James 1:6: Believing Prayer for the Wisdom to Rejoice in Affliction, Part 2

Verse 6: (Mark 11:24; 1 Tim. 2:8) But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

[But let him ask in (or, with [Piscator]) faith[1]] Either, 1. With confidence of the truth both of the word, and of the promise, of God (Estius). Or, 2. With a firm resolution to adhere to God, whatever might befall thee (Hammond). Or, 3. With confidence (or a firm persuasion [Tirinus]) of procuring (Grotius, Menochius, Tirinus, Estius, Calvin, Pareus, Laurentius out of Aquinas, a great many interpreters in Hammond) what thou askest (Tirinus); as it is evident from what follows, and from a comparison with Ephesians 3:12 (Laurentius) and 1 John 5:14 (Laurentius, Menochius).

But let him ask in faith; with confidence of God’s hearing, grounded on the Divine attributes and promises, Mark 11:24; 1 John 5:14.

[Nothing wavering[2] (thus Erasmus, Illyricus)] Or, disputing (Pagnine, Montanus, Piscator, Estius), discriminating, or judging (Estius), hesitating (Beza), that is, in mind and heart wavering between both, uncertain in which direction he might turn, and where he might put confidence (Pareus, similarly Estius). Not hesitating, namely, through diffidence (Menochius, thus Piscator), not even on account of his own or another’s unworthiness, or demerits, as Moses hesitated, Numbers 20:10, 11, and Peter, walking on the waves[3] (Tirinus). Not hesitating whether it is better to adhere to the ways of God, or with the Gnostics to fall from them to avoid persecutions (Hammond). Nothing doubting (Grotius, thus Castalio), either concerning the power of God (Grotius, Laurentius, Beza), like those in Psalm 78:19, 20 (Laurentius), or His will (Grotius, Beza), testified to by His word (Beza); or concerning His paternal benevolence toward us (Menochius), or promise (Estius, thus Laurentius, Calvin). Concerning the word διακρίνεσθαι, we spoke on Matthew 14:31; 21:21;[4] Mark 11:23;[5] Acts 10:20;[6] Romans 4:20.[7] See also James 2:4, where is the same word that is here.[8] Hermas[9] 2:9: Again he said to me, Remove from thee doubt, and, seeking anything from the Lord, doubt nothing at all (Grotius). Objection: But it is evident that the pious do not always obtain what they ask, as in Matthew 26:39; 2 Corinthians 12:9. Response: Many goods, especially corporal, are not to be sought absolutely and simply; but with a condition, for example, if it be pleasing to God, if salutary for us (Laurentius), if it be expedient unto the greater glory of God, and our greater good (Tirinus). Thus Matthew 26:39. The Physian know better what is expedient for one sick than the sick himself (Laurentius).

Nothing wavering; either not disputing God’s power or promise; or rather, not doubting, not staggering through unbelief, Romans 4:20, where the same Greek word is used: so Acts 10:20, nothing doubting; and Mark 11:23, where it is opposed to believing.

[He is like unto a wave of the sea[10]] For, as the Comic says, While the soul is in doubt, it is driven this way and that by very little[11] (Menochius). Just as a wave of the sea is driven by winds, and tossed, now this way, now that way; so also the soul of this man now hopes, now casts away hope. In the Glossa,[12] Ἀνεμίζω is to blow; Ριπίζω, to fan. Philo,[13] in Concerning the World,[14] πρὸς ἀνέμου ῥιπίζεται τὸ ὕδωρ, the water is fanned by the wind. The Rabbis, נשנש. In Isaiah 54:11, סָעַר, to storm.[15] In Jeremiah 22:14, מְרֻוָּח[16] is translated ῥιπίζω, to fan. In the Glossa, κλύδων is flood, wave. It is גַּל to the Hebrews.[17] A like similitude is found in Isaiah 57:20, like the driven sea, where the Greeks have κλυδωνισθήσονται, they shall be tossed like waves (Grotius).

[Who, etc., ἀνεμιζομένῳ καὶ ῥιπιζομένῳ] Which with winds is driven and tossed (Beza, Piscator, Pagnine), or, with violence is carried off (Erasmus, Illyricus, Tigurinus, Vatablus, Estius). This way and that way (Estius). That is to say, he is not able to hold a straight course, and to reach the desired port (Pareus). It expresses the punishment of the unbelieving. By their own disquiet within, says he, they torment themselves, since they do not rest upon God (Calvin). He takes away ἐποχὴν, the suspense, or doubt, of the Papists (Pareus), who want us to pray doubtfully and with an uncertain opinion of success (Calvin). Now, he that is not infallibly certain is not without further evidence said to doubt, but rather he whose soul fluctuates between both. We confess that it is to be asked for by us with good confidence of obtaining, etc. (Estius).

For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed: this notes either the emptiness and unprofitableness of faithless prayer, when men’s minds are thus at uncertainties, tossed to and fro; the confidence they sometimes seem to have, like waves, falls down and fails, and their prayers come to nothing: or, the disquiet and torment distrust works in the minds of such waverers, which are never settled till faith come and fix them, Isaiah 57:20.

[1] Greek:  αἰτείτω δὲ ἐν πίστει.

[2] Greek:  μηδὲν διακρινόμενος.

[3] See Matthew 14:25-33.

[4] Matthew 21:21:  “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not (καὶ μὴ διακριθῆτε), ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.”

[5] Mark 11:23:  “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt (καὶ μὴ διακριθῇ) in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”

[6] Acts 10:20:  “Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing (μηδὲν διακρινόμενος):  for I have sent them.”

[7] Romans 4:20:  “He staggered not (οὐ διεκρίθη) at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God…”

[8] James 2:4:  “Are ye not then partial (καὶ οὐ διεκρίθητε) in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?”

