James 4:14
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

New Living Translation
How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone.

English Standard Version
yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

New American Standard Bible
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

King James Bible
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
You don't even know what tomorrow will bring--what your life will be! For you are like smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes.

International Standard Version
You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

NET Bible
You do not know about tomorrow. What is your life like? For you are a puff of smoke that appears for a short time and then vanishes.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And they do not know what tomorrow is. What are our lives except a vapor that appears for a little while and vanishes and passes away?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
You don't know what will happen tomorrow. What is life? You are a mist that is seen for a moment and then disappears.

Jubilee Bible 2000
and ye do not know what shall be tomorrow. For what is your life? Certainly it is a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

King James 2000 Bible
Whereas you know not what shall be tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.

American King James Version
Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.

American Standard Version
whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow.

Darby Bible Translation
ye who do not know what will be on the morrow, ([for] what [is] your life? It is even a vapour, appearing for a little while, and then disappearing,)

English Revised Version
whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Webster's Bible Translation
Whereas ye know not what will be on the morrow: For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Weymouth New Testament
when, all the while, you do not even know what will happen to-morrow. For what is the nature of your life? Why, it is but a mist, which appears for a short time and then is seen no more.

World English Bible
Whereas you don't know what your life will be like tomorrow. For what is your life? For you are a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.

Young's Literal Translation
who do not know the thing of the morrow; for what is your life? for it is a vapour that is appearing for a little, and then is vanishing;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

4:11-17 Our lips must be governed by the law of kindness, as well as truth and justice. Christians are brethren. And to break God's commands, is to speak evil of them, and to judge them, as if they laid too great a restraint upon us. We have the law of God, which is a rule to all; let us not presume to set up our own notions and opinions as a rule to those about us, and let us be careful that we be not condemned of the Lord. Go to now, is a call to any one to consider his conduct as being wrong. How apt worldly and contriving men are to leave God out of their plans! How vain it is to look for any thing good without God's blessing and guidance! The frailty, shortness, and uncertainty of life, ought to check the vanity and presumptuous confidence of all projects for futurity. We can fix the hour and minute of the sun's rising and setting to-morrow, but we cannot fix the certain time of a vapour being scattered. So short, unreal, and fading is human life, and all the prosperity or enjoyment that attends it; though bliss or woe for ever must be according to our conduct during this fleeting moment. We are always to depend on the will of God. Our times are not in our own hands, but at the disposal of God. Our heads may be filled with cares and contrivances for ourselves, or our families, or our friends; but Providence often throws our plans into confusion. All we design, and all we do, should be with submissive dependence on God. It is foolish, and it is hurtful, to boast of worldly things and aspiring projects; it will bring great disappointment, and will prove destruction in the end. Omissions are sins which will be brought into judgment, as well as commissions. He that does not the good he knows should be done, as well as he who does the evil he knows should not be done, will be condemned. Oh that we were as careful not to omit prayer, and not to neglect to meditate and examine our consciences, as we are not to commit gross outward vices against light!

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 14 fortifies the rebuke of ver. 13 by showing the folly of their action; cf. Proverbs 27:1, "Boast not thyself of tomorrow (τὰ εἰς αὔριον), for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." Whereas ye know not; rather, seeing that, or, inasmuch as ye know not, etc. (οἵτινες οὐκ ἐπίστασθε). The text in this verse again in a somewhat disorganized condition, but the general drift is clear. We should probably read, Οἵτινες οὐκ ἐπίστασθε τὸ τῆς αὔριον ποίαἡ ζωὴ ὑμῶν ἀτμὶς γὰρ ἐστε ἡ πρὸς ὀλίγον φαινομένη ἔπειτα καὶ ἀφανιζομένη, R.V., "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapor, our that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow,.... Whether there would be a morrow for them or not, whether they should live till tomorrow; and if they should, they knew not what a morrow would bring forth, or what things would happen, which might prevent their intended journey and success: no man can secure a day, an hour, a moment, and much less a year of continuance in this life; nor can he foresee what will befall him today or tomorrow; therefore it is great stupidity to determine on this, and the other, without the leave of God, in whom he lives, moves, and has his being; and by whose providence all events are governed and directed; see Proverbs 27:1

for what is your life? of what kind and nature is it? what assurance can be had of the continuance of it? by what may it be expressed? or to what may it be compared?

it is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away; which rises out of the earth, or water, and expires almost as soon as it exists; at least, continues but a very short time, and is very weak and fleeting, and carried about here and there, and soon returns from whence it came: the allusion is to the breath of man, which is in his nostrils, and who is not to be accounted of, or depended on.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

14. what—literally, "of what nature" is your life? that is, how evanescent it is.

It is even—Some oldest authorities read, "For ye are." Bengel, with other old authorities, reads, "For it shall be," the future referring to the "morrow" (Jas 4:13-15). The former expresses, "Ye yourselves are transitory"; so everything of yours, even your life, must partake of the same transitoriness. Received text has no old authority.

and then vanisheth away—"afterwards vanishing as it came"; literally, "afterwards (as it appeared), so vanishing" [Alford].

James 4:14 Additional Commentaries
Context
Do Not Boast about Tomorrow
13Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." 14Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."…
Cross References
Job 7:7
Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again.

Psalm 39:5
You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.

Psalm 78:39
He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return.

Psalm 102:3
For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers.

Psalm 144:4
They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow.

Proverbs 27:1
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

Isaiah 2:22
Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?
Treasury of Scripture

Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.

It is. or, For it is. a vapour.

James 1:10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the …

Job 7:6,7 My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope…

Job 9:25,26 Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good…

Job 14:1,2 Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble…

Psalm 39:5 Behold, you have made my days as an handbreadth; and my age is as …

Psalm 89:47 Remember how short my time is: why have you made all men in vain?

Psalm 90:5-7 You carry them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the …

Psalm 102:3 For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.

Isaiah 38:12 My age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent: …

1 Peter 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower …

1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be you therefore sober, and …

1 John 2:17 And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does …

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