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.
5 Εἰ δέ τις ὑμῶν λείπεται σοφίας, αἰτείτω παρὰ τοῦ διδόντος θεοῦ πᾶσιν ἁπλῶς καὶ μὴ ὀνειδίζοντος, καὶ δοθήσεται αὐτῷ. 6 αἰτείτω δὲ ἐν πίστει μηδὲν διακρινόμενος· ὁ γὰρ διακρινόμενος ἔοικεν κλύδωνι θαλάσσης ἀνεμιζομένῳ καὶ ῥιπιζομένῳ. 7 μὴ γὰρ οἰέσθω ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος ὅτι λήμψεταί τι παρὰ τοῦ κυρίου, 8 ἀνὴρ δίψυχος, ἀκατάστατος ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ὁδοῖς αὐτοῦ.
If anyone is lacking wisdom, let him ask from God who gives without hesitation and reproach and it will be given to him. Let him ask in faith without doubting. For the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea being tossed and driven by the wind. For this man does not supposed that he will lack anything from the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.
The idea of wisdom and wholeness intersect here. Wisdom is the God given ability to make choices in situations. A whole person is one where his whole being is dedicated to God, this includes seeking the wisdom from above in faith. Wisdom plays a prominent role in James and it is a good and complete gift given from God with a single intent. If one is doubting the God who gives it reveals a heart that is “double-minded” and he is a person who is trying to use both worldly wisdom and God given wisdom. God desires us to be wholly dedicated to him and this should reflect the believers action in requesting wisdom from God.
This meaning certainly fits in with James’ call for singleness and his aversion to doubleness throughout his discourse. In other words, God’s willingness to give “without hesitation” contrasts vividly with the unanswered prayers of the person who prays “with hesitation.” With this support from sources outside the NT and also from the context, it is difficult to understand why the versions still cling to the “generously” translation. William Varner, James, ed. H. Wayne House, W. Hall Harris, III and Andrew W. Pitts, Evangelical Exegetical Commentary, Jas 1:5 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012). ↩
William Varner, James, ed. H. Wayne House, W. Hall Harris, III and Andrew W. Pitts, Evangelical Exegetical Commentary, Jas 1:8 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012). ↩
For the punctuation of v. 8 see Varner on James 1:8 ↩
Download the PDF here