James 3:17
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) But the wisdom that is from above . . .—Whereas, in sweetest contrast to all this repulsive foulness and riot, the true wisdom from above is first pure, chaste as the Lamb of God, “the Word made flesh” (John 1:14), then peaceful, gentle, and compliant—easy to be won, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, not double-minded (non duplex), nor hypocritical. Compare with this beautiful description St. Paul’s list of the fruits of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22), and his discourse on Love (1 Corinthians 13).

Truly this wisdom “cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof;” “Happy is the man that findeth her.” (Read Job 28:14-19, and Proverbs 3:13-18.)

James 3:17. But the wisdom that is from above — Of celestial origin; which comes from God; is first pure — From all unholy and corrupt mixtures, whether of error or sin. It is agreeable to the tenor of divine and evangelical truth, and conscientious in the discharge of every duty to God and man; it is therefore purified from all that is earthly, sensual, and devilish; then peaceable — Desirous of making and maintaining peace; and willing, in order thereto, to sacrifice any thing, except important truth and manifest duty; gentle — Soft, mild, yielding, not rigid; easy to be entreated — Persuaded and reconciled where any matters of disgust may have arisen; not stubborn, sour, morose; full of mercy — Of pity and compassion toward persons in a state of ignorance, guilt, and depravity; ready to relieve the miseries and pardon the faults of others; and good fruits — Both in the heart and in the life; two of which are immediately specified; without partiality — To those of our own sentiments or denomination, to the injury of others; loving all without respect of persons; embracing all good things, rejecting all evil. The original word, αδιακριτος, is, literally, without making a difference. This character of true religion was very properly mentioned to those whom the apostle had rebuked for their respect of persons, James 2:1-9. Without hypocrisy — Intending all the kindness it expresses, and glad to extend its good offices as universally as possible; or without dissimulation, as ανυποκριτος may be rendered; that is, frank and open. Thus, “in this beautiful passage, St. James describes the excellent nature of that temper which is recommended by the Christian religion, and the happy effects which it produces. It is the highest wisdom; it comes from God, and makes those who receive it holy and happy. All the apostles, except Paul, were illiterate men; but, according to their Master’s promise, they had, by the inspiration of the Spirit, a wisdom and eloquence given them, far exceeding what they could have acquired by the deepest erudition. Of the fulfilment of Christ’s promise, the epistle of James is a striking proof. Search all heathen antiquity, and see whether it can produce any sentiments more noble, or more simply and beautifully expressed, than those contained in this chapter, and indeed throughout the whole epistle.” — Macknight.3:13-18 These verses show the difference between men's pretending to be wise, and their being really so. He who thinks well, or he who talks well, is not wise in the sense of the Scripture, if he does not live and act well. True wisdom may be know by the meekness of the spirit and temper. Those who live in malice, envy, and contention, live in confusion; and are liable to be provoked and hurried to any evil work. Such wisdom comes not down from above, but springs up from earthly principles, acts on earthly motives, and is intent on serving earthly purposes. Those who are lifted up with such wisdom, described by the apostle James, is near to the Christian love, described by the apostle Paul; and both are so described that every man may fully prove the reality of his attainments in them. It has no disguise or deceit. It cannot fall in with those managements the world counts wise, which are crafty and guileful; but it is sincere, and open, and steady, and uniform, and consistent with itself. May the purity, peace, gentleness, teachableness, and mercy shown in all our actions, and the fruits of righteousness abounding in our lives, prove that God has bestowed upon us this excellent gift.But the wisdom that is from above - Compare the notes at 1 Corinthians 2:6-7. The wisdom which has a heavenly origin, or which is from God. The man who is characterised by that wisdom will be pure, peaceable, etc. This does not refer to the doctrines of religion, but to its spirit.

Is first pure - That is, the first effect of it on the mind is to make it pure. The influence on the man is to make him upright, sincere, candid, holy. The word here used (ἁγνη hagnē) is that which would be applied to one who is innocent, or flee from crime or blame. Compare Philippians 4:8; 1 Timothy 5:22; 1 John 3:3; where the word is rendered, as here, "pure"; 2 Corinthians 7:11; where it is rendered clear, (in this matter); 2 Corinthians 11:2; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:2, where it is rendered chaste. The meaning here is, that the first and immediate effect of religion is not on the intellect, to make it more enlightened; or on the imagination, to make it more discursive and brilliant; or on the memory and judgment, to make them clearer and stronger; but it is to purify the heart, to make the man upright, inoffensive, and good. This passage should not be applied, as it often is, to the doctrines of religion, as if it were the first duty of a church to keep itself free from errors in doctrine, and that this ought to be sought even in preference to the maintenance of peace - as if it meant that in doctrine a church should be "first pure, then peaceable;" but it should be applied to the individual consciences of men, as showing the effect of religion on the heart and life.

