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.
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,)
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;
James 4:14 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Whereas, ye know not what shall be on the morrow - They formed their plans as if they knew; the apostle says it could not be known. They had no means of ascertaining what would occur; whether they would live or die; whether they would be prospered, or would be overwhelmed with adversity. Of the truth of the remark made by the apostle here, no one can doubt; but it is amazing how men act as if it were false. We have no power of penetrating the future so as to be able to determine what will occur in a single day or a single hour, and yet we are almost habitually forming our plans as if we saw with certainty all that is to happen. The classic writings abound with beautiful expressions respecting the uncertainty of the future, and the folly of forming our plans as if it were known to us. Many of those passages, some of them almost precisely in the words of James, may be seen in Grotius and Pricaeus, in loc. Such passages occur in Anacreon, Euripides, Menander, Seneca, Horace, and others, suggesting an obvious but much-neglected thought, that the future is to is all unknown. Man cannot penetrate it; and his plans of life should be formed in view of the possibility that his life may be cut off and all his plans fail, and consequently in constant preparation for a higher world.
For what is your life? - All your plans must depend of course on the continuance of your life; but what a frail and uncertain thing is that! How transitory and evanescent as a basis on which to build any plans for the future! Who can calculate on the permanence of a vapor? Who can build any solid hopes on a mist?
It is even a vapour - Margin, "For it is." The margin is the more correct rendering. The previous question had turned the attention to life as something peculiarly frail, and as of such a nature that no calculation could be based on its permanence. This expression gives a reason for that, to wit, that it is a mere vapor. The word "vapor" (ἀτμὶς atmis,) means a mist, an exhalation, a smoke; such a vapor as we see ascending from a stream, or as lies on the mountain side on the morning, or as floats for a little time in the air, but which is dissipated by the rising sun, leaving not a trace behind. The comparison of life with a vapor is common, and is as beautiful as it is just. Job says,
O remember that my life is Wind;
Mine eyes shall no more see good.
LibraryDecember 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
Whether Every Sin Includes an Action?
Whether the Reason Can be Overcome by a Passion, against Its Knowledge?
"Remember that my life is but breath; My eye will not again see good.
"Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah.
Thus He remembered that they were but flesh, A wind that passes and does not return.
For my days have been consumed in smoke, And my bones have been scorched like a hearth.
Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow.
Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.
Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; For why should he be esteemed?
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