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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(James: Chapter 2)

2:1 {My brethren} (adelphoi mou). Transition to a new topic as in 1:19; 2:5,14; 3:1; 5:7.
{Hold not} (mˆ echete). Present active imperative of ech“ with negative , exhortation to stop holding or not to have the habit of holding in the fashion condemned.
{The faith of our Lord Jesus Christ} (tˆn pistin tou kuriou hˆm“n Iˆsou Christou). Clearly objective genitive, not subjective (faith of), but "faith in our Lord Jesus Christ," like echete pistin theou (Mr 11:22), "have faith in God." See the same objective genitive with pistis in Ac 3:6; Ga 2:16; Ro 3:22; Re 14:12. Note also the same combination as in 1:1 "our Lord Jesus Christ" (there on a par with God).
{The Lord of Glory} (tˆs doxˆs). Simply "the Glory." No word for "Lord" (kuriou) in the Greek text. Tˆs doxˆs clearly in apposition with tou kuriou Iˆsou Christou. James thus terms "our Lord Jesus Christ" the Shekinah Glory of God. See Heb 9:5 for "the cherubim of Glory." Other New Testament passages where Jesus is pictured as the Glory are Ro 9:4; 2Co 4:6; Eph 1:17; Heb 1:3. Cf. 2Co 8:9; Php 2:5-11.
{With respect of persons} (en pros“polˆmpsiais). A Christian word, like pros“polˆmptˆs (Ac 10:34) and pros“polˆmpteite (Jas 2:9), not in LXX or any previous Greek, but made from pros“pon lambanein (Lu 20:21; Ga 2:6), which is a Hebrew idiom for "panim nasa", "to lift up the face on a person," to be favorable and so partial to him. See pros“polˆmpsia in this sense of partiality (respect of persons) in Ro 2:11; Col 3:25; Eph 6:9 (nowhere else in N.T.). Do not show partiality.

2:2 {For} (gar). An illustration of the prohibition.
{If there come in} (ean eiselthˆi). Condition of third class (supposable case) with ean and second (ingressive) aorist active subjunctive of eiserchomai.
{Into your synagogue} (eis sunag“gˆn hum“n). The common word for the gathering of Jews for worship (Lu 12:11) and particularly for the building where they met (Lu 4:15,20,28, etc.). Here the first is the probable meaning as it clearly is in Heb 10:25 (tˆn episunag“gˆn heaut“n), where the longer compound occurs. It may seem a bit odd for a Christian church (ekklˆsia) to be termed sunag“gˆ, but James is writing to Jewish Christians and this is another incidental argument for the early date. Epiphanius ("Haer". XXX. 18) states that the Ebionites call their church sunag“gˆ, not ekklˆsia. In the fourth century an inscription has sunag“gˆ for the meeting-house of certain Christians.
{A man with a gold ring} (anˆr chrusodaktulios). "A gold-fingered man," "wearing a gold ring." The word occurs nowhere else, but Lucian has chrusocheir (gold-handed) and Epictetus has chrusous daktulious (golden seal-rings). "Hannibal, after the battle of Cannae, sent as a great trophy to Carthage, three bushels of gold-rings from the fingers of Roman knights slain in battle" (Vincent).
{In fine clothing} (en esthˆti lamprƒi). "In bright (brilliant) clothing" as in Lu 23:11; Ac 10:30; Re 18:41. In contrast with "vile clothing" (en ruparƒi esthˆti), "new glossy clothes and old shabby clothes" (Hort). Ruparos (late word from rupos, filth, 1Pe 3:21) means filthy, dirty. In N.T. only here and Re 22:11 (filthy).
{Poor man} (pt“chos). Beggarly mendicant (Mt 19:21), the opposite of plousios (rich).

