James 1:27: Essentials of True Religion, Part 2

Verse 27:[1] Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, (Is. 1:16, 17; 58:6, 7; Matt. 25:36) To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, (Rom. 12:2; Jam. 4:4; 1 John 5:18) and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

[Religion clean, etc., καθαρὰ καὶ ἀμίαντος παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ, etc.] He does not here define religion, but describes it from certain effects (Gomar). In the preceding verse is the revelation of hypocrisy; here is the proof of sincerity (Gataker). [Thus they translate it:] Pure, or, clean (that is, sincere, as in Matthew 5:8;[2] 23:26;[3] John 13:10;[4] 15:3;[5] etc. [Gataker]) and undefiled (that is, which is not obscured by sins; or, which proceeds from a pure and undefiled heart [Estius]: or, holy [Syriac in Grotius], pure [Arabic in Grotius]; ἀμίαντος, as in Hebrews 7:26;[6] 13:4,[7] unpolluted, choice, 1 Peter 1:4[8] [Gataker]: Religion true and unadulterated: A similitude taken from Jewels, in which it is required that they be pure and not blemished: In a manuscript,[9] this is not incorrectly connected with what precedes in this manner, θρησκεία γὰρ, for religion, etc., and thus it is read in the Syriac [Grotius]) before God and the Father[10] (that is, before God who is the same as our Father [Estius out of Beza, thus Calvin, Grotius]; that is, which is exhibited to God, or, before God [Estius], according to the estimation of God: Καὶ/and here is set down as in Ephesians 1:3;[11] 4:6;[12] 5:20;[13] etc. [Grotius]; or, before Him, who is God and Father, who is here described by two titles, one of Power, God, and one of Piety, father [Gataker]) is this (Piscator, etc.). Not that in this the power of religion essentially consists, but that through these it reveals itself (Estius).

[To visit, etc., ἐπισκέπτεσθαι, etc.] He does not define in general what religion is, but he takes up one part as suited to the present occasion, and shows that religion does not at all consist without this (Calvin). He does not here enumerate all the offices of charity, but only two (Beza). From the species he desires the genus to be understood, that is, the comfort and relief of the afflicted (Estius, Grotius), as in Matthew 25:35; Isaiah 1:17. True Religion does indeed require Faith, but is perfected especially in two things, Beneficence and purity of Life (Grotius). Here are two marks of religion, Piety and mercy toward others, and Purity in oneself. Which he here sets forth, as especially opposed, [either, 1.] to the hypocrites and their foolish pomp and profession (Gataker); [or, 2.] to the Gnostics of those times, who on account of impurity, and love of the present world, were infamous; and also on account of the neglect of widows, orphans, etc., which Ignatius, in his Epistle to the Smyrnæans, charges against them under the name of ἑτεροδοξούντων, the heterodox (Hammond). Ἐπισκέπτεσθαι is here taken as in Matthew 25:36,[14] 43[15] (Grotius), and as פָּקַד, for to take care of, and to support to the best of one’s ability[16] (Beza). [Thus they render the words:] To visit (or, to take care of [the Syriac in Tirinus]; to provide for necessities [Gataker], to comfort, to feed [Tirinus]) ophans and widows (of which there were many at that time, with their husbands, for Christ’s sake, either killed, or carried off into exile [Tirinus]: and the care of which God particularly requires, as in Deuteronomy 10:18; 14:29; etc. [Gataker]: He mentions those here, from whom no recompense is expected [Beza]) in the affliction (or, straits [Grotius out of the Arabic]) of them, and unspotted (we have ἄσπιλον both in 1 Timothy 6:14[17] and 2 Peter 3:14[18] [Grotius]) to preserve (or, to keep [Grotius out of the Syriac]) oneself from the world (Beza, Piscator). As in Galatians 1:4 (Gataker); that is, either, 1. from worldly men, as world is often taken (Vorstius); from impious men, of whom the world is full; from the evil examples of the world. See John 17:14; 1 John 2:15; 5:19 (Grotius). Or, 2. from worldly pleasures, or lusts (Piscator, Gataker), impurities and sins (Estius, Menochius, Tirinus, Vorstius, Gataker). Compare Titus 2:12; 2 Peter 1:4; 2:20 (Gataker).

Pure religion; true, sincere, genuine, Matthew 5:8; John 15:3. And undefiled; this seems to reflect upon the hypocritical Jews, whose religion consisted so much in external observances, and keeping themselves from ceremonial defilements, when yet they were sullied with so many moral ones, James 1:14; Matthew 23:23; John 18:28; devoured widows’ houses. They thought their religion pure and undefiled; the apostle shows here which is really so before God; in the sight of God, and according to his judgment. God and the Father; i.e. God who is the Father, and being only explicative, as Ephesians 1:3; 5:20: yet this title may be given here to God with respect to what follows, and to show that such acts of charity are acceptable to him that is called the Judge of widows, and the Father of the fatherless, Psalm 68:5. To visit; this includes all other acts of charity to them, comforting, counselling, relieving them, etc. The fatherless and widows; he doth not exclude others from being the objects of our charity and compassion, but instanceth in fatherless and widows, as being usually most miserable, because destitute of those relations which might be most helpful to them; and possibly in those times persecution might increase the number of widows and orphans. In their affliction; when they had most need; lest any should think it sufficient to visit them that were rich, or in a prosperous condition. And to keep himself unspotted from the world; untainted by the evil example of men in the world, and free from the lusts of the world, moral pollutions. The apostle doth not here define religion but only instanceth in these two things, good works and holiness of conversation, as testimonies and arguments of the truth of it.

[1] Greek:  θρησκεία καθαρὰ καὶ ἀμίαντος παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ αὕτη ἐστίν, ἐπισκέπτεσθαι ὀρφανοὺς καὶ χήρας ἐν τῇ θλίψει αὐτῶν, ἄσπιλον ἑαυτὸν τηρεῖν ἀπὸ τοῦ κόσμου.

[2] Matthew 5:8:  “Blessed are the pure (οἱ καθαροὶ) in heart:  for they shall see God.”

[3] Matthew 23:26:  “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse (καθάρισον) first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean (καθαρόν) also.”

[4] John 13:10:  “Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean (καθαρὸς) every whit:  and ye are clean (καθαροί), but not all.”

[5] John 15:3:  “Now ye are clean (καθαροί) through the word which I have spoken unto you.”

[6] Hebrews 7:26:  “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled (ἀμίαντος), separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens…”

[7] Hebrews 13:4:  “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled (ἀμίαντος):  but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

[8] 1 Peter 1:4:  “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled (ἀμίαντον), and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you…”

[9] Thus Codex Alexandrinus.

[10] Greek:  παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ.

[11] Ephesians 1:3:  “Blessed be the God and Father (ὁ Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ) of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…”

[12] Ephesians 4:6:  “One God and Father (εἷς Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ) of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

[13] Ephesians 5:20:  “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father (τῷ Θεῷ καὶ πατρί) in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

[14] Matthew 25:36:  “Naked, and ye clothed me:  I was sick, and ye visited (ἐπεσκέψασθέ) me:  I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”

[15] Matthew 25:43:  “I was a stranger, and ye took me not in:  naked, and ye clothed me not:  sick, and in prison, and ye visited (ἐπεσκέψασθέ) me not.”

[16] For example, Genesis 21:1:  “And the Lord visited (פָּקַד; ἐπεσκέψατο, in the Septuagint) Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken.”

[17] 1 Timothy 6:14:  “That thou keep this commandment without spot (ἄσπιλον), unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

[18] 2 Peter 3:14:  “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot (ἄσπιλοι), and blameless.”

James 1:26: Essentials of True Religion, Part 1

Verse 26:[1] If any man among you seem to be religious, and (Ps. 34:13; 39:1; 1 Pet. 3:10) bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

[If any man, etc., εἴ τις δοκεῖ θρῆσκος εἶναι] This part is not found in the Syriac, so that it could appear to be an addition, although it does not interfere with the sense. It makes for the unfolding of the precept, slow to speak (Estius). He had previously shown that hearing alone does not suffice without practice, etc. Hence he deduces two corollaries, 1. concerning the tongue, in this verse; 2. concerning the hand and the life, in the following verse (Gataker): he now shows who are the true observers of the Law (Zegers). If any man seems (that is to say, seems and not is: Δοκεῖ, one is taken, as in 1 Corinthians 3:18;[2] 8:2;[3] 14:37;[4] Galatians 6:3;[5] δοκησίσοφος, wise in his own conceits [Gataker]; or, he supposes [Syriac in Grotius]) to be religious (Beza, Piscator, thus Erasmus, Illyricus, Tigurinus, Castalio, Pagnine), or, serving God (the Syriac and Arabic in Grotius). It is more commonly θρησκευτὴς/ worshipper, which in the Glossa is explained as a religious man. But θρῆσκος Hesychius[6] also finds elsewhere (Grotius). Θρῆσκος is the same as εὐσεβὴς/ devout, Acts 10:2,[7] 7,[8] and as σεβόμενος/devout, Acts 13:50[9] (Gataker).

