Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Friday, December 02, 2005

James 2:14ff : verse 14 (Post 3)

James 2:14
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims [lego] to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? (NIV)

What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? (RSV)

What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? (NAS)

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (NKJV)

Thus begins our consideration of James 2:14ff. Noted here are four common yet differing versions of our text.

Excluding the so-called "dynamic equivalence" of the NIV, where it takes obvious liberty translating "lege" (from "lego") as "claim" (1343 occurrences in the Greek text, all but a handful being translated with "say" and its cognates, the others translated as "named"; never translated "claim" in NKJV, NASB, ASV, and RSV), the first question is fundamentally the same in the given instances.

Yet in the second question we find different and important variations that weigh heavily upon its interpretation. In the above examples we are met with three modifiers to "faith" and one with no modifier at all. Respectively we have "such faith", "his faith", "that faith", and merely "faith".

That commentators have painted this someone's faith as merely professed and spurious should be surprising to no one. This has been the overwhelming tradition (with a few notable exceptions). It is unfortunate that the theology of the pundits (and the translators) have colored their interpretation. They bolster their claims here by the insertion of the modifiers "such" or "that" to "faith". Is this a legitamate understanding and translation?

The introduction of words like "that" or "such" as qualifiers for "faith" is really an evasion of the text. The Greek does not support this sort of translation. There really is no corresponding Greek word for either or these.

Nevertheless, support for the renderings "such faith" or "that faith" is usually said to be found in the presence of the Greek definite article with the word "faith". But in this very passage, the definite article also occurs with "faith" in verses 17, 18, 20, 22, and 26 (in verse 22 the reference is to Abraham's faith!). In none of these places are the words "such" or "that" proposed as natural translations. As is well known, the Greek language, like Spanish and French, often employed the definite article with abstract nouns (like faith, hope, love, etc.) where English cannot do so. In such cases we leave the Greek article untranslated. The attempt to single out 2:14 for specialized treatment carries its own refutation on its face. It must be classed as a truly desperate effort to support an insupportable interpretation.

Why must the Lordship Salvation advocates so intensly defend their position that the faith in view here must be spurious? For two reasons: 1) to evade the text and 2) in order to propagate their view that eternal salvation is not by faith alone apart from works.

They dodge the text here. LS has desired this passage to be talking about eternal salvation (salvation from hell) so that they can promulgate their heresy of faith works (a faith that is not apart from works) being necessary for final salvation. Yet, is this passage truly talking about it?

Allow me to paraphrase 2:14: "Suppose that someone admits to faith yet he cannot point to acts of obedience (the kind that James has been discussing in 1:26-2:13), what then? Can he expect salvation (of the kind in which James is talking about) to come through his faith if he is not a 'doer of work' (1:21)?" In other words, as per the Greek text (and the NKJV), "Can faith save him?" Notice James' stark, clear, and poignant question! Can faith alone save the man?

Actually the question in Greek implies its own answer and might be better translated, "Faith can't save him, can it?" The expected response is, "No, it can't!" But, of course, faith can and does save when we are speaking of eternal salvation (e.g. Ephesians 2:8, 9). But here -as James makes plain- faith cannot save under the conditions he has in mind.

Thus in James 2, the writer plainly makes works a condition for the salvation he here is describing. The failure to admit this is the chief source of the problems supposedly arising from this passage for most evangelicals. We ought to start by admitting it. And we ought then to admit that James cannot be discussing salvation BY GRACE! But instead of admitting these points, most interpreters dodge them, as we have shown.

What have we seen so far?

1) Lordship Salvation proponents twist James' words and meaning here. They do so by both adding to the text and evading the text.
A) They add to the text by including modifiers to "faith" that both the context and Greek language do not support.
B) They evade the text by shunning its clear meaning that faith will not save in the sense that James is speaking.
2) James is manifestly speaking of a "salvation" that is not by faith alone ("Can faith save him?" implied and intended answer in Greek, as per construction, is "NO!").

James' statements cannot be willed away. As clearly as language can express it, faith by itself does not "save," acording to James.

