double-minded question

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by koreahog2005, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. koreahog2005

    koreahog2005
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    James 1:8 and 4:8 mention the "double-minded" (di-psuchos in Greek). Is this term referring to the saved or the unsaved?
     
  2. Marcia

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    James is written to believers. The double-minded were those who were quarreling, coveting, being proud, and being friends with the world, (look at James 4.1-4)-- not walking with the Lord but asking Him for things. In James 1, the double-minded is one who asks God but is not really trusting in Him.
     
  3. koreahog2005

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    Marcia, thanks for your input. I'm also wondering about the usage of the term in the Old Testament. Notice Psalm 119:113:

    "I hate those who are double-minded, but I love Thy law." (NASV)

    The Hebrew word for "double-minded" is "say-afe." It is a verbal adjective and is only used one time in the Old Testament. Gesenius' Hebrew Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament defines it:

     
  4. Marcia

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    It sounds like the same thing as James -- not trusting in the Lord. One place where I looked said this word could also mean "halfhearted." Interesting -- doubleminded (2 minds) and halfhearted (half a heart).
     
  5. Craigbythesea

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    Dr. Eduard Schweizer writes of the word dipsuchos ( dip'-soo-khos ) in vol. 9, p. 665, of The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, “. . . it denotes the divided man as opposed to the “simple” man . . ” and directs the readers attention to the Greek word haplos that James used in verse 5 which means “simply, openly, frankly, unambiguously, wholeheartedly, sincerely, without ulterior motive.” (In the King James Version, the word haplos is translated “liberally”).

    Therefore, a Bob Jones University website gives the following meanings for dipsuchos:

    1. Double minded
    2. Wavering, uncertain, doubting
    3. Divided in interest

    We find, therefore, in James chapter 1 a contrast between the behavior of God who gives “simply” and the behavior of the man who is "double-minded" in his response and approach to God.

    1. James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
    2. Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
    3. knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
    4. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
    5. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
    6. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
    7. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,
    8. being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
    9. But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position;
    10. and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. (NASB, 1995)

    But is this man a Christian believer or an unbeliever?

    1. James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
    2. Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
    3. knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
    4. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
    5. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
    6. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
    7. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,
    8. being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
    9. But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position;
    10. and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. koreahog2005

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    Marcia and Craig, thanks for your responses. I will be honest with you and say that I have not made up my mind on this issue. At first glance, James 1:8 seems to be talking about Christians whose prayers are hindered by doubt. The thing that confuses me, however, is that the double-minded person is described as “unstable in all his ways” (NASV). If the Holy Spirit is indwelling a person, I don’t understand how that person can be unstable in all his ways. Craig, you asked:
    I assume your question is not a rhetorical one and that you, like me, have not made up your mind. Correct me if my assumption is wrong. I did notice that you highlighted the words “you,” “him,” etc., perhaps indicating that the focus might be changing from Christians to non-Christians. I have had trouble finding many commentators who commit themselves one way or the other on this, but most seem to think that the double-minded man is a Christian. The Greek words for James 1:8 follow:

    aner -- man
    dipsuchos -- double-minded
    akatastatos -- unstable
    en -- in
    pasais -- all
    tais – (article “the” not translated – dative plural feminine)
    hodois -- ways
    autou -- his

    “Hodois” may be the word in the verse that helps us the most. Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon puts it under the sub definition “way of life, way of acting, conduct.” Some examples listed under that definition follow:

    Acts 14:16 – “And in the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways .”

    2 Peter 2:2 – “And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be maligned.”

    2 Peter 2:15 – “Forsaking the right way they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of righteousness.”

    2 Peter 2:21 – “For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them.”

    James 5:20 – “Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.”

    Again, I don’t understand how all the ways of a Christian could be unstable. I’m wondering if the double-minded man could represent the non-Christian who is under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, does not want to make a choice, is trying to serve two masters, and is “of two minds” in the matter. This situation would be similar to that of the rocky and thorny soils in the parable of the sower and the soils.

    Another similar situation might be that in 1 Kings 18:21 when Elijah asked the crowd of people on Mount Carmel how long they would “hesitate” between two opinions. He wanted them to commit themselves either to God or to Baal. The Hebrew word for “hesitate” is “pasah” which refers to limping or dancing (as in 1 Kings 18:26), thus implying an unstable spiritual situation. Here’s an interesting comment on 1 Kings 18:21 from M. Pierce Matheny, former professor of Old Testament at Midwestern Baptist Seminary:

    Mattheney, “1 Kings,” The Broadman Bible Commentary, vol. 3, ed.: Clifton J. Allen (Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press, 1970), pages 210-211.