2:3 {And ye have regard to} (epiblepsˆte de epi). First aorist active subjunctive (still with ean of verse 2) of epiblep“, followed by repeated preposition epi, to gaze upon, old compound, in N.T. only here and Lu 1:48; 9:38.
{Weareth} (phorounta). "Wearing," present active participle of the old frequentative verb phore“ (from pher“), to bear constantly, to wear (Mt 11:8). Note repeated article tˆn (the) with esthˆta pointing to verse 2.
{And say} (kai eipˆte). Continuing the third-class condition with ean and second aorist active subjunctive of eipon.
{Sit thou here in a good place} (su kathou h“de kal“s). Emphatic position of su, "Do thou sit here in a good place." Present middle imperative of kathˆmai to sit for the literary kathˆso. See Mt 23:6 for the first seats in the synagogue (places of honour).
{And ye say to the poor man} (kai t“i pt“ch“i eipˆte). Third class condition with ean continued as before (eipˆte). Note article t“i pointing to verse 2.
{Stand thou there} (su stˆthi ekei). Second aorist (intransitive) active imperative of histˆmi, to place. Ingressive aorist, Take a stand. Su emphatic again. The MSS. vary in the position of ekei (there).
{Or sit under my footstool} (ˆ kathou hupo to hupopodion mou). For this use of hupo "down against" or "down beside" see Ex 19:17 hupo to oros ("at the foot of the mountain") and hupo se ("at thy feet") (De 33:3). Conquerors often placed their feet on the necks of the victims (Lu 20:43).

2:4 {Are ye not divided in your own mind?} (ou diekrithˆte en heautois;). First aorist (gnomic) passive indicative of diakrin“, to separate, conclusion of the third-class condition (future) in a rhetorical question in the gnomic aorist (as if past) with ou expecting an affirmative answer. For this idiom (gnomic aorist) in a conclusion of the third-class condition see 1Co 7:28. "Were ye not divided in (among) yourselves?" Cf. 1:6; Mt 21:21.
{Judges with evil thoughts} (kritai dialogism“n ponˆr“n). Descriptive genitive as in 1:25. Dialogismos is an old word for reasoning (Ro 1:21). Reasoning is not necessarily evil, but see Mt 15:19 (ponˆroi) and Mr 7:21 (kakoi) for evil reasonings, and 1Ti 2:8 without an adjective. See Jas 1:8; 4:8 for dipsuchos. They are guilty of partiality (a divided mind) as between the two strangers.

2:5 {Did not God choose?} (ouch ho theos exelexato;). Affirmative answer expected. First aorist middle (indirect, God chose for himself) indicative of ekleg“, the very form used by Paul three times of God's choice in 1Co 1:27f.
{As to the world} (t“i kosm“i). The ethical dative of interest, as the world looks at it as in Ac 7:20; 1Co 1:18; 2Co 10:4; Jas 4:4. By the use of the article (the poor) James does not affirm that God chose all the poor, but only that he did choose poor people (Mt 10:23-26; 1Co 1:26-28).
{Rich in faith} (plousious en pistei). Rich because of their faith. As he has shown in 1:9f. {Which he promised} (hˆs epeggeilato). Genitive of the accusative relative hˆn attracted to the case of the antecedent basileias (the Messianic kingdom), the same verb and idea already in 1:12 (epˆggeilato). Cf. the beatitude of Jesus in Mt 5:3 for the poor in spirit.

2:6 {But ye have dishonoured the poor man} (humeis de ˆtimasate ton pt“chon). First aorist active indicative of atimaz“, old verb from atimos, dishonoured (Mt 13:57). In the act of partiality pictured in 2:3.
{Oppress you} (katadunasteuousin hum“n). Not very common compound (katadunasteu“, present active indicative, from kata and dunastˆs, potentate, Lu 1:52), used of the devil in Ac 10:38 (only other N.T. example). Examples in papyri of harsh treatment by men in authority. Already poor Christians are feeling pressure from rich Jews as overlords.
{Drag you} (helkousin humas). Old and vigorous word for violent treatment, as of Paul in Ac 16:19; 21:30. Cf. such violence in Lu 12:58; Ac 8:3.
{Before the judgment-seats} (eis kritˆria). "To courts of justice" as in 1Co 6:2,4 (only other N.T. examples). Common in the papyri in this sense. From krin“ to judge, kritˆs (judge), place where judgment is given.