[9] The Shepherd of Hermas, probably composed in the early to mid-second century, is composed of five visions, twelve mandates, and ten parables.  Its purpose was to call the members of the Church to repentance and faithfulness.  It was held in great esteem in the Early Church, and was even considered Canonical by some.

[10] Greek:  ἔοικε κλύδωνι θαλάσσης ἀνεμιζομένῳ καὶ ῥιπιζομένῳ.

[11] Terrence’s Andria 1:5:32.  Publius Terentius Afer (d. 159 BC) was a Roman playwright.

[12] The Glossa Ordinaria (The Ordinary Interpretation) was a collection of glosses drawn from the Church Fathers and printed in the margins of the Vulgate.  It was compiled by Anselm of Laon (d. 1117), a French theologian, and his students after him.

[13] Philo was a first century Jewish scholar of Alexandria, Egypt.  In him, one finds a synthesis of Platonic philosophy, Hebrew learning, and Jewish theology.

[14] De Mundo.

[15] Isaiah 54:11:  “O thou afflicted, storm-tossed (סֹעֲרָה), and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.”

[16] Jeremiah 22:14:  “That saith, I will build me a wide house and large (מְרֻוָּחִים; ῥιπιστὰ/ventilated, in the Septuagint) chambers, and cutteth him out windows; and it is cieled with cedar, and painted with vermilion.”  רָוַח signifies to be spacious; רוח, to breathe or blow.

[17] For example, Psalm 65:7:  “Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves (גַּלֵּיהֶם), and the tumult of the people.”

James 1:5: Believing Prayer for the Wisdom to Rejoice in Affliction, Part 1

Verse 5: (1 Kings 3:9, 11, 12; Prov. 2:3) If any of you lack wisdom, (Matt. 7:7; 21:22; Mark 11:24; Luke 11:9; John 14:13; 15:7; 16:23) let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and (Jer. 29:12; 1 John 5:14, 15) it shall be given him.

[But if any one of your lacks wisdom[1]] If one perceive that he has not enough prudence, to discern what is to be done in individual circumstances (Grotius). He understands Wisdom here, not Philosophical, or Political, but Theological (Laurentius); either, 1. generally (certain interpreters in Laurentius), a pious knowledge of divine things (Estius), and especially of the mysteries of faith and salvation (certain interpreters in Laurentius); practical wisdom, and either necessary or useful for salvation (Menochius, Serarius[2] in Laurentius). He is much here in the reprehension of those that were arrogating to themselves wisdom (Estius). Or, 2. Synecdochically (Vorstius), particular (Vorstius, Laurentius); of which he began to treat a little before, which to the flesh (Beza), and to the world, appears to be folly, and is indeed peculiar to Christians (Vorstius); that is, the knowledge of that doctrine, namely, why we are afflicted by God, and what fruit is to be plucked from it (Beza); whereby one believes that the cross is the highest good (Tirinus), and that persecutions produce endurance, and that it is the proper matter of joy (Gomar), and that we are blessed in afflictions (Calvin); or, which is discerned in perfect patience (Vorstius), in bearing the cross (Vorstius, similarly Piscator, etc.), and that with equanimity and cheerfulness (Vorstius, similarly Laurentius out of Aquinas[3] and Cajetan and Salmasius,[4] Gomar). Which is favored by a comparison with what precedes (Piscator, thus Laurentius), that it might be a certain preoccupation. They were able to say, You say that there is to be rejoicing over these things, etc. But who is so wise that he understands this? (Laurentius). Question: But why does he say, If anyone, etc., since all lack wisdom (Estius)? Responses: 1. Some are given a spirit of prudence, which others lack (Calvin). 2. The If in this place is not of one doubting, but of one supposing (Estius, Laurentius), and it means, whereas, or, since, or, seeing that, as in Malachi 1:6 (Laurentius) and elsewhere; that is to say, if anyone…lacks, etc., as ye all certainly do lack, one more, another less, etc. (Estius).

If any of you lack wisdom; if, doth not imply a doubt, but supposeth something which they themselves would grant; viz. that they did lack wisdom, either in whole or in part. It is as if he had said, Since, or seeing, ye lack, etc. See the like, Malachi 1:6. Though this hold true of wisdom taken more generally, yet wisdom here is to be restrained, according to the circumstances of the text, and taken for wisdom or skill to bear afflictions so as to rejoice in them.

