James 1:12
Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12-18) The Apostle returns to the consideration of the afflicted Christian. Such a one has a blessedness, greater infinitely than any earthly happiness, already in possession, and the promise of a future beyond all comparison.

It may be well to point out in this place that the idea of blessedness with regard to man is conveyed to us in the New Testament by a different word from that which expresses the like concerning God. The force of this may be seen in Mark 14:61, where the high priest asks our Lord, “Art Thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” i.e., the Blessed God, to show which the adjective is rightly printed with a capital letter. The word applied to God—as in Luke 1:68; Romans 1:25; Romans 9:5; 2Corinthians 1:3; 2Corinthians 11:31; Ephesians 1:3; 1Peter 1:3—may be almost called a Christian one; at least, it is not found in much earlier writings, whereas the other term descriptive of man’s blessedness (or rather, happiness) is ancient and classical. Only in one passage (1Timothy 1:11) is there an exception to this remarkable distinction; and such may well be considered, as it is by the German critic De Wette, un-pauline, though on no such a single instance, or even several such, could the superstructure be built that has been raised up by those who deny the genuineness of the Pastoral Epistles.

(12) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation.—Surely the Apostle links such blessedness with the nine Beatitudes, heard in the happy days gone by upon the Mount with Christ (Matthew 5:3-11). The words he uses in the original are the same as those which are expressed above, in our second, third, and fourth verses, by “patience” and “trials,” and mean a firm endurance, steadfastness, tenacity of purpose, and quenchless enthusiasm, such as men of Teutonic blood can appreciate perhaps even better than could either Greek or Jew.

For when he is tried (literally, proved, or tested, and found worthy) he shall receive the crown of life, (i.e., the life) which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.—“Lord” is not found in the best MSS., but of course is required by the sense of the passage. Probably in this case, as in so many others, a little note—or “gloss,” as it is called—was made on the margin of an early manuscript, and included unwittingly in the text by some later copyist.

The “pride” and “beauty” of the worldling are as “a fading flower” (Isaiah 28:1) under the scorching sun; but the unfading, ever-living crown is for the spiritual, the true lovers of their Lord: blessed in truth are they who thus endure the trial. “Therefore,” says the Book of Wisdom (James 5:16), “shall they receive a glorious kingdom, and a beautiful crown from the Lord’s hand.” “The righteous live for evermore” (Wisdom Of Solomon 5:15).

James

THE CROWN

Jam 1:12.

MY purpose is to bring out the elements of the blessed life here, by grouping together those New Testament passages which represent the future reward under the metaphor of the ‘crown,’ and so to gain, if not a complete, at all events a comprehensive view of the elements of the blessedness of the perfected life hereafter.

These passages are numerous. Paul speaks of ‘the incorruptible crown,’ the reward of the victorious athlete, and of ‘the crown of righteousness,’ the anticipation of which soothed and elevated his last solitary hours. Peter speaks of the ‘crown of glory,’ the reward of the faithful elders. James speaks in my text of the ‘crown of life’ which the man wins who is proved by trial and stands the proof. The martyr Church at Smyrna is encouraged to faithfulness ‘unto death’ by the promise of the ‘crown of life’ from the hands of the Lord of life. The angel of the Church at Philadelphia is stimulated to ‘hold fast what thou hast, that no man take thy crown.’ The elders ‘cast their crowns before the throne.’ If we throw all these passages together, and study their combined effect, we shall, I think, get some helpful and stimulating thoughts.

I. I ask you, then, first to look with me at the general idea conveyed by the symbol.

Now the word which is employed in the passages to which we have referred is not that which usually denotes a kingly crown, but that which indicates the garland or wreath or chaplet of festivity and victory. A twist of myrtle or parsley or pine was twined round the brows of the athlete flushed with effort and victory. The laurel is the ‘meed of mighty conquerors.’ Roses, with violets or ivy, sat upon the brows of revellers. And it is thoughts of these rather than of the kingly tiara which is in the mind of the New Testament writers; though the latter, as we shall see, has also to be included.

So we get three general ideals on which I touch very lightly, as conveyed by the emblem.

The first is that of victory recognised and publicly honoured. So Paul uses the symbol in this sense in both the instances of its occurrence to which we have already referred, the reward of the racer or athlete in the paloestrum, and the ‘crown of righteousness’ which was to follow his having ‘fought the good fight, and finished his course.’ That implies that the present is the wrestling ground, and that the issues of the present lie beyond the present.