    Notice above that Mattheney mentioned "double-minded indecision."

    Let me know if you find any more relevant comments on James 1:8. James seems to be talking about the nature of true faith in chapter two by contrasting true faith and false faith, so I don't think it would be unreasonable for him to discuss the same subject in chapter one. Thanks again for your help.

    [ October 28, 2004, 08:01 AM: Message edited by: koreahog2005 ]
     
  7. Craigbythesea

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    My question was only 95% rhetorical, and I highlighted the words that I did to show that Christians are clearly in view in this passage; but that is not at all the case of unbelievers. I do not find them in this passage at all.

    Not all Christians are single-minded; many of them are double-minded and their lives reflect their ambivalence.

    I believe that we find at least some degree of hyperbole in the phrase “unstable in all his ways.” It is my opinion that we have here a believer who has accepted the Gospel message but who has either not completely understood it or applied it to his way of life.

    It is also my opinion that in the parable of the sower we find the unbeliever hearing the word of God but not responding to it and thus not being saved (Luke 8:5 & 12). We then find the unbeliever hearing the word of God and believing it and being saved, but due to a lack of discipleship and other Christian influences, succumbing to temptation and becoming an apostate (Luke 8:6 & 13). We then find the unbeliever hearing the word of God and believing it and being saved, but due to the cares and pleasures of the world never growing very much and living a life characterized by ambivalence toward God and his plan for our lives resulting in a lack of spiritual fruit (Luke 8:7 & 14). Lastly, we find the unbeliever hearing the word of God and believing it with an honest and good heart and being saved and clinging to the word of God and persevering through all temptations and hardships (Luke 8:8 & 15).

    Luke 8:4. When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable:
    5. "The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up.
    6. "Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture.
    7. "Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out.
    8. "Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great." As He said these things, He would call out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
    9. His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant.
    10. And He said, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.
    11. "Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.
    12. "Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.
    13. "Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.
    14. "The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
    15. "But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Marcia

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    I have no trouble believing that a believer can become unstable in all his ways. I agree with Craig this could be hyperbole and that the James passage is definitely about Christians.

    I have met many ambivalent Christians -- they are saved but are not completely trusting in the Lord or standing on His word. Sometimes it is the case they have just not grown in the Lord, either from not going to church or not reading the Bible or some other reason.
     
  9. koreahog2005

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    Craig, you may be right about the hyperbole in "unstable in all his ways." I still haven't made up my mind. Regarding the parable of the sower and the soils, I think the rocky soil is referring to a non-Christian since the word is not firmly rooted (Luke 8:13), and the Christian is firmly rooted (Colossians 2:7; Ephesians 3:17). I also don't think the thorny soil refers to a Christian since it brings forth no fruit to maturity (Luke 8:14), and all Christians bring forth some fruit (Matthew 7:16-20). The good soil speaks of a group of people with different levels of fruit bearing -- some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty (Matthew 13:23).
     
  10. koreahog2005

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    Marcia, you may be right. I know that Christians can backslide, and immature Christians can be blown about by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14). Still, it seems to me that backsliding and blowing about can only be temporary phenomena because the Holy Spirit is there to "right the ship."
     
  11. Marcia

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    Well, first of all, believers can ignore the HS, and they do.

    Secondly, there is nothing in James to indicate being double-minded is permanent. He's admonishing them not to be, just like he admonishes Christians not to gossip, etc.
     
  12. Craigbythesea

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    I believe that a substantial reason why you are troubled by the idea of a Christian being unstable is that you have not understood some of the descriptions of a Christian in the New Testament. You referenced Colossians 2:7; Ephesians 3:17; and Matthew 7:16-20.

    Col 2 :6. Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
    7. having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

    Paul does not write here, nor imply here, that Christians are firmly rooted as soon as they are reborn.

    Eph. 3:14. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
    15. from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
    16. that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
    17 . so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
    18. may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
    19. and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

    Again, Paul does not write here, nor imply here, that Christians are firmly rooted as soon as they are reborn. Christians begin as babes in Christ who are drinking milk.

    1 Pet. 2:1. Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,
    2. like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,
    3. if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

    Matt. 7:16. "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
    17. "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
    18. "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
    19. "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
    20. "So then, you will know them by their fruits.

    Christians, like fig trees, typically put out some leaves before they produce fruit. They also first need some cultivation.

