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Report to NMB Subscribers on the Epistle of St James

By Ruth Magnusson Davis, March 4, 2015

We are pleased to report that James epistle is now complete. As always, a comparison
and discussion of bible versions follows.
James 2:21
As my readers will know, verse 2:21 and the surrounding passages have been
controversial. In the MB, v21 reads Was not Abraham our father justified through works
when he offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Both William Tyndale and John Rogers
went to great lengths in their notes and commentaries to harmonize these passages with
Pauls statements that we are justified by faith alone. They explain that while faith justifies
us before God, deeds justify us before the world only. Rogers says verse 2:21:
does not signify that Abraham was by his works made just before God, reputed
righteous, or obtained remission of sins, for it was by faith that he came by these
things, not by works, as Saint Paul bears witness. (Romans 4:1-7)

To be justified here and throughout this chapter means to be proved just before the
world, and not to be made just in the sight of God.

However two modern bibles give the very interpretation that Rogers refuted:
TEV 1971: How was our ancestor Abraham put right with God? It was through his actions
Phillips 1972: Think of Abraham our ancestor. Wasnt it his action which really justified him in Gods sight?
Rogers writes, Whoever clings to this interpretation does not understand what remission
of sins is, or how the conscience ought to be comforted when it sees that it brings no
works to God which are sufficient to please him. And such an interpretation is clean
contrary to other clear sayings of scripture.
Verse 2:21 does not mention God, but Phillips and Todays English Version add to the
Greek. Rogers and Tyndales understanding is at least not inconsistent with the
scriptures. Whats more, if they are correct, the Phillips and TEV translators not only have
failed to understand, they have changed Gods word. But may the reader judge for
himself: Rogers and Tyndales commentaries may be viewed in the NMB version of
James, posted for viewing on Scribd until March 9th.
James 4:5
In the MB this verse reads Either do ye think that the scripture saith in vain: The spirit that
dwelleth in you, lusteth even contrary to envy. In his marginal note, Tyndale explained:
Christs spirit (which is in all that be his Romans 8) resisteth hate, envy, and all sin.
Whose motion, if we follow, grace increaseth in us and lusts minish: and therefore he
saith Submit yourselves to God and etc.

But other bible versions disagree as to whether the spirit refers to that of man or of
Wycliffe 1380: whether ye guess that the scripture saith vainly, the spirit that dwelleth in you coveteth to envy
Geneva 1557: Either do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us, lusteth after
KJV 1611: Do ye think that the Scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
RSV 1946: Or do you suppose it is in vain that the scripture says, He yearns jealously over the spirit which
he has made to dwell in us?
Jerusalem Bible 1968: Surely you dont think scripture is wrong when it says: the spirit which he sent to live
in us wants us for himself alone?
NEB 1970: Or do you suppose that scripture has no meaning when it says that the spirit which God
implanted in man turns towards envious desires?
Living Bible 1971: Or what do you think the Scripture means when it says that the Holy Spirit, whom God has
placed within us, watches over us with tender jealousy?
NIV 1973: Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us tends toward
envy? (note added, Or that God jealously longs for the spirit that he made to live in us; or that the Spirit he
caused to live in us longs jealously)
New Matthew Bible: Or do you think that the scripture says in vain, the Spirit that dwells in you resists envy?
Thanks to Tyndales explanation, we know he understood verse 4:5 to refer to Christs
Spirit within us, and we were also able to update the obsolete expression lusts contrary
to envy with resists envy.
Blessings to all, and I remain,
Yours in Christ,
R Magnusson Davis
New Matthew Bible Project:
True to His Ways: