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Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary - James 4:1-10

The former chapter speaks of envying one another, as the great spring of strifes and contentions; this chapter speaks of a lust after worldly things, and a setting too great a value upon worldly pleasures and friendships, as that which carried their divisions to a shameful height. I. The apostle here reproves the Jewish Christians for their wars, and for their lusts as the cause of them: Whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members,... read more

William Barclay

William Barclay's Daily Study Bible - James 4:1-3

4:1-3 Whence come feuds and whence come fights among you? Is this not their source--do they not arise because of these desires for pleasures which carry on their constant warring campaign within your members? You desire but you do not possess; you murder; you covet but you cannot obtain. You fight and war but you do not possess, because you do not ask. You ask but you do not receive, because you ask wrongly, for your only desire is to spend what you receive on your own pleasures. James is... read more

William Barclay

William Barclay's Daily Study Bible - James 4:1-3

This pleasure-dominated life has certain inevitable consequences. (i) It sets men at each other's throats. Desires, as James sees it, are inherently warring powers. He does not mean that they war within a man--although that is also true--but that they set men warring against each other. The basic desires are for the same things--for money, for power, for prestige, for worldly possessions, for the gratification of bodily lusts. When all men are striving to possess the same things, life... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - James 4:1

From whence come wars and fightings among you ?.... Which are to be understood, not of public and national wars, such as might be between the Jews and other nations at this time; for the apostle is not writing to the Jews in Judea, as a nation, or body politic, but to the twelve tribes scattered abroad, and to such of them as were Christians; nor were Christians in general as yet increased, and become such large bodies, or were whole nations become Christians, and much less at war one... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - James 4:2

Ye lust, and have not ,.... The apostle proceeds to show the unsuccessfulness of many in their desires and pursuits after worldly things; some might be like the sluggard, whose soul desireth all good things, and yet he has nothing, Proverbs 13:4 because he does not make use of any means, even of such as are proper and necessary, and ought to be used: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain ; some, instead of kill, which seems not so agreeable, read envy; and then the sense is,... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - James 4:3

Ye ask, and receive not ,.... Some there were that did ask of God the blessings of his goodness and providence, and yet these were not bestowed on them; the reason was, because ye ask amiss ; not in the faith of a divine promise; nor with thankfulness for past mercies; nor with submission to the will of God; nor with a right end, to do good to others, and to make use of what might be bestowed, for the honour of God, and the interest of Christ: but that ye may consume it upon your... read more

Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible - James 4:1

From whence come wars and fightings - About the time in which St. James wrote, whether we follow the earlier or the later date of this epistle, we find, according to the accounts given by Josephus, Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 17, etc., that the Jews, under pretense of defending their religion, and procuring that liberty to which they believed themselves entitled, made various insurrections in Judea against the Romans, which occasioned much bloodshed and misery to their nation. The factions also,... read more

Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible - James 4:2

Ye lust, and have not - Ye are ever covetous, and ever poor. Ye kill, and, desire to have - Ye are constantly engaged in insurrections and predatory wars, and never gain any advantage. Ye have not, because ye ask not - Ye get no especial blessing from God as your fathers did, because ye do not pray. Worldly good is your god; ye leave no stone unturned in order to get it; and as ye ask nothing from God but to consume it upon your evil desires and propensities, your prayers are not... read more

Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible - James 4:3

Ye ask, and receive not - Some think that this refers to their prayers for the conversion of the heathen; and on the pretense that they were not converted thus; they thought it lawful to extirpate them and possess their goods. Ye ask amiss - Κακως αιτεισθε· Ye ask evilly, wickedly. Ye have not the proper dispositions of prayer, and ye have an improper object. Ye ask for worldly prosperity, that ye may employ it in riotous living. This is properly the meaning of the original, ἱνα εν... read more

John Calvin

John Calvin's Commentary on the Bible - James 4:1

Verse 1 1From whence come wars. As he had spoken of peace, and had reminded them that vices are to be exterminated in such a way as to preserve peace, he now comes to their contentions, by which they created confusion among themselves; and he shews that these arose from their invidious desires and lusts, rather than from a zeal for what was just and right; for if every one observed moderation, they would not have disturbed and annoyed one another. They had their hot conflicts, because their... read more

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