But save from what?

We shall examine this issue in the next installment.


Blogger Jason said...

I take this whole passage James 3 vs. 14-26 to mean just what it says Faith without works is dead. Verse 18, someone will say, “you have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. Works are the outward sign of faith.

Example you're driving your car at 60 miles an hour and suddenly you notice that there is a semi truck jackknifed and on fire in the middle of the road. Now you can have all the faith in the world in your car's breaks, you believe and you know that the breaks will stop you in time. But if you do not put your foot to work in pressing the breaks, you and your faith will be dead. The point is that works are the proof of your faith; works are the outpouring of faith. Faith and works go hand-in-hand that is James point.

But neither does he say that works alone will save you. Going back to the example, if you did not have faith that your breaks would stop the car, you would have no reason to put your foot to work in pressing them, it would be pointless. Faith and works cannot be separated, verse 26 for as the body part from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

December 02, 2005 9:07 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...


Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I will be going over the whole passage, so you have jumped the gun a little.

Did you have nothing to offer from/about my post?

I am taking it a verse at a time, and constructing an argument.

About your illustration. Paul says: "If it is by grace, then it is no longer of works, or else grace is no longer grace" and "To him who DOES NOT WORK, but BELIEVES on Him who justifies the UNGODLY his FAITH is accounted for righteousness". Are you saying that works are indispensable for salvation from hell?

I will comment more on your illustration later in a further post.

Please, Jason. You are more than welcome here. But try to comment on the post rather than jump ahead. We will be discussing the rest of the passage.

Hey! Come back again and again and again and again!

grace and peace to you


December 02, 2005 9:35 PM  
Blogger Ron said...


I saw your post on forgiven's site and visited your blog. Interesting post! I guess I see part of the answer in Phil. 2:12 - Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
We are saved by grace in spirit, but we have to walk in out in the flesh. Therefore, our natural life ought to be an extension of our spiritual life. Baptism would be an example of what I am referring to. Does one need baptism to be saved? No; however, a saved person will be baptized as an outward expression of their salvation. Great thoughts, and your explanations make for thought provoking discussion. I pray that your family is doing better.

December 03, 2005 3:37 AM  
Blogger Matthew Celestine said...

I am glad you felt well enough to post. May God bless you and your family.

I think you make a good case here. I really need to think about where I stand on this issue.

God Bless

December 03, 2005 9:04 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

I'm glad you're well too and I hope the family is doing good.

I can only say so far so good. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

December 03, 2005 9:56 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...


Thanks for taking on the Calvinists over Semper Reformanda. Good thoughts over there.

As far as James 2 goes, I use to have the view that you are promoting here. I had a teacher at FSB named Richard Seymour, who writes a lot of stuff for the GES. I bought Zane Hodges commentary and everything, but the more I looked at the passage I realized that I was just twisting it to avoid the conclusion that geniune faith will produce some works. That's the most straightforward understanding of the passage. Of course, we don't have to push it to the conclusions that the lordship folk push it, but I can't see how you can get it. It's pretty obvious.

December 03, 2005 10:06 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...


Thank you so much for visiting my blog! Please drop by periodically!

I understand Phil 2:12 a bit different than you do. The word "salvation" is the Greek word "soteria". The word merely means "deliverance". It is up to the context to determine what kind of deliverance is in view. It is the knee-jerk reaction of 21st century readers of the Bible to import into the word "salvation" the concept of "saved from hell" every time it is read in the N.T. From my own study, this is only true about 50% of the time. The other instances are temporal deliverances from judgement, calamity, enemies, etc. I do not at all believe that Paul is talking about eternal salvation in Phil 2:12.

You write:
Therefore, our natural life ought to be an extension of our spiritual life.

I couldn't agree more. The operative word is "ought". I do not believe that a life of persevering obedience and progressive sanctification NECESSARILY follows regeneration. It OUGHT to.

My kids got hit hard! My daughter was sporting a 104+ fever. I still haven't fully kicked my sickness, and my kids haven't completely gotten over it yet also.

