From Feast upon the Word (http://feastupontheword.org). Copyright, Feast upon the Word.
The New Testament > The Epistle of James > Chapter 2
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 Lexical notes
 Verse 21
- "Justified by works." This is often construed as a contradiction to claims claims by Paul (e.g. Rom 4:1-3). Some scholars (see Ralph P. Martin's discussion in the Word Biblical Commentary for this verse) point to what seems to be a different sense of the word "justified" being used by each writer: whereas Paul is saying that faith is what essentially makes it possible for us to be declared in a right relationship with God, James is saying that the proper kind of faith leads to good works which can be seen and pointed to as an demonstrable example of proper faith (which cannot be divorced from good works; cf. verse 22).
 Verse 23
- "The scripture was fulfilled." See Gen 15:6. It seems that Paul quotes this Old Testament passage as an example of someone being justified for faith only (Rom 4:3; cf. Rom 4:22; Gal 3:6-9). It might be that James is clearing up a misunderstanding of Paul's teaching, or at least a Pauline-like interpretation of Gen 15:6.
 Verse 25
- Rahab and Abraham. Although the only similarity between Rahab (see Josh 2:1-21) and Abraham explicitly noted here is that they both had faith which lead to good works, there may be implicit similarities between the two. For example, Abraham showed Rahab-like hospitality to the three strangers in Gen 18. Furthermore, Abraham and Rahab are both "converts" (Abraham left the land of Ur and forsook the idolotrous ways of his father; Rahab, according to some Jewish traditions, became a faithful follower YWHW, married Joshua, and became the ancestral mother of the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel).
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