James 4:1
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?

King James Bible
From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

Darby Bible Translation
Whence come wars and whence fightings among you? Is it not thence, from your pleasures, which war in your members?

World English Bible
Where do wars and fightings among you come from? Don't they come from your pleasures that war in your members?

Young's Literal Translation
Whence are wars and fightings among you? not thence -- out of your passions, that are as soldiers in your members?

James 4:1 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

From whence come wars and fightings among you? - Margin, "brawlings." The reference is to strifes and contentions of all kinds; and the question, then, as it is now, was an important one, what was their source or origin? The answer is given in the succeeding part of the verse. Some have supposed that the apostle refers here to the contests and seditions existing among the Jews, which afterwards broke out in rebellion against the Roman authority, and which led to the overthrow of the Jewish nation. But the more probable reference is to domestic broils, and to the strifes of sects and parties; to the disputes which were carried on among the Jewish people, and which perhaps led to scenes of violence, and to popular outbreaks among themselves. When the apostle says "among you," it is not necessary to suppose that he refers to those who were members of the Christian church as actually engaged in these strifes, though he was writing to such; but he speaks of them as a part of the Jewish people, and refers to the contentions which prevailed among them as a people - contentions in which those who were Christian converts were in great danger of participating, by being drawn into their controversies, and partaking of the spirit of strife which existed among their countrymen. It is known that such a spirit of contention prevailed among the Jews at that time in an eminent degree, and it was well to put those among them who professed to be Christians on their guard against such a spirit, by stating the causes of all wars and contentions. The solution which the apostle has given of the causes of the strifes prevailing then, will apply substantially to all the wars which have ever existed on the earth.

Come they not hence, even of your lusts? - Is not this the true source of all war and contention? The word rendered "lusts" is in the margin rendered "pleasures." This is the usual meaning of the word (ἡδονὴ hēdonē); but it is commonly applied to the pleasures of sense, and thence denotes desire, appetite, lust. It may be applied to any desire of sensual gratification, and then to the indulgence of any corrupt propensity of the mind. The lust or desire of rapine, of plunder, of ambition, of fame, of a more extended dominion, I would be properly embraced in the meaning of the word. The word would equally comprehend the spirit which leads to a brawl in the street, and that which prompted to the conquests of Alexander, Caesar, or Napoleon. All this is the same spirit evinced on a larger or smaller scale.

That war in your members - The word "member" (μέλος melos) denotes, properly, a limb or member of the body; but it is used in the New Testament to denote the members of the body collectively; that is, the body itself as the seat of the desires and passions, Romans 6:13, Romans 6:19; Romans 7:5, Romans 7:23; Colossians 3:5. The word war here refers to the conflict between those passions which have their seat in the flesh, and the better principles of the mind and conscience, producing a state of agitation and conflict. See the notes at Romans 7:23. Compare Galatians 5:17. Those corrupt passions which have their seat in the flesh, the apostle says are the causes of war. Most of the wars which have occurred in the world can be traced to what the apostle here calls lusts. The desire of booty, the love of conquest, the ambition for extended rule, the gratification of revenge, these and similar causes have led to all the wars that have desolated the earth. Justice, equity, the fear of God, the spirit of true religion, never originated any war, but the corrupt passions of men have made the earth one great battle-field. If true religion existed among all men, there would be no more war. War always supposes that wrong has been done on one side or the other, and that one party or the other, or both, is indisposed to do right. The spirit of justice, equity, and truth, which the religion of Christ would implant in the human heart, would put an end to war forever.

James 4:1 Parallel Commentaries

Library
December 19. "God Giveth Grace unto the Humble" (James iv. 6).
"God giveth grace unto the humble" (James iv. 6). One of the marks of highest worth is deep lowliness. The shallow nature, conscious of its weakness and insufficiency, is always trying to advertise itself and make sure of its being appreciated. The strong nature, conscious of its strength, is willing to wait and let its work be made manifest in due time. Indeed, the truest natures are so free from all self-consciousness and self-consideration that their object is not to be appreciated, understood
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

God's Will About the Future
EDITOR'S NOTE: This Sermon was published the week of Spurgeon's death. The great preacher died in Mentone, France, January 31, 1892. This and the next few Sermons in the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit were printed with a black mourning band circling the margins. A footnote appeared from the original editors, commenting on the providential selection of this message for that particular week: * It is remarkable that the sermon selected for this week should be so peculiarly suitable for the present trying
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

Whether Every Sin Includes an Action?
Objection 1: It would seem that every sin includes an action. For as merit is compared with virtue, even so is sin compared with vice. Now there can be no merit without an action. Neither, therefore, can there be sin without action. Objection 2: Further, Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. iii, 18) [*Cf. De Vera Relig. xiv.]: So "true is it that every sin is voluntary, that, unless it be voluntary, it is no sin at all." Now nothing can be voluntary, save through an act of the will. Therefore every sin implies
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether the Reason Can be Overcome by a Passion, against Its Knowledge?
Objection 1: It would seem that the reason cannot be overcome by a passion, against its knowledge. For the stronger is not overcome by the weaker. Now knowledge, on account of its certitude, is the strongest thing in us. Therefore it cannot be overcome by a passion, which is weak and soon passes away. Objection 2: Further, the will is not directed save to the good or the apparent good. Now when a passion draws the will to that which is really good, it does not influence the reason against its knowledge;
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Cross References
Romans 7:23
but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.

2 Timothy 2:23
But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.

Titus 3:9
But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

1 Peter 2:11
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.

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