The first thing which it produces is to make the man himself pure and good; then follows the train of blessings which the apostle enumerates as flowing from that. It is true that a church should be pure in doctrinal belief, but that is not the truth taught here. It is not true that the scripture teaches, here or elsewhere, that purity of doctrine is to be preferred to a peaceful spirit; or that it always leads to a peaceful spirit; or that it is proper for professed Christians and Christian ministers to sacrifice, as is often done, a peaceful spirit, in an attempt to preserve purity of doctrine. Most of the persecutions in the church have grown out of this maxim. This led to the establishment of the Inquisition; this kindled the fires of Smithfield; this inspirited Laud and his friends; this has been the origin of no small part of the schisms in the church. A pure spirit is the best promoter of peace, and will do more than anything else to secure the prevalence of truth.

(It is but too true that much unseemly strife has had the aegis of this text thrown over it. The "wrath of man" accounts itself zeal for God, and strange fire usurps the place of the true fire of the sanctuary. Yet the author's statement here seems somewhat overcharged; possibly his own personal history may have contributed a little to this result. Although the Greek word ἁγνη hagnē, here qualifying the σοφια sophia, or wisdom, refers to purity of heart, still it remains true that a pure heart will never relinquish its hold on God's truth for the sake of a peace that at such a price would be too dearly purchased. A pure heart cannot but be faithful to the truth; it could not otherwise be pure, provided conscientiousness and love of truth form any part of moral purity. Surely, then, an individual solicited to yield up what he believed to be truth, or what were cherished convictions, might properly assign this text as a reason why he could not, and ought not; and if an individual might, why not any number associated into a church?

It is true the Scriptures do not teach that "doctrinal purity" is to be preferred to a "peaceful spirit." However pure a man's doctrine may be, if he has not the peaceful spirit he is none of Christ's. But the common view of this passage is not chargeable with any such absurdity. It supposes only that there may be circumstances in which the spirit of peace, though possessed, cannot be exercised, except in meek submission to wrong for conscience sake; never can it turn traitor to truth, or make any compromise with error. The "first" of the apostle does not indicate even preference of the pure spirit to the peaceful spirit, but only the order in which they are to be exercised. There must be no attempts to reach peace by overleaping purity. The maxim that a pure heart ought not to sacrifice truth on any consideration whatever, never gave rise to persecution: it has made many martyrs, but never one persecutor; it has pined in the dungeon, but never immured any there; it has burned amid the flames, but never lighted the faggot; it has ascended scaffolds, but never erected them; it has preserved and bequeathed civil and religious liberty, but never assaulted them; it is a divine principle - the principle by which Christianity became strong, and will ultimately command the homage of the world. There is another principle, with which this has no brotherhood, that denies the right of private judgment, and enforces uniformity by the sword: its progeny are inquisitors, and Lauds and Sharpes; and let it have the credit of its own offspring.)

Then peaceable - The effect of true religion - the wisdom which is from above - will be to dispose a man to live in peace with all others. See the Romans 14:19 note; Hebrews 12:14.

Gentle - Mild, inoffensive, clement. The word here used (ἐπιεικὴς epieikēs) is rendered "moderation" in Philippians 4:5; patient in 1 Timothy 3:3; and gentle in Titus 3:2; James 3:17, and 1 Peter 2:18. It does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. Every one has a clear idea of the virtue of gentleness - gentleness of spirit, of deportment, and of manners; and every one can see that that is the appropriate spirit of religion. Compare the notes at 2 Corinthians 10:1. It is from this word that we have derived the word "gentleman"; and the effect of true religion is to make everyone, in the proper and best sense of the term, a gentleman. How can a man have evidence that he is a true Christian, who is not such? The highest title which can be given to a man is, that he is a Christian gentleman.

And easy to be entreated - The word here used does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It means easily persuaded, compliant. Of course, this refers only to cases where it is right and proper to be easily persuaded and complying. It cannot refer to things which are in themselves wrong. The sense is, that he who is under the influence of the wisdom which is from above, is not a stiff, stern, obstinate, unyielding man. He does not take a position, and then hold it whether right or wrong; he is not a man on whom no arguments or persuasions can have any influence. He is not one who cannot be affected by any appeals which may be made to him on the grounds of patriotism, justice, or benevolence; but is one who is ready to yield when truth requires him to do it, and who is willing to sacrifice his own convenience for the good of others. See this illustrated in the case of the apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 9:20-22. Compare the notes at that passage.

