So I am reading James 4 to prepare for a sermon. The text does not seem to make much sense, as far as a unifying theme. It appears to jump randomly from topic to topic. So I look to my bag of tricks.
Since James is akin to Wisdom Literature, and WisLit tends to “jump around randomly” when one does not get the catch phrases, or chiastic structures that are there, I will often give the text some air.
By this I mean, take the text and paste it onto a word processing page. Then start to use the enter and tab keys to indicate the syntactical structure. that is to say, what is more important is closer to the left margin, what is explanatory is toward the right.
So I start to notice things, partly because the text is spread out a bit, like skeletal fragments on a light table in “Bones” the TV show.
v.1, v. 2 Passions
v. 1, v. 4 war, enmity
v.2 – do not have (material) do not have (prayer)
the language of passion, friendship, adultery, jealousy v. 1-4
Parallel between v. 2a and v2b-3 – the first is not receiving material things, the other not receiving spiritual things
That is all in verses 1-5, now with a little air I am seeing the structure.
Oh boy, here is another manuscript picture by cell phone.