Thank you for the kind sentiments. I will come check out your blog!

xaris soi kai eirene,


December 03, 2005 10:46 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

dyspraxic fundamentalist,

thank you again for your visit. I really appreciate your comments on other blogs, especially Rose's. Your logic and points are flawless.

I am glad that I am facilitating some thinking on your part in this verse. This is a crucial and sorely misunderstood passage.

grace and peace to you!


December 03, 2005 10:48 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...


I am so glad that we have cyber-met! Thanks for the warm thoughts!


December 03, 2005 10:50 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...


Welcome to my humble blog. Thank you for your visit. Please grace us anytime.

I am convinced of Zane's take on James. Maybe as we hash it out again, you may see something that you didn't catch before, or a new view may persuade.

Otherwise, your comments as we go on will be very much appreciated.

I will not argue that works should naturally come when faith is exercised. I do not believe this passage is teaching that though. Nor do I believe that works will necessarily persevere in the life of the regenerate one until death.

But these are all issues that we will visit here in due time.

Thanks again for your visit!


December 03, 2005 10:54 AM  
Blogger Jason said...


I'm sorry I did not mean to jump the gun as you put it. But rather my intent was to look at James's whole argument on faith and works. I think this is the best way to study scripture, read the whole passage or section, and come up with an overview. Determine what the author was trying to get across, what his point was. To do this you need to look at his whole thought process.

I could take one sentence or paragraph of something that you have said, break it apart define all the words and try to determine what you were trying to say by that one paragraph. But I might be taking it out of the context of your whole thought process; rather I can more easily understand what it is you are saying by reading your whole argument.

Certainly it is good to delve into scripture, to define words, and go back to the original Greek to determine exactly what was written. But this needs to be done while looking at the whole passage and cross-referencing the author’s thoughts and words that he uses elsewhere in his writings.

It appears you did not understand what I was trying to say in my previous comment, and that is that faith and works are inseparable.

These passages that you brought up Romans 11:6 and 4:5 again we would need to look at the entire section, to fully understand what Paul was saying. I don't have time right now to do that completely. But quickly let me say that Paul said, “If it is by
Grace it is no longer on the basis of works.” Not that grace does away with works.

So to answer your question I would say that yes works are indispensable for salvation, because faith and works go together.

I hope that our goal in all of this is to become more Christ like, and not just to argue for arguments sake.

God bless


December 03, 2005 12:23 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...


Thank you again for your comments.

My posts are the result of both an analytic and synthetic inductive study of James.

As to my breaking it down, unless one can clear the water and get to the Word of God (not man's interpretation of it) all the looking at the whole passage will be in vain.

Saying that works are inseperable from faith consciously or unintentionally makes works necessary for ultimate salvation. If works become a necessary condition for eternal life, then salvation would no longer be by grace.

But the Bible speaks of eternal salvation as being by grace through faith. Both faith and works and grace and works are contrasted in Scripture.

Claiming the indispensiblity of works is laying claim to a works-salvation. I do not know if you are comfortable with that or not.

Grace does do away with works as a condition for justification. They are mutually exclusive.

As to my interpretation, I am paying very close attention to context. Have you read my first two posts?

Is there anything that you would disagree with me upon on this post? If so what and why?

It is one thing to merely state what you believe a text is saying. It is quite another thing altogether to actually demonstrate and support your understanding from a well reasoned exposition of the text.

Please continue to visit. You are welcome here!


December 03, 2005 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For whatever it is worth, Antonio and C. Ryan Jenkins ( http://blog.solagratia.org/category/nt-studies/ ) appear to be blogging on the same passage (James 2) at about the same time. They represent differing viewpoints (Antonio=Free Grace / C. Ryan Jenkins=Lordship). Thought those following Antonio's discussion might be interested in reading C. Ryan Jenkin's blog as well.