[Let him ask, etc., αἰτείτω παρὰ τοῦ διδόντος Θεοῦ πᾶσιν ἁπλῶς, καὶ μὴ ὀνειδίζοντος] Let him ask of God giving (or, of God that gives it [Beza, Piscator, similarly Tremellius out of the Syriac, Castalio, Arabic, Erasmus], or, from him that gives, namely, God [Illyricus, Tigurinus, Pagnine, Vatablus]: From whom is all wisdom, Ecclesiasticus 1:1[5] [Estius, Menochius]) to all (that is, seeking piously and rightly [Grotius, Piscator, similarly Estius out of Augustine, Laurentius]: or, to all that have it [Gataker]; or, to whomever [Gataker], Jews, Greeks, rich, poor, etc. [Laurentius]) simply (that is, either, openly [Zegers[6]], or, to all without προσωποληψίᾳ, respect of persons: Ammonius[7] notes that ἁπλῶς is used in three ways, either, τὸ καθόλου, generally, or, μοναχῶς/ specifically, or, κυρίως/properly [Casaubon[8]]: or, benevolently [Beza, Casaubon, thus Vorstius], abundantly, liberally, or extravagantly [Drusius,[9] Estius, Menochius, James Cappel,[10] Grotius], as ἁπλότης is taken in Romans 12:8;[11] 2 Corinthians 8:2;[12] 9:13[13] [Grotius, thus Drusius, Piscator, Vorstius]: Metonymy of the efficient [Piscator], because simplicity of itself begets benignity [Piscator, thus Vorstius]; it is not miserly and restrained [Menochius], seeks not evasions, whereby it might not give, or give more sparingly; neither does it regard anything other than the proper reasons for giving, of which sort are the poverty and lowliness of the one asking [Estius]: The Syriac renders it פשיטאית, which means either simply, or, diffusely and abundantly [Drusius], properly expansively: Thus also the Arabic renders it optimally, from fullness, or, from dilation, that is, most amply: It signifies that simple and stretched extension of the soul, which is in the beneficent, whence also the extension and free bestowal of resources arise: as, on the other hand, all things are contracted and restricted in the avaricious: Wherefore it is said that the avaricious man hides himself from his own flesh, Isaiah 58:7, and shuts up his heart, 1 John 3:17: Thus also in Matthew 6:22, a simple eye is kind and generous mind, as, on the contrary, an evil eye is an avaricious and malevolent mind: Thus also Pollux,[14] in his Onomasticon 5:21, says that ἁπλοῦς is ἐκκείμενος, one exposed in the midst, εὐκατάσκευος, one altogether ready, ἐλεύθερος, free, generous, liberal; and in chapter 5, ἁπλῶσαι σῶμα, to make simple or unfold the body, is ἐκτείναι, to stretch out, or προτείναι, to stretch out: In an Old Greek-Latin Lexicon,[15] ἁπλοῦμαι, to be stretched out; ἁπλῶ, to make simple, to stretch out; Ἅπλωσον, spread out[16] [Dieu[17]]), and not upbraiding (Montanus), or, reproaching (Erasmus), He does not bring up as a reproach (Illyricus, Tigurinus, Castalio, Beza, Piscator). That is, to those asking their worthlessness, importunity (Menochius), their too frequent petitions, as a great many rich are wont to do to the poor (Menochius, similarly Estius), recalling their former kindnesses, and thus excusing themselves for the future (Calvin). He gives not haughtily, as those who by words or expression charge to the account and, as it were, bring up as a reproach the things given; which sort Seneca[18] calls stony bread[19] (Grotius). He adds this lest anyone should fear to approach God frequently (Estius, Calvin). Objection: God is said to upbraid in Matthew 11:20.[20] Thus Matthew 23:37; Mark 16:14[21] (Laurentius). Response: God does this, 1. only to the ungrateful and impenitent (Laurentius, similarly Estius out of Cajetan, Gomar, Tirinus); 2. not with an heart ill, arrogant, or hateful, but so that the impious might be moved to repentance (Laurentius out of Richel.). He shows a distinction between the giving God and man: which the Hebrews also express admirably well, thus praying, Allow not that the gifts of men might be needful to me, whose gifts are few, but their reproach manifold: but rather thy hand, full and widespread (Dieu).

Let him ask of God; by believing, fervent prayer. That giveth to all men; either to all sorts of men, Jew or Gentile, bond or free, etc., or to all that so ask, as appears by the next verse. Liberally; or simply, Romans 12:8, i.e. with an open, free, large heart, in opposition to the contracted, narrow spirits of covetous misers. Our translation renders it well liberally; and so the word is used, 2 Corinthians 8:2; 9:13. And upbraideth not; doth not twit them with their importunity, or frequency in asking, (as men often do,) however he may upbraid them with their unthankfulness for, or abuse of, what they have received.

[And it shall be given to him] He does not hesitate to affirm this, because of the great number of Christ’s promises (Estius), as in Matthew 7:7, 8; Mark 11:24; John 16:23 (Laurentius, Estius). Understand this according to the conditions which we set forth in Matthew 18:19 (Grotius), if it be convenient for him (Menochius), and if he ask rightly[22] (Menochius, thus Tirinus).

And it shall be given him: see Matthew 7:7, 8; John 16:23. The promise is here added to encourage faith in asking.

[1] Greek:  εἰ δέ τις ὑμῶν λείπεται σοφίας.

[2] Nicholas Serarius (1555-1610) was a Jesuit scholar.  He served as Professor of Theology at the University of Mentz.

[3] Thomas Aquinas (c. 1224-1274) was perhaps the greatest of the mediæval scholastic theologians.

[4] Claudius Salmasius, or Claude Saumaise (1588-1653) was a French Protestant scholar of classical antiquity.  He succeeded Joseph Scaliger in the professorship at Leiden.

[5] Ecclesiasticus 1:1:  “All wisdom cometh from the Lord, and is with him for ever.”

[6] Nicholas Tacitus Zegers (d. 1559) was a Flemish Franciscan exegete.  He wrote Scholion in Omnes Novi Testamenti Libros (1553), Epanorthotes, sive Castigationes Novi Testamenti (1555), and Inventorium in Testamentum Novum, a concordance (1558).

[7] Ammonius Grammaticus was a fourth century Egyptian priest, and tutor of the ecclesiastical historian Socrates.  The treatise ascribed to him, On the Differences of Synonymous Expressions) was probably written by Herennius Philo of Byblus in the first century, and revised by a later Byzantine editor, perhaps named Ammonius.

[8] Isaac Casaubon (1559-1614) began his career as Professor of Greek at Geneva and finished his career as a prebendary of Westminster and Canterbury.  He was a learned critic, and he produced annotated editions of Greek and Latin authors, as well as Notæ in Novum Testamentum.  He was among those that sought a reunion between the Protestant and Roman churches.

[9] John Drusius (1550-1616) was a Protestant, who excelled in Oriental studies, Biblical exegesis, and critical interpretation, as is evident from his Annotationes in Pentateuchum, Josuam, Judices, Ruth, Samuelem, Estheram, Jobum, Coheleth, seu Ecclesiasten, Prophetas Minores, Ecclesiasticum, Tobit, 1 Librum Machabæorum; Notæ Majores in Genesin, Exodum, Leviticum, et Priora 18 Capita Numerorum; Annotata in Novum Testamentum.  He served as Professor of Oriental Languages at Oxford (1572), at Louvain (1577), and at Franeker (1585).