Full of mercy - Merciful; disposed to show compassion to others. This is one of the results of the wisdom that is from above, for it makes us like God, the "Father of mercies." See the notes at Matthew 5:7.

And good fruits - The fruits of good living; just, benevolent, and kind actions. Philippians 1:11 note; 2 Corinthians 9:10 note. Compare James 2:14-26.

Without partiality - Margin, "or wrangling." The word here used (ἀδιάκριτος adiakritos) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, properly, "not to be distinguished." Here it may mean either of the following things:

(a) not open to distinction or doubt; that is, unambiguous, so that there shall be no doubt about its origin or nature;

(b) making no distinction, that is, in the treatment of others, or impartial towards them; or,

(c) without strife, from διακρίνω diakrinō, to contend.

continued...

17. first pure—literally, "chaste," "sanctified": pure from all that is "earthly, sensual (animal), devilish" (Jas 3:15). This is put, "first of all," before "peaceable" because there is an unholy peace with the world which makes no distinction between clean and unclean. Compare "undefiled" and "unspotted from the world," Jas 1:27; 4:4, 8, "purify … hearts"; 1Pe 1:22, "purified … souls" (the same Greek). Ministers must not preach before a purifying change of heart, "Peace," where there is no peace. Seven (the perfect number) characteristic peculiarities of true wisdom are enumerated. Purity or sanctity is put first because it has respect both to God and to ourselves; the six that follow regard our fellow men. Our first concern is to have in ourselves sanctity; our second, to be at peace with men.

gentle—"forbearing"; making allowances for others; lenient towards neighbors, as to the DUTIES they owe us.

easy to be entreated—literally, "easily persuaded," tractable; not harsh as to a neighbor's FAULTS.

full of mercy—as to a neighbor's MISERIES.

good fruits—contrasted with "every evil work," Jas 3:16.

without partiality—recurring to the warning against partial "respect to persons," Jas 2:1, 4, 9. Alford translates as the Greek is translated, Jas 1:6, "wavering," "without doubting." But thus there would be an epithet referring to one's self inserted amidst those referring to one's conduct towards others. English Version is therefore better.

without hypocrisy—Not as Alford explains from Jas 1:22, 26, "Without deceiving yourselves" with the name without the reality of religion. For it must refer, like the rest of the six epithets, to our relations to others; our peaceableness and mercy towards others must be "without dissimulation."

But the wisdom that is from above; true wisdom, which is of God, opposed to that which descendeth not from above, Jam 3:15.

Is first pure; either excluding mixture, and then it is opposed to hypocritical; or rather excluding filthiness, and then it is opposed to sensual, Jam 3:15, and implies freedom from the defilement of sin and error, it being the property of true wisdom to make men adhere both to truth and holiness.

Then peaceable; disposeth men to peace, both as to the making and keeping it, in opposition to strife and contention, which is the fruit of the earthly wisdom. Peaceableness, which relates to man, is set after purity, which respects God in the first place, to intimate, that purity must have the preference to peace. Our peace with men must always be with a salvo to our respects to God and holiness.

Gentle; or equal, or moderate, Philippians 4:5 1 Timothy 3:3 Titus 3:2. It implies that gentleness (as we translate it) whereby we bear with others’ infirmities, forgive injuries, interpret all things for the best, recede from our own right for peace sake; and is opposed to that austerity and rigidness in our practices and censures, which will bear with nothing in weak, dissenting, or offending brethren.

Easy to be entreated; easily persuadable. True wisdom makes men yield to good admonitions, good counsel, good reason. This is opposed to implacableness, Romans 1:31; pride, and obstinacy in evil, Proverbs 12:1 13:1.

Full of mercy; a grace whereby we pity others that are afflicted, or that offend, and is opposed to inhumanity and inexorableness.

And good fruits; beneficence, liberality, and all other offices of humanity, which proceed from mercy.

Without partiality; or, without judging, i.e. either a curious inquiring into the faults of others, to find matter for censures, which many times infers wrangling, as our margin renders it; or a discerning between person and person, upon carnal accounts, which is partiality, as it is here translated, and Jam 2:4.