If any man among you seem to be religious; seems to others, or rather to himself; thinks himself religious, because of his hearing and outward worship: thus the word rendered seems is often taken, 1 Corinthians 3:18; 8:2; 14:37; Galatians 6:3. Here he shows who are not doers of the work, as in the next verse, who are.

[Not bridling, etc., μὴ χαλιναγωγῶν,[10] etc.] As in James 3:2, 3.[11] Thus Plato, Concerning Laws 11, ἀχάλινον κεκτημένοι τὸ στόμα, they possess an unbridled mouth; Euripides,[12] in Orestes, says, Ἀκόλαστον ἔσχε γλῶσσαν, he had an unbridled tongue, of Tantalus.[13] Thus in Aristophanes’ The Frogs 837 concerning Æschylus,[14] ἄνθρωπον αὐθαδόστομον, ἔχοντ᾽ ἀχάλινον, ἀκρατὲς, ἀπυλωτὸν, στόμα, a man presumptuous of speech, having an unbridled, uncontrolled, ungated mouth. Thus Euripides said, ἀχαλίνων στομάτων τέλος δυστυχίαν, the end of unbridled tongues is misfortune[15] (Gataker). [Thus they render it:] Whoever does not restrain (or, curb [Tremellius out of the Syriac]) his tongue (Illyricus, Pagnine, Tigurinus, etc.), that is, from loquacity, contentions, detractions, cursing, and other vices of the tongue, to which those that desire to appear religious are generally liable (Estius). He often reprehends Cursing, because he sees it as a vice reigning widely among the Hebrews. And the comparison, taken from a Bridle, is common in this matter. Such is found in Psalm 39:1. The Greeks say γλωσσῆς κρατεῖν, to rule over the tongue (Grotius).

And bridleth not his tongue; restrains it not from the common vices of the tongue, reviling, railing, censuring, etc.

[But deceiving, etc., ἀλλ᾽ ἀπατῶν, etc.] It is an Hebraic expression, as it appears in Job 31:27.[16] He entices himself with vain hope (Grotius). But seducing (or, he allows to stray [Erasmus, Vatablus], or, he leads astray [Estius]) his own heart (Vulgate, etc.). It is the same as in James 1:22, παραλογιζόμενοι ἑαυτούς, deceiving your own selves (Gataker out of Cajetan and Fab.,[17] Estius), and as in Galatians 6:3, ἑαυτὸν φρεναπατᾷ, he deceives himself, except that there the mind of a man seduces him, while here a man is said to seduce his own heart (Gataker). He deceives himself, while he, yet wrapped up in these vices, is pleased with himself, as if he were good (Estius). Others: He causes his heart to stray from the paths of virtue and quiet, and draws it into out-of-the-way wanderings, hatreds, quarrels, a thousand perils, and eternal death (Tirinus). He here points out the fountain of petulance and cursing (Calvin, similarly Beza, Erasmus), and of the other vices of the tongue (Beza); which is [either,] a heart wandering and unstable (Erasmus): [or,] ignorance of oneself (Beza): [or,] immoderate love of oneself, by which they delude themselves, sparing their own vices, and persuading themselves that they are far better than they are: for hence they are made such supercilious critics of others (Calvin). A deception of oneself he calls the improper judgment concerning the self of those that labor φιλαυτίᾳ, in self-love[18] (Beza).

But deceiveth his own heart; either deceiveth his own heart in thinking himself religious, when indulging himself in things so contrary to religion, or deceiveth his own heart, being blinded with self-love, and lifted up with self-conceit, which is the cause of his censuring and speaking evil of others.

[This man’s, etc., τούτου μάταιος ἡ θρησκεία] The religion of this man is vain (Vulgate, Piscator, etc.). Such imaginary religion will profit him nothing. Μάταιον, that which is without effect, 1 Corinthians 15:17;[19] Titus 3:9.[20] And θρησκεία is used here in that general way, so that it might comprehend both good and bad religion. See Wisdom of Solomon 14:18,[21] 27.[22] This appears out of what follows.[23] This is a saying especially worthy to be contemplated in this age (Grotius). Θρησκεία here is taken as in Acts 26:5;[24] Colossians 2:18;[25] and μάταιον as μάτην, in vain, in Matthew 15:9 (Gataker). [The sense:] Unfruitful to him is the worship of God, whom he makes to himself hostile by these sins (Estius)

This man’s religion is vain; empty, and to no purpose, having no reality in itself, and bringing no benefit to him.

[1] Greek:  εἴ τις δοκεῖ θρῆσκος εἶναι ἐν ὑμῖν, μὴ χαλιναγωγῶν γλῶσσαν αὐτοῦ, ἀλλ᾽ ἀπατῶν καρδίαν αὐτοῦ, τούτου μάταιος ἡ θρησκεία.

[2] 1 Corinthians 3:18:  “Let no man deceive himself.  If any man among you seemeth (δοκεῖ) to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.”

[3] 1 Corinthians 8:2:  “And if any man think (δοκεῖ) that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.”

[4] 1 Corinthians 14:37:  “If any man think (δοκεῖ) himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.”

[5] Galatians 6:3:  “For if a man think (δοκεῖ) himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.”

[6] Hesychius of Alexandria (fifth century AD) composed a Greek lexicon of almost fifty-one thousand entries, filled with explanations of rare and obscure words and phrases.

[7] Acts 10:2:  “A devout man (εὐσεβὴς), and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.”

[8] Acts 10:7:  “And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout (εὐσεβῆ) soldier of them that waited on him continually…”

[9] Acts 13:50:  “But the Jews stirred up the devout (σεβομένας) and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.”

[10] Χαλιναγωγέω is from ἄγω, to lead, and χαλινός/bridle.

[11] James 3:2, 3:  “For in many things we offend all.  If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle (χαλιναγωγῆσαι) the whole body.  Behold, we put bits (χαλινοὺς) in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about (μετάγομεν) their whole body.”

[12] Euripides (c. 480-406 BC) was a Greek playwright, one of the great tragedians.

[13] In Greek mythology, for atrocities Tantalus was condemned eternally to Tartarus.  He was set standing in a pool of water from which he could never drink, with low-hanging fruit above his head, ever just out of reach.

[14] Æschylus (525-456 BC) was perhaps the earliest of the Greek tragedians.

[15] Bacchæ 388.

[16] Job 31:27:  “And my heart hath been secretly enticed (וַיִּ֣פְתְּ בַּסֵּ֣תֶר לִבִּ֑י; καὶ εἰ ἠπατήθη λάθρᾳ ἡ καρδία μου, in the Septuagint), or my mouth hath kissed my hand…”

[17] This is likely a reference to Jacobus Faber Stapulensis, one of the forerunners of the French Reformation (although a Roman Catholic), a man of piety and learning.  He wrote commentaries on the Catholic Epistles.

[18] See 2 Timothy 3:2:  “For men shall be lovers of their own selves (φίλαυτοι), covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy…”

[19] 1 Corinthians 15:17:  “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain (ματαία); ye are yet in your sins.”

[20] Titus 3:9:  “But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain (μάταιοι).”

[21] Wisdom of Solomon 14:18:  “Also the singular diligence of the artificer did help to set forward the ignorant to more superstition (θρησκείας).”

[22] Wisdom of Solomon 14:27:  “For the worshipping (θρησκεία) of idols not to be named is the beginning, the cause, and the end, of all evil.”

[23] James 1:27:  “Pure religion (θρησκεία) and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

[24] Acts 26:5:  “Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion (τῆς ἡμετέρας θρησκείας) I lived a Pharisee.”

