James 1:3
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
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(3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.—And this verse confirms our view of the preceding one; the habit of patience is to be the blessed result of all the weary effort under God’s probation. James the Wise had learned it long and painfully, and he returns to his exhortation of it again, especially in James 5:7-11 (which see).

1:1-11 Christianity teaches men to be joyful under troubles: such exercises are sent from God's love; and trials in the way of duty will brighten our graces now, and our crown at last. Let us take care, in times of trial, that patience, and not passion, is set to work in us: whatever is said or done, let patience have the saying and doing of it. When the work of patience is complete, it will furnish all that is necessary for our Christian race and warfare. We should not pray so much for the removal of affliction, as for wisdom to make a right use of it. And who does not want wisdom to guide him under trials, both in regulating his own spirit, and in managing his affairs? Here is something in answer to every discouraging turn of the mind, when we go to God under a sense of our own weakness and folly. If, after all, any should say, This may be the case with some, but I fear I shall not succeed, the promise is, To any that asketh, it shall be given. A mind that has single and prevailing regard to its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its purposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continue fervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions. When our faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, there will be unsteadiness in our words and actions. This may not always expose men to contempt in the world, but such ways cannot please God. No condition of life is such as to hinder rejoicing in God. Those of low degree may rejoice, if they are exalted to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom of God; and the rich may rejoice in humbling providences, that lead to a humble and lowly disposition of mind. Worldly wealth is a withering thing. Then, let him that is rich rejoice in the grace of God, which makes and keeps him humble; and in the trials and exercises which teach him to seek happiness in and from God, not from perishing enjoyments.Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience - Patience is one of the fruits of such a trial, and the grace of patience is worth the trial which it may cost to procure it. This is one of the passages which show that James was acquainted with the writings of Paul. See the Introduction, Section 5. The sentiment expressed here is found in Romans 5:3. See the notes at that verse. Paul has carried the sentiment out farther, and shows that tribulation produces other effects than patience. James only asks that patience may have its perfect work, supposing that every Christian grace is implied in this. 3. the trying—the testing or proving of your faith, namely, by "divers temptations." Compare Ro 5:3, tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience (in the original dokime, akin to dokimion, "trying," here; there it is experience: here the "trying" or testing, whence experience flows).

patience—The original implies more; persevering endurance and continuance (compare Lu 8:15).

Knowing this; considering.

That the trying of your faith; the reason why he called afflictions temptations, as well as why believers should count it all joy to fall into them, viz. because they are trials of their faith, and such trials as tend to approbation, as the word (different from that in the former verse) imports.

Of your faith; both of the truth of the grace itself, and of your constancy in the profession of it.

Worketh patience; not of itself, but as a means in the hand of God, made effectual to that end.

Objection. Romans 5:3, it is said, Tribulation worketh patience, and patience, experience, or trial; whereas here it is said, that trial works patience.

Answer. The words used here and Romans 5:3 are different; here it is dokimion, which signifies actively, the trying itself, and this works patience; there it is dokimh, which is taken passively, for the experiment following upon the trial; or, as we read it, the experience, viz. of our sincerity, as well as of God’s consolation, which may well be the effect of patience wrought by and under trials. And so both are true, that tribulation, as Paul speaks, and trial, as James, work patience; and patience, not a further trial, but rather discovery, or experiment, or approbation of what we are, which appears by nothing more than by patience under sufferings.

Knowing this,.... By experience; as everyone that is trained up in the school of affliction does: the apostle appeals to the saints, to whom he writes, for the truth of what he was about to say; and which he gives as a reason why they should rejoice in afflictions, because it is a known fact,

that the trying of your faith worketh patience: two things afflictions do when sanctified; one is, they try faith, the truth of it, and make it appear to be true, genuine, and precious, like gold tried in the fire; see 1 Peter 1:6 and the other is, that they produce patience: saints being inured to afflictions, become by degrees more patient under them; whence it is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth: this phrase may be understood, both of faith, which being tried by afflictions, produces patience; for where the one is in exercise, the other is also, and both are necessary under afflictive providences; and also of afflictions, which try faith, and being sanctified by the Spirit of God, work patience, which is a fruit of the Spirit; for otherwise the effect of them is impatience; and this agrees with the Apostle Paul in Romans 5:3.

{3} Knowing this, that the {d} trying of your faith worketh patience.

(3) The second, because patience, a surpassing and most excellent virtue, is brought about in us by this means.

(d) That by this your faith is tried, that is, those various temptations.

Jam 1:3. γινώσκοντες] whilst ye may know (“in the consciousness,” de Wette). The participle, when closely connected with the imperative, participates in its meaning; see author on 2 Timothy 2:23; comp. 1 Corinthians 15:58; Colossians 3:24; Colossians 4:1; Hebrews 10:34, and other passages. It is neither simply the imperative: Luther, “and know ye,” nor simply a confirmation, so that it may be rendered by γινώσκετε γάρ (Pott).

