Blogging Through James: James 1:12-15

This semester I am taking Greek Exegesis of James with Dr. Plummer. Our final exam is coming up at the beginning of May. In preparation for this I am creating a short, running commentary on the text. For the reader of this blog it may seem that there is no rhyme or reason to what I choose to include but it is primarily covering aspects that I think will be pertinent for my final exam and what I want documented. Also see my post about the Greek vocabulary of James in formatted PDF and a flashcard app for mobile devices. Feel free to post any comments or questions or email me. The translation and notes are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Dr. Plummer.

James 1:12-15

NA28 Text
Parsing of Key Words
Definitions of Key Words (BDAG)
Grammar
Translation
Notes

NA28 Text

12 Μακάριος ἀνὴρ ὃς ὑπομένει πειρασμόν, ὅτι δόκιμος γενόμενος λήμψεται τὸν στέφανον τῆς ζωῆς ὃν ἐπηγγείλατο τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν αὐτόν. 13 μηδεὶς πειραζόμενος λεγέτω ὅτι ἀπὸ θεοῦ πειράζομαι· ὁ γὰρ θεὸς ἀπείραστός ἐστιν κακῶν, πειράζει δὲ αὐτὸς οὐδένα. 14 ἕκαστος δὲ πειράζεται ὑπὸ τῆς ἰδίας ἐπιθυμίας ἐξελκόμενος καὶ δελεαζόμενος· 15 εἶτα ἡ ἐπιθυμία συλλαβοῦσα τίκτει ἁμαρτίαν, ἡ δὲ ἁμαρτία ἀποτελεσθεῖσα ἀποκύει θάνατον.

Parsing of Key Words

The parsing in this passage is straightforward

Definitions of Key Words (BDAG)

  • δόκιμος - pertaining to being genuine on the basis of testing, approved (by test), tried and true, genuine
  • γίνομαι - has the sense to experience a change in nature and so indicate entry into a new condition . The one who is endures trials becomes approved and…
  • ἐπιθυμία - in a negative sense - a desire for something forbidden or simply inordinate, craving, lust
  • ἐξέλκω - to drag away, with connotation of initial reluctance, drag away
  • δελεάζω - to arouse someone’s interest in something. by adroit measures, lure, entice
  • συλλαβοῦσα τίκτει - together means to give birth
  • ἀποτελέω - to bring an activity to an end, bring to completion, finish

Grammar

  • Μακάριος - Wallace - (Anarthrous) First Predicate Position: When, however, the same construction has been determined from the context to express a predicate relation, the adjective is in the first (anarthrous) predicate position to the noun (e.g., ἀγαθὸς βασιλεύς = a king is good). Though much less common than the attributive relation, in equative clauses (viz., a clause in which an equative verb is stated or implied), this is not too uncommon.1
  • ὅτι - introduces a causal clausal stating the reason for the testing
  • γενόμενος - could be a causal participle (because he is approved) or adverbial (when/after he is approved). Either way the result is the same. Varner opts for a sense of both saying, “This causal/temporal clause complex points to the testing nuance of the πειρα - word group rather than the tempting aspect, which is its nuance in Jas. 1:13. Saying that one has stood the test or that he has been approved is actually another way of saying that he endures and does not become a further condition of receiving the crown.”2
  • τῆς ζωῆς - epexegetical (appositive) genitive; BDF - The use of the appositive genitive, i.e. of the genitive used in the sense of an appositive, conforms in the NT to classical usage3
  • κακῶν - genitive of means (by)
  • ἀπείραστός - Varner - The force of the verbal adjective ending in -τος is to express possibility. Coupled with the alpha privative prefix the form then connotes the idea of impossibility4
  • τίκτει and ἀποκύει are synonyms just saying “to give birth”. James is not embedding any difference by using two different words.

Translation

12 Blessed is the man who endures trials because when he is approved he will receive the crown of life, which is promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say, “I am tempted from God” because God is not tempted by evil and he tempts no one. 14 Each person is tempted when he is dragged and lured by his own desires. 15 Then when the desire is conceived it gives birth to sin and when sin runs its course it gives birth to death.

Notes

Enduring trials helps bring about the whole and complete Christian. When the believer endures these trials he will receive eternal life. This continues to show James’ idea of τέλειος. Faith and works are essential, saying one just has faith but doesn’t endures trials is disproving his faith. The believer who is who endures trials because of his faith. The wholeness of God is also present here in that later we will see that God is the giver of ever good and complete gift and here we are told that God is not tempted by evil. God is not divided therefore it is impossible for him to tempt the believer with evil. James shows the double natured aspect of the person because the believer is dragged away by his own evil desires.


  1. Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics - Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament, 310 (Zondervan Publishing House and Galaxie Software, 1999). ↩

  2. William Varner, James, ed. H. Wayne House, W. Hall Harris, III and Andrew W. Pitts, Evangelical Exegetical Commentary, Jas 1:12 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012). ↩

  3. Friedrich Blass, Albert Debrunner and Robert Walter Funk, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 92 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961). ↩

  4. William Varner, James, ed. H. Wayne House, W. Hall Harris, III and Andrew W. Pitts, Evangelical Exegetical Commentary, Jas 1:13 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012). ↩

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