December 03, 2005 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You point out correctly that the Greek in James 2:14 contains no modifiers of the word translated “faith,” only the definite article. Then you list various translations of the Bible which you say have misrepresented the meaning of the original. These include the following: NIV (“such faith”), RSV (“his faith”), and NASB (“that faith”). To your list, by the way, we could add the following: the English Standard Version (“that faith”), the New English Translation (“this kind of faith”), the Holman Christian Standard Bible (“his faith”), the New Century Version (“faith like that”), the New Living Translation (“that kind of faith”), the American Standard Version (“that faith”), the Revised English Bible (“that faith”), and Young’s Literal Translation (“that faith”).

You proceed to marvel at how the translators could have possibly gotten it so wrong, and then you begin to lament how proponents of Lordship Salvation have added to the text of Scripture. Am I missing something here? Are you saying that the eleven translation teams represented above were made up of Lordship Salvation guys with an axe to grind?

This leads to another question. You seem bewildered by the fact that these translators have rendered this verse in such an entirely unsupportable way. You go so far as to say the theology of the translators has colored their translations. Are you familiar with the anaphoric use of the definite article in NT Greek? If you are not familiar with it, I would respectfully suggest that you are probably not in the best position to be correcting these translation teams and accusing them in such dogmatic terms. If you are familiar with it, I would suggest that it is unfair to these translators to take them to task without explaining to your readers that their rendering of James 2:14 is based on understanding the article to be anaphoric. To use the word "unsupportable" in reference to these translation is just not responsible, and unfortunately those who have not studied Greek will not know this. Incidentally, if James' use of the article is indeed anaphoric, I believe the best translation would be "that faith" (as opposed to "that kind of faith," which is a little more interpretive).

Lastly, in the fifth and sixth paragraphs of your article (they begin "The introduction..." and “Nevertheless...”), you might want to give Zane Hodges credit since the entirety of the two paragraphs is almost a word-for-word quotation of what he wrote in chapter 3 of his book The Gospel Under Siege.

Matt Waymeyer

December 03, 2005 1:56 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...


Thank you for visiting my blog.

1) You state yourself, there is no corresponding word in the Greek for the inclusion of any demonstrative force pronoun as "that" or modifier as "such". Since this is the case, the inclusion of these words is nothing but an interpretation.

2) The anaphoric interpretation is truly desperate. If such a force needed to be emphasized, why not use the far demonstrative pronoun? Why not use an adjective? Especially in light of the fact the article is used 5 more times in the passage and yet no translation offers "that" or "such" as readings in those cases IN THE SAME PASSAGE!

3) I see you did not respond to the fact that the definite article precedes faith 5 other times in the same passage. Are these anaphoric uses as well? How was the intended audience supposed to tell the difference in an undetectable grammatical nuance? Are the translators in the Bibles you speak about ommitting the words "that" and "such" in these cases as well? In all this we see that the article in front of "faith" is just the ordinary article used with an abstract noun, as already expounded.

4) Any student of the Greek New Testament can examine James' text and see for himself that the article occurs with "faith" only when "faith" is the subject or has a possessive word qualifying it (as in verse 18). Otherwise there is no article. THERE IS NO SUBTLE SIGNIFICANCE TO THE ARTICLE IN 2:14!

5) I said the translation "that" or "such" is really insupportable when the facts are viewed and I stand by it. I see that you come with a little Red Herring in "anaphoric" (a referring back) without a shred of support for this interpretation. I support mine, yet you merely PROPOSE yours, even in light of the facts already discussed. If this supposed anaphoric force of the article is supportable, SUPPORT IT FROM THE TEXT, rather than merely assert such. I say it is insupportable. Support it in a comment here.

6) Translators have read the demonstrative and/or adjecive into the text. Their theology demands the inclusion. That some translators of the Bible include them is no argument that it is valid.

7) Stating that the article "the" in front of "faith" IS anaphoric is NOT a translation but an insupportable INTERPRETATION.

8) It truly is an act of eisegesis to import into the meaning of James the idea of "spurious" faith. It is insupportable here and in the rest of the bible. This is an argument based upon an undetectable grammatical nuance.

9) The only attributive which is expressed by James is this: faith which is existing without works. But this is a Christian faith and not an alleged, false faith.