And without hypocrisy; or, counterfeiting, as they do that judge others, being guilty of the same things, or as bad, themselves: or hypocrisy may be here added, to show that sincerity is the perfection of all the rest before named; purity, peace, and gentleness, &c., may be counterfeit; hypocrisy spoils all; and therefore the wisdom that is from above is sincere, and without hypocrisy. But the wisdom that is from above,.... Which has God for its author; which is infused into the soul by the Spirit of God; and leads into the knowledge of things that are above, of heavenly things; and which only is true wisdom and knowledge; and those who are possessed of it are the only true Gnostics; for which; see Gill on James 3:13 namely, the grace of God: this wisdom

is first pure; it is pure in itself, it is free from everything that is earthly, carnal, or sensual, or devilish; it produces purity of heart, of life, and conversation; and is the means of keeping persons pure and chaste, and free from impure lusts, lusts of uncleanness, pride, envy, wrath, &c. which prevail in carnal and unregenerate men:

and then peaceable; it inclines and engages those who have it to live in peace with the saints, and even with all men; with those of their own household, with their neighbours, yea, with their enemies: it is also "gentle"; or makes men gentle, moderate, and humane, so as that they bear, and forbear; they bear with the infirmities of the weak; readily forgive injuries done them; do not rigidly exact what is their due, but recede from their just right for the sake of peace and love; and do not bear hard upon others for their failings, but cover them with the mantle of love: and it is

easy to be treated; or those who have it readily yield to the superior judgments and stronger reasonings of others; and are easily induced to hope and believe all things, and entertain a good opinion of men, and their conduct; and are far from being proud, arrogant, obstinate, and overbearing:

full of mercy and good fruits; of compassion and beneficence to the poor; feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the widows and fatherless in their affliction; and doing all other good works and duties, both with respect to God and man, as fruits of grace, and of the Spirit:

without partiality: to one another; or making a difference between them; showing no respect to persons; bestowing upon the poor and indigent, without any distinction: and

without hypocrisy; either with respect to God or man; not making show of that which they have not, or do not intend.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of {d} mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

(d) He sets mercy against the fierce and cruel nature of man, and shows that heavenly wisdom brings forth good fruits, for he that is heavenly wise, refers all things to God's glory, and the profit of his neighbours.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Jam 3:17. The character of the true wisdom, which (in contrast to Jam 3:15) is designated as ἡ ἄνωθεν σοφία] comp. with this expression, Proverbs 2:6; Wis 7:25-26; Philo, de profug. p. 571: σοφία ἄνωθεν ὀμβρηθεῖσα ἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ; de nom. mut.: οὐράνιος σοφία.

πρῶτον μὲν ἁγνή ἐστιν] By πρῶτον μέν characteristic is distinguished from the rest, which are introduced by ἔπειτα, because it belongs to its nature, “designates its internal quality” (Kern). It is ἁγνή] i.e. καθαρὰ καὶ ἀρυπαρός, μηδενὸς τῶν σαρκικῶν ἀντεχομένη (Oecumenius); thus free from all impurity. Lange explains ἁγνή by consecrated; incorrectly according to N. T. usage; even in the classics, the reference to the gods sufficiently often steps into the background.

In the series of characteristics following after ἔπειτα, which describe σοφία according to its manifestations (Kern), the first three are named which indicate the contrasts to ζῆλος and ἐριθεία: εἰρηνική] peaceful (comp. εἰρηνοποιός, Matthew 5:9): ἐπιεικής] fair, mild; see on 1 Timothy 3:3 (not = yielding): εὐπειθής] ἅπ. λεγ. (opposite ἀπειθής, Titus 3:5): easy to persuade, that is, pliant, not contending in party-strife.

Then follows μεστὴ ἐλέους καὶ καρπῶν ἀγαθῶν] by which it is described as rich in active love: ἐλέους is particularly mentioned, because compassion is the most direct proof of love; comp. chap. Jam 1:27, Jam 2:13; καρπῶν ἀγαθῶν forms the contrast to πᾶν φαῦλον πρᾶγμα.

