1 He reckoneth up the mischiefs that proceed of the works of the flesh. 7 He exhorteth to humility,  8 and to purge the heart 3 from pride, 10 backbiting, 14 and the forgetfulness of our own infirmity.

From [a]whence are wars and contentions among you? are they not hence, even of your pleasures, that fight in your members?

Ye lust, and have not: ye envy, and desire immoderately, and cannot obtain: ye fight, and war, and get nothing, [b]because ye ask not.

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye might lay the same on your pleasures.

[c]Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the amity of the world is the enmity of God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world, maketh himself the enemy of God.

[d]Do ye think that the Scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us, lusteth after envy?

But the Scripture offereth more grace, and therefore saith, (A)God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

(B)[e]Submit yourselves to God: resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purge your hearts, ye double minded.

[f]Suffer afflictions, and sorrow ye, and weep: let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into [g]heaviness.

10 (C)Cast down yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

11 [h]Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, or he that condemneth his brother, speaketh evil of the Law, and condemneth the Law: and if thou condemnest the Law, thou art not an observer of the Law, but a judge.

12 There is one Lawgiver, which is able to save, and to destroy, (D)Who art thou that judgest another man?

13 [i]Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain,

14 (And yet ye cannot tell what shall be tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and afterward vanisheth away.)

15 For that ye ought to say, (E)If the Lord will, and if we live, we will do this or that.

16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

17 [j]Therefore to him that knoweth how to do well, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Footnotes

  1. James 4:1 He goeth on forward in the same argument, condemning certain other causes of wars and contentions, to wit, unbridled pleasures and immoderate lusts, by their effects, for so much as the Lord doth worthily make them void, so that they bring nothing else to them in whom they are but incurable torments.
  2. James 4:2 He reprehendeth them by name, which are not ashamed to go about to make God the minister and helper of their lusts and pleasures, in asking things which either are of themselves unlawful, or being lawful, ask them to wicked purposes and uses.
  3. James 4:4 Another reason why such unbridled lusts and pleasures are utterly to be condemned, to wit, because that he that giveth himself to the world, divorceth himself from God, and breaketh the band of that holy and spiritual marriage.
  4. James 4:5 The taking away of an objection: Indeed our minds run headlong into these vices, but we ought so much the more diligently take heed of them: which care and study shall not be in vain, seeing that God resists the stubborn, and giveth that grace to the modest and humble that surmounteth all those vices.
  5. James 4:7 The conclusion: We must set the contrary virtues against those vices, and therefore whereas we obeyed the suggestions of the devil, we must submit our minds to God, and resist the devil, with a certain and assured hope of victory: To be short, we must employ ourselves to come near unto God by purity and sincerity of life.
  6. James 4:9 He goeth on in the same comparison of contraries, and setteth against those profane joys with an earnest sorrow of mind, and against pride and arrogance, holy modesty.
  7. James 4:9 By this word the Greeks meant an heaviness joined with shamefastness, which is to be seen in a cast down countenance, and settled as it were upon the ground.
  8. James 4:11 He reprehended most sharply another double mischief of pride: the one is in that the proud and arrogant will have other men to live according to their will and pleasure and therefore they do most arrogantly condemn whatsoever pleaseth them not: which thing cannot be done without great injury to our only Lawmaker, for by this means his Laws are found fault withal, as not circumspectly enough written, and men challenge that unto themselves which properly belongeth to God alone, in that they lay a Law upon men’s consciences.
  9. James 4:13 The other fault is this: that men do so confidently determine upon these and those matters and businesses, as though that every moment of their life did not depend of God.
  10. James 4:17 The conclusion of all the former treatise: The knowledge of the will of God doth not only nothing at all profit, unless the life be answerable unto it, but also maketh the sins far more grievous.

Submit Yourselves to God

What causes fights and quarrels(A) among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle(B) within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill.(C) You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive,(D) because you ask with wrong motives,(E) that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

You adulterous(F) people,[a] don’t you know that friendship with the world(G) means enmity against God?(H) Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.(I) Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us[b]?(J) But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”[c](K)

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil,(L) and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.(M) Wash your hands,(N) you sinners, and purify your hearts,(O) you double-minded.(P) Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.(Q) 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.(R)

11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another.(S) Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[d] or judges them(T) speaks against the law(U) and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it,(V) but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge,(W) the one who is able to save and destroy.(X) But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?(Y)

Boasting About Tomorrow

13 Now listen,(Z) you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”(AA) 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.(AB) 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will,(AC) we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.(AD) 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.(AE)

Footnotes

  1. James 4:4 An allusion to covenant unfaithfulness; see Hosea 3:1.
  2. James 4:5 Or that the spirit he caused to dwell in us envies intensely; or that the Spirit he caused to dwell in us longs jealously
  3. James 4:6 Prov. 3:34
  4. James 4:11 The Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos) refers here to a believer, whether man or woman, as part of God’s family.

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