James 4:5
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?

King James Bible
Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

Darby Bible Translation
Think ye that the scripture speaks in vain? Does the Spirit which has taken his abode in us desire enviously?

World English Bible
Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously"?

Young's Literal Translation
Do ye think that emptily the Writing saith, 'To envy earnestly desireth the spirit that did dwell in us,'

James 4:5 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain - This verse is exceedingly obscure. We cannot tell what scripture St. James refers to; many have been produced by learned men as that which he had particularly in view. Some think Genesis 6:5 : "Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Genesis 8:21 : "The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth." Numbers 11:29 : "Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake?" and Proverbs 21:10 : "The soul of the wicked desireth evil." None of these scriptures, nor any others, contain the precise words in this verse; and therefore St. James may probably refer, not to any particular portion, but to the spirit and design of the Scripture in those various places where it speaks against envying, covetousness, worldly associations, etc., etc.

Perhaps the word in this and the two succeeding verses may be well paraphrased thus: "Do ye think that concerning these things the Scripture speaks falsely, or that the Holy Spirit which dwells in us can excite us to envy others instead of being contented with the state in which the providence of God has placed us? Nay, far otherwise; for He gives us more grace to enable us to bear the ills of life, and to lie in deep humility at his feet, knowing that his Holy Spirit has said, Proverbs 3:34 : God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. Seeing these things are so, submit yourselves to God; resist the devil, who would tempt you to envy, and he will flee from you; draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you."

I must leave this sense as the best I can give, without asserting that I have hit the true meaning. There is not a critic in Europe who has considered the passage that has not been puzzled with it. I think the 5th verse should be understood as giving a contrary sense to that in our translation. Every genuine Christian is a habitation of the Holy Ghost, and that Spirit προς φθονον επιποθει, excites strong desires against envy; a man must not suppose that he is a Christian if he have an envious or covetous heart.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

the scripture.

John 7:42 Has not the scripture said, That Christ comes of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?

John 10:35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

John 19:37 And again another scripture said, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

Romans 9:17 For the scripture said to Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised you up, that I might show my power in you...

Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel to Abraham, saying...

The spirit.

Genesis 4:5,6 But to Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell...

Genesis 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth...

Genesis 8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet smell; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake...

Genesis 26:14 For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him.

Genesis 30:1 And when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said to Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.

Genesis 37:11 And his brothers envied him; but his father observed the saying.

Numbers 11:29 And Moses said to him, Envy you for my sake? would God that all the LORD's people were prophets...

Psalm 37:1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers, neither be you envious against the workers of iniquity.

Psalm 106:16 They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the LORD.

Proverbs 21:10 The soul of the wicked desires evil: his neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.

Ecclesiastes 4:4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbor...

Isaiah 11:13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah...

Acts 7:9 And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,

Romans 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder...

Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy...

to envy. or, enviously.

Library
December 29 Evening
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.--JAMES 4:8. Enoch walked with God.--Can two walk together, except they be agreed?--It is good for me to draw near to God. The Lord is with you, while ye be with him: and if ye seek him, he will be found of you: but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. When they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

April 4. "Resist the Devil and He Will Flee" (James iv. 7).
"Resist the devil and he will flee" (James iv. 7). Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. This is a promise, and God will keep it to us. If we resist the adversary, He will compel him to flee, and will give us the victory. We can, at all times, fearlessly stand up in defiance, in resistance to the enemy, and claim the protection of our heavenly King just as a citizen would claim the protection of the government against an outrage or injustice on the part of violent men. At the same time we
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Next Let not Man, Now that He Knoweth that by the Grace of God...
44. Next let not man, now that he knoweth that by the grace of God he is what he is, fall into another snare of pride, so as by lifting up himself for the very grace of God to despise the rest. By which fault that other Pharisee both gave thanks unto God for the goods which he had, and yet vaunted himself above the Publican confessing his sins. What therefore should a virgin do, what should she think, that she vaunt not herself above those, men or women, who have not this so great gift? For she ought
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

Whether Strife is a Daughter of Anger?
Objection 1: It would seem that strife is not a daughter of anger. For it is written (James 4:1): "Whence are wars and contentions? Are they not . . . from your concupiscences, which war in your members?" But anger is not in the concupiscible faculty. Therefore strife is a daughter, not of anger, but of concupiscence. Objection 2: Further, it is written (Prov. 28:25): "He that boasteth and puffeth up himself, stirreth up quarrels." Now strife is apparently the same as quarrel. Therefore it seems
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Cross References
Numbers 23:19
God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

1 Corinthians 6:19
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

2 Corinthians 6:16
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."

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