We do not look for flowers on the hard-beaten soil of the arena; and the time of conflict is no time for seeking for delights. If the crown be yonder, then here must be the struggle; and it must be our task ‘to scorn delights and live laborious days’ if we are ever to find that blessed result and reward of life here. We have, then, the general idea of victory recognised and publicly honoured by the tumult of acclaim of the surrounding spectators. ‘I will confess His name before the angels of God.’

Then there is the other general idea of festal gladness. That, I suppose, is what was present particularly to Peter’s mind when he talked about ‘the wreath that fadeth not away.’ I think that there is in his words a probable reference to a striking Old Testament passage, in which the prophet takes the drooping flowers on the foreheads of the drunkards of Samaria at their feast as an emblem of the swift fading of their delights, and of the impending destruction of their polity. But, says Peter, this wreath fades never. The flowers of heaven do not droop. It is an emblem of the calm and permanent delights which come to those behind whom is change with its sadness, and before whom stretches progress with its blessedness. Festal gladness, society, and the satisfaction of all desires are included in the meaning of the wreathed amaranthine flowers that twine round immortal brows.

But the usage in the Book of the Apocalypse stands upon a somewhat different footing. There are no Gentile images there. We hear nothing about Grecian games and heathen wrestlings in that book; but all moves within the circle of Jewish thought. That the word which is employed for ‘the crown,’ though it usually meant the victors ‘and the feasters’ chaplet, sometimes also meant the king’s crown of sovereignty, is obvious from one or two of its uses in Scripture. For the ‘crown of thorns’ was a mockery of royalty, and the ‘golden crowns’ which the elders wear in the vision are associated with the thrones upon which they sit, as emblems, not of festal gladness or of triumphant emergence from the struggles and toils of life, but as symbols of royalty and dominion. The characteristic note of the promises of the Revelation is that of Christ’s servants’ participation in the royalty of their Lord. So to the other two general ideas which I have deduced from the symbol we must add for completeness this third one, that it shadows, in some of the instances of its use at all events, though by no means in all, the royalty so mysterious, by which every one of Christ’s ‘brethren is like the children of a king,’ and all are so closely united to Him that they participate in His dominion over all creatures and things. Dominion over self, dominion over the universe, a rule mysterious and ineffable which is also service, cheerful and continuous, are contained in the emblem.

So these three general ideas, victory, festal gladness and abundance, royalty and sovereignty, are taught us by this symbol of the crown.

II. Now, secondly, note more particularly the constituent parts of that chaplet of blessedness.

There are two phrases as to these, amongst the passages with which we are now concerned. St. James and the Book of Revelation speak of the ‘crown of life,’ and Peter speaks of the ‘crown of glory.’ That is to say, the material of which the garland is composed is no perishable pine or myrtle, but it is woven, as it were, of ‘ life’ on the one hand, of glory on the other. Or, if we do not venture upon such a violent metaphor as that, we can at least say that the crown’s life and glory.

Now, as to the first of these - what dim and great thoughts are taught us in it! ‘Life,’ in the New Testament, does not mean bare existence, but in its highest sense pure and blessed existence in union with God. And such life - full, perfect, continual - is regarded as being in itself the crown and reward of faithful Christian living here below. In our experience life is often a burden, a weariness, a care. If it be a crown, it is a crown of thorns. But yonder, to live will be blessedness; being will be well-being. The reward of heaven will simply be the fact of living in God. Here life comes painfully trickling, as it were, in single drops through a narrow rift in the rock; yonder it will spread a broad bosom, flashing beneath the sunshine. Here the plant grows strugglingly in some dusty cleft, amidst uncongenial surroundings, and with only occasional gleams of sunlight; its leaves are small, its stem feeble, its blossoms pallid; yonder it will be rooted in rich soil and shone upon by an unclouded sun, and will burst into flowers and forms of beauty that we know nothing of here. Life is the crown.

