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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 4:3

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 4:3

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 4:3

Verse 3 3Ye seek and receive not. He goes farther: though they sought, yet they were deservedly denied; because they wished to make God the minister of their own lusts. For they set no bounds to their wishes, as he had commanded; but gave unbridled license to themselves, so as to ask those things of which man, conscious of what is right, ought especially to be ashamed. Pliny somewhere ridicules this impudence, that men so wickedly abuse the ears of God. The less tolerable is such a thing in... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - James 4:1-3

Wars and fightings. Gazing upon the fair portraiture of the heavenly wisdom with which James 3:1-18 . closes, we perhaps feel as if we could make tabernacles for ourselves in its peaceful presence, that we might continue always to contemplate its beauty. Immediately, however, James brings us down again from the holy mount into the quarrelsome and murderous world. He points us to the "wars" and "fightings" that rage throughout the human family. He returns to the " bitter jealousy and... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - James 4:1-10

War or peace? He has just been speaking of peace. But this leads him to survey the actual state of things: disputes, strifes, murders. (For condition of Jewish society at this time, see Plumptre's notes: " rife with atrocities.") And he will ascend to the origin of them. Whence come they? They proceed from the restlessness of the unregenerate nature, seeking, but seeking in vain, its satisfaction in the world. These two topics, then, are introduced to us: dissatisfaction with the... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - James 4:1-12

REBUKE OF QUARRELS ARISING FROM PRIDE AND GREED . A terribly sadden transition from the "peace" with which James 3:1-18 . closed. read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - James 4:2-3

"Ye ask amiss, that ye may spend it on your pleasures." Prayer is not to be selfish, or for the satisfaction of corrupt appetites; and where the spirit of prayer is absent there is no promise to prayer. "Incredible as it might seem that men plundering and murdering, as the previous verses represent them, should have been in any sense men who prayed, the history of Christendom presents but too many instances of like anomalies. Cornish wreckers going from church to their accursed work;... read more

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