[25] Colossians 2:18a:  “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping (θρησκείᾳ) of angels…”

James 1:25: The Right Reception of the Word, Part 7

Verse 25: But (2 Cor. 3:18) whoso looketh into the perfect (Jam. 2:12) law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, (John 13:17) this man shall be blessed in his deed (or, doing[1]).[2]

[Whoso, etc., ὁ δὲ παρακύψας εἰς νόμον τέλειον τὸν τῆς ἐλευθερίας] But whoever will have looked out (or, will have examined [Estius out of the Vulgate]: Παρακύπτειν here, as in Psalm 33:14[3] and 1 Peter 1:12,[4] is in any manner to look upon; and the Syriac here rightly posits חר, although properly it is used of those that gaze out through a window, as in Genesis 26:8;[5] 1 Chronicles 15:29;[6] Proverbs 7:6;[7] Song of Solomon 2:9[8] [Grotius]: or, will have looked into [Illyricus, Pagnine, Beza, Piscator, Æthiopic], has thoroughly looked into [Castalio, thus Estius, Menochius], that is, who with a desire to look upon [Erasmus, Estius, Menochius], turns his head [Erasmus], inclines himself [Estius out of Gagnæus], with his body leaning forward [Menochius, Beza], with his face turned downward [Menochius]; so that he might inquire close up and thoroughly [Laurentius, similarly Beza], as the word is taken in Luke 24:12;[9] John 20:4, 5,[10] 11, 12;[11] 1 Peter 1:12 [Laurentius, thus Gataker]: To the idle observer, or hearer, of the word he opposes the industrious hearer [Estius]) unto the law, namely, perfect, or, which is of liberty (Erasmus, Vatablus, etc.). By the name of Law he understands, either, 1. the whole doctrine of God, as it was familiar to the Jews: which he calls perfect and of liberty, by Antithesis. For, while it is proclaimed only externally, but is not inscribed in the heart by the Spirit of God, it was mutilated, and, as it were, a lifeless body; and it, separated from Christ, gendereth to bondage, according to Galatians 4:24, stirring diffidence and fear. But Christ is the end and perfection of the Law;[12] and the Spirit of Christ, who regenerates us, brings at one and the same time the grace and testimony of divine adoption, so that He might free us from fear[13] (Calvin). Or, 2. the moral Law of God (Gomar, Gataker, Beza, thus Piscator, Dieu), which he sets over against the ceremonial Law, in the observation of which they were hesitating (Beza, Gataker): see Hebrews 7:19; 9:9; 10:1; which is called, 1. perfect, as in Psalm 19:7; Romans 12:2 (Gataker), because it contains the perfect rule of living (Gataker, similarly Beza). 2. Of Liberty; and that, either, 1. because freely and without respect of persons it condemns whatever transgressors, sparing no one. It is a Periphrasis, and a Genitive of adjunct. Compare James 2:12, 13 (Piscator, Gomar). Or, 2. from the subject, which is consistent with Christian liberty, Galatians 5:13, 14, in which manner it best squares with the design of this epistle; which is, that Christians might be taught not to abuse Christian liberty unto license, and contempt of the Law of God, but unto obedience. Or, 3. from the adjunct, that is to say, the free Law (Gomar); that is, free from the yoke of the ceremonies (Gomar, similarly Beza), which had been conjoined to it under the Old Testament, Galatians 5:1. Or, 4. from the effects of it in those regenerated, whom it liberates, both, from its condemnation and rigor through the satisfaction of Christ (Gomar); and, from the dominion of sin, on account of the conjoined grace of Christ; because the Law is the norm of life, of which the Holy Spirit makes use, that they might know and fulfill their duty (Gomar), and obey the Law (Gomar, Dieu); not by servile fear (Gomar), but freely (Dieu), or by voluntary obedience, Romans 7:25; 8:15 (Gomar), which only is true liberty. See John 8:36; 2 Corinthians 3:17. To this that saying in the book of Aboth[14] has regard, Whoever taken upon himself the yoke of the Law, by it he is withdrawn from the yoke of royal dominion, that is, tyranny has no power over him, and from the yoke of the way of the earth, that is, sins and earthly lusts no longer rule over him (Dieu). Or, 3. he undoubtedly understands (Vorstius) the Law of the Gospel (Vorstius, Menochius, thus Hammond, Estius), which is called the law of faith, Romans 3:27 (Vorstius), and the law of Christ[15] (Estius): which is called perfect, either, because it perfects (Estius, Vorstius), namely, a man in conscience with respect to the service of God (Vorstius); or, compared to the Law of Moses, which is not perfect (Grotius): and of liberty, either, because it frees believing Jews from the yoke of the Mosaic Law (Estius); or rather, because it is the law of love (Menochius, similarly Estius), which makes liberos,[16] that is, the sons of God (Estius): which conveys with itself the spirit of true liberty and of divine adoption; whoever is provided with this, freely and willingly obey God (Vorstius): while the Law of Moses was characterized by fear and bondage (Menochius, similarly Estius), and was not able to lead its observers either unto liberty (Vorstius), or unto perfection (Vorstius, similarly Estius). Compare Galatians 4 (Estius); 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 7:19 (Grotius, Vorstius); and Hebrews 8 and 9 (Estius, Vorstius).

But whoso looketh into; viz. intently and earnestly, searching diligently into the mind of God. The word signifies a bowing down of the head to look into a thing; and is used of the disciples’ looking into Christ’s sepulchre, Luke 24:12; John 20:5; see 1 Peter 1:12; and seems to be opposed to looking into a glass, which is more slight, and without such prying and inquisitiveness. The perfect law of liberty; the whole doctrine of the Scripture, or especially the gospel, called law, Romans 3:27, both as it is a rule, and by reason of the power it hath over the heart; and a law of liberty, because it shows the way to the best liberty, freedom from sin, the bondage of the ceremonial law, the rigour of the moral, and from the wrath of God; and likewise the way of serving God freely and ingenuously as children; and because, being received into the heart, it is accompanied with the Spirit of adoption who works this liberty, 2 Corinthians 3:17. It is called a perfect law, not only as being entire and without any defect, but as directing us to the greatest perfection, full conformity to God, and enjoyment of him, 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.

[And he will have continued, καὶ παραμείνας] And continuing (Montanus). And he will have persisted (Tremellius out of the Syriac, thus the Arabic). And he will have continued thus (Beza, certain interpreters in Estius), so that in the place of οὗτος, this man,[17] which follows, and pertains to what follows, and so appears to be redundant, because it is soon repeated, might be read οὕτως/thus, to be joined to this part (Estius out of Gagnæus and Cajetan, similarly Beza). But I am unwilling to change anything as a result of conjecture (Beza). And he will have continued (Erasmus, Illyricus, Tigurinus, Pagnine, Beza, Piscator), understanding, in it (Pagnine, Beza, Piscator, Tremellius out of the Syriac), namely, the Law (Beza, Estius): which makes whoever thus contemplates the Law to fulfill it in deed. This is opposed to the and he went his way, in the preceding verse (Estius). There is to be a continual gazing, just as women do, who take counsel from the mirror to place well individual hairs (Grotius).

And continueth therein; perseveres in the study, belief, and obedience of this doctrine, (Psalm 1:2,) in all conditions, and under all temptations and afflictions. This seems to be opposed to him, who, when he hath looked in a glass, goes away, James 1:24. By which are set forth slight, superficial hearers, who do not continue in Christ’s word, John 8:31.

[He being not, etc., οὗτος οὐκ ἀκροατὴς ἐπιλησμονῆς—οὗτος μακάριος ἐν τῇ ποιήσει, etc.] He, because he was not a hearer forgetful (or, of forgetfulness [Montanus, Grotius, Estius, etc.]: It is a Hebraic expression [Grotius, thus Estius, Piscator], like γενέσεως, of nature, in verse 23[18] [Gataker]: It is a Genitive of adjunct [Piscator]: The word ἐπιλησμονῆς/ forgetfulness is used by Cratinus,[19] as the Scholiast of Aristophanes and Suidas[20] testify [Grotius]), but a doer of the work (that is, of those works which Evangelical Law requires, a Singular in the place of the Plural [Grotius]), he, I say (there is here in the Pronoun οὗτος a lovely ἀναφορὰ/anaphora/repetition [Grotius, similarly Piscator], or an Epanalepsis[21] [Piscator]), shall be blessed (with the blessedness, either, of the heavenly fatherland [certain interpreters in Estius]; or rather, 2. of the way, which consists in justification, which is called μακαρισμὸς/blessedness in Romans 4:[22] and in the certain expectation of eternal felicity; just as he is called blessed in James 1:12 [Estius]) in the work (either, deed [Vulgate], or, working, or, that I might speak thus, action: For he does not understand any one deed, but the execution of the Law through works [Estius]) his[23] (Piscator, Beza, etc.), that is, thus conducting himself, showing faith by works (Beza): or, on account of the action, that is, actions, of him. But περὶ τῆς ποιήσεως, concerning the making, Exodus 32:35.[24] In which place, and in some others, מַעֲשֶׂה/deed/work is translated ποιήσεις (Grotius). Or, through those things which he will do (Vatablus). In in the place of for. Therefore, it denotes, not the cause and efficient, but the consequence, and way, walking along which they may be blessed (Gomar); or, in their works, that is, whatever he will do will fall out prosperously to him, in accordance with Psalm 1, to which there appears to be an allusion here (Grotius); or, that is to say, not in simple and bare knowledge, but in the works unto which that is referred (Menochius).

