He, it, or Scripture? James 4:6

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by franklinmonroe, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
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    Read James 4:5 & 6 from the NKJV (essentially the same as the HCSB, Weymouth) --
    Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"?
    But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."​

    The word "He" (which is capitalized) probably refers to God, however the nearest persona antecedent is actually the "Spirit". The quote that follows seems to be from Proverbs 3:34. Some other versions which do not capitalize pronouns of Deity (such as the KJV, Darby, Wycliffe, ISV) could possibly confuse a reader into thinking that "he" refers the author of Proverbs, I suppose. Now notice the same passage from the ESV (essentially the same as NASB, Wesley, Green's LIT) --
    Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"?
    But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."​

    The word "it" probably refers to the "Scriptures" of verse 5 (but it could be a pronoun used for the Holy Spirit). One more, from the NIV (essentially the same as the Bishops', Geneva, NLT) --
    Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
    But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."​

    These versions are very explicit that the quote is taken from the "Scripture" and parallels the prior verse. Of course, all Scripture originates with God, but what exactly did James intended here? Some early English versions do not even have this portion of the verse in their text --
    but geveth more grace. (Tyndale)
    but gives more grace. (Matthew's)
    but geueth more grace (Coverdale)​

    So here are some direct questions: Why don't the early English versions have the rest of the verse? If translators by interpretation have inserted "He" to mean God, why not just insert "God"? Why isn't "he" typeset in the KJV with italics since "he" does not have a corresponding Greek word? [similar to the Bishops' Bible putting "the Scripture" within brackets]
     
  2. Jerome

    Jerome
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    Because Tyndale, etc. translate from Erasmus' Greek NT.
     
  3. franklinmonroe

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    Do you mean an earlier edition of the TR? Could you be more specific? The Bishops' and Geneva are also based on a TR.
     
  4. jonathan.borland

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    This is a difficult passage, not the least of which is James quoting a "Scripture" or "writing" that we can't precisely locate in the OT, although some have thought he might be quoting Paul as Scripture here (cf. Gal 5:17). There is a marginal reading in James 4:5 caused almost certainly by the similarity of the words. Most manuscripts have "katwkhsen" (inhabited) while the earliest ones all seem to have "katwkisen" (put). So the translator must decide between something like either "the spirit that inhabited us desires to envy" (following most later copies) or "the spirit that he put in us desires to envy" (following most early copies), or, equally possible, "with jealousy he longs for the spirit he put in us" or "with jealousy he longs for the spirit that inhabited us."

    The KJV has "spirit" while the NKJV has "Spirit." I'm not sure what to make of this. From the verse that follows, "But he gives more grace," etc., it sounds like whatever is mentioned in 4:5 is negative, thus perhaps not referring to the Holy Spirit. The context is a passage pleading for immediate repentance, perhaps due to this envious spirit (=flesh?) that has inhabited us since mankind's fall.

    This is a difficult passage and I'm certainly open to correction by those who have studied the passage in more depth and are older Christians than I am.
     
  5. jonathan.borland

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    Oh, to answer the OP, it seems like it doesn't matter. The subject is not supplied, so "it" or "he" are both okay. After all, what the Scripture says He has said. Amen?
     
  6. Jerome

    Jerome
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    Tyndale's translation, found also in the Coverdale and Matthews, was from Erasmus' own[does that help?] Greek NT.
     
    #6 Jerome, Nov 23, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2008
  7. Jerome

    Jerome
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    The "rest of the verse" is not in any of Erasmus' 5 editions of the Greek NT.
     
  8. Jerome

    Jerome
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    Apparently he thought it a gloss from I Peter 5:5.
     
    #8 Jerome, Nov 23, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2008

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