James 4:3
Parallel Verses
New International Version
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

New Living Translation
And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong--you want only what will give you pleasure.

English Standard Version
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

New American Standard Bible
You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

King James Bible
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
You ask and don't receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires.

International Standard Version
You ask for something but do not get it because you ask for it for the wrong reason—for your own pleasure.

NET Bible
you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, so you can spend it on your passions.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
You ask and you do not receive, because you ask wickedly so that your lusts may be fed.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When you pray for things, you don't get them because you want them for the wrong reason-for your own pleasure.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your pleasures.

King James 2000 Bible
You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it upon your lusts.

American King James Version
You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it on your lusts.

American Standard Version
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may spend it in your pleasures.

Douay-Rheims Bible
You ask, and receive not; because you ask amiss: that you may consume it on your concupiscences.

Darby Bible Translation
Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask evilly, that ye may consume [it] in your pleasures.

English Revised Version
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may spend it in your pleasures.

Webster's Bible Translation
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Weymouth New Testament
or you pray and yet do not receive, because you pray wrongly, your object being to waste what you get on some pleasure or another.

World English Bible
You ask, and don't receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it for your pleasures.

Young's Literal Translation
ye ask, and ye receive not, because evilly ye ask, that in your pleasures ye may spend it.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

4:1-10 Since all wars and fightings come from the corruptions of our own hearts, it is right to mortify those lusts that war in the members. Wordly and fleshly lusts are distempers, which will not allow content or satisfaction. Sinful desires and affections stop prayer, and the working of our desires toward God. And let us beware that we do not abuse or misuse the mercies received, by the disposition of the heart when prayers are granted When men ask of God prosperity, they often ask with wrong aims and intentions. If we thus seek the things of this world, it is just in God to deny them. Unbelieving and cold desires beg denials; and we may be sure that when prayers are rather the language of lusts than of graces, they will return empty. Here is a decided warning to avoid all criminal friendships with this world. Worldly-mindedness is enmity to God. An enemy may be reconciled, but enmity never can be reconciled. A man may have a large portion in things of this life, and yet be kept in the love of God; but he who sets his heart upon the world, who will conform to it rather than lose its friendship, is an enemy to God. So that any one who resolves at all events to be upon friendly terms with the world, must be the enemy of God. Did then the Jews, or the loose professors of Christianity, think the Scripture spake in vain against this worldly-mindedness? or does the Holy Spirit who dwells in all Christians, or the new nature which he creates, produce such fruit? Natural corruption shows itself by envying. The spirit of the world teaches us to lay up, or lay out for ourselves, according to our own fancies; God the Holy Spirit teaches us to be willing to do good to all about us, as we are able. The grace of God will correct and cure the spirit by nature in us; and where he gives grace, he gives another spirit than that of the world. The proud resist God: in their understanding they resist the truths of God; in their will they resist the laws of God; in their passions they resist the providence of God; therefore, no wonder that God resists the proud. How wretched the state of those who make God their enemy! God will give more grace to the humble, because they see their need of it, pray for it are thankful for it, and such shall have it. Submit to God, ver. 7. Submit your understanding to the truth of God; submit your wills to the will of his precept, the will of his providence. Submit yourselves to God, for he is ready to do you good. If we yield to temptations, the devil will continually follow us; but if we put on the whole armour of God, and stand out against him, he will leave us. Let sinners then submit to God, and seek his grace and favour; resisting the devil. All sin must be wept over; here, in godly sorrow, or, hereafter, in eternal misery. And the Lord will not refuse to comfort one who really mourns for sin, or to exalt one who humbles himself before him.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 3. - An evident allusion to the sermon on the mount, Matthew 7:7, "Ask, and it shall be given to you... for every one that asketh receiveth." And yet St. James says, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss;" for our Lord elsewhere limits his teaching, "All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer believing," etc. (Matthew 21:22). Αἰτεῖτε... αἰτεῖσθε. The active and middle voices are similarly interchanged in 1 John 5:15, on which Dr. Westcott writes as follows: "The distinction between the middle and the active is not so sharply drawn; but generally the personal reference is suggested by the middle, while the request is left wholly undefined as to its destination by the active." That ye may consume it upon your lusts; render, with R.V., that ye may spend it in your pleasures; ἡδοναί, as in ver. 1.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Ye ask, and receive not,.... Some there were that did ask of God the blessings of his goodness and providence, and yet these were not bestowed on them; the reason was,

because ye ask amiss; not in the faith of a divine promise; nor with thankfulness for past mercies; nor with submission to the will of God; nor with a right end, to do good to others, and to make use of what might be bestowed, for the honour of God, and the interest of Christ: but

that ye may consume it upon your lusts; indulge to intemperance and luxury; as the man that had much goods laid up for many years did, to the neglect of his own soul, Luke 12:19 or the rich man, who spent all upon his back and his belly, and took no notice of Lazarus at his gate; Luke 16:19.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

3. Some of them are supposed to say in objection, But we do "ask" (pray); compare Jas 4:2. James replies, It is not enough to ask for good things, but we must ask with a good spirit and intention. "Ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it (your object of prayer) upon (literally, 'in') your lusts (literally, 'pleasures')"; not that ye may have the things you need for the service of God. Contrast Jas 1:5 with Mt 6:31, 32. If ye prayed aright, all your proper wants would be supplied; the improper cravings which produce "wars and fightings" would then cease. Even believers' prayers are often best answered when their desires are most opposed.

James 4:3 Additional Commentaries
Context
Warning against Pride
2You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.…
Cross References
1 Kings 3:11
So God said to him, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice,

Psalm 66:18
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;

Proverbs 1:28
"Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me,

1 John 3:22
and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.

1 John 5:14
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
Treasury of Scripture

You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it on your lusts.

ask, and.

James 1:6,7 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is …

Job 27:8-10 For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he has gained, when …

Job 35:12 There they cry, but none gives answer, because of the pride of evil men.

Psalm 18:41 They cried, but there was none to save them: even to the LORD, but …

Psalm 66:18,19 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me…

Proverbs 1:28 Then shall they call on me, but I will not answer; they shall seek …

Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the …

Proverbs 21:13,27 Whoever stops his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry …

Isaiah 1:15,16 And when you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you: …

Jeremiah 11:11,14 Therefore thus said the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil on them, …

Jeremiah 14:12 When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt …

Micah 3:4 Then shall they cry to the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will …

Zechariah 7:13 Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not …

Matthew 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, You know not what you ask. Are you able …

Mark 10:38 But Jesus said to them, You know not what you ask: can you drink …

1 John 3:22 And whatever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, …

1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any …

ye may.

Luke 15:13,30 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and …

Luke 16:1,2 And he said also to his disciples, There was a certain rich man, …

lusts. or, pleasures.

James 4:1 From where come wars and fights among you? come they not hence, even …

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