2:7 {Blaspheme} (blasphˆmousin). Present active indicative of common verb blasphˆme“ (from blasphˆmos, speaking evil, blax or blapt“ and phˆmˆ), as in Lu 22:65.
{The honourable name} (to kalon onoma). "The beautiful name."
{By the which ye were called} (to epiklˆthen eph' humƒs). "The one called upon you" (first aorist passive articular participle of epikale“, to put a name upon, to give a surname to, as Ac 10:18). What name is that? Almost certainly the name of Christ as we see it in Ac 11:26; 26:28; 1Pe 4:14,16. It was blasphemy to speak against Christ as some Jews and Gentiles were doing (Ac 13:45; 18:6; 26:11; 1Co 12:3; 1Ti 1:13). Cf. Ac 15:17.

2:8 {Howbeit} (mentoi). Probably not adversative here, but simply confirmatory, "if now," "if indeed," "if really." Common in Xenophon in this sense. See the contrast (de) in verse 9. {If ye fulfil} (ei teleite). Condition of first class, assumed as true with ei and present active indicative of tele“, old verb, to bring to completion, occurring in Ro 2:27 also with nomos (law). Jesus used plˆro“ in Mt 4:17. James has tˆre“ in 2:10.
{The royal law} (nomon basilikon). Old adjective for royal, regal (from basileus king), as of an officer (Joh 4:46). But why applied to nomos? The Romans had a phrase, "lex regia", which came from the king when they had kings. The absence of the article is common with nomos (4:11). It can mean a law fit to guide a king, or such as a king would choose, or even the king of laws. Jesus had said that on the law of love hang all the law and the prophets (Mt 22:40), and he had given the Golden Rule as the substance of the Law and the prophets (Mt 7:12). This is probably the royal law which is violated by partiality (Jas 2:3). It is in accord with the Scripture quoted here (Le 19:18) and ratified by Jesus (Lu 10:28).

2:9 {But if ye have respect of persons} (ei de pros“polˆmpteite). Condition of first class by contrast with that in verse 8. For this verb (present active indicative), formed from pros“pon lamban“, here alone in the N.T., see in 2:1. A direct reference to the partiality there pictured.
{Ye commit sin} (hamartian ergazesthe). "Ye work a sin." A serious charge, apparently, for what was regarded as a trifling fault. See Mt 7:23, hoi ergazomenoi tˆn anomian (ye that work iniquity), an apparent reminiscence of the words of Jesus there (from Ps 6:8).
{Being convicted} (elegchomenoi). Present passive participle of elegch“, to convict by proof of guilt (Joh 3:20; 8:9,46; 1Co 14:24).
{As transgressors} (h“s parabatai). For this word from parabain“, to step across, to transgress, see Ga 2:18; Ro 2:25,27. See this very sin of partiality condemned in Le 19:15; De 1:17; 16:19. To the law and to the testimony.

2:10 {Whosoever shall keep} (hostis tˆrˆsˆi). Indefinite relative clause with hostis and aorist active subjunctive of tˆre“, old verb, to guard (from tˆros guarding), as in Mt 27:36, without an (though often used, but only one example of modal ean=an in James, viz., 4:4). This modal an (ean) merely interprets the sentence as either more indefinite or more definite (Robertson, "Grammar", p. 957f.).
{And yet stumble in one point} (ptaisˆi de en heni). First aorist active subjunctive also of ptai“, old verb, to trip, as in 3:2; Ro 11:11. "It is incipient falling" (Hort).
{He is become} (gegonen). Second perfect indicative of ginomai, "he has become" by that one stumble.
{Guilty of all} (pant“n enochos). Genitive of the crime with enochos, old adjective from enech“ (to hold on or in), held in, as in Mr 3:29. This is law. To be a lawbreaker one does not have to violate all the laws, but he must keep all the law (holon ton nomon) to be a law-abiding citizen, even laws that one does not like. See Mt 5:18f. for this same principle. There is Talmudic parallel: "If a man do all, but omit one, he is guilty for all and each." This is a pertinent principle also for those who try to save themselves. But James is urging obedience to all God's laws.