The series closes with two words—united by similarity of sound

ἀδιάκριτος, ἀνυπόκριτος, which express the contrast to everything of an uncertain and hypocritical nature. ἀδιάκριτος] is differently explained according to the different meanings of the root διακρίνεσθαι; Luther renders it impartial; Lorinus, Hornejus, Grotius (“sine partitione, nempe iniqua”), Baumgarten, Estius, Schulthess, Hottinger, Kern, Schneckenburger, Lange (“not separatistic, not sectarian”), and others understand it in the same sense; Beza explains it by “quae non discernit homines;” similarly Gebser undivided, that is, those who have the true wisdom do not separate from each other; the explanation of Pott: pacificus, agrees with this; the Vulgate, on the other hand, renders it non judicans; and Semler: nec temere judicans de aliis Christianis, qui suo more vivunt. It is best to start from the meaning of διακρίνεσθαι as it occurs in the N. T., to doubt, and accordingly, with de Wette and Wiesinger, to take ἀδιάκριτος = expers omnis cujuscunque ambiguitatis et dubitationis (similarly Wetstein = non duplex).[185] ἀνυπόκριτος] is unhypocritical, upright; see Romans 12:9; 2 Corinthians 6:6.

These two characteristics are also added with special reference to the state of things among the readers. On ἀδιάκριτος, see chap. Jam 1:6-8, Jam 2:4; on ἀνυπόκριτος, chap. Jam 1:22; Jam 1:26, Jam 2:1.

All the characteristics are attributed to true wisdom from the effects which it produces among those who are partakers of it; since it makes them pure, peaceable, etc.; the virtues of which it is the source belong to it.

[185] The same signification is also adopted by Neander, when he says, having man in view: “James requires inner unity of soul, assured conviction, so that the soul be not driven to and fro by extraneous considerations, and by conflicting doubts. James’ meaning is hardly to be described in one word. The notion of impartiality or simplicity is most in accordance with it.”Jam 3:17. ἡ δὲ ἄνωθεν σοφία: the divine character of wisdom is beautifully expressed in Wis 7:25, ἀτμὶς γάρ ἐστιν τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ δυνάμεως, καὶ ἀπόρροια τῆς τοῦ παντοκράτορος δόξης εἰλικρινής.—ἁγνή: in Wis 9:10, the prayer is uttered that God would send forth wisdom “out of the holy heavens …”; of that which is thus holy the first characteristic would be purity, the two ideas are inseparable; it is also possible that in the mind of the writer there was the thought of the contrast between purity and the sin which he knew some of his hearers to be guilty of (see above, the notes on Jam 1:12 ff., Jam 4:3-4).—εἰρηνική; only elsewhere in the N.T. in Hebrews 12:11; cf. Proverbs 3:17, where it is said of wisdom that “all her paths are peace”. The word is evidently chosen to emphasise the strife referred to in an earlier verse.—ἐπιεικής: the word is meant as a contrast to unfair, unreasonable argument, cf. Pss. of Song of Solomon 5:14.—εὐπειθής: this word, again, implies a contrast to the unbending attitude of self-centred controversialists; it does not occur elsewhere in the N.T.—μεστὴ ἐλέους καὶ καρπῶν ἀγαθῶν: the exact reverse of the cursing and bitterness of which some had already been convicted; in Wis 7:22-23, wisdom is spoken of as having a spirit which is: φιλάγαθονφιλάνθρωπων.—ἀδιάκριτος: Cf. διακρίνομαι above (Jam 1:6, Jam 2:4) which, as Mayor points out, makes it probable that we must understand the adjective here in the sense of “single-minded”; perhaps one might say that here it means almost “generous,” in contrast to the unfair imputations which might be made in acrimonious discussion; the word occurs here only in the N.T.—ἀνυπόκριτος: Cf. 1 Peter 1:22; “genuine,” as contrasted with the spurious “earthly” wisdom.17. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable] The sequence is that of thought, not of time. It is not meant, i. e. that purity is an earlier stage of moral growth in wisdom than peace, but that it is its foremost attribute. The “purity” indicated is especially that of chastity of flesh and spirit (comp. 2 Corinthians 7:2; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Titus 2:5), and as such is contrasted with the “sensual” character of the false wisdom. Here again we have the tone of one who has learnt from the Masters of those who know, among the teachers of his own people, that wisdom will not “dwell in the body that is subject unto sin” (Wis 1:4). The sequence which places “peaceful” after “pure” has its counterpart in the beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:8-9).

gentle, and easy to be intreated] The word for “gentle” means literally, forbearing. It describes, as in Aristotle (Eth. 10:6), the temper that does not press its rights, that is content to suffer wrong (comp. Php 4:5; 1 Timothy 3:3). The second adjective is used by classical writers, both in a passive sense as here, and active, (1) as meaning “persuasive,” “winning its way by gentleness,” or (2) as “obedient.” Our choice between the three meanings must depend on our view of what is most likely to have been the sequence of St James’s thoughts. On the whole, the second seems to me to have the most to commend it. True wisdom shews itself, St James seems to say, in that subtle yet gentle power to persuade and win, which we all feel when we come in contact with one who is clearly not fighting for his own rights, but for the cause of Truth.

