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Jtorgeson
Seminarian at Bethlehem College and Seminary, Minneapolis, MN
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James 4
James 4:1-17
Shared June 13th, 2020
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NT
James 4:1-17
na28
"Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve"
Πόθεν πόλεμοι καὶ πόθεν μάχαι
Question
ἐν ὑμῖν;
Place
οὐκ ἐντεῦθεν,
Answer
ἐκ τῶν ἡδονῶν ὑμῶν τῶν στρατευομένων
Content
ἐν τοῖς μέλεσιν ὑμῶν;
ἐπιθυμεῖτε καὶ οὐκ ἔχετε,
Assertion (Explains v 1)
φονεύετε
Result 2a
καὶ ζηλοῦτε καὶ οὐ δύνασθε ἐπιτυχεῖν,
Restatement 2a
μάχεσθε καὶ πολεμεῖτε,
Result 2c
οὐκ ἔχετε
Restatement 2a, 2c
διὰ τὸ μὴ αἰτεῖσθαι ὑμᾶς,
Reason 2e
αἰτεῖτε καὶ οὐ λαμβάνετε
Expansion 2f
διότι κακῶς αἰτεῖσθε,
Reason 3a
ἵνα ἐν ταῖς ἡδοναῖς ὑμῶν δαπανήσητε.
Explains 3b (Purpose 3b)
μοιχαλίδες,
Vocative Address
οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι
Question 1
ἡ φιλία τοῦ κόσμου ἔχθρα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν;
Content 4b
ὃς ἐὰν οὖν βουληθῇ φίλος εἶναι τοῦ κόσμου,
Inference 4c ("If")
ἐχθρὸς τοῦ θεοῦ καθίσταται.
Result 4d ("Then")
The Humble Receive Grace
ἢ δοκεῖτε ὅτι κενῶς ἡ γραφὴ λέγει•
Rhetorical Question (Quote)
πρὸς φθόνον ἐπιποθεῖ τὸ πνεῦμα
Content 5a
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ὃ κατῴκισεν ἐν ἡμῖν,
Epexegetical 5b
μείζονα δὲ δίδωσιν χάριν;
Contrast 5b-c
διὸ λέγει•
Inference
ὁ θεὸς ὑπερηφάνοις ἀντιτάσσεται,
na28
ταπεινοῖς δὲ δίδωσιν χάριν.
Contrast 6c
ὑποτάγητε οὖν τῷ θεῷ,
Exhortation (Inference)
ἀντίστητε δὲ τῷ διαβόλῳ
Imperative 2 (Wisdom)
καὶ φεύξεται ἀφʼ ὑμῶν,
Result 7b
ἐγγίσατε τῷ θεῷ
Imperative 3 (Wisdom)
καὶ ἐγγιεῖ ὑμῖν.
Result 8a
Humility & Exaltation
καθαρίσατε χεῖρας,
Imperative 4
ἁμαρτωλοί,
Vocative Address
καὶ ἁγνίσατε καρδίας,
Imperative 5
δίψυχοι.
Vocative Address
ταλαιπωρήσατε
Imperative 6
καὶ πενθήσατε
Expands 9a
καὶ κλαύσατε.
Expands 9a-b
ὁ γέλως ὑμῶν εἰς πένθος μετατραπήτω
Restatement
καὶ ἡ χαρὰ εἰς κατήφειαν.
Expands 9d
ταπεινώθητε ἐνώπιον τοῦ κυρίου
Restatement / Conclusion
καὶ ὑψώσει ὑμᾶς.
Result 10a
Servants of the Law
ἀδελφοί.
Vocative Address
Μὴ καταλαλεῖτε ἀλλήλων, ...
Imperative
ὁ καταλαλῶν ἀδελφοῦ
Explains 11e-f
ἢ κρίνων τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ
Alternative 11c
καταλαλεῖ νόμου
Grounding Wisdom 11b
καὶ κρίνει νόμον•
Expands 11e
εἰ δὲ νόμον κρίνεις,
Condition 11h-f ("if")
οὐκ εἶ ποιητὴς νόμου
Result 11g (Explains 11c-f)
ἀλλὰ κριτής.