2:11 {He that said} (ho eip“n) {--said also} (eipen kai). The unity of the law lies in the Lawgiver who spoke both prohibitions (mˆ and the aorist active subjunctive in each one, moicheusˆis, phoneusˆis). The order here is that of B in Ex 20 (Lu 18:20; Ro 13:9), but not in Mt 5:21,27 (with ou and future indicative).
{Now if thou dost not commit adultery, but killest} (ei de ou moicheueis, phoneueis de). Condition of first class with ou (not mˆ) because of the contrast with de, whereas ei mˆ would mean "unless," a different idea. So ou in 1:23.
{A transgressor of the law} (parabatˆs nomou) as in verse 9. Murder springs out of anger (Mt 5:21-26). People free from fleshly sins have often "made their condemnation of fleshly sins an excuse for indulgence towards spiritual sins" (Hort).

2:12 {So speak ye, and so do} (hout“s laleite kai hout“s poieite). Present active imperatives as a habit. For the combination see 1:19-21 contrasted with 1:22-25, and 1:26 with 1:27.
{By a law of liberty} (dia nomou eleutherias). The law pictured in 1:25, but law, after all, not individual caprice of "personal liberty." See Ro 2:12 for this same use of dia with krin“ in the sense of accompaniment as in Ro 2:27; 4:11; 14:20. "Under the law of liberty."

2:13 {Without mercy} (aneleos). Found here only save a doubtful papyrus example (anele“s) for the vernacular anile“s and the Attic anˆleˆs. For this principle of requital see Mt 5:7; 6:14; 7:1f.; 18:33.
{Glorieth against} (katakauchƒtai). Present middle indicative of the old compound verb katakauchaomai, to exult over (down), in N.T. only here, 3:14; Ro 11:18. Only mercy can triumph over justice with God and men. "Mercy is clothed with the divine glory and stands by the throne of God" (Chrysostom). See Ro 8:31-39; Mt 9:13; 12:7.

2:14 {What doth it profit?} (ti ophelos;). Rhetorical question, almost of impatience. Old word from ophell“, to increase, in N.T. only here, verse 16; 1Co 15:32. "Ti ophelos was a common expression in the vivacious style of a moral diatribe" (Ropes). {If a man say} (ean legˆi tis). Condition of third class with ean and the present active subjunctive of leg“, "if one keep on saying."
{He hath faith} (pistin echein). Infinitive in indirect assertion after legˆi.
{But have not works} (erga de mˆ echˆi). Third-class condition continued, "but keeps on not having (mˆ and present active subjunctive echˆi) works." It is the spurious claim to faith that James here condemns.
{Can that faith save him?} (mˆ dunatai hˆ pistis s“sai auton;). Negative answer expected (mˆ). Effective aorist active infinitive s“sai (from s“z“). The article here is almost demonstrative in force as it is in origin, referring to the claim of faith without works just made.

2:15 {If a brother or sister be naked} (ean adelphos ˆ adelphˆ gumnoi huparch“sin). Condition again of third class (supposable case) with ean and present active subjunctive of huparch“, to exist, in the plural though ˆ (or) is used and not kai (and). Hence gumnoi is masculine plural in the predicate nominative. It does not here mean absolutely naked, but without sufficient clothing as in Mt 25:36ff.; Joh 21:7; Ac 19:16.
{In lack of daily food} (leipomenoi tˆs ephˆmerou trophˆs). Present passive participle of leip“ and ablative case trophˆs like leipetai sophias (1:5). The old adjective ephˆmeros (ho epi hˆmeran “n, that which is for a day) occurs here only in the N.T., though ephˆmeria (daily routine) is found in Lu 1:5,8. This phrase occurs in Diodorus, but not in LXX.