full of mercy and good fruits] The train of thought is carried on. Wisdom is suasive because she is compassionate. In dealing with the froward she is stirred, not by anger, but by pity, and she overflows, not with “every vile deed,” but with the good fruits of kindly acts.

without partiality] Here again we have a Greek word which admits of more than one sense. The English version gives it an active sense, as describing the temper which does not distinguish wrongly, which is no respecter of persons. The sense in which the verb, from which the adjective is formed, is used in ch. James 1:6, James 2:4, is, however, that of “doubting,” or “wavering;” and it seems, therefore, probable that St James means to describe true wisdom as free from the tendency which he thus condemns. That freedom goes naturally with the freedom from unreality which the next word expresses. Without vacillation is the condition of “without hypocrisy.” Where the purpose is single there is no risk of a simulated piety.Jam 3:17. Πρῶτον μὲν ἁγνή ἐστιν, first of all is pure) Pure from earthly, animal, and devilish defilements. He here anticipates, as it were. Being about to commend peace, he first removes that unholy peace with the world, which collects together and cements in one indiscriminate mass everything that comes in its way: Jam 1:27, at the end, and Jam 4:4 throughout. Thus also, cleanse your hands, etc.: Jam 4:8; 1 Peter 1:22.—(μὲν, indeed) in Jam 3:18, δὲ, but, follows.—εἰρηνικὴ, peaceable) The whole; the parts follow.—ἐπιεικὴς) gentle (indulgent), lenient, not harsh in cases where the question is as to the duties of a neighbour (the duties which a neighbour owes to us).—εὐπειθὴς) tractable, easy, not morose, where the question is as to the fault of a neighbour.—μεστὴ ἐλεόυς, full of mercy) where the question is as to the misery of a neighbour.—καρπῶν ἀγαθῶν, of good fruits) There follow two more distinguished fruits, and worthy of special commendation to those whom he addresses: not judging and without pretence.—ἀδιάκριτος, not judging) It does not make a difference (discrimination or distinction) where it is not necessary; for instance, between the great and the humble. Hesychius ἀδιάφορον, ἀδιάκριτον. It embraces all things which are good and just: it rejects all things which are evil. It acts without any difference (partiality), not harshly esteeming one in preference to others.—ἀνυπόκριτος, without pretence) removed from pretence and flattery, which is exercised directly towards the powerful, indirectly towards the humble, by harshness.Verse 17. - The wisdom which is from above; ἡ ἄνωθεν σοφία, equivalent to חכמה עליוגה - an expression not unknown among rabbinical writers (see Schöttgen, 'Horae Hebraicae,' vol. 1. p. 1026). First pure, then peaceable. "The sequence is that of thought, not of time" (Plumptre). Purity must be secured, even at the expense of peace. Gentle, and easy to be entreated (ἐπιεκὴς εὐπειθής). The former of these two terms signifies "forbearing under provocation" (cf. 1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 3:2; 1 Peter 2:18); the latter is found only here. Vulgate, snadibilis; Syriac, "obedient;" R.V. as A.V., "easy to be entreated," i.e. ready to forgive. Thus the conjunction of the two terms ἐπιεικής and εὐπειθής reminds us of the Jewish saying in 'Pirqe Aboth,' 5:17, describing four characters in dispositions, in which the man who is "hard to provoke and easily pacified" is set down as pious. Without partiality (ἀδιάκριτος); here only in the New Testament. The word is used in the LXX. in Proverbs 25:1; and by Ignatius (Ephesians 3; Magn. 15; Trall. 1), but none of these passages throw light on its meaning. It may be either

(1) without variance, or

(2) without doubtfulness, or

(3) without partiality;

probably (1) as R.V. text. Without hypocrisy; ἀνυπόκριτος applied to πιστίς in 1 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 1:5; to ἀγαπή in Romans 12:9; 2 Corinthians 6:6; and to φιλαδελφία in 1 Peter 1:22. First

Emphasizing its inner quality, pure, as distinguished from its outward expressions. The idea is not first numerically, but first essentially. The other qualities are secondary as outgrowths of this primary quality.

Gentle (ἐπιεικής)

See on 1 Peter 2:18.

Easy to be intreated (εὐπειθής)

Only here in New Testament.

Without partiality (ἀδιάκριτος)

Only here in New Testament and very rare in classical Greek. Rev., without variance or doubting. See on James 1:6.

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James 3:16
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