[10] James Cappel (1570-1614) was the older brother of Louis Cappel.  He was Professor of Hebrew and Theology at the Academy of Sedan.  He wrote Observationes in Novum Testamentum.

[11] Romans 12:8:  “Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation:  he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity (ἐν ἁπλότητι, or, with liberality); he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”

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

[13] 2 Corinthians 9:13:  “Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberality (ἁπλότητι) of distribution unto them, and unto all men…”

[14] Julius Pollux (second century AD) was a Greek grammarian and rhetorician.  Only his Onomasticon, a dictionary of Attic phrases and an invaluable source of information concerning classical antiquity, survives.

[15] Lexicon Græcolatinum Vetus.  Discovered among some papers of Cyrial of Alexandria, this Lexicon has been attributed to him, although it is most probably the work of a later hand.

[16] In the Imperative.

[17] [17] Louis de Dieu (1590-1642) was a Huguenot minister of Dutch origin, and he was a linguist and critic of extraordinary talent and judgment.  He wrote Animadversiones, sive Commentarius in Quatuor Evangelia, Animadveriones in Acta Apostolorum, Animadversiones in Epistolam ad Romanos, Accessit Spicilegium in Reliquas Ejusdem Apostoli, ut et Catholicas Epistolas, and Critica Sacra, sive Animadversiones in Loca Quædam Difficiliora Veteris et Novi Testamenti.

[18] Lucius Annæus Seneca (c. 4 BC-65 AD) was a Roman philosopher and dramatist.

[19] De Beneficiis 2:7.

[20] Matthew 11:20:  “Then began he to upbraid (ὀνειδίζειν) the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not…”

[21] Mark 16:14:  “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided (ὠνείδισε) them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.”

[22] See James 4:3.

James 1:4: Patience in Affliction, Part 3

Verse 4: But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

[Now, patience has a perfect (that is, whole [Beza]) work[1]] Or, let it have (Erasmus, Montanus, Estius, etc.), that is, let it be perfect (Vatablus). By these works let it show its sincerity and constancy, as what follows explains (Vorstius). Work here is taken for an effect (Calvin, Gataker[2]); that is to say, Let it have its full efficacy, in confirming you, and in bringing it to pass that in every way ye might conduct yourselves rightly under the cross (Gataker). Let the soul be such that it is neither disobedienct, nor fainting, but completely subject to the Divine will (Grotius). A work whole, or perfect, he calls, both what in reality is set forth as a perfect gift, James 1:17,[3] and perfect love, 1 John 4:18,[4] and a work not at all feigned; as תָּם in Hebrew is taken[5] (Beza). Others: He understands here, either, 1. the most perfect degree of patience (Menochius), namely, joy and cheerfulness in suffering, Matthew 5:12 (Menochius, similarly Hammond); or, 2. the constancy, or perseverance, of patience unto the end of life (Calvin, similarly Estius out of Œcumenius, Gomar, Piscator, Pareus), Matthew 10:22 (Estius, Piscator). For in this way the work shall be absolute and perfect, both in itself and in its fruit (Estius): that is to say, let those who want to be perfect persevere. He says this because many that initially manifest heroic greatness are wearied a little afterwards (Calvin). Τέλειον, that is, let him endure εἰς τέλος, unto the end, Matthew 24:13 (certain interpreters in Gataker). Or, 3. the work conjoined with the love of those that afflict us. For love is the bond of perfectness, Colossians 3:14,[6] and forms and perfects the works of the other virtues (Estius).

But let patience have her perfect work; i.e. effect: q.d. Let it have its full efficacy in you, both in making you absolutely subject to God’s will, and constant to the end under all your sufferings.

[That, etc., ἵνα ἦτε τέλειοι καὶ ὁλόκληροι] That ye may be complete, whole (Beza). One Hebrew words, שָׁלֵם, is translated sometimes by τέλειον/ perfect, sometimes by ὁλόκληρον/entire, as it is seen in Deuteronomy 27:6;[7] Joshua 8:31;[8] 1 Kings 8:61;[9] 11:4;[10] 15:3, 14; etc. Otherwise those words are able to be distinguished, so that τέλειον (גמיר/finished/perfect in the Rabbis, which word also the Syriac uses here) might be that which is without defect (Grotius); ὁλόκληρον, that which has all its parts (Grotius, thus Estius). The word τέλειοι denotes the solidity and growth of grace, as in 1 Corinthians 2:6;[11] 14:20;[12] Hebrews 5:14;[13] 6:1;[14] ὁλόκληροι, the wholeness of the parts, as in 1 Thessalonians 5:23,[15] in this grace and in the others equally (Gataker). Perfect is opposed to imperfect (Gataker out of Cajetan), whole to mutilated (Gataker out of Cajetan, thus Erasmus). Patience supplies both, the perfection of life, and the wholeness of virtues (Gataker). By the cross God refines us, etc. (Beza). The sense is twofold; either, Thus it is going to be, lest ye be imperfect and mutilated with respect to the virtues necessary to you: or, thus, so that at the coming of the Lord ye might be found perfect and whole (Estius).

That ye may be perfect and entire; that you may grow perfect in this grace, as well as in others, and have the image of Christ (to whom ye are to be conformed) completed in you.