    Luke 13: 6. And He began telling this parable: "A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any.
    7. "And he said to the vineyard-keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?'
    8. "And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer;
    9. and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.' "

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Craigbythesea

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    I totally agree here.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. koreahog2005

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    Craig, I am out of town and at an Internet cafe, so my response will be brief at this time. I agree that a period of time may pass before any fruit is produced. I believe, however, that fruit production is inevitable in a true Christian. I believe true Christians are firmly rooted to Jesus at the moment they are saved. They build on the foundation of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-12). Their foundation is on the rock, and their spiritual house doesn't collapse when the storms come (Matthew 7:25). Thanks again for your help.
     
  15. Craigbythesea

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    Why do you believe this?

    [​IMG]
     
  16. michelle

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    --------------------------------------------------
    I believe true Christians are firmly rooted to Jesus at the moment they are saved.
    --------------------------------------------------


    --------------------------------------------------
    Why do you believe this?

    --------------------------------------------------


    It is called FAITH in the POWER OF THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST. Do you believe God has the POWER and ability to KEEP YOU once you have been saved? One cannot be saved without Faith, so one must have it to come to the cross in the first place. Jesus said, even those of little faith:

    Matthew 13

    31. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
    32. Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
    33. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.


    Love in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour,
    michelle
     
  17. koreahog2005

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    Craig, in response to my statement that Christians are firmly rooted in Jesus at the moment they are saved, you asked:
    Let’s look at Ephesians 3:17-18:

    So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth.”

    “Rooted” and “grounded” are perfect passive participles. The action described by perfect passive participles took place in the past and the results of that action have continued to the present.

    Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament describes “rooted” ( rhizoo ) as follows:

    Thus, Christians have been firmly rooted, and the results of that action continue. Paul said in Romans 8:39 that nothing can separate us from the love of God, the love in which they have been firmly rooted and grounded in Ephesians 3:17.

    The word “grounded” ( themelioo ) in Ephesians 3:17 is translated as “founded” in Matthew 7:25:

    And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock.

    1 Corinthians 3:11 describes Christ as the foundation that is laid, and Christians are described as buildings (verse 9). Our works are what are built upon that foundation. If any such works remain after the test of fire, a reward will be given for the works. If no works survive the test, the person will be saved because of the foundation of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:15).
     
  18. koreahog2005

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    P.S. -- I mentioned that "rooted" and "grounded" are perfect passive participles. I should have mentioned the significance of passive voice versus active voice:

    Huber Drumwright, Jr., An Introduction to New Testament Greek (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1980), page 18.

    Thus, Christians are rooted and grounded by God, not by themselves. Drumwright's textbook also describes perfect participles:

    Ibid., page 118.
     
  19. Craigbythesea

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    Dear brother,

    You did not answer my question. Perhaps I need to rephrase it. Why do you believe that Christians are firmly rooted in Jesus at the moment they are saved? Your grammar lesson from first semester Greek, as much as I agree with it, does not at all answer the question. It only tells us that at some point in past time the Christians spoken of became firmly rooted in Jesus and that that condition or state was still in effect at the time of writing. It does NOT tell us if that rooting was gradual or instantaneous, nor when it began or came to be. And there are very many places in the New Testament where Christians are spoken of who are NOT firmly rooted in Jesus, at least not in accord with how I would use the expression, so I must conclude that being rooted in Jesus is something that is not realized in the life of every Christian and/or that being rooted in Jesus is a process that takes place over time and/or (as is highly probable) Paul is using at least some measure of hyperbole in using that expression.

    I live in a part of the United States that does not usually get a whole lot of rain, and therefore our very large trees have been caused by the environment to develop very extensive root systems in order for them to get sufficient water. However, on occasion, we do get a whole lot of rain, saturating the ground, followed by high winds that uproot some very old trees that for very many years had been firmly rooted (past-perfect, passive voice) in good ground. And, while serving as the senior pastor of an inner-city church, I encountered some of those “very old trees that for very many years had been firmly rooted in good ground,” but who had become uprooted by a radical change in their circumstances :( .

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Craigbythesea

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    You are extrapolating a little too far. The passive voice does NOT tell us that the causative force was God; it only tells us that the causative force was something other than the subject. I believe that Christians become firmly rooted in Jesus the same way that trees become firmly rooted in the ground (see my post immediately above). I believe this because both the Bible and personal observation support that belief.

    [​IMG]
     

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