Then it is a crown of glory. What is glory? The splendour of God’s character manifested to His creatures and become the object of their admiration. That is the full meaning of glory in the Old and in the New Testament. And all that is transferred to those who cleave to Him here and are perfected yonder. There will be complete perfection of nature. ‘We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.’ The inmost and deepest beauty of redeemed and perfected souls will then be capable of being manifested fully. Here it struggles for expression, and what we seem to be, though it is often better, is just as often much worse than we really are. But there we shall be able to show ourselves as what in our deepest hearts we are. For the servants who, girt with priestly vestments, do Him sacerdotal service in the highest temple, have His name blazing upon their foreheads, and shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. The redeemed souls, transmuted into the likeness of the Lord, and made visible in the flashing splendour of their gentle radiance, shall be beheld with the wonder with which all other creatures gaze on Him who is the Lord and Source of their purity, and ‘ if so be that we suffer with Him, we shall be also glorified together.’

But why speak of what we know as little about as the unborn child does of the world, or the caterpillar of its future life when winged and painted and basking in the sunshine? Let us bow before the ignorance which is the prophecy and pledge of the transcendent greatness that lies behind the veil, and say, ‘It is enough for the servant that he be as his Lord.’



III. Now, thirdly, note the conditions of the crown.


These are variously put with a rich variety. Paul speaks, as you remember, of ‘the crown of righteousness,’ by which he means to imply that on impure brows it can never sit, and that, if it could, it would be there a crown of poisoned thorns. None but the righteous can wear it. That is the first and prime indispensable condition. But then there are others stated in the other passages to which we have referred. The wrestler must ‘strive lawfully,’ according to the rules of the arena, if he is to be crowned. The man that is tried must ‘endure his temptation,’ and come out of it ‘proved’ thereby, as gold is tried by the fire. The martyr must be willing to die, if need be, for fidelity to his Master. We must’ hold fast that which we have’ if we are ever to win that which, as yet, we have not, even the crown that ought to be ours, and so is by anticipation called ours.

But two of the passages to which I have referred add yet another kind of condition and requirement. Paul says, ‘Not to me only, but to all them also that love His appearing’; and James here says that the man who is tried will receive the crown ‘which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.’ So it is not difficult to make out the sequence of these several conditions. Fundamental to all is love to Jesus Christ. That is the beginning of everything. Then, built upon that, for His dear sake, the manful wrestling with temptations and with difficulties, long-breathed running, and continual aspiration after the things that are before, fidelity, if need be, unto death, and a grim tenacity of grasp of the truth and the blessings already bestowed. These things are needed. And then as the result of the love that grasps Christ with hooks of flesh, which are stronger than hooks of steel, and will not let Him go, and as the result of the efforts and struggles and discipline which flow from that love to Him, there must be a righteousness which conforms to His image and is the gift of His indwelling Spirit. These are the conditions on which the crown may be ours.

Such righteousness may be imperfect here upon earth, and when we look upon ourselves we may feel as if there were nothing in us that deserves, or that even can bear, the crown to be laid upon our brows. But if the process have been begun here by love and struggling, and reception of His grace, death will perfect it, But death will not begin it if it have not been commenced in life. We may hope that if we have our faces set towards the Lord, and our poor imperfect steps have been stumbling towards Him through all the confusions and mists of flesh and sense, our course will be wonderfully straightened and accelerated when we ‘shuffle off this mortal coil.’ But there is no sanctifying in death for a man who is not a Christian whilst he lives, and the crown will only come to those whose righteousness began with repentance, and was made complete by passing through the dark valley of death.

IV. Lastly, note the giver of the crown.

‘Which the Lord hath promised,’ ‘which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me in that day.’ ‘I will give him a crown of life.’ So Jesus Christ, as Judge, as Brother, as Distributer of the eternal conditions of men, as indwelling in us and making us sharers of all that is His, bestows upon His servants the crown. Yet, let us remember that He does not give it in such a fashion as that the gift may be taken once for all and worn thereafter, independent of Him. It must be a continual communication, all through eternal ages, and right on into the abysses of celestial glories - a continual communication from His ever-opened hand. The energy of a present Christ bestowing at the moment {if there be moments in that dim future} is the condition of the crown’s continued gleaming on brows that have worn it for ages, to which geological periods are but as the beat of a pendulum. Like the rainbow that continues permanently above the cater-act, and yet at each moment is fed by new spray from the stream, so the crown upon our heads will be the consequence of the continual influx into redeemed souls of the very life of Christ Himself.