10) This is post 3 of a series. I have already shown conclusively that James has a regenerate audience in mind (post 2).

To state that the article that precedes "faith" in 2:14 has a demonstrative pronoun force is an interpretation (not a very good one in light of the contrary grammatical facts of the passage) based upon the theology of its interpreters, not based upon an unbiased look at the text.

Much of what I think and write has been anticipated by Zane Hodges. This is a blog and not a seminary. In places I have relied heavily upon him, and when he can explain something more concisely and briefly, I will not hesitate to use him.

But your comment about him serves to distract as a red herring rather than contribute anything to the discussion.


December 03, 2005 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thought provoking indeed Antonio. Cant wait for the rest. I pray that you and your kids get back to feeling 100% soon.

Unfortunetely I havn't the slightest idea of some of the terms being used here.

Anyone know of a Dictionary that deals specificaly with theological/philosophical discussion?

I tend to just skip over some of these words and make what sense I can out of them later.

December 03, 2005 6:26 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Ryan, thanks for your kind words.

You know, just having a regular dictionary around really does wonders. I LOVE dictionaries.

I briefly scanned your new post. I will read it tomorrow and comment on it. From what I read so far, it is making a great point!


December 03, 2005 10:25 PM  
Blogger Matthew Celestine said...

I read the passage again, Antonio. I do think your interpretation makes good sense.

God Bless

December 04, 2005 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings Antonio,

Just a few points of clarification. I’ll try to be brief and then let you get back to your series.

First, you said above that I proposed my interpretation without a shred of evidence for it. Actually, if you reread my comments above carefully, you will find that nowhere in the entire response do I argue for any position, either in favor of lordship salvation or against it, in favor of the anaphoric-article translation or against it. [silent pause to give you time to reread my comment above] There, you see. I’m completely innocent. I hope you take that in the light-hearted way I intend it, but seriously, nowhere in my comment do I argue for or against a given theological position or translation. I merely point out that you were not responsible in the way you argued your point, and that you seem to be unaware of the anaphoric use of the Greek article (without an understanding of which you would be in no position to correct the multitudes of Bible translators who disagree with you).

Second, you said that I conceded that “there is no corresponding word in the Greek for the inclusion of [‘that’ or ‘such’ in the English translation].” That is not what I said, but perhaps I was not clear. In my original response above, when I wrote that “the Greek in James 2:14 contains no modifiers of the word translated ‘faith,’ only the definite article,” what I meant is that the word “faith” contains no modifiers OTHER THAN the definite article (I'm using the all caps simply for emphasis, not to shout at you!). The definite article modifies the noun “faith,” and the article itself is the Greek word which corresponds to the English word “that” or “such” in the translation (if the article is anaphoric). That was my whole point. Your failure to grasp this only confirms my ongoing suspicion that you still do not understand the anaphoric use of the article. You can refer to this as a red herring all you want, but whether or not the article is anaphoric is the substance of the whole debate on the translation, a debate that you started, by the way, with your scathing rebuke of those responsible for most English translations of the Bible. Your references to the anaphoric translation as “an undetectable grammatical nuance” make me wonder if you altogether reject the anaphoric use of the article as a grammatical category. If so, you are decidedly not in the position of correcting these translators. Please tell me it’s not so.

Third, the unstated premise in your argument in point #2 above is that for an article to be considered anaphoric in one of its uses, it must be anaphoric in several of its other uses in the same immediate context. I honestly can’t imagine how this became a grammatical rule in your mind. I can’t think of anywhere in the NT where there are several examples of the anaphoric use of the article in the same immediate context, can you? On the other hand, I could show you tons of places where the anaphoric use of the article occurs only once in a given context. The sounder approach is to take the articles on a case-by-case basis, not to assume that it will be all or nothing.

Fourth, to translate the article and the noun as “that faith” is no more an interpretation than it is to leave the article untranslated.