He being not a forgetful hearer; Greek, hearer of forgetfulness, by a Hebraism, for a forgetful hearer; it answers to him in the former verse, that forgetteth what manner of man he was; and implies, not only not remembering the truths we have heard, but a not practising them, as appears by the next clause. But a doer of the work; viz. which the word directs him to do: the singular number is put for the plural; he means, he that reduceth what he hears into practice, Psalm 103:18. This man shall be blessed in his deed; this is opposed to bare hearing, and the doer of the work is said to be blessed in or by his deed, as the evidence of his present begun blessedness, and the way to his future perfect happiness.

[1] Greek:  ποιήσει.

[2] Greek:  ὁ δὲ παρακύψας εἰς νόμον τέλειον τὸν τῆς ἐλευθερίας καὶ παραμείνας, οὗτος οὐκ ἀκροατὴς ἐπιλησμονῆς γενόμενος ἀλλὰ ποιητὴς ἔργου, οὗτος μακάριος ἐν τῇ ποιήσει αὐτοῦ ἔσται.

[3] Psalm 33:14:  “From the place of his habitation he looketh (הִשְׁגִּיחַ/gazeth) upon all the inhabitants of the earth.”

[4] 1 Peter 1:12:  “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into (παρακύψαι).”

[5] Genesis 26:8:  “And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out (וַיַּשְׁקֵ֗ף אֲבִימֶ֙לֶךְ֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ פְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים; παρακύψας δὲ Αβιμελεχ ὁ βασιλεὺς Γεραρων, in the Septuagint) at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.”

[6] 1 Chronicles 15:29b:  “…Michal the daughter of Saul looking out (נִשְׁקְפָה; παρέκυψεν, in the Septuagint) at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.”

[7] Proverbs 7:6:  “For at the window of my house I looked through (נִשְׁקָפְתִּי; παρακύπτουσα, in the Septuagint) my casement…”

[8] Song of Solomon 2:9b:  “…behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth (מַשְׁגִּיחַ; παρακύπτων, in the Septuagint) at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.”

[9] Luke 24:12a:  “Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down (παρακύψας), he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves…”

[10] John 20:5:  “And he, stooping down to look in (παρακύψας), saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.”

[11] John 20:11, 12a:  “But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping:  and as she wept, she stooped down to look (παρέκυψεν) into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white sitting…”

[12] Romans 10:4.

[13] See Romans 8:14-17.

[14] Pirkei Aboth is a tractate of the Mishnah dealing with only with ethics.

[15] Galatians 6:2.

[16] That is, free men, or children.

[17] James 1:25:  “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he (οὗτος) being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man (οὗτος) shall be blessed in his deed.”

[18] James 1:23:  “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face (τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γενέσεως αὐτοῦ, the face of his nature) in a glass…”

[19] Cratinus (519-422 BC) was an Athenian comic poet.

[20] Suidas was the compiler of the Suda, an encyclopedia containing more that thirty thousand entries concerning the ancient Mediterranean world.  It was probably composed in tenth-century Byzantium.

[21] That is, the repetition of a word at the beginning and ending of a clause or sentence.

[22] Romans 4:6, 7, 9:  “Even as David also describeth the blessedness (τὸν μακαρισμὸν) of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed (μακάριοι) are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered….  Cometh this blessedness (ὁ μακαρισμὸς—οὗτος) then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.”

[23] That is, in his work.

[24] Exodus 32:35:  “And the Lord plagued the people, because they made the calf ( עַ֚ל אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשׂ֣וּ אֶת־הָעֵ֔גֶל; περὶ τῆς ποιήσεως τοῦ μόσχου, in the Septuagint), which Aaron made.”

James 1:24: The Right Reception of the Word, Part 6

Verse 24: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.[1]

[For he considered (he does not prove, but rather he explains; that is to say, to him, I say, one that considered is similar [Estius]: Γὰρ/for is not always causal, or a note of proof, but sometimes only a note of connection [Hammond]) himself, and went his way] Or, for as soon as he considered himself, he went his way. This same manner of speech is found in verse 11 (Piscator, thus Beza, Gataker). Women are wont to gaze long upon a mirror, so that they might make themselves up in accordance with it (Grotius): but men only in passing and perfunctorily (Paez in Laurentius); [and] with the mirror hardly considered, they are wont to go their way, and not to take care what sort they may be (Grotius). Hence he makes mention of a man, not a woman (Paez). It signifies to contemplate negligently and carelessly (Estius).

[Immediately (or, in a moment [Grotius out of the Arabic]) he forgot, etc.] And, therefore, he does not takes care to wash away the filth and blemishes that he had discovered (Estius, similarly Menochius). We easily forget those things for which we care little (Grotius).

For he beholdeth himself, etc.: The remembrance of what his face is vanisheth as soon as his eye is off the glass; he remembers not the spots he saw in his face, to wipe them off. So he that sees the blemishes of his soul in the glass of the word, and doth not remember them to do them away, looks in that glass (i.e. hears the word) in vain.

[1] Greek:  κατενόησε γὰρ ἑαυτὸν καὶ ἀπελήλυθε, καὶ εὐθέως ἐπελάθετο ὁποῖος ἦν.

James 1:23: The Right Reception of the Word, Part 5

Verse 23: For (Luke 6:47, etc.; see James 2:14, etc.) if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass…[1]

[If any, etc., ὅτι εἴ τις, etc.] Ὅτι/for is missing in a Manuscript,[2] as also in the Syriac (Grotius). Others: For if any (Beza, Piscator, etc.).

[He shall be compared, etc., ἔοικεν—κατανοοῦντι τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γενέσεως, etc.] He is like unto a man beholding (κατανοεῖν, to consider attentively, is used of the body, but more frequently of the soul, as in Matthew 7:3;[3] Luke 12:24,[4] 27[5] [Gataker]: Others: κατανοεῖν here is to observe: It answers to the Hebrew נָבַט, to look,[6] and רָאָה, to see,[7] and to the Syriac חוא: Thus also Matthew 7:3; Luke 6:41;[8] Acts 7:31, 32;[9] 11:6;[10] 27:39[11] [Grotius]) the face (or, countenance [Montanus, Arabic, etc.]) of the nativity (or, of his generation [Piscator], or, native [Illyricus, Pagnine, Beza, Piscator, Estius, Menochius]: It is an exceedingly common Hebraism [Gataker, thus Hammond], as soon ἀκροατὴς ἐπιλησμονῆς, a hearer of forgetfulness,[12] and the Mammon of unrighteousness[13] [Hammond]; that is, which sort was born [Beza], or with which he was born [Menochius, thus Piscator], which sort is of nature, or birth [Hammond]: Thus he speaks to the difference, either, 1. of a mask, or painted face [Estius]: or, 2. of the face internal, or of the soul, which is acquired by the effort of man and his voluntary actions, etc. [Hammond]) his own[14] (or rather, his own[15] [Gataker, Illyricus, Pagnine, Beza, Piscator], as in Psalm 2:6;[16] Colossians 2:13;[17] Hebrews 1:3[18] [Gataker]; for αὐτοῦ, of him, is not governed by the word γενέσεως/nativity, but by πρόσωπον/face [Piscator]: Γένεσις here and in James 3:6,[19] as also in Wisdom of Solomon 1:14;[20] 14:26,[21] signifies that which is natural to something: Τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γενέσεως, the face of nature, Proclus[22] called τὸ ἀρχέτυπον, the archetype:[23] It is just as if he should see his own face, because that which is in the mirror completely corresponds to it: So we say, …Recently I saw myself on the shore[24] [Grotius]: In the word γενέσεως/nature, there is an allusion to that native stain, to which is opposed the purity unto which we are re-born [Beza]) in a mirror (Erasmus, Beza, Piscator). By mirror here he denotes the Gospel (Grotius, Hammond on verse 25), or the word of God (Hammond, Gomar, similarly Estius); and that in good style: for it shows to us what manner of men we are (Grotius on verse 25), exposes our blemishes, Romans 3:20, and the misery both of guilt and of punishment; and at the same time it indicates our duty (Gomar). Perhaps πρόσωπον may here be taken as in Matthew 16:3, the face of the sky,[25] that is, the appearance, and γένεσις in an Astronomical sense, so that πρόσωπον γενέσεως might be the form of nativity, which one looks at in a mirror, namely, of the artisan (Hammond). [But those that give attention to the consideration of that do not so easily forget that.]

He is like unto a man: the Greek word here used,[26] properly signifies the sex, not the species, but is indifferently used by this apostle with the other, as James 1:12,[27] 20,[28] so that by a man looking at his face in a glass, is meant any man or woman. Beholding his natural face; or, the face of his nativity, by a Hebraism, for natural face, as we translate it; i.e. his own face, that which nature gave him, or he was born with. In a glass; the word is here compared to a looking-glass: as the glass represents to us the features and complexions of our faces, whether beautiful or deformed; so the word shows us the true face of our souls, the beauty of God’s image when restored to them, and the spots of sin which so greatly disfigure them.

