Friday, 11 January 2008

Chiasmus in James 4

PG and I are studying the letter of James together over breakfast (in theory) each week. Out of a recent study came this observation…

The opening of chapter 4 is chiastic, with its focus on the great claim that friendship with the world is emnity with God (v.4) and scriptural illustration of that and promise of rescue from the predicament (v.5).

(1-3) Sins build up…
(4-5) Friendship with the world = hatred of God / humble yourself = God will raise you
(6-9) Counter-instruction cascades…

Verse 10 then summarises the essence of the matter

As further illustration verses 11 and 12 remind us (as the Sermon on the Mount did) that it’s not enough merely to avoid certain obvious harmful actions, harmful words are just as bad – in fact they represent a grotesquely inappropriate attempt to become like the divine judge.

And, as PG said, at the last day no one will ever wish they had been more selfish or arrogant.