Corrections for James

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Corrections for James

Brian J. Henry
Chapter 1

1:2  My friends, <whatever may be the temptations that beset you from time to time>, always regard them as a reason for rejoicing
Newer translations seem to prefer to translate this as “trials." Encompasses more I think.
NRSV: whenever you face trials of any kind
NIV: whenever you face trials of many kinds
NET:  when you fall into all sorts of trials

Perhaps while keeping the current phrasing, we could go with “whatever trials may beset you from time to time" or "whatever trials you may face from time to time"
1:4  And let endurance do its work perfectly, so that you may be altogether perfect, and in no respect <deficient>[lacking]. 5  If [any] one of you <is deficient in>[lacks] wisdom, they should ask for wisdom from the God who gives freely to everyone without reproach<es>, and it will be given to them.
I think lack works better here. Deficient in wisdom, while being completely understandable, just isn’t something anyone says. NASB, NRSV, NIV + many others go with this. NET does use deficient though.
1:7  Such a person must not expect that they will receive anything from the Lord, 8  <vacillating> as they are, irresolute at every turn.
4:8  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Make your hands clean, you sinners; and your hearts pure, you <vacillator>!
While definitely a great word, vacillating is certainly not common. Most translations go with "double-minded" or "of two minds" which, while immediately understandable, is not quite english. I think I lean towards double-minded though.
1:9 Let <a>[the lowly] follower <in humble circumstances> be proud of their <exalted position>[exaltation], [10] <but a>[and the] rich follower of their humiliation;<10> for the rich will pass away ‘like the flower of the grass.’
Verse 10 seems to start after the verse about the lowly follower in other translations.
1:11  As the sun rises, and the hot wind blows, ‘the grass withers, its flower <fades>[falls],’ and all its beauty is <gone>[destroyed]. So is it with the rich< >. In the midst of their pursuits they will <come to an untimely end>[wither away].
Shame to end such a poetic verse so bluntly.
N/RSV, NET: Wither away
ESV, NASB, NIV: Fade away
1:17  Every good thing given us, and every perfect gift, is from above, and comes down to us from the <Maker> of the lights in the heavens, who is himself never subject to change or to eclipse. 18  Because he so willed, he gave us life, through the message of the truth, so that we should be, as it were, <an earnest>[a kind of first fruits] of <still further>[?] creations.
"Maker" is typically "father" here. I don't know if that's original to the TCNT or was a decision made to be more gender neutral, just figured I'd point it out. I definitely don't mind it.
"An earnest" isn't really common usage anymore.
1:21 Therefore, <have done with>[get rid of] all filthiness and whatever wickedness still remains, and in a humble spirit receive that message which has been planted in your hearts and is able to save your souls.
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Re: Corrections for James

Brian J. Henry
Chapter 2

2:1 My friends, are you really trying to combine faith in Jesus Christ, our glorified Lord, with <the worship of rank>?
2:9 but, if you <worship rank>, you commit a sin, and stand convicted by that same law of being offenders against it.
A. Nyland, NRSV, NIV, CEB: favoritism
NET: Prejudice
Lattimore goes with "discrimination."
2:3  and you <are deferential>[show more respect] to the visitor who is wearing grand clothes...
GNT: show more respect
NRSV: take notice
NIV, Nyland: give special attention
NET: pay attention
2:4  <Is not that to make>[Have you not made] distinctions among yourselves, and <show yourselves prejudiced>[become] judges [with evil motives]?
NASB, NET: motives
NRSV, NIV: thoughts
Nyland: "used evil standards of judgement"
2:6  But you — you insult the poor man! Is [it] not <it> the rich who oppress you? Is [it] not <it> they who drag you into law courts? 7  Is [it] not <it> they who <malign>[blaspheme] that honorable name <which has been bestowed on you>?
NIV: of him to whom you belong
NET:  of the one you belong to (with the note: “that was invoked over you,” referring to their baptism in which they confessed their faith in Christ and were pronounced to be his own. To have the Lord’s name “named over them” is OT imagery for the Lord’s ownership of his people)
HCSB: that was pronounced over you at your baptism
CEB: spoken over you at your baptism
2:8  <Yet, i>[I]f you keep the royal law which runs — ‘You must love your neighbor as you love yourself,’ you are doing <right>[well];
2:14  My friends, what <is the> good [is it if someone claims]<of a person's saying> that they have faith, <if>[but] they do not prove it by actions? Can such faith save them?
2:16 and one of you <were to >say[s] to them — “Go, and peace be with you; <find warmth and food for yourselves>[keep warm and eat well!],” and yet you <were not to give them the necessaries>[do not actually give them the necessities] of life, what good would it be to them?
2:21  Look at our ancestor, Abraham. Was <not it the result of his actions that he was pronounced righteous>[he not justified by his actions] after he had offered his son, Isaac, on the altar?
22  You see how, in his case, faith and actions went together; that his faith was perfected as the result of his actions;
23  and that in this way the words of scripture came true — “Abraham believed God, and that was regarded by God as righteousness,” and “He was called the friend of God.”
24  You see, then, that <it is as the result of their actions that a person is pronounced righteous>[a person is justified by actions], and not <of their>[by] faith <only>[alone].
25  Was [it] not <it> the same with the prostitute, Rahab? Was <not it as the result of her actions that she was pronounced righteous>[she not justified by her actions], after she had welcomed the messengers and helped them escape by [another road]?
26  <Exactly>[Just] as a body is dead without a spirit, so faith is dead without actions.
I know dikaioō is that great and controversial verb and it's all far above my level to really comment on it, but I think "pronounced righteous" is weird.
KJV tradition bibles + NET go with the simple "justified by works," which I think is probably the most ecumenical.
NIV: considered righteous
CEB: shown to be righteous
Nyland: 21: considered right with God / 24: made right with God
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Re: Corrections for James