So, dear brethren, all ends as all begins, with cleaving to Him, and drawing from His fulness grace whilst we need grace, and glory when we are fit for glory. Strength for the conflict and the reward of the victory come from the same hand, and are ours on the same conditions. He who covers our heads in the day of battle is He who wreathes the garland on the conqueror’s brow and keeps its flowers unfading through eternal ages. ‘On His head are many crowns,’ which He bestows upon His followers, and all the heaven of His servants is their share in His heaven. If, then, we love Him, if for His dear sake we manfully strive in the conflict, patiently accept the ministry of trial, discipline ourselves as athletes are willing to do for a poor parsley wreath, hold fast that which we have, and by faith, effort, and prayer, receive of His righteousness here, then the grave will be but as the dressing-room where we shall put off our soiled raiment and on our white robe; and thus apparelled, even we, unworthy, shall hear from Him, ‘I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’James 1:12. Blessed Μακαριος, happy, is the man that endureth temptation — Trials of various kinds, patiently and perseveringly; for when he is tried — Δοκιμος γενομενος, being approved on trial, he shall receive the crown of eternal life, which the Lord Christ hath promised to them that love him — And express their love by such fidelity and zeal.1:12-18 It is not every man who suffers, that is blessed; but he who with patience and constancy goes through all difficulties in the way of duty. Afflictions cannot make us miserable, if it be not our own fault. The tried Christian shall be a crowned one. The crown of life is promised to all who have the love of God reigning in their hearts. Every soul that truly loves God, shall have its trials in this world fully recompensed in that world above, where love is made perfect. The commands of God, and the dealings of his providence, try men's hearts, and show the dispositions which prevail in them. But nothing sinful in the heart or conduct can be ascribed to God. He is not the author of the dross, though his fiery trial exposes it. Those who lay the blame of sin, either upon their constitution, or upon their condition in the world, or pretend they cannot keep from sinning, wrong God as if he were the author of sin. Afflictions, as sent by God, are designed to draw out our graces, but not our corruptions. The origin of evil and temptation is in our own hearts. Stop the beginnings of sin, or all the evils that follow must be wholly charged upon us. God has no pleasure in the death of men, as he has no hand in their sin; but both sin and misery are owing to themselves. As the sun is the same in nature and influences, though the earth and clouds, often coming between, make it seem to us to vary, so God is unchangeable, and our changes and shadows are not from any changes or alterations in him. What the sun is in nature, God is in grace, providence, and glory; and infinitely more. As every good gift is from God, so particularly our being born again, and all its holy, happy consequences come from him. A true Christian becomes as different a person from what he was before the renewing influences of Divine grace, as if he were formed over again. We should devote all our faculties to God's service, that we may be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.Blessed is the man that endureth temptation - The apostle seems here to use the word "temptation" in the most general sense, as denoting anything that will try the reality of religion, whether affliction, or persecution, or a direct inducement to sin placed before the mind. The word temptation appears in this chapter to be used in two senses; and the question may arise, why the apostle so employs it. Compare James 1:2, James 1:13. But, in fact, the word "temptation" is in itself of so general a character as to cover the whole usage, and to justify the manner in which it is employed. It denotes anything that will try or test the reality of our religion; and it may be applied, therefore, either to afflictions or to direct solicitations to sin - the latter being the sense in which it is now commonly employed. In another respect, also, essentially the same idea enters into both the ways in which the word is employed.

Affliction, persecution, sickness, etc., may be regarded as, in a certain sense, temptations to sin; that is, the question comes before us whether we will adhere to the religion on account of which we are persecuted, or apostatize from it, and escape these sufferings; whether in sickness and losses we will be patient and submissive to that God who lays his hand upon us, or revolt and murmur. In each and every case, whether by affliction, or by direct allurements to do wrong, the question comes before the mind whether we have religion enough to keep us, or whether we will yield to murmuring, to rebellion, and to sin. In these respects, in a general sense, all forms of trial may be regarded as temptation. Yet in the following verse James 1:13 the apostle would guard this from abuse. So far as the form of trial involved an allurement or inducement to sin, he says that no man should regard it as from God. That cannot be his design. The trial is what he aims at, not the sin. In the verse before us he says, that whatever may be the form of the trial, a Christian should rejoice in it, for it will furnish an evidence that he is a child of God.