[In, etc., ἐν μηδενὶ λειπόμενοι] In such a way that nothing is lacking to you (Pagnine, Piscator). In nothing (or, and in no part [Erasmus, Illyricus, Tigurinus]; in no matter [Tremellius out of the Syriac, thus Castalio]; in no, understanding, temptation [Pareus]) deficient (Beza, Pareus, Calvin), that is, succumbing (Pareus), giving way, broken by impatience, which sort necessarily fail in the end (Calvin). Or, diminished (Erasmus, Illyricus, Tigurinus, Estius). That is, to whom something is lacking for wholeness (Estius). Or, destituted (Tremellius). Here the Syriac translates it חסרין. חסר is used of one who in any matter has less than is necessary. In a like sense we have λείπεσθαι next[16] and in James 2:15[17] (Grotius): that is to say, Devoid of no sort of good work: that which persevering patience brings with itself (Estius).

Wanting nothing; either not failing, not fainting in trials, or not defective in any thing which is a needful part of Christianity.

[1] Greek:  ἡ δὲ ὑπομονὴ ἔργον τέλειον ἐχέτω.

[2] Thomas Gataker (1574-1654) was in his day regarded as a critic of unsurpassed skill, learning, and judgment.  On account of his great learning, he was invited to sit as a member of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster.  Darling:  “In the Assembly’s Annotations, he wrote on the Books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Lamentations, so admirably that [Edmund] Calamy has observed that no commentator, ancient or modern, is entitled to higher praise.”  Cyclopædia Bibliographica, vol. 1, 1221.

[3] James 1:17:  “Every good gift and every perfect gift (πᾶσα δόσις ἀγαθὴ καὶ πᾶν δώρημα τέλειον) is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

[4] 1 John 4:18:  “There is no fear in love; but perfect love (ἡ τελεία ἀγάπη) casteth out fear:  because fear hath torment.  He that feareth is not made perfect (οὐ τετελείωται) in love.”

[5] From the verbal root תָּמַם, to be complete.  For example, Song of Solomon 5:2:  “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled (תַמָּתִי, or, my perfect one):  for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.”

[6] Colossians 3:14:  “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness (τῆς τελειότητος).”

[7] Deuteronomy 27:6a:  “Thou shalt build the altar of the Lord thy God of whole (שְׁלֵמוֹת; ὁλοκλήρους, in the Septuagint) stones…”

[8] Joshua 8:31a:  “As Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole (שְׁלֵמוֹת; ὁλοκλήρων, in the Septuagint) stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron…”

[9] 1 Kings 8:61:  “Let your heart therefore be perfect (שָׁלֵם; τέλειαι, in the Septuagint) with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.”

[10] 1 Kings 11:4:  “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods:  and his heart was not perfect (שָׁלֵם; τελεία, in the Septuagint) with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.”  So also 1 Kings 15:3, 14.

[11] 1 Corinthians 2:6:  “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect (ἐν τοῖς τελείοις):  yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought…”

[12] 1 Corinthians 14:20:  “Brethren, be not children in understanding:  howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men (τέλειοι).”

[13] Hebrews 5:14:  “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age (τελείων), even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

[14] Hebrews 6:1:  “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection (τὴν τελειότητα); not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God…”

[15] 1 Thessalonians 5:23:  “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly (ὁλοτελεῖς); and I pray God your whole (ὁλόκληρον) spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

[16] James 1:5:  “If any of you lack (λείπεται) wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

[17] James 2:15:  “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute (λειπόμενοι) of daily food…”

James 1:3: Patience in Affliction, Part 2

Verse 3: (Rom. 5:3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

[Knowing (understanding, that [Beza, Piscator]: Being persuaded [Estius]) that, etc., ὅτι τὸ δοκίμιον, etc.] That the trial (or, experiment, that is, that which follows upon that manifold trial [Beza]) of your faith produces patience (Erasmus, Vatablus, etc.), or, tolerance (Beza, Piscator), endurance, whereby we patiently await future goods (Estius): it exercises and perfects patience (Estius) (Estius), not causally (Laurentius), for thus it produces impatience (Laurentius, similarly Pareus); but occasionally (Laurentius), that is, it furnishes the matter and occasion of patience (Estius, thus Laurentius), which God both proves and works through the cross (Laurentius): it produces in us a firmer habit of tolerance (Grotius), and also displays that, if it be present (Menochius). He tacitly signifies here that the proving of faith is the effect of temptations/trials. For to these he proceeds readily to yield a weak faith, but a firm faith strengthens the soul in adversities. But to this passage is contrary that in Romans 5:4, patience works δοκιμήν/trial (Estius). Responses: 1. two things are often the cause of each other, like heat and fire, vapor and rain (Tirinus). 2. Δοκίμιον here differs from δοκιμὴ there (Grotius): they differ as effect and cause, the former is taken actively for the trying, that is, the pressing; the latter is taken passively for the experience (Laurentius): the former is taken improperly, for the proving cross (Vorstius, similarly Piscator, Gomar), by Metonymy of effect (Piscator, Gomar); the latter is taken properly (Vorstius, Piscator), for the testing, by which the integrity of faith is search out (Vorstius). Δοκίμιον is that through which testing is done. Thus Plato makes use of it, speaking of the little pores through which we discern tastes.[1] The Rabbis use בחינה[2] (Grotius). Just as tender bodies are made hard by various labors; so also the soul of the pious, accustomed to persecutions, is made more able to endure (Gomar). Affliction produces patience, not of itself or in its own nature, but circumstantially; namely, by the added operation of the Holy Spirit (Piscator). Others: A transitive expression is in the place of an intransitive, the proving of faith, that is, faith proven by trials, begets patience, that is, patience enlarged, by either the procurement or accomplishment of God (certain interpreters in Estius).