[1] Greek:  ὅτι εἴ τις ἀκροατὴς λόγου ἐστὶ καὶ οὐ ποιητής, οὗτος ἔοικεν ἀνδρὶ κατανοοῦντι τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γενέσεως αὐτοῦ ἐν ἐσόπτρῳ·

[2] Thus Codex Alexandrinus.

[3] Matthew 7:3:  “And why beholdest thou (βλέπεις) the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest (κατανοεῖς) not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

[4] Luke 12:24a:  “Consider (κατανοήσατε) the ravens:  for they neither sow nor reap…”

[5] Luke 12:27a:  “Consider (κατανοήσατε) the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not…”

[6] For example, Psalm 22:17:  “I may tell all my bones:  they look (יַבִּיטוּ; κατενόησαν, in the Septuagint) and stare upon me.”

[7] For example, Genesis 42:9b:  “Ye are spies; to see (לִרְאוֹת; κατανοῆσαι, in the Septuagint) the nakedness of the land ye are come.”

[8] Same as Matthew 7:3.

[9] Acts 7:31, 32:  “When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight:  and as he drew near to behold (κατανοῆσαι) it, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.  Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold (κατανοῆσαι).”

[10] Acts 11:6:  “Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered (κατενόουν), and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.”

[11] Acts 27:39:  “And when it was day, they knew not the land:  but they discovered (κατενόουν) a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship.”

[12] Verse 25.

[13] Luke 16:9.

[14] That is, of his own nativity.  Greek:  τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γενέσεως αὐτοῦ.

[15] That is, his own face.

[16] Psalm 2:6 in the Septuagint:  “But I have been made king by him on Zion his holy mountain (ἐπὶ Σιων ὄρος τὸ ἅγιον αὐτοῦ).”

[17] Colossians 2:13:  “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh (ἐν τοῖς παραπτώμασιν καὶ τῇ ἀκροβυστίᾳ τῆς σαρκὸς ὑμῶν), hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses…”

[18] Hebrews 1:3:  “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person (ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ), and upholding all things by the word of his power (τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ), when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high…”

[19] James 3:6b:  “…so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature (τῆς γενέσεως); and it is set on fire of hell.”

[20] Wisdom of Solomon 1:14:  “For he created all things, that they might have their being:  and the generations (αἱ γενέσεις) of the world were healthful; and there is no poison of destruction in them, nor the kingdom of death upon the earth…”

[21] Widsom of Solomon 14:26:  “Disquieting of good men, forgetfulness of good turns, defiling of souls, changing of kind (γενέσεως), disorder in marriages, adultery, and shameless uncleanness.”

[22] Proclus Lycæus (412-485) was one of the last major philosophers of the Classical period.  His Neoplatonic system was elaborate and sophisticated.  Proclus continued to exert influence throughout the Middle Ages in both the Christian West and the Islamic East.

[23] In Platonis Rempublicam 2:296.

[24] Virgil’s Eclogues 2:25.

[25] Matthew 16:3b:  “O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky (τὸ—πρόσωπον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ); but can ye not discern the signs of the times?”

[26] Greek:  ἀνδρὶ.

[27] James 1:12a:  “Blessed is the man (ἀνὴρ) that endureth temptation…”

[28] James 1:20:  “For the wrath of man (ἀνδρὸς) worketh not the righteousness of God.”

James 1:22: The Right Reception of the Word, Part 4

Verse 22: But (Matt. 7:21; Luke 6:46; 11:28; Rom. 2:13; 1 John 3:7) be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.[1]

[Be ye doers (or, effectors [Beza]) of the word (that is, by believing the Gospel, and by obeying the Law [Piscator, thus Gomar]: Thus ποιητὴς νόμου, a doer of the law, Romans 2:13; James 4:11, or, of the word, that is, of the thing signified by the word, like ποιητὴς ἔργου, a doer of the work, in James 1:25 [Gataker]: that is to say, With deeds follow those things that the the Gospel commands [Estius]), and not hearers only] There is a like admonition in Matthew 7:21, 24, 26, in which place see what things have been said (Grotius); and in Romans 2:13, where Paul forewarns the reader, lest he should understand incorrectly the doctrine concerning faith justifying without works, just as James does here (Estius). The Hebrews say, Work is the foundation, not speech. Again, Who is pious? Whoever goes into the Temple, and does what he hears there. Again, concerning a disciple of the wise, He learns so that he might do, not so that he might know or teach (Drusius). The Rabbis say that there are two crowns, one of hearing, one of doing.[2] See Exodus 19:5 (Grotius). Here λόγος/word without the article denotes the word of God. Thus דָבָר/word in Proverbs 13:13[3] (Drusius). He adds here only, for the sake of precision (Gataker).

But be ye doers of the word; the same as doers of the work, verse 25, namely, which the word prescribes; q.d. Receive the word by faith into your hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in your lives: see Luke 11:28; John 13:17. And not hearers only; not contenting yourselves with a bare hearing the word, though it have no influence upon you.

[Deceiving, etc. (thus Erasmus, Illyricus, Pagnine, Montanus, etc.), παραλογιζόμενοι ἑαυτούς] Paralogizing (or, by reasoning falsely deceiving [Beza, Piscator], that is, with certain captious reasonings from the Scripture, or from elsewhere, sought, ensnaring and deceiving, after the manner of Sophists: An example of which he furnishes in the following chapter [Estius]: Παραλογισμὸς/paralogismos is fallacious and captious argumentation: Παραλογίζεσθαι, to deceive, is used like παραφρονεῖν, to be out of one’s senses:[4] It is the same as φρεναπατᾶν, to deceive the mind, Galatians 6:3[5] [Gataker]; and as πλανᾶν, to lead astray, Colossians 2:4;[6] 1 John 1:8;[7] Genesis 29:25;[8] Judges 16:13[9] [Grotius]) your own selves (Estius, etc.). Those that only by the hearing of the word of God, and by professing themselves to be Christians, without pious deeds, hope that they are able to be saved (Grotius, similarly Gataker), deceive, not only others (Gataker), but also themselves (Gataker, Grotius); because contrary to expectation they stray, both from the knowledge of the will and word of God, and of themselves (Gomar); and from the proposed and hoped for goal of the grace of God (Gomar, similarly Piscator, Gataker), and of eternal life (Gomar).

Deceiving your own selves; playing the sophisters with, or putting a fallacy upon, yourselves; particularly, persuading yourselves into a good opinion of your state, merely because of your being hearers of the word, Matthew 7:21.

[1] Greek:  γίνεσθε δὲ ποιηταὶ λόγου, καὶ μὴ μόνον ἀκροαταί, παραλογιζόμενοι ἑαυτούς.

[2] Babylonian Talmud Tractate Sabbath 88a.

[3] Proverbs 13:13:  “Whoso despiseth the word (לְדָבָר) shall be destroyed:  but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”

[4] 2 Cornithians 11:23:  “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool [παραφρονῶν]) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.”

[5] Galatians 6:3:  “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself (ἑαυτὸν φρεναπατᾷ).”

[6] Colossians 2:4:  “And this I say, lest any man should beguile (παραλογίζηται) you with enticing words.”

[7] 1 John 1:8:  “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive (πλανῶμεν) ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

[8] Genesis 29:25b:  “…and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me (רִמִּיתָנִי; παρελογίσω με, in the Septuagint)?”

[9] Judges 16:13a:  “And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked (הֵתַלְתָּ; παρελογίσω, in Alexandrinus; ἐπλάνησάς, in the Septuagint) me, and told me lies…”

James 1:21: The Right Reception of the Word, Part 3

Verse 21: Wherefore (Col. 3:8; 1 Pet. 2:1) lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, (Acts 13:26; Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:2; Eph. 1:13; Tit. 2:11; Heb. 2:3; 1 Pet. 1:9) which is able to save your souls.[1]

[Wherefore] This also refers to those things, to which those things in verse 19 refer (Grotius).

[Casting aside (similarly Beza, Piscator, etc.): He does not say, restraining, but putting off, or, throwing away, not as if a garment, Acts 7:58,[2] but as an unclean rag, Isaiah 64:6, as in Isaiah 30:22; Ezekiel 18:31: ἀποθέμενοι] Thus Ephesians 4:25;[3] 1 Peter 2:1;[4] whence ἀπόθεσις, the putting away, in 1 Peter 3:21 (Gataker).

Wherefore lay apart; not only restrain it, and keep it in; but put off, and throw it away as a filthy rag, Isaiah 30:22: see Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:8;[5] 1 Peter 2:1.

