theile, and others); yet it is to be observed that elsewhere in the Holy Scriptures compassion is adduced as the most direct proof of love. The verb ἐπισκέπτεσθαι here, as in Matthew 25:36; Matthew 25:43, Jeremiah 23:2, Zechariah 11:16, Sirach 7:35, refers to the visiting of the suffering, in order to help them. By the explanation: “to be careful of them” (Lange), the view of a concrete instance is introduced; ὀρφανοί are placed first, in close connection with πατρί,(108) as God in Psalms 68:6 is expressly called πατὴρ τῶν ὀρφανῶν; see also Sirach 4:10 : γίνου ὀρφανοῖς ὡς πατήρ.

The words ἐν τῇ θλίψει αὐτῶν are not an idle addition, but mark the condition in which the orphans and widows are found, to show the necessity and object of ἐπισκέπτεσθαι.

In the second infinitive clause, which is added with rhetorical emphasis, ἀσυνδετῶς,(109) to the first, ἄσπιλον stands first as the chief idea. The same expression is in 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Peter 3:14 (in its proper sense, 1 Peter 1:19). The addition ἀπὸ τοῦ κόσ΄ου, more exactly defining ἄσπιλον τηρεῖν, is neither dependent merely on τηρεῖν (Psalms 12:8; Psalms 141:9) nor merely on ἄσπιλον, but on the combined idea. The sense is: to preserve himself from the world ( ἀπό = ἐκ, John 17:15; comp. also the form προσέχειν ἀπό, Matthew 16:12), so that he is not polluted by it (so also Lange). By κόσ΄ος not merely earthly things, so far as they tempt to sin (Schneckenburger), nor merely sinful lusts (Hottinger), nor δημώδης καὶ συρφετὸς ὄχλος, κατὰ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας τῆς ἀπάτης αὑτοῦ φθειρόμενος (Oecumenius; according to Laurentius and others, the homines mundani atque impii), are to be understood; but the idea κόσ΄ος comprehends all these together; it denotes the whole earthly creation, so far as it is cut off from fellowship with God and stands under the dominion of ἄρχων τοῦ κόσ΄ου (1 John 5:19); thus especially the men who serve it in and with their sinful lusts—but also all earthly possessions by which sinful lust is excited, and to which it not only conforms itself, but converts them into the instruments of its activity.

Christians by means of their divine birth, effected by the word of truth (James 1:18), are indeed taken out of the κόσ΄ος, they are no longer members of it; but, on the other hand, both by the sin which is still in them (chap. James 3:2) and by their external intercourse, they stand in connection with the world, on which account they have to preserve themselves from its contaminating influence. This preservation, as it is a work of God (John 17:15), so it is likewise a work of man (1 Timothy 5:22), and therefore a task which believers must continually strive to perform.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on James 1:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/james-1.html. 1832.

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Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
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