2:16 {And one of you say unto them} (eipˆi de tis autois ex hum“n). Third-class condition again continued from verse 15 with second aorist active subjunctive eipˆi.
{Go in peace} (hupagete en eirˆnˆi). Present active imperative of hupag“. Common Jewish farewell (Jud 18:6; 1Sa 1:17; 20:42; 2Sa 15:9). Used by Jesus (Mr 5:34; Lu 7:50).
{Be ye warmed and filled} (thermainesthe kai chortazesthe). Present imperative either middle (direct) or passive. We have thermainomai as a direct middle in Joh 18:18 (were warming themselves) and that makes good sense here: "Warm yourselves." Chortaz“ was originally used for pasturing cattle, but came to be used of men also as here. "Feed yourselves" (if middle, as is likely). Instead of warm clothes and satisfying food they get only empty words to look out for themselves.
{And yet ye give not} (mˆ d“te de). Third-class condition with de (and yet) and and the second aorist active subjunctive of did“mi, to give, cold deeds with warm words.
{The things needful to the body} (ta epitˆdeia tou s“matos). "The necessities of the body" (the necessaries of life). Old adjective from adverb epitˆdes (enough), only here in N.T.
{What doth it profit?} (ti ophelos;). As in verse 14 and here the conclusion (apodosis) of the long condition begun in verse 15.

2:17 {If it have not works} (ean mˆ echˆi erga). Another condition of the third class with ean and and the present active subjunctive of ech“, "if it keep on not having works." {In itself} (kath' heautˆn). In and of itself (according to itself), inwardly and outwardly dead (nekra). Same idiom in Ac 28:16; Ro 14:22. It is a dead faith.

2:18 {Yea, a man will say} (all' erei tis). Future active of eipon. But all' here is almost certainly adversative (But some one will say), not confirmatory. James introduces an imaginary objector who speaks one sentence: "Thou hast faith and I have works" (Su pistin echeis kag“ erga ech“). Then James answers this objector. The objector can be regarded as asking a short question: "Hast thou faith?" In that case James replies: "I have works also."
{Show me thy faith apart from thy works} (deixon moi tˆn pistin sou ch“ris t“n erg“n). This is the reply of James to the objector. First aorist active imperative of deiknumi, tense of urgency. The point lies in ch“ris, which means not "without," but "apart from," as in Heb 11:6 (with the ablative case), "the works that properly belong to it and should characterise it" (Hort). James challenges the objector to do this.
{And I by my works will shew thee my faith} (kag“ soi deix“ ek t“n erg“n mou tˆn pistin). It is not faith "or" works, but proof of real faith (live faith "vs". dead faith). The mere profession of faith with no works or profession of faith shown to be alive by works. This is the alternative clearly stated. Note pistin (faith) in both cases. James is not here discussing "works" (ceremonial works) as a means of salvation as Paul in Ga 3; Ro 4, but works as proof of faith.

2:19 {Thou believest that God is one} (su pisteueis hoti heis theos estin). James goes on with his reply and takes up mere creed apart from works, belief that God exists (there is one God), a fundamental doctrine, but that is not belief or trust in God. It may be mere creed.
{Thou doest well} (kal“s poieis). That is good as far as it goes, which is not far.
{The demons also believe} (kai ta daimonia pisteuousin). They go that far (the same verb pisteu“). They never doubt the fact of God's existence.
{And shudder} (kai phrissousin). Present active indicative of phriss“, old onomatopoetic verb to bristle up, to shudder, only here in N.T. Like Latin "horreo" (horror, standing of the hair on end with terror). The demons do more than believe a fact. They shudder at it.

2:20 {But wilt thou know?} (theleis de gn“nai?). "But dost thou wish to know?" Ingressive aorist active infinitive of ginosk“ (come to know). James here introduces a new argument like Ro 13:3.
{O vain man} (“ anthr“pe kene). Goes on with the singular objector and demolishes him. For "empty" (deficient) Paul uses aphr“n (fool) in 1Co 15:36 and just anthr“pe in Ro 2:1; 9:20.
{Barren} (arge). See 2Pe 1:8 (not idle nor unfruitful) and Mt 12:36, but Hort urges "inactive" as the idea here, like money with no interest and land with no crops.