Fifth, you have misunderstood my comment about your use of Zane Hodges. I am not opposed to one person relying on another in his writing; what I’m opposed to is quoting someone for eight sentences in a row and not giving that person credit. The former is called research; the latter is called plagiarism. A simple “Zane Hodges writes,” followed by quotation marks, will fix the problem. But you are correct in stating that pointing this out will not help us get to the correct interpretation of James 2:14. Perhaps I should not have done so. I am sorry that I did.

My overall point in my original response concerns this conspiracy theory that you seem to have going in your mind. According to you, the translation teams of these eleven translations (NIV; RSV; NASB; ESV; NET; HCSB; NCV; NLT; ASV; REB; YLT; and these are just the ones I had quick access to—certainly there are others) are made up of lordship salvation advocates who have an axe to grind. The number of accusations you have hurled at these translators is mind-boggling. They have engaged in a truly desperate effort to support an insupportable interpretation. They have engaged in eisegesis. They are biased. They have read their theology into the text. They have dodged the text and promulgated their heretical view of salvation. They have twisted James’ words and meaning by adding to the text and evading the text. They shun the clear meaning of the text. They are propagators of a false gospel who rightly fall under the curse of God. They broadcast their perverted message. They silence and bludgeon their theological opponents. They rip James 2 out of its larger context. They create a false theology. And I’m reading between the lines here, but I’m pretty sure you implied that they won’t even give up their seat on the bus even if an elderly woman is in need. Seriously, with the exception of this last one, you have made all of these accusations against the lordship salvation advocates who have translated these different versions of the Bible. I am using your very words from the three posts you have written on James 2:14. You have truly crossed the line in judging these translators’ motives, and all of this to support an interpretation of James 2 that nobody in the history of the church came up with prior to Zane Hodges. Antonio, do you see why this theory is such a big pill to swallow? Do you see why this wreaks so much of a Zane-Hodges-is-right-and-everyone-else-is-wrong kind of mentality?

Well, so much for being brief. My wife will attest to the fact that brevity is not one of my spiritual gifts. On a more personal note, I do sincerely hope that you and your family are able to stay clear of illness. I know how difficult that can be, especially when you’ve got children. We’ve got four, and sometimes the sickness seems to bounce around for months at a time.


Matt Waymeyer

December 04, 2005 4:01 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...


Thank you for your kind words.

As a side note, why do you perform comments anonymously? I was able to find your blog doing a web-search anyway based on your name. Why do you use the anonymous feature?

To your comment:

You write:
First, you said above that I proposed my interpretation without a shred of evidence for it. Actually, if you reread my comments above carefully, you will find that nowhere in the entire response do I argue for any position, either in favor of lordship salvation or against it, in favor of the anaphoric-article translation or against it.

I state unequivocally that the translation of the article here as “that” or “such” is insupportable. You propose another interpretation, as if the mere presence of another interpretation damages my position.

It is not hard to inductively perceive your position by your comments. You disagree with mine. You have learned otherwise in your schooling at the Master’s Seminary.

In your response you do argue for the anaphoric demonstrative force. You quote several Bibles that take the position. You put forth an argument which essentially says “All of these Bibles interpret the passage as having an anaphoric demonstrative or adjectival sense. It would be ridiculous to suppose that eleven translation teams got it wrong!”

This is an argument you put forth for the insupportable interpretation reading “that” or “such”.

It is just incorrect to say that your post does not contain an argument against Free Grace theology and for Lordship.

You write:
Your references to the anaphoric translation as “an undetectable grammatical nuance” make me wonder if you altogether reject the anaphoric use of the article as a grammatical category. If so, you are decidedly not in the position of correcting these translators. Please tell me it’s not so.
Listen, Matthew. Lets be honest here. It is an undetectable grammatical nuance. Nothing in the spelling of the word, no part of its syntax, or any detectable grammatical indicator whatsoever indicates that one must take the article before this abstract noun “faith” as “that” or “such” as if it is referring to something “less than” faith. But there is every reason NOT to take it with a demonstrative force, as has already been discussed.

Don’t go creating more Red Herrings here. I understand the concept of an article in conjunction with a noun referencing back to a previously discussed antecedent.