Contrast 11h
εἷς ἐστιν [ὁ] νομοθέτης
Assertion
καὶ κριτὴς
Expands 12a
ὁ δυνάμενος σῶσαι
Apposition 12a-b
καὶ ἀπολέσαι•
Expands 12c
σὺ δὲ τίς εἶ
Question / Contrast 12a-d
ὁ κρίνων τὸν πλησίον;
Apposition 12e
Living As A Vapor
Ἄγε νῦν
Call
οἱ λέγοντες•
Addressees
σήμερον ἢ αὔριον πορευσόμεθα εἰς τήνδε τὴν πόλιν
na28
Content (Assertion)
καὶ ποιήσομεν ἐκεῖ ἐνιαυτὸν
Progression
καὶ ἐμπορευσόμεθα
Expansion 13d
καὶ κερδήσομεν•
οἵτινες οὐκ ἐπίστασθε τὸ τῆς αὔριον ποία
Problem (Wisdom)
ἡ ζωὴ ὑμῶν•
Alternative
ἀτμὶς γάρ ἐστε
Ground 14a-b
ἡ πρὸς ὀλίγον φαινομένη,
Epexegetical 14c
ἔπειτα καὶ ἀφανιζομένη.
Progression 14d
ἀντὶ τοῦ λέγειν ὑμᾶς•
Correction 13b
ἐὰν ὁ κύριος θελήσῃ
na28
Content ("If")
καὶ ζήσομεν
"Then"
καὶ ποιήσομεν τοῦτο ἢ ἐκεῖνο.
Expansion 15c
νῦν δὲ καυχᾶσθε ἐν ταῖς ἀλαζονείαις ὑμῶν•
Rebuke
πᾶσα καύχησις τοιαύτη πονηρά ἐστιν.
Explains 16a
οὖν
Inference / Warning
εἰδότι ... καλὸν ποιεῖν
Explains 17d
καὶ μὴ ποιοῦντι,
ἁμαρτία αὐτῷ ἐστιν.
Warning / Assertion
"In this event, it seems better to understand “spirit” (πνεῦμα) as the human spirit, for James just finished calling his audience “adulteresses” in their relationship with God and is not likely to be thinking of the Holy Spirit living in them at this point." Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell, James , vol. 16, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), 192.
These two opening questions serve as the outline for much of what follows. Interestingly, James points us to the root cause of quarreling and jealousy. There is a spiritual war going on among our members. Most immediately, this spiritual war will either ally a person with the world, or with God (see v 4).
It is instructive to read this verse directly following verse 1
Here again it is the inward passion which is highlighted (v 1d). It is the desire of the world which sets us against God, because the world is hostile to God.
A strikingly explicit call to repentance.
See Isa 54:6; 57:3; Jer 3:20; Ezek 16:38; 23:45; Matt 12:39; 16:4)
" We have no evidence that James's readers were overtly disclaiming God and consciously deciding to follow the world instead. But their tendency to imitate the world by discriminating against people (2:1-13), by speaking negatively of others (3:1-12), by exhibiting 'bitter envy' and 'selfish ambition' (3:13-18), and by pursuing their own destructive pleasures (4:1-3) amounted to just that. James, as it were, wants to raise the stakes so that his readers see their compromising conduct for what it really is. God tolerates no rival. When believers behave in a worldly manner, they demonstrate that, at that point, their allegiance is to the world rather than to God ." (Douglas Moo, 187)
I believe that two Biblical themes are being quoted here: the jealousy of God for his people (Exod 20:5; 34:14; Zech 8:2), and God's compassion towards them (Exodus 34:6).
The key to understanding this verse lies in the previous one. Verse 4 sets the context of these verses as the marriage-love that God has for his people. His people have responded by being adulteress, and God has judged them harshly because of his jealousy for them. However, his grace is sufficient to meet the requirements of that jealousy which he has for us. The one who is humble, who turns to God and forsakes the world, will be exalted above all.
The inference here stems specifically from God's superior grace. Because God's grace is greater than his jealousy over our spirit, the proud are brought low, but the humble are exalted.
7b-8b fall under the subheading of "submit yourselves therefore to God."
Why is this part specifically wise? Because it is precisely the kind of promise that we need from God to press on in our faith. It is as sweet as honey to know that Satan is promised a retreat, and that God is promised an embrace.
Matt 23:12; Luke 14:11
James is effectively saying here that God is fiercely jealous for us to do good, yet his grace beckons us to him. Come, Christian! Come humbly, to receive grace from the God of heaven!
As a passage, I would not make a separation here. However I would desire to preach two sermons from 5-8b and 8c-10.
