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Ben Mattson
Seminarian at Bethlehem College and Seminary, Minneapolis, MN
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James 1
James 1:1-12
Shared May 23rd, 2020; Updated May 23rd, 2020
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James 1:1-12
James 1:1-12
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James 1:1-12
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Ἰάκωβος... δοῦλος... θεοῦ
From James, 1 a slave 2 of God
James, slave of God
καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
and the Lord Jesus Christ,
and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
ταῖς δώδεκα φυλαῖς ταῖς ἐν τῇ διασπορᾷ
to the twelve tribes dispersed abroad. 3
to the twelve tribes in the dispersion,
χαίρειν.
Greetings!
Πᾶσαν χαρὰν ἡγήσασθε , ἀδελφοί μου,
My brothers and sisters, 4 consider it nothing but joy 5
My brothers and sisters, begin to consider it pure joy
ὅταν πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποικίλοις,
when you fall into all sorts of trials,
whenever you fall into all sorts of trials,
temporal
γινώσκοντες
because you know
because you know
ὅτι τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως κατεργάζεται ὑπομονήν .
that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (engaged waiting, militant patience)
ideaexplanation
ground
ἡ δὲ ὑπομονὴ ἔργον τέλειον ἐχέτω ,
And let endurance have its perfect effect,
And let steadfastness (engaged waiting) have its complete effect,
ἵνα ἦτε τέλειοι
so that you will be perfect
in order that you might be complete
καὶ ὁλόκληροι
and complete,
and whole,
series
ἐν μηδενὶ λειπόμενοι .
not deficient in anything.
lacking in nothing.
actionpurpose
Εἰ δέ τις ὑμῶν λείπεται σοφίας,
But if anyone is deficient in wisdom,
But if anyone of you is lacking in wisdom,
αἰτείτω παρὰ τοῦ διδόντος θεοῦ πᾶσιν ἁπλῶς
he should ask God, who gives to all generously
you should ask from God who gives to all generously (without hesitation)
καὶ μὴ ὀνειδίζοντος
and without reprimand,
and without reproach
καὶ δοθήσεται αὐτῷ.
and it will be given to him.
and it will be given to you.
progression
conditional
αἰτείτω δὲ ἐν πίστει
But he must ask in faith
But he must ask in faith
μηδὲν διακρινόμενος •
without doubting,
not doubting
negativepositive
ὁ γὰρ διακρινόμενος ἔοικεν κλύδωνι θαλάσσης ἀνεμιζομένῳ
for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown
for the one doubting is like a wave of the sea blown by the wind
καὶ ῥιπιζομένῳ .
and tossed around by the wind.
and tossed about.
μὴ γὰρ οἰέσθω ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος ὅτι λήμψεταί τι παρὰ τοῦ κυρίου,
For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord,
For the person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord
ἀνὴρ δίψυχος, ἀκατάστατος ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ὁδοῖς αὐτοῦ.
since he is a double-minded individual, 6 unstable in all his ways.
for that person is double minded, unstable in all their ways.
actionmanner
Καυχάσθω δὲ ὁ ἀδελφὸς ὁ ταπεινὸς ἐν τῷ ὕψει αὐτοῦ,
Now the believer 7 of humble means 8 should take pride 9 in his high position. 10
Now let the believer in humiliating circumstances boast in his exaltation,
ὁ δὲ πλούσιος ἐν τῇ ταπεινώσει αὐτοῦ,
But the rich person’s pride should be in his humiliation,
but (let) the rich person (boast) in their humiliation,
ὅτι ὡς ἄνθος χόρτου
because he will pass away
because like a flower of the grass
παρελεύσεται.
like a wildflower in the meadow. 11
he will pass way.
comparison
ἀνέτειλεν γὰρ ὁ ἥλιος σὺν τῷ καύσωνι
For the sun rises with its heat
For the sun rises with its burning heat
καὶ ἐξήρανεν τὸν χόρτον
and dries up the meadow;
and dries up the grass
καὶ τὸ ἄνθος αὐτοῦ ἐξέπεσεν
the petal of the flower falls off
and the flower falls
καὶ ἡ εὐπρέπεια τοῦ προσώπου αὐτοῦ ἀπώλετο •
and its beauty is lost forever. 12
and the beauty of its appearance is lost forever.