ὅτι τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν (τῆς πίστεως). τὸ δοκίμιον (only here and in 1 Peter 1:7) = τὸ δοκιμεῖον, is properly the means of proving: quo quid exploratur (Pott); quo rei, quae sub examen vocatur, manifestatur sinceritas eaque probatur omne id intrinseca virtute possidere, quod extrinsecus specie ac nomine prae se fert (Heisen): thus = κριτήριον; so in Dionysius Halicarnassus, rhetor. 11: δεῖ δὲ ὥσπερ κανόνα εἶναι καὶ στάθμην τινὰ καὶ δοκίμιον ὡρισμένον πρὸς ὅ τις ἀποβλέπων δυνήσεται τὴν κρίσιν ποιεῖσθαι; yet generally to the idea of proving is attached that of purification and verification. Theile = probamentum; thus Herodian, ii. 10, 12: δοκίμιον δὲ στρατιωτῶν κάματος ἀλλʼ οὐ τρυφή; and the LXX. Proverbs 27:21 : δοκίμιον ἀργυρίῳ καὶ χρυσῷ πύρωσις; comp. Proverbs 17:3; Psalm 12:7; Sir 2:5. Many expositors, as Semler, Pott, Hottinger, Schneckenburger, Theile, Bouman, adhere to the import of means, whether of proof or of purification and verification,[37] whilst they understand thereby the above-mentioned ΠΕΙΡΑΣΜΟΊ. In this case ΤῸ ΔΟΚΊΜΙΟΝ stands for ΤΟῦΤΟ ΤῸ ΔΟΚΊΜΙΟΝ (Pott); but the necessity of supplying ΤΟῦΤΟ is decisive against this interpretation; besides, ΔΟΚΊΜΙΟΝ in 1 Peter 1:7 cannot have that meaning. In that passage ΔΟΚΊΜΙΟΝ is = the verification effected by proof; see author in loco: and thus it is probable that this import is also here to be retained (Oecumenius = τὸ κεκριμένον, τὸ δεδοκιμασμένον, τὸ καθαρόν); τὸ δοκίμιον then is = ΔΟΚΙΜΉ in Romans 10:4. The distinction, that in that passage ΔΟΚΙΜΉ is designated as the effect, but in this as the cause of ὑπομονή, is not against this view, for, as Tirinus well says: duae res saepe sibi invicem sunt causa.[38] Most expositors, both ancient and modern, however, explain δοκίμιον here by exploratio, probatio, proof in an active sense; thus Didymus, Bede, Calvin, Laurentius, Beza, Piscator, Paraeus, Serarius, Paes, Hornejus, Baumgarten, de Wette, Kern, Wiesinger, Lange, etc. Then is valid what Bede says in reference to Romans 5:4 : Verborum differentia non sensuum in his sermonibus esse probatur Apostolorum, since there θλῖψις, here proof by θλῖψις, is named as the cause of ὑπομονή. Though there is nothing against this idea, this explanation is wanting in linguistic accuracy.[39] The meaning is, in essentials, the same, whether we read τῆς πίστεως or not; for the δοκίμιον of Christians consists in nothing else than that of their faith, by which they are Christians.

πίστις is here not used objectively = id cui fides habetur, ipsa Jesu Christi doctrina (Pott), but subjectively, assured confidence in the gospel, whose contents are Jesus Christ, as the necessary foundation of Christian conduct.

κατεργάζεται ὑπομονήν] κατεργάζεσθαι is distinguished from ἐργάζεσθαι in that it expresses the actual accomplishment (Meyer on Romans 1:27).

ὑπομονή is faithful endurance (μένειν) under (ὑπο) the temptations (πειρασμοῖς). Baumgarten: “enduring constancy;” Theile: “stedfastness,” perseverantia, quod majus est quam patientia.[40] The importance of ὑπομονή for Christians is evident from Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:13; comp. also Jam 5:7 ff. On the connection of ὑπομονή with ἐλπίς, see Cremer under the words ἐλπίς and ὑπομονή.

[37] Theile: Calamitates, quae natura sua virtutis πειρασμοί, eam sub examen discrimenque vocant, accedente demum hominis strenua opera ejusdem virtutis fiunt δοκίμιον eam purgantes, firmantes, commonstrantes.

[38] Wiesinger incorrectly maintains: “It is an erroneous idea that verification (τὸ δεδοκιμάσθαι) produces ὑπομονή” (so also Rauch in his Review); for the Christian always obtains more ὑπομονή, in which only he can reach the goal of perfection, not because he is tried, but because he stands the test and is thus verified.

[39] Cremer (see δοκίμιον) is hardly right when he maintained that “the means of proof are not only, e.g., the touchstone itself, but also the trace of the metal left thereon, therefore τὸ δοκίμιον τῆς πίστεως (Jam 1:3) is the result of the contact of πίστις with πειρασμοῖς;” for we are to consider the πειρασμοί not as a touchstone, but as a test by fire. However, Cremer explained the whole idea correctly by “the verification of faith.” His remark on δοκιμή is to be noted: that in it we are not to distinguish between the active and passive signification; that it has rather a reflex sense, either the having proved true or the proving true.