You are here trying to muddy up the waters. You have only and merely proposed another interpretation, and sought to discredit my position. Both attempts have not been attended with a single argument from the passage’s context, the Book of James itself, the Greek, or the grammar. Your arguments have been formulated to distract.

I have supported my position with context, and textual argumentation. To merely say that because many people take an interpretation that it is right is fallacious. I say they are wrong on many grounds. You imply that they are right because of their numbers and that I am wrong because of the scant support my position has in the commentary tradition.

You write:
Third, the unstated premise in your argument in point #2 above is that for an article to be considered anaphoric in one of its uses, it must be anaphoric in several of its other uses in the same immediate context. I honestly can’t imagine how this became a grammatical rule in your mind. I can’t think of anywhere in the NT where there are several examples of the anaphoric use of the article in the same immediate context, can you? On the other hand, I could show you tons of places where the anaphoric use of the article occurs only once in a given context. The sounder approach is to take the articles on a case-by-case basis, not to assume that it will be all or nothing.
Your contention here in the first sentence could not be farther from the truth. This is putting words into my mouth of the sort that I do not commend. So the rest is agruing a non-point.

The point I make is: how would the intended readers of the book of James pick up on this undetectable grammatical nuance when in the span of only a few sentences, there are occurences in the text that also have the article with the noun “faith” that are clearly not demonstrative? It would be impossible to do so. Therefore, if this is something that James wanted his readers to invariably pick up, he would have used the Greek far demonstrative pronoun or the Greek word for “such”. If this is something that he wanted to emphasize and clearly show, why would he make it so confusing by merely using an article before the noun “faith”, which he does 5 other times in a span of a few sentences, in a culture that often used the article before abstract nouns? It is ludicrous that a Greek reader would pick up on this force! It is a shameful reading INTO the text!

The only way that one can insert the words “this” or “such” into the text is by their interpretation based upon their pre-held theology. That they do this is evident. This is indeed interpretive. Why not let the reader perceive if it is “anaphoric” or not? The original intended audience would have. The addition of those words are nothing but INTERPRETATION and does not befit responsible literal equivalent translation, especially in light of the overwhelming facts that mitigate succesfully against its translation that way.

You write:
You have truly crossed the line in judging these translators’ motives
Clearly it is their theology that has determined their interpretive translation. They have based their translation on an undetectable grammatical nuance.

You write:
and all of this to support an interpretation of James 2 that nobody in the history of the church came up with prior to Zane Hodges
What is the reductio ad absurdem of your argument here? Are we to say that if noone before Luther in church history taught justification by faith alone that this should have dissuaded his crusade for it? I don’t know how many times this type of argument has been leveled against truth. You are from the Master’s seminary so I suppose that you have some form of dispensational approach to the Scriptures. The same argument has been used too many times to count against dispensationalism from covenant theologians. You should know better!

Now if you want to discuss the texts and make an argument for your preferred interpretation, please do so. But to come here with all these distractions is a bit reckless.


December 04, 2005 6:37 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Nice work Matt. I am convinced that you are correct.

December 04, 2005 7:11 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...


you were convinced long before you read any of thing from Matt.

But thank you for gracing my blog with your visit.


December 04, 2005 10:06 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

I finally had a chance to read your post and all the comments. Fascinating!

I never heard the word "anaphoric" before. I wish I knew exactly what it means ... maybe I will have to look in some of John's refernece books.

Either way, I am following your posts and am really looking forward to the next and the next. I have always figured that there must be a better explanation to James than the idea that works are necessary for salvation, because of the faith/works contrast in all the rest of the Epistles being so clear. ... so how could all the rest of the epistles be contraasting salvation by faith and salvation by works and then one epistle suddenly introduces a new concept where the two are married in regards to salvation.

This question is why Martin Luther threw out the book or James, right?

Anyways, I am glad that you are trying to make sense of it within the New testament context, by taking apart the words and seeing what it is really saying. I think we often have trouble understanding the Bible when we just go with our impression of what is meant by something and build a bunch of ideas on an assumption.