For when he is tried - In any way - if he bears the trial.

He shall receive the crown of life - See the notes at 2 Timothy 4:8. It is possible that James had that passage in his eye Compare the Introduction, 5.

Which the Lord hath promised - The sacred writers often speak of such a crown as promised, or as in reserve for the children of God. 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:11; Revelation 4:4.

Them that love him - A common expression to denote those who are truly pious, or who are his friends. It is sufficiently distinctive to characterize them, for the great mass of men do not love God. Compare Romans 1:30.

12. Blessed—Compare the beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:4, 10, 11).

endureth temptation—not the "falling into divers temptations" (Jas 1:2) is the matter for "joy," but the enduring of temptation "unto the end." Compare Job 5:17.

when he is tried—literally, "when he has become tested" or "approved," when he has passed through the "trying" (Jas 1:3), his "faith" having finally gained the victory.

the crown—not in allusion to the crown or garland given to winners in the games; for this, though a natural allusion for Paul in writing to the heathen, among whom such games existed, would be less appropriate for James in addressing the Jewish Christians, who regarded Gentile usages with aversion.

of life—"life" constitutes the crown, literally, the life, the only true life, the highest and eternal life. The crown implies a kingdom (Ps 21:3).

the Lord—not found in the best manuscripts and versions. The believer's heart fills up the omission, without the name needing to be mentioned. The "faithful One who promised" (Heb 10:23).

to them that love him—In 2Ti 4:8, "the crown of righteousness to them that love His appearing." Love produces patient endurance: none attest their love more than they who suffer for Him.

Blessed is the man theft endureth; holds out against the assaults and impressions of temptations with patience and constancy, Jam 5:11 Hebrews 12:5,7.

Temptations; afflictions, as Jam 1:2.

For when he is tried; approved, and found upon the trial to be sound in the faith: a metaphor taken from metals tried by fire, and found pure.

He shall receive the crown of life; so the heavenly glory is called, Revelation 2:10, either because it is not to be had but in eternal life, or because of its duration and not fading away, 1 Peter 5:4.

Which the Lord hath promised: this shows on what gronnd it is to be expected, viz. on the account of the promise, and how sure we may be of it.

To them that love him; i.e. all true believers, whose faith, and thereby title to the crown, is evidenced by love, which is the fulfilling of the law.

Objection. Why not, promised to them that suffer for Christ, of whom he here speaks?

Answer. That is implied, for none have him more, or evidence their love to him more, than they, that suffer for him. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation,.... Or affliction, which is designed by temptation, as in James 1:2 and the man that endures it is he that so bears it, and bears up under it, as not to be offended at it, and stumble in the ways of Christ, and fall away from the truth, and a profession of it, as temporary believers in a time of temptation do; but manfully and bravely stands up under it, and does not sink under the weight of it, or faint on account of it; and endures afflictions in such manner as not to murmur and repine at them, but is quiet and still, and bears them patiently and constantly, and so endures to the end. Such expect afflictions, and when they come, they are not moved by them, but, notwithstanding them, continue in the ways and work of the Lord; and such are happy persons; they are happy now, and shall be hereafter. Saints are happy under afflictions, and even on account of them, for they are tokens of God's love to them, and evidences of their sonship; and especially they are happy under them, when they enjoy the presence of God in them, when they are instructive to them, and are saner, lifted, when they learn from them the useful lessons of faith, patience, humility, and resignation to the will of God, and are made more partakers of his holiness; and they will be happy hereafter, as follows. The Jews have a saying (h) much like this,

""blessed" is the man, , "who stands in his temptation", for there is no creature whom the holy blessed God does not tempt.''