Like all these notes. good stuff.
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Re: Corrections for James

Brian J. Henry
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@Timchambers Thanks!

Chapter 3
3:1 < I do not want>[Not] many of you [should become teachers], my friends, <to become teachers, knowing, as you do,>[because you know] that we who teach will be judged <by a more severe standard>[more strictly] than others.
3:3  When we put bits into horses' mouths<,> to make them obey us, we <control>¹ the rest of their bodies <so>. 4  Again, think of ships. Large as they are, and even when driven by fierce winds, they are <controlled>¹ by a very small rudder and steered in whatever direction the man at the helm may determine.
¹Source NT notes: metago, "to move from one place to another". It also has the meaning "to change one's course", not "guide", "steer", "turn", "direct".
3:6  And the tongue is like a spark. [It is a world of unrighteousness] among the <members>[parts] of our body <it proves itself a world of mischief>; it contaminates the whole body; it sets the <wheels of life>¹ on fire, and is itself set on fire by the flames of Gehenna.
3:7  For while all <sorts>[kinds] of beasts <and>[,] birds, <and of> reptiles and [sea] creatures <in the sea, are tamable, and actually>[can be tamed and] have been tamed by <man>[humankind],
¹wheels of life is a quirk of ours. I don't think it's clear at first what that means. (though I do like the imagery.)
CEB: circle of life (and it mooooves us allllllll)
NIV: whole course of one’s life
Source NT: cycle of human life
NRSV: cycle of nature
ESV: entire course of life
NET: course of human existence
3:14 But<, while>[if] you harbor [bitter] envy <and bitterness> and a spirit of rivalry in your hearts, do not boast or <lie to the detriment of>[deny] the truth.
15  That is not the wisdom which comes from above; no, it is earthly, animal[istic(?)], <devilish>[demonic].
16  For<,> where envy and rivalry exist, there you will also find disorder and all kinds of <base>[bad, worthless] actions.
17  But the wisdom from above is, before every< >thing else, pure; then peace-loving, gentle, open to conviction, rich in compassion and good deeds, and free from partiality and insincerity.
18  And [a harvest of] righteousness<, its fruit,> is sown in peace by those who work for peace.
For 18, it's phrased a bit awkwardly. I suggest at least the above to clarify it a bit.
NRSV: And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for [ESV:by] those who make peace.
NIV: Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
CEB: Those who make peace sow the seeds of justice by their peaceful acts.
NLT: And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Chapter 4
4:1 What is the cause of the fighting and quarreling that goes on among you? Is <not> it [not] to be found in the desires which are always at war within you?
2  You crave, yet do not <obtain. You>[have, so you commit] murder <and rage>[. You covet], yet cannot gain your end<.>[, so] you quarrel and fight. You do not <obtain>[have], because you do not ask.
3  You ask, yet do not receive, because you ask for a wrong purpose — to spend what you get on your pleasures.
4:5  Do you suppose <there is no meaning in the passage of> scripture means nothing <which asks> [when it says,]<—>
‘Is envy to result from the longings of the Spirit which God has implanted within you?’
So, it seems this is a tricky verse to interpret. It's currently an awkward sentence though.
On one side:
NET:  “The spirit that God caused to live within us has an envious yearning”?
GNT: “The spirit that God placed in us is filled with fierce desires.”
NLT:  the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy?