[All uncleanness, ῥυπαρίαν] The word is not found elsewhere in the Apostolic lettes (Estius). But ὁ ῥυπῶν, he which is filthy, is in Revelation 22:11;[6] and ῥύπος σαρκὸς, the filth of the flesh, in 1 Peter 3:21.[7] This is the same as μολυσμὸς/filthiness in 2 Corinthians 7:1, and as μίασμα/pollution in 2 Peter 2:20 (Gataker). Ῥύπος and ῥυπαρία signify filth in the Glossa. And they are wont to be used of the filth of the body, 1 Peter 3:21; thence they are transferred to the soul, and signify all that by which the soul is polluted, as it is seen in Isaiah 4:4.[8] Also in Job 14:4, טָמֵא/unclean is translated ῥύπος/filth. The Syriac here has טנפותא, from the Syriac verb טנף, which signifies to soil or pollute, and is found also in Song of Solomon 5:3[9] (Grotius). [They translate it:] uncleanness (Vulgate, thus Erasmus, Illyricus, Tigurinus); filth, or filths (Montanus, Estius, thus Pagnine, Castalio, Beza, Piscator, Erasmus). They understand, either sexual impurity (Œcumenius in Estius), or avarice (Estius, Menochius), which also the Latins call filth: or rather, whatever sort of sin (Estius), foulness of both flesh and spirit equally (Zegers); or, lusts for earthly things, which supply the wood and kindling of anger (Menochius). Question: How are we able to put off all filthiness? Responses: 1. To will is to do. God regards what you will, and not what you are able, to be done, Augustine.[10] 2. This is the goal, neither are you to leave off until you have put off all. 3. All, that is, of every sort, as in 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Peter 2:20 (Gataker).

All, of every kind. Filthiness; or, sordidness; a metaphor borrowed from the filth of the body, 1 Peter 3:21, and thence transferred to the soul; and it here seems to imply, not only sensuality or covetousness, but all sorts of lusts, whereby men are defiled, 2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Peter 2:20.

[And superfluity of wickedness, καὶ περισσείαν κακίας] He appears to have desired to express the force of the Hebrew word עָרְלָה, which properly signifies foreskin; but is transferred to all things that ought to be rejected as useless. In a Manuscript it is περίσσευμα/superfluity (Grotius). [Thus they translate it:] And superfluity (or, abundance, or overflow [Vulgate, Estius, Erasmus in Beza, as in Romans 5:17;[11] 2 Corinthians 8:2[12] [Gataker], or, excrement [Beza, Piscator]: There is an allusion, either, 1. to the filth and superfluities of the body [Erasmus]: It is not compared to the vitious humors, like phlegm, etc., which are able to be removed and absorbed, but unto excrements [Gataker]: Or, 2. to artisans, who are wont to trim excesses [Vatablus]: Or, 3. to farmers, who from their cultivated fields remove stones, vicious herbs, etc. [Estius, similarly Calvin]) of malice (Erasmus, Vatablus), that is, malice overflowing and superabounding (Estius, Vatablus): or, evil abundance, that is, whatever illy abounds, and deserves to be cut back (Menochius). Under the name of κακίας/malice/wickedness he comprehends as much hypocrisy and contumacy, as all perverse lusts; now, this he here teaches to reside in that soul, and indeed most copiously (Calvin).

And superfluity of naughtiness; i.e. that naughtiness which is superfluous. That is said to be superfluous or redundant, which is more than should be in a thing; in which respect all sin is superfluous in the soul, as being that which should not be in it: and so this intimates that we are not only to lay apart more gross pollutions, but all the lusts of the flesh, and relics of old Adam, as being all superfluities which may well be spared, or excrements, (as some render the word, agreeably to the former metaphor,) which should be cast away.

[In gentleness receive ye the ingrafted word, ἐν πρᾳΰτητι δέξασθε τὸν ἔμφυτον λόγον] With mildness, or gentleness (which is opposed to wrath, and to contention, which renders us unteachable [Estius]; and to fierceness and high spirits, as in Isaiah 57:15 [Beza, similarly Calvin, Gataker]; and to obstinacy: By this word is signified humility [Gataker], modesty [Calvin, Gataker], and docility [Calvin]: For meekness makes us teachable, especially with respect to those things that surpass the capacity of our nature [Estius]; and it causes us to submit ourselves obligingly to God, and to allow ourselves to be governed by Him [Calvin], and it disposes our souls to Evangelical doctrine [Menochius]: See Psalm 25:9; Isaiah 66:2; Matthew 11:5, 27, etc.; 18:3, 4 [Gataker]: or, obligingly [Castalio], or, with a teachable spirit, just as πραότης appears to be taken in Psalm 45:4[13] [Grotius]) receive ye[14] (as in Luke 8:13;[15] Acts 11:1;[16] 17:11;[17] and that, both into the head, in understanding, Proverbs 1:2, 3, etc.; 24:32; Matthew 13:23, and into the heart, in faith and obedience, Matthew 11:14; Luke 8:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:10: It is not sufficient to hear, etc. [Gataker]) the ingrafted (or, that ingrafted[18] [Beza, Piscator]) word (Erasmus, Illyricus, Tigurinus, etc.). Namely, which was previously mentioned (Gataker); the word of God (Estius), both of the Law (Piscator, Gomar), and of the Gospel (Piscator, thus Estius, Menochius, Tirinus, Grotius, Gomar, Cappel). What the Latins call insitionem/ingrafting, Theophrastus[19] and other Greeks call ἐμφυτείας. In the Glossa, ἔμφυτον is ingrafted. The Syriac has here דנציבא, that is, skillfully propagated from cuttings (Grotius). The article is added here, contrary to common custom. So also Acts 2:47[20] (Casaubon). Ἔμφυτος is used like σύμφυτος, planted together, in Romans 6:5 (Gataker). This word he thus designates, either, 1. that is to say, not feigned, but natural and true (Vatablus): or, 2. because it is ingrafted and transplanted (Beza), by the labor of Apostles and Ministers (Grotius, Beza, similarly Tirinus), externally and in the ears; but internally through the Holy Spirit (Tirinus, similarly Cappel); in the souls (Grotius, Tirinus, Cappel) of believers, or of the elect, according to that of Jeremiah 31:33, 34, I will put the laws in their mind, etc., so that the Gospel might be set over against the Law, which was not ἔμφυτον/ingrafted, but came to a man externally, and only admonished him concerning duty (Cappel). Or, 3. so that he might indicate that the word of God, faith, and grace, are not innate in us; but are from elsewhere, suppose from heaven, ingrafted, and therefore supernatural and gratuitous (Tirinus): or, 4. so that he might teach how the word is to be received by us, that is, in such a way that it is united and combined with us; like food to a man that it nourishes, or leven to the dought that it levens, and a shoot to a tree that it might bring forth fruit. See Deuteronomy 6:6; 11:18; Psalm 119:11 (Gataker), and what things were said on Matthew 13:3; 1 Corinthians 3:6 (Grotius). Others: I take ἔμφυτον/ ingrafted in the place of ἐμφύτως/naturally, an Adjective in the place of an Adverb. Thus are explained those passages of Homer, Iliad δ, —τότε μοι χάνοι εὐρεῖα χθών, then for me may the earth yawn wide;[21] and Odyssey β, —Λύσε ἀγορὴν αἰψηρὴν, he dismissed the hasty assembly, in the place of αἰψηρῶς, hastily. See Eustathius’[22] Odyssey 93. Is ἔμφυτον used in the place of ὥστε εἶναι ἔμφυτον, so as to be ingrafted, as Calvin explains (Casaubon)? Receive ye the ingrafted, etc., that is, receive ye in such a way that it might be ingrafted, that it might be made a living graft, whereby it might join with our heart. There is an allusion to seed, which often upon dry places, or to shoots, which, cast upon the earth, wither (Calvin). [The sense:] Receive it as seed, which, with the soil well cleared, is sown deeply, that finally it might bear fruit (Vorstius).

And receive; not only into your heads by knowledge, but into your hearts by faith. With meekness; with humility, modesty, and gentleness, which makes men submissive to the truth of the word, and ready to learn of God even those things which are above their natural capacity, Psalm 25:9; Isaiah 66:2; Matthew 11:5, 27: this is opposed to wrath, which makes men unteachable. The ingrafted word; either which is ingrafted or implanted, viz. ministerially, by the preachers of the gospel, 1 Corinthians 3:6, 7; principally by the Spirit of God, who writes it in the heart, Jeremiah 31:33. And thus it may be taken particularly for the word of the gospel, in opposition to the law, which came to men’s ears from without, and admonished them of their duty, but was not written in their hearts, or ingrafted thereto from them unto obedience to it. Or, that it may be ingrafted, i.e. intimately united to, or rooted in, the heart by a vital union; or made natural to it, (as some render the word,) the heart being transformed by the power of it, and conformed to the precepts of it, 2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 6:17.