For when he is tried; by the fire of afflictions, as gold is tried in the fire; when God hereby has tried what is in his heart, and the truth of grace in him, as faith, love, patience, &c. and has purged away his dross and tin, and has refined and purified him, as gold and silver are refined and purified in the furnace, or refining pot: and when being thus tried and proved, and found genuine, and comes forth as gold, after this state of temptation and affliction is over,

he shall receive the crown of life, eternal happiness, called a "crown", because of the glory of it, which will be both upon the bodies and souls of believers to all eternity; and as suitable to their character, they being kings, and having a kingdom and thrones prepared for them; and in allusion to the crown that was given to the conquerors in the Olympic games: and it is called a "crown of life", because it is for life, which an earthly crown is not always; and because it lies in eternal life, and is an everlasting crown; it is a crown of glory that fadeth not away, an incorruptible one; and differs from the corruptible crown given to the victors in the above mentioned games, which were made of fading herbs, and leaves of trees: and now the man that bears up under afflictions, and holds out unto the end, shall have this crown put upon him, and he shall "receive it"; not as merited by him, by his works or sufferings, for neither of them are worthy to be compared or mentioned with this crown of life and glory; but as the free gift of God, as it will be given him by the righteous Judge, as a reward of grace, and not of debt:

which the Lord hath promised to them that love him; either the Lord Jesus Christ, as in Matthew 5:10 or else God the Father; the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions, read, "God"; and the Alexandrian copy leaves out the word "Lord", which may be supplied by the word God; see James 2:5 and this promise he made before the world was, who cannot lie, nor deceive, and who is able to perform, and is faithful, and will never suffer his faithfulness to fail; so that this happiness is certain, and may be depended upon: besides, the promise of this crown of life is in Christ, where all the promises are yea and amen; yea, the crown itself is in his hands, where it lies safe and secure for "them that love him"; either the Lord Jesus Christ, his person, his people, his truths, and ordinances, and his glorious appearing, 2 Timothy 4:8 or God the Father; not that their love is the cause of this crown of life, or eternal life, for then it would not be the free gift of God, as it is said to be; nor of the promise of it, for that was made before the world was, and when they had no love unto him; but this phrase is descriptive of the persons to whom God manifests his love now, admits to near communion and fellowship with himself, makes all things, even their afflictions, to work for their good, and whom he will cause to inherit substance, and will fill their treasures.

(h) Shemot. Rabba, sect. 34. fol. 133. 3.

{10} Blessed is the man that endureth {l} temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

(10) The conclusion: Therefore we must patiently bear the affliction: and he adds a fourth argument, which comprehends the sum of all the former, that is, we gain the crown of life in this way, yet by grace according to the promise.

(l) Affliction, by which the Lord tries him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Jam 1:12. Whilst the rich man is condemned in the judgment, the ἀδελφὸς ὁ ταπεινός, who suffers the πειρασμόν proceeding from the rich man, is blessed. This blessedness forms the conclusion of the series of thought begun at Jam 1:2. To μακάριος ἀνήρ (see Psalm 1:1, and frequently in O. T.) not ἔστω, but ἐστί is to be supplied. No special emphasis is to be put on ἀνήρ; comp. Jam 1:8; Jam 1:20; incorrectly Thomas: beatus vir, non mollis vel effoeminatus, sed vir; and not less incorrectly Lange, who explains ἀνήρ here as he does in Jam 1:8. ὂς ὑπομένει πειρασμόν] is not = ὃς πειρασμοῖς περιπίπτει or ὃς πειρασμὸν πάσχει (Hottinger); comp. Jam 1:3; it is the man who does not succumb to the temptations which he has to endure. Laurentius: aliud est ferre crucem, aliud preferre. To supply ὄταν περιπέσῃ (Wiesinger) is unnecessary.

The following sentence beginning with ὅτι adduces the reason of the μακαρισμός: for being approved, he will receive the crown of life. By δόκιμος γενόμενος] is given not so much the condition as the cause, why he that endureth temptation will receive the crown of life; the being approved is the consequence of ὑπομένειν πειρασμόν.