And the other:
NIV: he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?
NRSV/ESV/RSV/NASB: “God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?
CEB gets a little paraphrase-y: Or do you suppose that scripture is meaningless? Doesn’t God long for our faithfulness in the life he has given to us?

Scot McKnight argues for the former in his commentary (which I don't own sadly, just previewed on Amazon haha) and I think I lean in that direction as well. He also says James first paraphrases Proverbs, then quotes it to drive home the point, which is an interesting way to look at it.
6  <No; the gift that God gives is for a nobler end;>(?) [But he gives us greater grace;] and that is why it [says,]<is said —>
      ‘God <is> oppose[s]<d to> the haughty,
         but gives <help>[grace] to the humble.’
NIV, NRSV, and a few others choose to format this as poetry as it's a quote from Proverbs. NET and CEB bold/italicize it instead.
7  Therefore submit to God; <but> resist¹ the devil, and he will flee from you.
Nyland notes this is a warfare metaphor and goes with "take a stand in battle against." Not sure if that's a bit too much though. It's rather similar to Young's Literal's "stand up against."
12  There is only one lawgiver and judge — he who has the power both to save and to destroy. <But>[So then] who are you <that>[to] pass judgment on your neighbor?
13  Listen to me, you who say ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town<,> [and] spend a year there, <and trade,>[doing business] and mak[ing] money,’ 14  <And> yet you do not know what <your life will be like tomorrow!>[tomorrow will bring! What is your life?] For you are but a <mist appearing>[wisp of smoke¹ that appears] for a little while and then <disappearing>[vanishes].
¹NET notes that "the Greek word ἀτμίς (atmis) denotes a swirl of smoke arising from a fire" and goes with "puff of smoke."
15 [Instead] you ought<, rather,> to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ 16  But<,> as it is, you are <constantly> boasting presumptuously! All such boasting is wicked.
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Re: Corrections for James

Brian J. Henry
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Chapter 5

4  < I tell you,>[Listen!] The wages [you have held back from] <of> the <laborers> [workers] who mowed your fields<, which you have been fraudulently keeping back,> are crying out against you, and the outcries of your <reapers>[harvesters] have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts!
5  You have lived on earth a life of <extravagance and> luxury [and pleasure]; you have indulged your fancies in a time of bloodshed.
6  You have condemned, you have murdered, the righteous one! Must not God be opposed to you?
12  Above all things, my friends, never take an oath, either by heaven, or by earth, or by anything else. <With you> Let [your] ‘Yes’ suffice for yes, and ‘No’ for no, so that you may escape condemnation.
13  If any[one] of you is <in trouble>[suffering], they should pray; if anyone is happy, they should sing hymns.
14  If anyone of you is ill, <he> [they] should send for the <officers>[elders; presbyters¹?] of the church, and let them pray over them, <after> anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.
¹Here's a repeated one throughout the epistles. Elders is the most common translation, and is an office for some Protestant churches. Probably the most ecumenical.
But to look at the other options, 'priests' is used sometimes, but since hiereus is a different concept that is also translated 'priest' that becomes tricky. The English transliteration 'presbyters' is used in a few also, since it is the title of an office that would become more defined soon after, and is now called priest (which comes from presbyter) in English, though some parishes/dioceses (and I think the whole Greek Orthodox Church?) opt for presbyter instead.
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be cured. Great is the power of a <good>[righteous] person's fervent prayer.
17  Elijah was only human like ourselves, but, when he prayed <fervently>[earnestly] that it might not rain, no rain fell on the land for three [and a half] years <and a half>.
 20  be sure that the person who brings a sinner back from their mistaken ways will save <that person's>[their]¹ soul from death, and <throw a veil over countless>[will cover a multitude of]² sins.
¹Perhaps retain the ambiguity, allowing for both interpretations, that it saves that person's soul, or your own.
²See also 1 Peter 4:9