Re: How to translate Jam 4.5

From: Bill Ross (
Date: Sat Apr 25 1998 - 13:54:59 EDT

Translating this in a vacuum doesn't seem to come across in English to me.

See if this helps:

The first part of the verse might be a whole question:

"Do you think the Scripture is hollow when it speaks?"

This is a parallelism of I Cor 10:22.

The emphasis of the following thought is on "toward envy" (indicated by the
word placement in the phrase). This word has the connotations of malice
towards someone out of thwarted craving.

The envious person here is "the Spirit who inhabited us". It is in the
Aorist, indicating to me that it is the Spirit of God which came at a
particular point in time, not the one that we have had all along (a human

So, it is saying to the adulterers and adulterers "watch out, God's envy is
not empty. If you make yourself a friend of the world, you are positioning
yourself in the line of fire."

This is much like I Cor 10, where people were dying in the wilderness and
dying as a result of disrespect at the communion table.

ie: "God is not mocked" as in Galatians.

But, James goes on, if we "resist the enemy" (instead of joining sides,
disloyal to Christ), and submit to God (faithful as a returned Hosea's
wife), he will in grace exalt us.

In further support of this view contextually are the references to the
trials and abasements aluded to in the first chapter and the fading flower
of the grass (because the sun and win blew upon them), the partiality shown
toward the rich in chapter 2, verbal wars resulting from presumptous
business deals among themselves in 3 and 4, and the admonition to look to
God for their supply in chapter 5.

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