δόκιμος is not, with Krebs, Lösner, Augusti, Pott, and others, to be referred as a figurative expression to the trial preceding the contests of athletes; but if a conscious figurative reference is to be assumed at all (which de Wette, Brückner, and Wiesinger not without reason consider as doubtful), it is to be referred to the purification of metals by fire (Hornejus, Gebser, Schneckenburger, Theile, and others[62]). In ΤῸΝ ΣΤΈΦΑΝΟΝ Τῆς ΖΩῆς] (“not the crown which is peculiar to eternal life, i.e. which is imparted to it,” Gunkel) τῆς ζωῆς is not the genitive of possession (Lange), but of apposition: ΖΩΉ, i.e. the eternal blessed life, is itself the crown of glory with which he that endures is adorned; comp. Revelation 2:10; 1 Peter 5:4; 2 Timothy 4:8. It is at least doubtful if there is here any allusion to the reward of the victor in the Greek games,—which is maintained by Zwingli, Michaelis, Hensler, Pott, de Wette, Wiesinger, and others, and contested by Semler, Augusti, Schneckenburger, Hottinger, Theile, Brückner, and others,—as even among the Jews, without any reference to a contest, a crown or diadem is regarded as the symbol of peculiar honour; comp. besides Psalm 21:4 (Brückner), especially Wisdom of Solomon Jam 5:16, 17: δίκαιοι εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ζῶσιλήψονται τὸ βασίλειον τῆς εὐπρεπείας καὶ τὸ διάδημα τοῦ κάλλους ἐκ χειρὸς κυρίου; with Paul, on the other hand, such an allusion frequently occurs. The certainty of receiving this crown of glory is founded on the divine promise: ὋΝ ἘΠΗΓΓΕΊΛΑΤΟ (Ὁ ΚΎΡΙΟς) ΤΟῖς ἈΓΑΠῶΣΙΝ ΑὐΤΌΝ] If Ὁ ΚΎΡΙΟς is the correct reading, we are to understand not Christ (Baumgarten, Schneckenburger), but God (Gebser, Theile, Wiesinger).

The expression ΤΟῖς ἈΓΑΠῶΣΙΝ ΑὐΤΌΝ (comp. Psalm 97:10; Psalm 145:20; Romans 8:28, etc.) intimates that ὙΠΟΜΈΝΕΙΝ ΠΕΙΡΑΣΜΌΝ is a proof and testimony of love to God, and is accordingly a proof how careful James was to designate love as the essence of true faith (so also Lange); therefore the repetition of the same addition in chap. Jam 2:5. On the whole passage, comp. particularly 2 Timothy 4:8.

[62] Lange asserts that this figurative reference is so far incorrect, as “that figure presupposes the idea of refining, which, although contained in the trial or proof, is not identical with it;” but the identity is not maintained.Jam 1:12 ff. The section Jam 1:12-16 is wholly unconnected with what immediately precedes; it takes up the thread which was interrupted at Jam 1:4. In Jam 1:2-4 the brethren are bidden to rejoice when they fall into temptations because the purifying of their faith which this results in engenders ὑπομονήν, and if ὑπομονή holds sway unimpeded they will be lacking in nothing. But it is, of course, a prime condition here that those who are tempted should not succumb; the rejoicing is obviously only in place in so far as temptation, by being resisted, strengthens character; therefore the writer goes on to speak, (Jam 1:12) of the blessedness of the man who fulfils this first condition, who endures (ὃς ὑπομένει) temptation, for he shall receive the crown of life, the reward of those in whom ὑπομονή has had its perfect work. It is this intimate connection between Jam 1:2-4 and Jam 1:12 ff. which induces one to hazard the conjecture that they were not originally separated by the intervening verses, which deal with entirely different subjects, and which therefore interrupt the thought-connection clearly existing between the two passages just mentioned.—In Jam 1:13 the occurrence of the words: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God,” show that this view was actually held, indeed the belief was very widely prevalent and had been for long previously, e.g., in Sir 15:11 ff. it is said: “Say not thou, It is through the Lord that I fell away; for thou shalt not do the things that he hateth. Say not thou, It is he that caused me to err; for he hath no need of a sinful man.… He himself made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of his own counsel …”; to say, with some commentators, that there is no reference here to any definite philosophical teaching, and that the words only express a natural human tendency to shift the blame for evil-doing in a man from himself to God, is an extraordinary position to take up; the tendency to shift blame is certainly natural and human, but it is not natural to shift it on to God; either on to fellowmen, or on to Satan, but not on to God! But besides this, nobody conversant with the teaching of Judaism during the centuries immediately preceding the commencement of the Christian era, and onwards, could for a moment fail to see what the writer of the Epistle is referring to; a writer who in a number of respects shows himself so thoroughly au fait with the thought-tendencies of his time (Jam 1:5, Jam 3:13-18, Jam 2:14-26, Jam 1:19-20 besides the passage before us) was not likely to have been ignorant of the fact that among all the thoughtful men of his day the great question of the origin of evil was being constantly speculated upon. The words with which this section concludes—“Be not deceived, my beloved brethren”—show that there was a danger of those to whom the Epistle was addressed being led astray by a false teaching, which was as incompatible with the true Jewish doctrine of God as it was with the Christian; indeed, on this point, Jewish and Christian teaching were identical. The subject referred to in this section, Jam 1:12-16, is dealt with more fully in the Introduction IV., § 1, which see.12–15. Temptation, and its history

12. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation] The mode of teaching by Beatitudes reminds us at once of the Sermon on the Mount, with which, it will be seen afterwards, the Epistle has so many points of contact. Stress is laid on “enduring” as distinct from simply “suffering,” and the “temptation” is prominently, as in James 1:2, that of suffering coming from without.

for when he is tried] Better, when he has stood the trial, the Greek adjective being applied, as in Romans 14:18; Romans 16:10, to one who has been tested and approved.

the crown of life] The image of the “crown” or wreath of the conqueror for the reward of the righteous is common both to St Peter who speaks of “the crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:4) and to St Paul who speaks of “the crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:8). The “crown of life,”—i. e. of eternal life, which is the crown, is, however, peculiar to St James. The figurative use of the word is characteristic of the Son of Sirach (Sir 1:11; Sir 1:16; Sir 1:18; Sir 25:6), and of the LXX. of Proverbs (James 1:9, James 4:9). In Wis 5:16, we have, in the Greek, the kindred word “diadem.”

which the Lord hath promised to them that love him] Here again it is a question whether “the Lord” is to be taken in its special New Testament sense, or generally of God. As before (see Note on James 1:7) the balance turns in favour of the former, and the tense of the verb (“which the Lord promised”), as if referring to some special utterance, may lead us to think of such words as those of John 14:21; John 14:23. A more general promise of the same kind to those that love the Lord is found in Sir 34:16.Jam 1:12. Μακάριος, blessed) μακάριος is derived from μὴ, and κὴρ, “immortal.” This word, and the crown of life, are opposed to the word μαρανθήσεται, “shall fade away.”—ὑπομενεῖ, shall endure) See Jam 1:3-4; 1 Peter 2:20. See App. Crit.,[9] 2d Edition, on this passage.—ἐπηγγείλατο, promised) See ch. Jam 2:5.—ἀγαπῶσιν, who love Him) Love produces patience. [He knows how to account all temptations in the light in which it is right to account them: Romans 8:28.—V. g.]

[9] More recent MSS. read ὑπομενεῖ. But the older MSS. AB, etc., and all the Versions, read ὑπομένει, Vulg. suffert. So Lachm. and Tisch.—E.Verses 12-18. - Return to the subject of temptation. Ver. 2 taught that temptation regarded as an opportunity should be a cause for joy. Ver. 12 teaches that the endurance of temptation brings a blessing from God, even the crown of life. Comp. Revelation 2:10, the only other place in the New Testament where the "crown of life" is mentioned; and there also it stands in close connection with the endurance of temptation. Elsewhere we read of the "crown of righteousness" (2 Timothy 4:8), and the "crown of glory" (1 Peter 5:4). The genitive (τὸν στέφανον τῆς ζωῆς) is probably the gen. epex.," the crown, which is life." Ὁ Κύριος of the Received Text has but slight authority. It is wanting in A, B, א, ff, and is deleted by the Revisers, following all recent editors. Render, which he promised, etc. The subject is easily understood, and therefore, as frequently in Jewish writings (e.g. 1 Maccabees), omitted from motives of reverence. Is tried (δόκιμος γενόμενος)

Lit., having become approved. See on trial, 1 Peter 1:7. The meaning is not, as the A. V. suggests, when his trial is finished, but when he has been approved by trial. Rev., rightly, when he hath been approved.

The crown (στέφανον)

See on 1 Peter 5:4.

Of life (τῶς ζωῆς)

Lit., the life: the article pointing to the well-known eternal life. The figure is not that of the athlete's crown, for an image from the Grecian games, which the Jews despised, would be foreign to James' thought and displeasing to his readers. Rather the kingly crown, the proper word for which is διάδημα, diadem. In Psalm 20:3 (Sept.), στέφανος is used of the royal crown. In Zechariah 6:11, Zechariah 6:14, the reference seems to be to a priestly crown, forming part of the high-priest's mitre.

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