2:21 {Justified by works} (ex erg“n edikai“thˆ). First aorist passive indicative of dikaio“ (see Galatians and Romans for this verb, to declare righteous, to set right) in a question with ouk expecting an affirmative answer. This is the phrase that is often held to be flatly opposed to Paul's statement in Ro 4:1-5, where Paul pointedly says that it was the faith of Abraham (Ro 4:9) that was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness, not his works. But Paul is talking about the faith of Abraham before his circumcision (4:10) as the basis of his being set right with God, which faith is symbolized in the circumcision. James makes plain his meaning also.
{In that he offered up Isaac his son upon the altar} (anenegkas Isaak ton huion autou epi to thusiastˆrion). They use the same words, but they are talking of different acts. James points to the offering (anenegkas second aorist--with first aorist ending--active participle of anapher“) of Isaac on the altar (Ge 22:16f.) as "proof" of the faith that Abraham already had. Paul discusses Abraham's faith as the basis of his justification, that and not his circumcision. There is no contradiction at all between James and Paul. Neither is answering the other. Paul may or may not have seen the Epistle of James, who stood by him loyally in the Conference in Jerusalem (Ac 15; Ga 2).

2:22 {Thou seest} (blepeis). Obvious enough with any eyes to see. This may be a question, seest thou? {Wrought with} (sunˆrgei). Imperfect active of sunerge“, old verb for which see Ro 8:28. Followed by associative-instrumental case ergois. Faith cooperated with the deed of offering up Isaac. {Was made perfect} (etelei“thˆ). First aorist passive indicative of teleio“, to carry to the end, to complete like love in 1Jo 4:18. See Jas 1:4 for teleion ergon.

2:23 {Was fulfilled} (eplˆr“thˆ). First aorist passive indicative of plˆro“, the usual verb for fulfilling Scripture. So James quotes Ge 15:6 as proving his point in verse 21 that Abraham had works with his faith, the very same passage that Paul quotes in Ro 4:3 to show that Abraham's faith preceded his circumcision and was the basis of his justification. And both James and Paul are right, each to illustrate a different point. {And he was called the friend of God} (kai philos theou eklˆthˆ). First aorist passive indicative of kalˆo. Not a part of the Scripture quoted. Philo calls Abraham the friend of God and see "Jubilees" 19:9; 30:20. The Arabs today speak of Abraham as God's friend. It was evidently a common description before James used it, as in Isa 41:8; 2Ch 20:7.

2:24 {Ye see} (horƒte). Present indicative active of hora“. Now he uses the plural again as in 2:14.
{Is justified} (dikaioutai). Present passive indicative of dikaio“, here not "is made righteous," but "is shown to be righteous." James is discussing the proof of faith, not the initial act of being set right with God (Paul's idea in Ro 4:1-10).
{And not only by faith} (kai ouk ek piste“s monon). This phrase clears up the meaning of James. Faith (live faith) is what we must all have (2:18), only it must shew itself also in deeds as Abraham's did.

2:25 {Rahab the harlot} (Raab hˆ pornˆ). Her vicious life she left behind, but the name clung to her always. For our purposes the argument of James may seem stronger without the example of Rahab (Jos 2:1-21; 6:17; 22-25; Mt 1:5; Heb 11:31). It is even said in Jewish Midrash that Rahab married Joshua and became an ancestor of Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
{In that she received} (hupodexamenˆ). First aorist middle participle of hupodechomai, to welcome.
{The messengers} (tous aggelous). Original meaning of aggelos (Mt 11:10). In Heb 11:31 we have kataskopous (spies, scouts).
{Sent out} (ekbalousa). Second aorist active participle of ekball“, to hurl out. {Another way} (heterƒi hod“i). "By another way" (instrumental case), by a window instead of a door (Jos 2:15f.).

2:26 {Apart from the spirit} (ch“ris pneumatos). "Apart from breath" (the breath of life). It is not easy to tell when one is dead, but the absence of a sign of breath on a glass before the mouth and nose is proof of death. Startling picture of dead faith in our churches and church members with only a name to live (Re 3:2).

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(James: Chapter 2)

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