[40] Cicero, de inv. ii. 54: Patientia est honestatis aut utilitatis causa rerum arduarum ac difficilium voluntaria ac diuturna perpessio; perseverentia est in ratione bene considerata stabilis et perpetua permansio. Schneckenburger strikingly observes: Si submissionem (τὸ ὑπο …) urgeas, patientiam ac tolerantiam malorum, sin τὸ μένειν, constantiam et firmitatem, perseverantiam ac calamitatum ferendarum fortitudinem ab illecebris desciscendi inconcussam hoc vocabulo habebis expressam.

Jam 1:3. γινώσκοντες: “recognising”; this seems to be the force of the word γιγνώσκω in Hellenistic Greek (see Lightfoot, Ep. to the Galatians, p. 171); if so, it comes very appositely after ἡγήσασθε.—τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως: according to instances of the use of the word δοκίμιον given by Deissmann (Neue Bibelstudien, pp. 187 ff.) it means “pure” or “genuine”; it is the neuter of the adjective used as a substantive, followed by a genitive; the phrase would thus mean: “That which is genuine in your faith worketh …”; this meaning of δοκίμιον makes 1 Peter 1:7 clearer and more significant; cf. Proverbs 27:21 (Sept.); Sir 2:1 ff. On πίστις see Jam 1:6.—κατεργάζεται: emphatic form of ἐργάζεται, “accomplishes”.—ὑπομονήν: the word here means “the frame of mind which endures,” as distinct from the act of enduring which is the meaning of the word in 2 Corinthians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 6:4. Philo calls ὑπομονή the queen of virtues (see Mayor, in loc.), it is one which has probably been nowhere more fully exemplified than in the history of the Jewish race.

3. that the trying of your faith] The word for “trying” implies at once a “test,” and a “discipline” leading to improvement. The same phrase meets us, in conjunction also with “divers temptations,” in 1 Peter 1:7. Each was, perhaps, quoting what had become an axiom of the Church’s life.

worketh patience] The Greek word always implies more than mere passive submission, the “endurance unto the end” of Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:13, the perseverance which does not falter under suffering.

Jam 1:3. Τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν) your proving, or trial. So τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως, the trial of your faith, 1 Peter 1:7; Proverbs 27:21 (Septuagint), δοκίμιον ἀργυρίῳ, καὶ χρυσῷ πύρωσις· ἀνὴρ δὲ δοκιμάζεται διὰ στόματος ἐγκωμιαζόντων αὐτόν, “The fining-pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; and so a man has his character tested by the mouth of those who praise him.” Herodian, δοκίμιον στρατιωτῶν (adde χριστιανῶν) κάματος, ἀλλʼ οὐ τρυφή, “The test of (Christian) soldiers is not luxury, but toil.” Zosimus, εὐνοίας δοκίμια παρασχόμενος, “Affording proofs of good-will.” The meaning of the word δοκίμιον is therefore trial patiently undergone. Were I not withheld by the parallelism in Peter,[3] I should more readily embrace in James the reading τῆς πίστεως, of your faith, supported as it is by so many witnesses.[4] As it is, trial, spoken of in general terms, embraces the trial of faith, love, and hope. And though there is no special mention of faith in this verse, yet James, as well as other apostles, esteems faith as all in all. See Jam 1:6; Jam 5:15. And the trial of faith, in particular, is firmly established, on the authority of Peter.—κατεργάζεται ὑπομονὴν, worketh patience) The same expression is used, Romans 5:3, with the addition, ἡ δὲ ὑπομονὴ δοκιμὴν, and patience (worketh) experience. See below, Jam 1:12.—ὑπομονὴν, patience) See Jam 1:12, and the note on Luke 8:15. So Psalm 62:6 (Septuagint), ὅτι παρʼ αὐτοῦ ἡ ὑπομονή μου, “for my patient expectation is from Him.”

[3] From whom it may have been interpolated here.—E.

[4] And indeed Beng. preferred this fuller reading afterwards in the margin of the Ed. 2; and it is expressly given in the Germ. Vers.—E. B.

B and later Syr. support the omission of τῆς πίστεως; and so Tisch. But AC Vulg. support the words; and so Lachm. and Rec. Text.—E.

Verse 3. - Patience. Υπομονή in general is patience with regard to things, μακροθυμία is rather long-suffering with regard to persons (see Trench on 'Synonyms,' p. 186, and compare the notes on James 5:7, etc.). James 1:3Trying (δοκίμιον)

Rev., proof; but the American Revisers insist on proving, and rightly. See on 1 Peter 1:7.

Worketh (κατεργάζεται)

The compound verb with κατά, down through, indicates accomplishment. The proving will work successfully and thoroughly. This harmonizes with a perfect work, James 1:4.

Patience (ὑπομονήν)

See on 2 Peter 1:6, and James 5:7.

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