James 4:16: Curing Arrogant Presumption, Part 4

Verse 16:[1] But now ye rejoice in your boastings: (1 Cor. 5:6) all such rejoicing is evil.

[But now ye exult (or, glory [Montanus, Beza, etc.) in, etc., ἐν ταῖς ἀλαζονείαις ὑμῶν] In (or, concerning [Illyricus, Piscator]) your boastings (Beza, etc.), or, prides (Erasmus, Illyricus, Tigurinus), that is, in the riches which make men proud (Menochius): or, impertinences (Castalio), conceits (Arabic, thus Pagnine, Piscator). Ye please yourselves in those boastings concerning the future (Grotius). In these things, which ye arrogantly do and say (Estius); which ye boast that ye are going to do (Menochius), just as if ye were immortal, and certain concerning future things (Estius). Concerning this word, see Romans 1:30[2] (Beza, Gataker); 2 Timothy 3:2[3] (Gataker). Αὐθάδεια is insolence, or a proud opinion of oneself, Titus 1:7;[4] but ἀλαζόνεια is haughty speech, by which a man ascribes to himself more than what is just, excessively extolls his abilities, as if he were not dependent upon God. Thus it is used in Proverbs 27:1, Boast not thyself of tomorrow, that is, that tomorrow thou art going to do this or that (Hammond). This objection comes to mind: What if we omit that formula? It is not of much importance. Response: I would not find fault with that, if ye had this in your mind (Gataker), always bearing in mind the thought of the divine providence and your own mortality (Estius on verse 15). But it shows that ye are far otherwise inclined, that ye are so impenitent with respect to your presumption, and your absolute and peremptory decrees, that ye glory over them. For examples of this glorying, see 1 Kings 21:1, 2; Isaiah 47:7, 8; Daniel 3:15 (Gataker).

But now ye rejoice, or, glory; ye please yourselves with them. In your boastings; viz. of your carnal projects, and hopes of what you intend to do, and expect to get: q.d. You vainly boast of your designs and successes, without taking notice of God’s providence, under the government of which you and your affairs all are. All such rejoicing is evil; both as being contrary to the word, which assures us so often that it is vain to promise ourselves long life, or prosperity in our worldly business, without God’s leave and blessing, Psalm 127:1; Proverbs 16:9, 33; and likewise as proceeding from pride and security.

[1] Greek: νῦν δὲ καυχᾶσθε ἐν ταῖς ἀλαζονείαις ὑμῶν· πᾶσα καύχησις τοιαύτη πονηρά ἐστιν.

[2] Romans 1:30:  “Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters (ἀλαζόνας), inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents…”

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

[4] Titus 1:7:  “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled (αὐθάδη), not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre…”

Leave a Comment