James 3:16 (9/20 reading)


The lesser known 3:16 lol.

I am curious about this passage from today’s reading.


Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.


For where envying and contention is, there is inconstancy, and every evil work.


For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

In the NASB the passage seems to condemn capitalism.
But the other translations seem to anger or conflict.
These seem totally different.

Any insight is appreciated.


Unless I were to believe that “selfish ambition” is unique to capitalism, could I agree with your assessment.

However human history presents many with selfish ambition who were diametric to capitalism.


I don’t see where you have attributed this to “capitalism” per say…
Nor do I see the inconstancy between the translations.

From Barnes’ Notes on the Bible:
(James3:13-18) For where envying and strife is, there is confusion - Margin, tumult or unquietness. Everything is unsettled and agitated. There is no mutual confidence; there is no union of plan and effort; there is no co-operation in promoting a common object; there is no stability in any plan; for a purpose, though for good, formed by one portion, is defeated by another.
And every evil work - Of the truth of this no one can have any doubt who has observed the effects in a family or neighborhood where a spirit of strife prevails. All love and harmony of course are banished; all happiness disappears; all prosperity is at an end. In place of the peaceful virtues which ought to prevail, there springs up every evil passion that tends to mar the peace of a community. Where this spirit prevails in a church, it is of course impossible to expect any progress in divine things; and in such a church any effort to do good is vain.

"The Spirit, like a peaceful dove,

Flies from the realms of noise and strife."


You both missed the point. Let’s drop capitalism. This is a translation question.


Ok, let us do so; however, that was the main focus of your OP…

In the NASB the passage seems to ****condemn capitalism.
But the other translations seem to anger or conflict.
These seem totally different.

Dropping the last part of your post, doesn’t negate the remainder of my post, nor the commentary as cited.

The three translations, imho, say the same thing when taken within the context of the method of translation. That conflict/discord are sourced from our own, self-centered, passions. The devil uses our selfish, fallen nature, to destroy our society thru conflict.


It seems like that word may not translate well into English. It seems to express more of an ideology than anything else that all of those translations fit into at least according to the Blue Letter Bible here blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2052&t=KJV


The passage as a whole makes the sense (even with the old English spellings) as a specific admonition against teaching overzealously in the original 1582 DR translation. Teaching overzealously will allow the devil into your heart and lead to perversities, I believe that it allegorically also applies to what z_0101states above as well.


“Can, my brethren, the figge tree yeld grapes or the vine, figges? So neither can the salt water yeld sweete. Who is wise and hath knowledge among you? Let him shew by good conversation his working in mildeness of wisdom. But if you have bitter zeale, and there be contentions in your hartes: glorie not and be not liers against the truth, for this is not wisdom descending from above: but earthly, sensual, divelish. For where zeale and contention is: there is inconstancie, and every perverse work. But the wisdom that is from above, first certes is chast: then peacable, modest, susasible, consenting to the good, ful of mercie and good fruites, not judging, without limulation. And the fruite of justice, in peace is sowed, to them that make peace.” (spelling as in the original).


I just thought that second reading, taking place as it did in the Plaza de Revolucion in Havana, seemed so perfectly put together to contradict the class warfare and dialectical materialism that is Communism.

I know it applies to all of us personally, but viewed as an epistle against communism … as it is practiced … it fits so well.

Reading 2 JAS 3:16—4:3

Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist,
there is disorder and every foul practice.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure,
then peaceable, gentle, compliant,
full of mercy and good fruits,
without inconstancy or insincerity.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace
for those who cultivate peace.

Where do the wars
and where do the conflicts among you come from?
Is it not from your passions
that make war within your members?
You covet but do not possess.
You kill and envy but you cannot obtain;
you fight and wage war.
You do not possess because you do not ask.
You ask but do not receive,
because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.


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