Knowing this; considering. That the trying of your faith; the reason why he called afflictions temptations, as well as why believers should count it all joy to fall into them, viz. because they are trials of their faith, and such trials as tend to approbation, as the word (different from that in the former verse) imports. Of your faith; both of the truth of the grace itself, and of your constancy in the profession of it. Worketh patience; not of itself, but as a means in the hand of God, made effectual to that end. Objection. Romans 5:3, it is said, Tribulation worketh patience, and patience, experience, or trial; whereas here it is said, that trial works patience. Answer. The words used here and Romans 5:3 are different; here it is δοκίμιον, which signifies actively, the trying itself, and this works patience; there it is δοκιμὴ, which is taken passively, for the experiment following upon the trial; or, as we read it, the experience, viz. of our sincerity, as well as of God’s consolation, which may well be the effect of patience wrought by and under trials. And so both are true, that tribulation, as Paul speaks, and trial, as James, work patience; and patience, not a further trial, but rather discovery, or experiment, or approbation of what we are, which appears by nothing more than by patience under sufferings.

[1] Timæus 65.

[2] From the verbal root בָּחַן, to examine or try.

James 1:2: Patience in Affliction, Part 1

Verse 2: My brethren, (Matt. 5:12; Acts 5:41; Heb. 10:34; 1 Pet. 4:13, 16) count it all joy (1 Pet. 1:6) when ye fall into divers temptations…

[All joy, etc.] That is, perfect, consummate, full, joy (Menochius, similarly Estius, Tirinus, Grotius), according to the Hebrew expression (Estius), as in 1 Timothy 1:15 (Grotius); nothing but joy he considers it, understanding to be, as in Philippians 2:6[1] (Piscator); a matter of the highest joy (Grotius, Estius), that is, spiritual. For the Cause is wont to be named in the place of the Effect. Concerning such joy see the things said on Acts 5:41; Hebrews 10:34. There is a saying in a book of Musar,[2] Rejoice in chastenings (Grotius).

[My brethren] In the unity of both nation and faith. Thus he addresses them thirteen times,[3] so that his exhortations might penetrate more deeply (Pareus).

My brethren; both as being of the same nation and the same religion; so he calls them, that the kindness of his compellation might sweeten his exhortations. Count it; esteem it so by a spiritual judgment, though the flesh judge otherwise. All joy; matter of the chiefest joy, viz. spiritual. So all is taken, 1 Timothy 1:15.

[When, etc., ὅταν πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποικίλοις] Περιπίπτειν, to fall or happen into the midst of, is in sound Middle, in sense Passive; and it signifies to be surrounded, Luke 10:30;[4] 2 Samuel 1:6[5] (Grotius). [Thus they translate it:] As often as into temptations (or, tests [Castalio], trials [Beza]) divers ye happen (Erasmus, Illyricus, Tigurinus, Pagnine, Piscator, similarly Montanus,[6] Tremellius, Vulgate, etc.). He calls afflictions or tribulation temptations (Tirinus, Estius, Menochius, Vorstius, Pareus), persecutions for the sake of the Gospel (Vorstius, thus Piscator), by which God is wont to prove or to test men, so that it might become known of what sort they are (Estius), and of sort sort is their virtue, patience, and strength (Tirinus), whether their faith be true and constant (Piscator, similarly Vorstius). The various temptations, נסיונות,[7] are of such a sort as Exile, Confiscation, and Hatred, to which the pious are wont to be subjected, Ecclesiasticus 2:1;[8] 1 Peter 1:6; 2 Peter 2:9 (Grotius): [these especially] even by the very name, both Jewish and Christian (Estius). I think that this Epistle was written in the time of that Edict of Claudius, Acts 18:2, when the Jews, and the Christians among them, were expelled from Rome, and, in accordance with that example, from other great cities[9] (Grotius).

When ye fall into; when ye are so beset and circumvented by them, that there is no escaping them, but they come upon you, though by the direction of God’s providence, yet not by your own seeking. Divers temptations; so he calls afflictions, from God’s end in them, which is to try and discover what is in men, and whether they will cleave to him or not. The Jews were hated by other nations, and the Christian Jews even by their own, and therefore were exposed to divers afflictions, and of divers kinds, 1 Peter 1:6.

[1] Philippians 2:6:  “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God (οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἶσα Θεῷ)…”

[2] Musar literature is a body of Jewish ethical literature.

[3] See James 1:16, 19; 2:1, 5, 14; 3:1, 10, 12; 4:11; 5:7, 9, 10, 12, 19.

[4] Luke 10:30:  “And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among (περιέπεσεν, or, was surrounded by) thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.”

[5] 2 Samuel 1:6a:  “And the young man that told him said, As I happened (περιέπεσον) by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear…”

[6] Benedict Arias Montanus (1527-1598) was a Spanish Benedictine monk.  He attended the Council of Trent, and he was heavily involved in the production of the Polyglot Bible.  He wrote commentaries on several books of the Bible, including Elucidationes in Omnia Sanctorum Apostolorum Scripta.

[7] Genesis 22:1:  “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt (נִסָּה) Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham:  and he said, Behold, here I am.”

[8] Ecclesiasticus 2:1:  “My son, if thou come to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation.”

[9] See Suetonius’ Twelve Cæsars “Claudius” 25; Cassius Dio’s History 60:6:6, 7; Paulus Orosius’ History 7:6:15, 16.

James 1:1: Apostolic Address to the Jews of the Dispersion

[circa 60 AD] Verse 1: James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

[James, God’s (namely, the Father’s [Estius[1] out of Œcumenius[2]]; which especially agrees with the Apostolic style of writing [Estius]: Others: God here is the same as the Lord, that is, Christ [certain interpreters in Estius, similarly Gomar]; from a comparison with Titus 2:13[3] [Gomar]) and the Lord Jesus Christ’s servant[4]] Thus he calls himself in a special regard, by reason of his office (Estius); that is to say, a minister of the Gospel (Gomar, similarly Piscator), or an Apostle (Gomar, thus Estius). But he does not say an Apostle, as Paul and Peter are wont to do; who did not do this without cause. For it was adding great authority to them, that they were chosen by Christ Himself unto that place which was over all in the Church (Grotius). James, therefore, was not an Apostle (certain interpreters in Pareus). Response: It does not follow. For Paul also calls himself a servant,[5] etc. (Pareus).

James, the son of Alpheus and brother of Jude, called likewise the brother of the Lord, Galatians 1:19. A servant; not only by creation, as all the creatures are, Psalm 119:91, or by redemption, as all believers are, but by special commission in the office of an apostle; see Galatians 1:10; Philippians 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; compare likewise Romans 1:9. Of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ: the members of this clause may be taken, either jointly, and then the conjunction and hath the power only of an explication, q.d. The servant of God, even the Lord Jesus Christ, as Titus 2:13; and the sense must be, the servant of Jesus Christ, who is God: or, separately, (which our translation seems to favour,) to let his countrymen know, that in serving Christ he served the God of his fathers; and by the authority both of God and of Christ wrote this to them.

[To the twelve tribes which, etc., ταῖς δώδεκα φυλαῖς ταῖς ἐν τῇ διασπορᾷ] Dispersed (Pagnine,[6] Beza, Piscator). Dispersed here and there (Castalio[7]). Disseminated among the nations (Tremellius[8] out of the Syriac). Which are in the dispersion (Erasmus, Illyricus,[9] Tigurinus,[10] Arabic, Vulgate, Piscator), that is, Israelites by Nation (Grotius, thus Estius, Menochius,[11] Vatablus[12]); evidently made Christians (Laurentius, thus Gomar, Beza, Pareus), since he everywhere calls them brethren and beloved (Laurentius); who were outside of Judea (Grotius), dispersed among the nations, throughout various kindgoms (Menochius, similarly Vatablus), throughout the provinces of the Romans (Piscator), throughout the whole world (Tirinus,[13] Beza). He has regard here to Dispersions, either, 1. particular and more recent, of which sort Acts 8:1; 11:19 (certain interpreters in Gomar, a great many in Estius). But those dispersed did not have distinct assemblies, which he attributes to them, James 2:2 (Gomar). Or, 2. those universal and ancient, both of the Ten tribes, and of the Two, in Assyria, Babylonia, etc., from a comparison with Acts 2:5; 1 Peter 1:1 (Gomar, similarly Estius, Beza). Every place outside of Judea is in Hebrew נדח/banishment, in Greek διασπορά/dispersion, Deuteronomy 30:4;[14] Nehemiah 1:9;[15] Psalm 147:2.[16] Thus זָרָה, to fan or scatter, is used, which is translated διασπείρειν, to disperse, Leviticus 26:33;[17] Jeremiah 15:7;[18] 49:36;[19] etc. To the twelve tribes is used just as τὸ δωδεκάφυλον, the twelve tribes, in Acts 26:7, that is, because Jacob had twelve sons, Genesis 35:22; and the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, although they took a double lot, yet were of one stock. Hence the number Twelve was always sacred to the Hebrews, Exodus 15:27; 24:4; 28:21; etc. (Grotius). Mention is everywhere made of the Twelve tribes, as in Genesis 49:28; Exodus 39:14; Revelation 21:12, etc. (Laurentius). There are in this Epistle some admonitions common to all Israelites, some properly pertaining to those that had already believed upo Christ (Grotius). Others: to the Twelve tribes, etc., that is, to those that, although not with respect to race, yet mystically, are Israelites, and have regard to the twelve tribes (Sanctius[20] in Laurentius); or, both to those that were descended from the twelve tribes, and to those converted from gentilism, who were inserted into the number of the twelve tribes (Tirinus). But it is not likely that the nations are here understood (Laurentius).

To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: being one of the apostles of the circumcision, Galatians 2:9, he writes to all his believing countrymen wherever dispersed, as they were upon several occasions, and at several times, into divers countries, Acts 2:9-11.

[Greeting (thus Erasmus, Beza, Piscator), χαίρειν[21]] A manner of greeting (Grotius), and that, the Apostolic manner (Gomar, Tirinus), Acts 15:23[22] (Grotius, Gomar, Tirinus); 2 John 10.[23] Thus שְׁלָמָא/peace in Ezra 5:7 (Grotius). This common form of salutation he does not understand in a common manner, but of the well-being of body and soul (Gomar). Neither is this salutation merely courtly, or verbal; but efficacious and real (Tirinus out of Chrysostom). The language of well-being/salvation comprehends peace, grace, and every good (Tirinus). Χαίρειν is, either, to rejoice (Laurentius, Estius), understanding, I wish, or, I bid, thee (Laurentius). Compare the following verse (Estius). Thus Horace[24] begins an Epistle, Celso gaudere,[25] To Celsus, greeting/ rejoice[26] (Laurentius, Vorstius); or, salvere, greeting, be well (Estius, Gomar). The Greeks used sometimes χαίρειν, sometimes ὑγιαίνειν, to be in good health,[27] sometimes εὐπράττειν, to do or be well (Laurentius, Vorstius).

Greeting; a salutation usual, not only among the heathen, but the Jews, Matthew 26:49; 27:29; and used by the Christians, Acts 15:23. It seems to answer to the Hebrew salutation, peace, which was comprehensive of all happiness; and so is this here to be understood.

[1] William Estius (1542-1613) was a Flemish Catholic scholar; he labored first as a lecturer on Divinity, then as the Chancellor at Douai.  In his commentary writing, as exemplified in his Commentarii in Sacram Scripturam and Commentarii in Epistolas Apostolicas, he focuses on the literal meaning of the text; he was highly regarded for his abilities as an exegete.