BTW, Thanks for alerting me to so much from the "Institutes". The ideas there of spurious faith and that God would somehow delude people with it, is truly scary. Your question on my blog:

(paraphrase) how do [any of us] know, then, that our faith is not temporary? Incredible that this is even an issue. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.I am more amazed every day at all I am learning from you and the Reformed.

December 05, 2005 6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


To answer your question about why I have been posting responses anonymously, the reason is that I don’t know my user name and password. A friend signed me up to participate, along with him and two others, in a blog starting in January. I will ask him how to find out what they are (or perhaps I need to choose them myself—not really sure—I am new to the blogosphere and don’t have a clue how all this works). Anyway, hopefully the fact that I have signed my first and last name to both of my responses above has made me seem less anonymous.

Thanks for hosting our dialogue. I will let you get back to your series.

Matt Waymeyer

December 05, 2005 7:54 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Matt, by all means, let it not stop here. We have plenty more room for discussion as we progress in the series. You and your comments are welcome here. Our discussions sharpen us both, no?


December 05, 2005 11:40 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

"James 2:14ff: verse 14 (Post 3)", 02 Dec 2005 04:53 PM.

I would like to point out (assert?) that the interpretation of the article preceding faith in James 2:14b does not depend upon whether it's anaphoric or not, because even if it's anaphoric, it only makes it mean "the aforementioned." Anaphorism does not bring in the concept of "that kind of" faith.

That is why the translations which translate "that" or "his" before faith (ASV,NAS,RSV,ESV,HCSB,Young's Literal) should be separated from the translations that add typology to the translation ("such", "that kind of faith", "this kind of faith", "faith like that"), which are the NIV, NLT, NET, NCV, according to the posts.

Did you notice what categorizes the two lists of translations? The more literal ones stay away from typology, whether they're older or newer translations, whereas the ones which introduce typology are the paraphrastic ones -- all from the 1970's and on, which happen to be within the time domain of our controversy!

So, those who make paraphrastic translations, careful as they must be, are far more wont to fall into inserting an interpretive position from the Zeitgeist than those who are less paraphrastic.

Unless the controversy is not part of their milieu. For example, the Jerusalem Bible, paraphrastic, but probably unaware of the argument from the anaphoric to typology within Lordship Salvation circa 1966, doesn't use a typological interpretation here. The JB has "that faith," just as some of the literal ones do.

Pointing out the possible anaphorism of the article is a paper tiger. The typology of faith is a pure non-sequitur from it. It by no means follows. You can't get from anaphoric articles to categorizations of types of faith.

December 22, 2006 8:41 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...


who are you?

Great points! Thanks for the useful comments. I hope you don't mind if I mentally store them away for future reference and use, do you?

Larry, who are you? What is your background?

Thanks for your reading and posts!


December 22, 2006 2:05 PM  
Blogger Larry said...

Brother Antonio!

Thanks so much for your estimate of the post on the anaphoric article. Instead of more Larry info, could I ask for prayer concerning piece of paper I got from a friend about his communion ceremony, in which it seems to me they were about to mess up communion big-time with their LS tendencies?

If they could, they would jump into the elements themselves and commingle their LS offerings of self with the depiction of the offering of Christ. Do you think that estimate is overreacting? Here is what the handout paper I got from them says: "In remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ's offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith."

December 25, 2006 7:20 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

"James 2:14ff : verse 14 (Post 3)", December 2, 2005 9:07 PM,

Brother Antonio, for my Christmas present to you -- which I will also give to myself and all bloggers who have to fight (as we should) ...

Since we both love the dictionary, I will provide you a definition that everyone who discusses the ideas of other people should remember. This definition refers to a "rhetorical device." I think it refers to a habit that I also fall into. Here it is. It is the definition of "schesis" from the Dictionary of Difficult Words, which you can google for under that name.

schesis n. rhetorical device of weakening force of opponent's arguments by reference to his or her habit of thought. © From the Hutchinson Encyclopaedia. Helicon Publishing LTD 2006

December 25, 2006 8:38 AM  

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