Here I think James's imperative lands most emphatically. If we make ourselves judges (Jas 2:4), then we are no longer doers of the law. In fact, judging the law and doing the law here is seen as obviously incompatible. Therefore James calls us to be first and foremost doers of the law. He uses this calling as the basis for his command, "Do not speak evil of one another"
James's point should be clear by now. Therefore his question hangs as an invitation to repent. We are not God. God is God. Therefore we are not judges of the law, because God alone is the Judge.
Ecclesiastes
Πόθεν πόλεμοι καὶ πόθεν μάχαι ἐν ὑμῖν; οὐκ ἐντεῦθεν, ἐκ τῶν ἡδονῶν ὑμῶν τῶν στρατευομένων ἐν τοῖς μέλεσιν ὑμῶν;
ἐπιθυμεῖτε καὶ οὐκ ἔχετε, φονεύετε καὶ ζηλοῦτε καὶ οὐ δύνασθε ἐπιτυχεῖν, μάχεσθε καὶ πολεμεῖτε, οὐκ ἔχετε διὰ τὸ μὴ αἰτεῖσθαι ὑμᾶς,
αἰτεῖτε καὶ οὐ λαμβάνετε διότι κακῶς αἰτεῖσθε, ἵνα ἐν ταῖς ἡδοναῖς ὑμῶν δαπανήσητε.
μοιχαλίδες, οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ἡ φιλία τοῦ κόσμου ἔχθρα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν; ὃς ἐὰν οὖν βουληθῇ φίλος εἶναι τοῦ κόσμου, ἐχθρὸς τοῦ θεοῦ καθίσταται.
ἢ δοκεῖτε ὅτι κενῶς ἡ γραφὴ λέγει• πρὸς φθόνον ἐπιποθεῖ τὸ πνεῦμα ὃ κατῴκισεν ἐν ἡμῖν,
G2733+1
μείζονα δὲ δίδωσιν χάριν; διὸ λέγει• ὁ θεὸς ὑπερηφάνοις ἀντιτάσσεται, ταπεινοῖς δὲ δίδωσιν χάριν.
ὑποτάγητε οὖν τῷ θεῷ, ἀντίστητε δὲ τῷ διαβόλῳ καὶ φεύξεται ἀφʼ ὑμῶν,
ἐγγίσατε τῷ θεῷ καὶ ἐγγιεῖ ὑμῖν. καθαρίσατε χεῖρας, ἁμαρτωλοί, καὶ ἁγνίσατε καρδίας, δίψυχοι.
ταλαιπωρήσατε καὶ πενθήσατε καὶ κλαύσατε. ὁ γέλως ὑμῶν εἰς πένθος μετατραπήτω καὶ ἡ χαρὰ εἰς κατήφειαν.
G3346+1
ταπεινώθητε ἐνώπιον τοῦ κυρίου καὶ ὑψώσει ὑμᾶς.
Μὴ καταλαλεῖτε ἀλλήλων, ἀδελφοί. ὁ καταλαλῶν ἀδελφοῦ ἢ κρίνων τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ καταλαλεῖ νόμου καὶ κρίνει νόμον• εἰ δὲ νόμον κρίνεις, οὐκ εἶ ποιητὴς νόμου ἀλλὰ κριτής.
εἷς ἐστιν [ὁ] νομοθέτης καὶ κριτὴς ὁ δυνάμενος σῶσαι καὶ ἀπολέσαι• σὺ δὲ τίς εἶ ὁ κρίνων τὸν πλησίον;
Ἄγε νῦν οἱ λέγοντες• σήμερον ἢ αὔριον πορευσόμεθα εἰς τήνδε τὴν πόλιν καὶ ποιήσομεν ἐκεῖ ἐνιαυτὸν καὶ ἐμπορευσόμεθα καὶ κερδήσομεν•
οἵτινες οὐκ ἐπίστασθε τὸ τῆς αὔριον ποία ἡ ζωὴ ὑμῶν• ἀτμὶς γάρ ἐστε ἡ πρὸς ὀλίγον φαινομένη, ἔπειτα καὶ ἀφανιζομένη.
ἀντὶ τοῦ λέγειν ὑμᾶς• ἐὰν ὁ κύριος θελήσῃ καὶ ζήσομεν καὶ ποιήσομεν τοῦτο ἢ ἐκεῖνο.
νῦν δὲ καυχᾶσθε ἐν ταῖς ἀλαζονείαις ὑμῶν• πᾶσα καύχησις τοιαύτη πονηρά ἐστιν.
εἰδότι οὖν καλὸν ποιεῖν καὶ μὴ ποιοῦντι, ἁμαρτία αὐτῷ ἐστιν.
phrasing
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