[2] Œcumenius has been held traditionally to have been a late-tenth century bishop of Trikkala in Thessaly, but the authorship of the commentaries traditionally ascribed to him is confused.  The commentaries on Acts and the Catholic Epistles are the same as those of Theophylact of Bulgaria (eleventh century); the commentary on the Pauline Epistles is older, copied in part from the work of Andrew of Cæsarea (563-637); the commentary on the Apocalypse appears to have been composed around the turn of the seventh century.

[3] Titus 2:13:  “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (τοῦ μεγάλου Θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ)…”

[4] James 1:1:  “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (Ἰάκωβος, Θεοῦ καὶ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δοῦλος), to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.”

[5] See Romans 1:1; Titus 1:1.

[6] Pagnine (1466-1541) was an Italian Dominican.  He was gifted as a Hebraist, exegete, and preacher.  He was commissioned by Pope Leo X to produce a new Latin translation of the Scripture.

[7] Sebastian Castalio (1515-1563) distinguished himself as a scholar by means of his linguistic talents, evident in his Annotationes in Vetus et Novum Testamentum.  However, the greatness of Castalio’s talents did not extend to the logico-synthetic work of theology, and he ran into controversy with Calvin.  He was inclined towards Pelagianism, and his views were influential in the development of Socinianism.  As a translator of the Bible, he takes overmuch liberty, attempting to mold the speech of the prophets to suit those with a taste for classical Latin.

[8] John Immanuel Tremellius (1510-1580) converted from Judaism to Christianity and quickly embraced the principles of the Reformation.  He taught Hebrew at Strasburg (1541) and at Cambridge (succeeding Paul Fagius in 1549), and served as Professor of Old Testament at Heidelberg (1561).  Tremellius translated the Old Syriac New Testament into Latin.

[9] Matthæus Flaccius Illyricus (1520-1575) was a Lutheran divine.  He served as Professor of Hebrew at Wittenburg (1544), then as Professor of New Testament at Jena (1557).  He made great contributions in the fields of church history and hermeneutics.  He wrote Clavis Scripturæ Sacræ seu de Sermone Sacrarum Literarum and Glossa Compendiaria in Novum Testamentum.

[10] Leo Jud (1482-1542) was a co-laborer of Ulrich Zwingli during the time of the Swiss Reformation.  His translation work might be his most important contribution to the reformation of Zurich.  He labored with other divines to produce a vernacular version for the Swiss people, and he produced a Latin version of the Old Testament, usually known as “Tigurinus”, which would be translated, “of Zurich”.

[11] John Stephen Menochius (1576-1656) joined the Society of Jesuits at an early age.  His superiors in the order, recognizing his academic abilities, set him apart for training in the exposition of Holy Scripture.  His Commentarii in Sacram Scripturam displays great learning and sound judgment.

[12] Francis Vatablus (c. 1485-1547) was a prominent Hebrew scholar, doing much to stimulate Hebraic studies in France.  He was appointed to the chair of Hebrew in Paris, 1531.  Although a Roman Catholic, his annotations (Annotationes in Vetus et Novum Testamentum) found employment among Protestants and Catholics alike.

[13] James Tirinus (1580-1636) was a Flemish Jesuit priest.  His abilities as a commentator are displayed in his Commentaria in Sacram Scripturam.

[14] Deuteronomy 30:4:  “If any of thine be driven out (אִם־יִהְיֶ֥ה נִֽדַּחֲךָ֖; ἐὰν ᾖ ἡ διασπορά σου, if there be a dispersion of thee, in the Septuagint) unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee…”

[15] Nehemiah 1:9:  “But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out (אִם־יִהְיֶ֙ה נִֽדַּחֲכֶ֜ם; ἐὰν ᾖ ἡ διασπορὰ ὑμῶν, if there be a dispersion of you, in the Septuagint) unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.”

[16] Psalm 147:2:  “The Lord doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts (נִדְחֵי; τὰς διασπορὰς, in the Septuagint) of Israel.”

[17] Leviticus 26:33:  “And I will scatter (אֱזָרֶה; διασπερῶ, in the Septuagint) you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you:  and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.”

[18] Jeremiah 15:7:  “And I will fan them with a fan (וָאֶזְרֵ֥ם בְּמִזְרֶ֖ה; καὶ διασπερῶ αὐτοὺς ἐν διασπορᾷ, and I will disperse them in a dispersion, in the Septuagint) in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people, since they return not from their ways.”

[19] Jeremiah 49:36:  “And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them (וְזֵרִתִים; καὶ διασπερῶ αὐτοὺς, in the Septuagint) toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts (נִדְּחֵי) of Elam shall not come.”

[20] Gasper Sanchez (1554-1628) was a Jesuit scholar.  He served as Professor of Theology at Madrid, and is respected by Roman Catholics and Protestants alike as a Biblical commentator.

[21] Note the infinitive form.

[22] Acts 15:23:  “And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greeting (χαίρειν)…”

[23] 2 John 10:  “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither speak to him greeting (καὶ χαίρειν αὐτῷ μὴ λέγετε)…”

[24] Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BC-8 BC) was a Roman poet.

[25] In the infinitive.

[26] Epistles 1:8.

[27] See 3 John 2:  “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health (ὑγιαίνειν), even as thy soul prospereth.”

Outline of James 1

The apostle’s address to the dispersed Jews, 1. He recommendeth patience and joy in afflictions, 2-4, and prayer with faith, 5-8. He giveth advice to the poor and to the rich, 9-11. The reward of those that are proof under trial, 12. Our own lusts, and not God, tempt us to sin, 13-16. God is the unchangeable author of all good to his creatures, 17, 18. We must receive the word with purity and meekness, and not only hear, but do it, 19-25. The necessity of governing the tongue, 26. The essential duties of true religion, 27.