Its very uncertainty is part of the merciful Divine plan for making us thoughtful. Copyright � Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. But we waste our time in looking back mournfully into the past: we may not alter it, though we can by God’s grace repent of it. Life is utterly precarious; and God has not put it within the power of all the creatures he has made to command one moment of what is future.It is even a vapour - Ατμις γαρ εστιν· It is a smoke, always fleeting, uncertain, evanescent, and obscured with various trials and afflictions. "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". Christians are to be motivated by the certainty of this future event. II. To get what James 4:14 means based on its source text, scroll down or follow these links for the original scriptural meaning , biblical context and relative popularity. It is even a vapour] Thy breath is in thy nostrils, ever ready to puff out; at the next puff of breath thou mayest blow away thy life. Proverbs 3:28; Proverbs 27:1 : μὴ καυχῶ τὰ εἰς αὔριον, οὐ γὰρ γινώσκεις τί τέξεται ἡ ἐπιοῦσα: thus whether life will still last. Clarke's James 4:14 Bible Commentary Whereas ye know not - This verse should be read in a parenthesis. "Commentary on James 4:14". "To what extent is your life directed by the knowledge that Christ is coming back? It is not only impious, but grossly absurd, to speak thus concerning futurity, when ye know not what a day may bring forth. whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. They never, as it were, get so far away from life as to be able to take a philosophic view of it, and say whether it has cheated them or not. Should we then live and trade as if our lives were riveted upon eternity? Two fits of an ague could shake great Tamerlane to death, in the midst of his great hopes and greatest power, when he was preparing for the utter rooting out of the Othoman family, and the conquest of the Greek empire. https: All "life" is in the Father. It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. They arrange, he says, a long course of procedure, extending over many weeks or even months; they calculate the steps they will take, the transactions in which they will engage, the bargains they will strike, and all as if they were perfectly certain of a continuance of life. that is, how evanescent it is. read. It is in this light that they should determine what they (or rather God) consider to be important. The expression "what your life will be like tomorrow", in some manuscripts reads, "for what kind of life is yours". So flourish these, when those are pass'd away. , Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow, Οἵτινες οὐκ ἐπίστασθε τὸ τῆς αὔριον ποίαἡ ζωὴ ὑμῶν ἀτμὶς γὰρ ἐστε ἡ, πρὸς ὀλίγον φαινομένη ἔπειτα καὶ ἀφανιζομένη, Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers. What is your life? https: JAMES 4:14. "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". "Yet you do not know"- Proverbs 27:1 "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth." ii. And that has not merely clothed with a hallowed memory a certain spot, cast a shimmer of glory over the lake of Galilee, given a weird significance to Jerusalem. God often reminds mankind that physical life here on the earth, even a long life time is still extremely brief (Isaiah 40:6). iii., p. 351. "All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. What is the origin of the races of humanity? "E.W. https: Mere man is but the dream of a dream, but the generation of a fancy, but a poor feeble, unable, dying flash, but the curious picture of nothing. Quid tam circumcisum, tam breve, quam hominis vita longissima? It seems that every generation seems to think that its own time somehow constitutes a time that has been different from all other times. 1974. The grass withereth, and the flower fadeth, because the breath of the Lord bloweth upon it. "Commentary on James 4:14". Man’s nature must have been redeemable before the Holy One redeemed it. For what is your life? BibliographyConstable, Thomas. In fact, the Bible emphasizes the fleeting nature of humans' lives compared to eternity (Psalm 102:11–12; Job 8:9). Another thing which gives us a low view of life is the way it deceives men. No man who really believes that God took flesh and dwelt among men dares to feel in his inmost soul that life is paltry. Another reason why life seems very small is its shortness.—Things that do not last long are not regarded as worth much. iii. which know not [that know not], what is to you in the morrow. You are ignorant of what shall happen to you; your health and lives are not at your own disposal. who do not know the thing of the morrow; for what is your life? https: The looking-glass shows us the tell-tale wrinkles, and the grey hairs here and there; we know that we are growing old, and that the vapour called life is passing fast away, yet many of us shut our eyes to the fact. Understand the meaning of James 4:14 using all available Bible versions and commentary. All rights reserved. ‘My life,’ we may well think and say, when we reflect on the great seething tide of being, ‘why, it is neither here nor there; a drop in the ocean—it would never be missed.’. James 4:14. by Grant Richison | Dec 21, 2000 | James | 0 comments. It is even a vapour - Margin, “For it is.” The margin is the more correct rendering. II. E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. "Commentary on James 4:14". II. For one man who commits murder or suicide, there are a hundred who might have committed them. If man could anticipate the future so that he could figure out every contingency, then he would be a proud creature indeed. But there is a very remarkable saying in the book of Ecclesiasticus, which should be quoted: "As of the green leaves of a thick tree, some fall and some grow; so is the generation of flesh and blood: one cometh to an end, and another is born." It contains the elements of all real tragedy. ‘“The master-power in shaping and sustaining our thoughts, our purposes, our deeds”: this, and nothing less, is what we are bidden to find in the fact that in our Lord Jesus Christ, God became man, and man was made one with God. 2013. Nay, the whole of life seems to be constructed on the principle of luring men on by the hope of one thing, and then giving them either nothing or something else. James opposes to carnal security the uncertainty of the future and the transitoriness of life. God is not against making business plans, but He is down on presumptuous planning, which excludes His will. By ἡ πρὸς ὀλίγον … ἀφανιζομένη] the nature of the smoke is stated. It is not that it has given nothing. "Commentary on James 4:14". The circumstances in which he is put are exactly the best to unfold his character. That we are agreed on. This question implies contempt, as 1 Samuel 25:10 Psalms 144:3,4. I. Why, ninety per cent., one might almost say, are lost, or at least do not come to full growth and power. Ecclus. This is a frequent metaphor with the Hebrews; see Psalm 102:11; My days are like a shadow: Job 8:9; Our days upon earth are a shadow: 1 Chronicles 29:15; Our days on the earth are a shadow, and there is no abiding. I do not speak of it with reference to God and eternity, but simply in itself, as a stage of moral conflict, where dramas of passion and purpose and hope are enacted. Christians who have made what they might of their religion; worldly men even, who have been shrewd and vigorous and fortunate, will not tell you that life has given them nothing. Any such rendering will preserve the figure. "Commentary on James 4:14". For what is your life? We find precisely the same image in Homer as that quoted above.

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