[Which is able to save (that is, to conduct unto eternal salvation [Estius], that is, if it be received in faith [Estius, thus Calvin]) your souls[23]] That is, you, through a Hebraism (Gataker, thus Piscator), as in 1 Peter 3:20 (Gataker): or, to souls κατ᾽ ἐξοχὴν, preeminently, he ascribes both salvation, as in 1 Peter 1:9, and damnation, Matthew 16:25[24] (Piscator, Gataker), yet not excluding the body (Piscator). Indeed, the body in a certain manner is excluded, because the body in time perishes, with the soul in the meantime unharmed. See James 5:15, 20 (Gataker). It is a sharp goad to chasten our idleness; that is to say, The Word, to which we so negligently lend our ears, is the cause of our salvation (Calvin). See Romans 1:16 (Grotius); 2 Corinthians 2:16 (Gataker).

Which, viz. when received by faith, is able to save, instrumentally, as being the means wherein God puts forth his power in saving them, Romans 1:16. Your souls; yourselves; the soul, as the noblest part, is by a synecdoche put for the whole person: see 1 Peter 1:9.

[1] Greek:  διὸ ἀποθέμενοι πᾶσαν ῥυπαρίαν καὶ περισσείαν κακίας, ἐν πρᾳΰτητι δέξασθε τὸν ἔμφυτον λόγον, τὸν δυνάμενον σῶσαι τὰς ψυχὰς ὑμῶν.

[2] Acts 7:58b:  “…and the witnesses laid down their clothes (ἀπέθεντο τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν) at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.”

[3] Ephesians 4:25:  “Wherefore putting away (ἀποθέμενοι) lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”

[4] 1 Peter 2:1:  “Wherefore laying aside (ἀποθέμενοι) all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings…”

[5] Colossians 3:8:  “But now ye also put off (ἀπόθεσθε καὶ) all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”

[6] Revelation 22:11a:  “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still:  and he which is filthy, let him be filthy (ὁ ῥυπῶν ῥυπωσάτω) still…”

[7] 1 Peter 3:21:  “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh [οὐ σαρκὸς ἀπόθεσις ῥύπου], but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ…”

[8] Isaiah 4:4:  “When the Lord shall have washed away the filth (צֹאַת; ῥύπον, in the Septuagint) of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.”

[9] Song of Solomon 5:3:  “I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on?  I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them (אֲטַנְּפֵם)?”

[10] On Psalm 47.

[11] Romans 5:17:  “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance (τὴν περισσείαν) of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”

[12] 2 Corinthians 8:2:  “How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance (ἡ περισσεία) of their joy and their deep poverty abounded (ἐπερίσσευσεν) unto the riches of their liberality.”

[13] Psalm 45:4:  “And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness (πραΰτητος, in the Septuagint) and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.”

[14] Greek:  δέξασθε.

[15] Luke 8:13:  “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive (δέχονται) the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.”

[16] Acts 11:1:  “And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received (ἐδέξαντο) the word of God.”

[17] Acts 17:11:  “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received (ἐδέξαντο) the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

[18] Greek:  τὸν ἔμφυτον.

[19] Theophrastus (372-287 BC) was a disciple of Aristotle and his successor at the Lyceum.  He wrote Historia Plantarum.

[20] Acts 2:42 may be intended.

[21] That is, widely.

[22] Eustathius (d. 1198) was Archbishop of Thessalonica.  He wrote commentaries on Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.

[23] Greek:  τὰς ψυχὰς ὑμῶν.

[24] Matthew 16:25:  “For whosoever will save his life (ψυχὴν/soul) shall lose it:  and whosoever will lose his life (ψυχὴν/soul) for my sake shall find it.”

James 1:20: The Right Reception of the Word, Part 2

Verse 20: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.[1]

[For the wrath (he proves hereafter the three precepts that he had just given, beginning from the last [Estius]) of man worketh not the righteousness of God] Or, it does not carry out (Beza, Piscator). By the righteousness of God he does not here understand that in Romans 1:17 (Beza), but either, 1. that which God exercises in punishing evils; that is to say, for pursuing His righteousness God did not ordain the anger of men, desiring to avenge themselves, but for this end He established judges (Cajetan in Estius): or, 2. that by which one is truly righteous (Estius), internal righteousness, which God requires (Grotius, similarly Piscator, Gataker); that is, what God prescribes (Beza), what is righteous and pleasing to God (Tirinus); virtue or good works (Drusius). Concerning this righteousness see Matthew 5:20; Romans 3:21, 22; 10:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21 (Grotius). [The sense:] An angry man does not yield to the commandments of God (Vatablus, Menochius), but commits many evils (Estius, similarly Menochius, Tirinus, Laurentius out of Aquinas, Hammond, Vorstius, Dickson). It is, therefore, λιτότης/litotes[2] (Laurentius, thus Gataker). Anger blinds the mind, hardens the heart, Proverbs 27:3, breaks the bonds both of nature and of religion; and also what good it does it does poorly out of love for itself rather than out of hatred for evil (Gataker). If one is accustomed to get angry quickly and often, he will not attain to the righteousness of God, or, if he has attained, he will lose it (Grotius). The work of God is not advanced by our passions, or, our carnal zeal and fervor (Dickson).

For the wrath of man: that anger which is merely human, and generally sinful, inordinate passion and carnal zeal. Worketh not the righteousness of God; will not accomplish the ends of the word in you, viz. to work that righteousness which in the word God prescribes you. But here is withal a meiosis in the words, less being spoken than is intended; it is implied therefore, that the wrath of man hinders the operation of the word, and disposeth to that unrighteousness which is forbidden by it.

[1] Greek:  ὀργὴ γὰρ ἀνδρὸς δικαιοσύνην Θεοῦ οὐ κατεργάζεται.

[2] That is, a rhetorical understatement, in which an affirmative is expressed in terms of a denial of its contrary negative.

James 1:19: The Right Reception of the Word, Part 1

Verse 19: Wherefore, my beloved brethren, (Eccles. 5:1) let every man be swift to hear, (Prov. 10:19; 17:27; Eccles. 5:2) slow to speak, (Prov. 14:17; 16:32; Eccles. 7:9) slow to wrath…[1]

[Ye know] The Vulgate reads ἴστε, ye know[2] (Estius, Grotius), as it is in a Manuscript[3] (Grotius). Which does not easily fit here (Estius).

[Ὥστε] And so: It forms a transition to the following exhortation (Estius). Since unto this tend the adversities that are sent upon us, that we might be made better, as it was said in verse 4, and that in addition God might deem us worthy of such a vocation, as it was just now said (Grotius).

[Let him be…swift to hear] Not just anything, for many harmful things are said; but the word of truth (Piscator, similarly Estius, Calvin, Gataker, Gomar), out of verse 18 (Piscator, Gomar), and verse 21 (Estius), even every edifying word; that is to say, Be diligent and prompt (Gomar), and teachable (Calvin).

Let every man be swift to hear; prompt and ready to hear God speaking in the word of truth, before mentioned.

[Slow…to speak] Namely, concerning divine things, concerning which one should not quickly and readily declare, but should learn well beforehand what he would teach. Hence the Pythagoreans[4] appointed their hearers to be silent through a period of five years, so that thus at length they might be able to speak to advantage (Estius). The sense: Let him quietly listen to God speaking, and not with poor timing break in on God, or be the first to speak to Him, as if in his haste he would cut short the word of God (Calvin). Talkativeness is an impediment to hearing. See Job 6:24; 13:13; 29:21; 33:33; Proverbs 12:23; 18:2, 13 (Gataker). Others: The sense: Let him not hasten judgment concerning doctrines, nor tenaciously defend uncertain opinions, etc. (Pareus). Others: Let him be slow to take to himself the authority to teach others, as if he were wise above the others. A Synecdoche of genus; thus James 3:1 (Piscator). [Others take it more generally:] He undertakes to exhort to good works, in attending to which the first degree, as it were, is to restrain the tongue, willingly to hear the precepts of discipline (Menochius). With this in view, Philosophers say that two Ears are given to us, but only one Mouth; and the Ears are wide-spread, but the Tongue is hedged in by an enclosure of teeth. But there are many of whom that of Sophocles[5] might be said, βούλει λέγειν τι, καὶ λέγων μηδὲν κλύειν, you will to say something, and, while speaking, to hear no one. See Proverbs 10:19; 13:3; 17:28 (Grotius).

Slow to speak; either silently and submissively hear the word, or speak not rashly and precipitately of the things of faith, but be well furnished yourselves with spiritual knowledge, ere you take upon you to teach others.

[Slow to wrath] Which is wont easily to arise in disputes (Estius). Let him be longsuffering (Drusius, similarly Grotius). Let all the fervor and uproar of contention depart: for God is not able to be heard, except with a calm spirit (Calvin). Cato: Anger hinders the soul, lest it be able to discern the truth.[6] The same is observed by Demades[7] and Aristotle. Other affections hear more readily. But anger fills all things with smoke and confustion, so that it might no more receive an admonition than a ship might receive a captain while in the midst of a storm. Irascibility impedes hearing. See 1 Kings 22:8; 2 Kings 5:11; Luke 4:28; it is easily provoked;[8] it takes occasion by the things offered on all sides (Gataker); it resents those restraining, and at variance with, it (Pareus).