οὕτως καὶ ὁ πλούσιος ἐν ταῖς πορείαις αὐτοῦ μαρανθήσεται.
So also the rich person in the midst of his pursuits will wither away.
In the same way the rich man in the midst of his daily life will wither away.
bilateral
alternative
Μακάριος ἀνὴρ
Happy is the one 13
Happy is the one
ὃς ὑπομένει πειρασμόν,
who endures testing,
who endures a trial
ὅτι δόκιμος γενόμενος λήμψεται τὸν στέφανον τῆς ζωῆς
because when he has proven to be genuine, he will receive the crown of life
because, after having passed the test, they will receive the crown of life
ὃν ἐπηγγείλατο τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν αὐτόν.
that God 14 promised to those who love him.
which is promised to those loving him.
situationresponse
Infinitive Absolute 1. Definition Like a genitive absolute, the infinitive can function independently of the rest of the sentence. It thus bears no syntactical relation to anything else in the sentence. One word, χαίρειν, is especially used as an infinitive absolute. The idea can be expressed as “I greet you” (thus, the equivalent of an indicative), or “Greetings!” (thus, equivalent of an interjection). Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 608.
Subjunctive in Indefinite Temporal Clause 1) Definition The subjunctive is frequently used after a temporal adverb (or improper preposition ) meaning until (e.g., ἕως, ἄχρι, μέχρι), or after the temporal conjunction ὅταν with the meaning, whenever . It indicates a future contingency from the perspective of the time of the main verb. Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 479.
1. Ingressive This is a command to begin an action . It is a common usage. The stress is on the urgency of the action. This may be broken down into two subcategories. b. Pure Ingressive The stress is on the beginning of an action that the context usually makes clear is not a momentary action. Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 720.
“an outward trial or process of ‘testing’ Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell, James , vol. 16, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), 49.
v3 God allows trials in order to "prove" us: the implication here is of testing that leads to approval, a proving of the worth of something
This expression can denote not only perfection but maturity, as frequently in the OT with the Hebrew equivalent tāmîm . Both meanings seem intended here: we can aspire to maturity in this lifetime, but we will ultimately attain perfection in the eschaton. As believers, we must constantly strive for perfection, even while knowing that we will never fully reach it until our resurrection and glorification. 28 28 Cf. esp. Martin, James , 17. Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell, James , vol. 16, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), 50.
Perseverance itself is not the ultimate goal Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell, James , vol. 16, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), 50.
“Wisdom” remains crucial throughout James, referring to “the endowment of heart and mind which is needed for the right conduct of life. Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell, James , vol. 16, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), 50.
he maintains that we should not doubt the character of God as one who gives unflinchingly. 46 To doubt his character can also imply that a person is unwilling to trust God with their life or that they do not believe that he is who he claims to be. 47 46 Kistemaker ( James and the Epistles of John , 40) offers Ac 2:12 as an example of a place where doubt or perplexity was not sinful, but instead led to further faith. Cf. also the father’s cry for faith in Mk 9:24. Baker (“James,” 20) adds that “the primary problem is not the amount of confidence the petitioner has when he utters his prayer. Rather, the problem is that he does not have confidence in the nature of God generally,” thus contra the “name-it-and-claim-it” heresy. 47 Abraham becomes the prime biblical example of faith (see esp. Ro 4:20; Heb 11:8–10), and he clearly at times doubted God’s promises. Still, over the years he displayed far more trust than doubt in God. It is this sort of overall integrity of faith throughout life that God is looking for in his followers. Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell, James , vol. 16, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), 52.
but they are often unwilling to commit to anything and thus prove unreliable. One cannot necessarily depend on them. Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell, James , vol. 16, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), 54.
future exaltation
Martin highlights two elements in this illustration: “the complete and swift destructiveness of the wind” and “the inevitability of its coming.” 71 71 Martin, James , 27. Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell, James , vol. 16, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), 56.
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