Slow to wrath; either, be not angry at the word, or the dispensers of it, though it come close to your consciences, and discover your secret sins; the word is salt, do not quarrel if it make your sores smart, being it will keep them from festering: or, be not angrily prejudiced against those that dissent from you.

[1] Greek:  ὥστε, ἀδελφοί μου ἀγαπητοί, ἔστω πᾶς ἄνθρωπος ταχὺς εἰς τὸ ἀκοῦσαι, βραδὺς εἰς τὸ λαλῆσαι, βραδὺς εἰς ὀργήν·

[2] In the place of ὥστε/wherefore.

[3] Thus Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, and Ephræmi Rescriptus.

[4] Pythagoras (582-507 BC) was a Greek philosopher and mathematician.

[5] Sophocles (c. 495-406) was a Greek playwright.  Of his one hundred and twenty-three plays, only seven tragedies survive.

[6] About Dionysius Cato, little is known, except that he was an author of the third or fourth century AD.  His Distichs were used to teach the young Latin and morality until the eighteenth century.

[7] Demades (c. 380-c. 318) was an Athenian orator.

[8] See 1 Corinthians 13:5.

James 1:18: God as the Unchangeable Author of All Good, Part 2

Verse 18: (John 1:13; 3:3; 1 Cor. 4:15; 1 Pet. 1:23) Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, (Eph. 1:12) that we should be a kind of (Jer. 2:3; Rev. 14:4) firstfruits of his creatures.[1]

[Willingly, etc., βουληθεὶς ἀπεκύησεν ἡμᾶς, etc.] He proves the preceding doctrine, showing how good and beneficent God is toward us (Estius). That God is the giver of every good, he proves from the example of regeneration (Gomar, similarly Calvin, Gataker); which he excellently opposes to concupiscence, which begets death, and here he describes it by its causes (Gomar). God makes us good, by regenerating us, which is the beginning of every good. Therefore, He does not desire us to be evil (Grotius). [They thus render the words:] Being willing (or, of set purpose [Castalio]; because He willed [Pagnine, Beza, Piscator, Gataker, Grotius, Estius], because it pleased Him [Grotius]; by His own will [Ethiopic]: Here he sets will over against, either, 1. necessity; that is to say, not of necessity [certain interpreters in Estius, Menochius, Tirinus], as He begat His own Son [certain interpreters in Estius, Tirinus], or, as the sun illuminates [Menochius], but of free good will [Tirinus]: with His will fixed [Erasmus, Tigurinus, Zegers]: Or, 2. merits; that is to say, not moved by any of our works or merits [Estius out of Bid., Tirinus, Grotius], or induced by an external cause [Calvin]; indeed, us undeserving and unworthy [Tirinus], of His own will [Calvin], impelled by love and benignity [Menochius]; of His own special and gracious will [Vorstius, similarly Gomar, Estius, Beza, Calvin], which is called εὐδοκία, good pleasure, in Ephesians 1:5 [Vorstius]: Will is taken by Synecdoche for a favorable will [Gomar]: otherwise His βούλημα/will, taken broadly and generally, intervenes in all things, since nothing at all happens with God being unwilling [Vorstius]: of a favorable will [Illyricus], understanding, He [Erasmus, Illyricus, Tigurinus, Tremellius, Pagnine, Beza out of the Syriac, Piscator]) begat (that is, by spiritual generation [a great many interpreters in Estius, Tirinus, thus Calvin, Gomar], whereby the children of God are born [Estius], having been made new men [Calvin]: concerning which it is evident he here speaks from a comparison with 1 Corinthians 4:15 and 1 Peter 1:3, 23: Formerly God is said to have begotten the Israelites when He liberated them from Egypt, Deuteronomy 32:18: But now He begat them much more excellently unto eternal life [Grotius]: He alludes to our adoption, concerning which see John 1:12, 13: Ministers also are said to beget, Galatians 4:19; Philemon 10, but as God’s instruments [Beza]) us (us and you are notes, both, 1. of extension: that is to say, both me, and you to whom I write, concerning whom he says this according to the judgment of charity, which is not mistrustful: and, 2. of restriction, that others might be excluded: us, that is, the elect, the believing, those united and conformed to Christ; the Church, as it is evident out of John 1:12; 15:1, etc.; Romans 8:29, 30; Ephesians 2:5, 6; 5:25, 26, 30 [Gataker]) by the word of truth (Montanus, etc.), that is, either, 1. by the Word incarnate, who is consummate truth (Zegers); or, 2. through the Gospel (Grotius, Tirinus, thus Estius, Menochius, Gomar, Castalio, Piscator, Vorstius, Zegers), 1 Peter 1:23 (Grotius), which is κατ᾽ ἐξοχὴν, preeminently, called the word of truth (Vorstius, Gomar), that is, of salvation (Gomar). Compare Ephesians 1:12, 13 (Vorstius, Laurentius); Colossians 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:15 (Laurentius). Now, it is understood that this word is received by faith (Estius); or, instilled within; suppose through the illumination of the intellect and the stirring of the will (Tirinus). Hence our sanctification is ascribed sometime to the word, sometimes to faith (Estius).

Of his own will; out of his mere good pleasure, as the original cause, and not moved to it by any dignity or merit in us, Ephesians 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:9. Begat he us; by a spiritual generation, whereby we are new born, and are made partakers of a Divine nature, John 1:13; 1 Peter 1:3, 23. With the word of truth; i.e. the word of the gospel, as the instrument or means whereby we are regenerated: why it is called the word of truth, see Ephesians 1:13.

[That we simus, should be (or, essemus, should be [Erasmus, Beza, etc.]) a beginning, etc., ἀπαρχήν, etc.] Certain first-fruits suarum, of His (or, ejus, of His [Valla, Erasmus]) creatures (Erasmus, Pagnine, Piscator, etc.), that is, either, 1. of men (Dieu), as it is evident from a comparison with Hebrews 12:23 and Revelation 14:4. The language of creature is [often] restricted to the human race, [both, in the Sacred Scripture, as] in Mark 16:15; Colossians 1:23 (Estius); from the usage of the Hebrews, and of the Arabs (Dieu). [See Dieu.] The sense: That we migh be certain first-fruits of the human race (Estius), that is, chosen out of the mass of the rest of men (Beza), and consecrated and offered to God (Piscator), as the first-fruits formerly were[2] (Piscator, similarly Beza); or, first-fruits, that is, the most excellent and choice portion, which is offered to God. Thus he calls the believing and elect (Estius). [The sense:] That we might hold the first place among His creatures, as the sons of God[3] (Tirinus, thus Menochius), and heirs of eternal life[4] (Tirinus). Or, 2. of creatures, namely, new (Gomar, Grotius, Vorstius); which is not always expressed, but is understood from the nature of the matter (Grotius), as in Ephesians 2:10; 3:9 (Grotius, thus Vorstius). He speaks of believing Jews (Gomar, thus Grotius); of the Apostles and others similar to them (Vorstius); who, as προηλπικότες, those who first trusted, Ephesians 1:12, are called elect from the beginning in 2 Thessalonians 2:13; thus here and in Romans 11:16, first-fruits (Grotius), either, 1. because they were adorned with the better gifts of the Holy Spirit; or, 2. because to Christ (Vorstius) were they called before others (Grotius, Vorstius), Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:15 (Grotius). In this way the force of the Metaphor is preserved, which, if you take it of all the faithful, is enervated. For, as, with the first-fruits consecrated to God, the use of the rest of the fruits of the earth was holy and lawful; so, with the Jews consecrated by God through the preaching of the Gospel, the calling of the Gentiles was lawful. But this opinion is not quite satisfying, because the doctrine of the Apostle is general, pertaining to all the regenerate. Consult what things were said on Hebrews 12:23 (Gomar).

That we should be a kind of first-fruits; i.e. most excellent creatures, being singled out and separated from the rest, and consecrated to God, as under the law the first-fruits were, Revelation 14:4. Of his creatures; viz. reasonable creatures; the word creature being elsewhere restrained to men: see Mark 16:15; Colossians 1:15.

[1] Greek:  βουληθεὶς ἀπεκύησεν ἡμᾶς λόγῳ ἀληθείας, εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἀπαρχήν τινα τῶν αὐτοῦ κτισμάτων.

[2] See Exodus 23:19; 34:26; Leviticus 2:12-16; 23:10-22.

[3] See Romans 8:19.

[4] Romans 8:17; Titus 3:7; Hebrews 1:14; 1 Peter 3:7.