James 4:5 --

Satan's Favorite Mistranslation? Video Series

Anatomy of the Lie


James 4:5's mistranslation is perhaps the most succinct empirical evidence of satanic involvement and its strategy, to mess up how we Christians view God. Word being truth, of course Satan & Co. would necessarily concentrate their forces on its mistranslation. So the fact you even have a Bible is a miracle. The fact its original words are preserved despite the most awesome attempts to destroy them over the centuries, is a miracle. So when Satan & Co. failed to destroy it -- Scripture has been hidden for centuries all over the world, to preserve it from destruction -- S&Co. have to mess with mistranslating the Word, they failed to destroy.


Here we see how they do it. And we know it's them, not the humans, because the mistranslation errors in James 4:5 have existed for five centuries, across every translation in every language in which the Bible is translated. People don't live for five centuries anymore. People don't speak all the languages of the world over those same centuries. But fallen angels, DO. The very consistency of derisive mistranslation over so long a period tells you they're behind this.


So here's the anatomy of the consistent derisive mistranslation, the obvious HEY SEE ME markers which get ignored, century after century in order to translate the Holy Spirit, into a sinner. The videos go through the verse word-by-word, so even if you can't read Greek, you can see the anatomy of the mistranslation. Presented in the same order as the sentence, James 4:5's mistranslation is accomplished, as follows:


1. Greek "hoti" is used to introduce EITHER direct (quoted) or indirect (summarized) discourse. When used to introduce direct discourse, "hoti" is often translated with a quote mark -- or, to set off the quote with commas -- rather than stated as a word. That is one of the mistranslations, here. The translators FAIL to recognize that hoti is introducing INdirect discourse. You're taught this dual usage of hoti for direct or indirect discourse, in first-year seminary Bible Greek.


So it's no surprise, that the mistranslated quote, is nowhere in the Bible: notice how the Bible thus looks bad, for quoting something which is nowhere in it. So either James is quoting something that doesn't exist, or God didn't keep His Promise to preserve ALL His Word. Satan laughs his head off; so easy, to make us malign the Perfect Word of God by mistranslating it, then blame BIBLE for our error! This is a very common tactic, and it's used with regularity, throughout the Bible translations.


2. Now the translators fail to recognize hoti introduces indirect discourse, due to a scribal error which ADDED to the Word, punctuation. As you'll see in the videos, the various main MSS either add an upper dot (used as a comma or rhetorical question mark in Greek); or, they add a comma. Neither of these marks is in the original text God commissioned the writers to write. You're taught to ignore diacritical and punctuation marks in first-year seminary Bible Greek.


Note how clever: since later generations are accustomed to punctuation in their OWN language, it was introduced by later copyists. But if you impose your OWN language rules on a language which doesn't have those rules, you MISREAD that language. Again, you're warned of this in first-year seminary. So for five centuries' of scholars, this warning is also forgotten?


If you're going to use punctuation, it syntactically belongs just after phthanon, covered below. Okay, that's an easy mistake to make if you're a sweating scribe struggling with globbing ink and candlewax, the smelly process of making vellum, the horrid uncial script, making your umpteenth copy of the verse. But how can scholars miss that blunder for five centuries AFTERWARDS? Satan laughs again!


3. Or, the scribes CAPITALIZED "pros", which is the first word in the erroneously-claimed quote. Again, in the original text God commissioned (called "the Autograph" in theology), no such thing occurs. Instead, Bible is written in block letters in Greek, very much like it is in Hebrew (in Hebrew text, you don't have diacritical marks either, those were added in later centuries by the Massoretes or other scribes). So you also learn in first-year seminary to DISREGARD any capitalizations, as they are not part of the God-breathed text, but are mere aids in reading, for subsequent generations.


Just as with punctuation, the capitalization of Greek words was introduced to make the text easier to read. But again, if you read those capitalizations using YOUR OWN language rules, you will misread the text (same error occurs in Matt16:18 and in all the "petros" verses in the NT). That's what happens here. Score another point for the Laughing Satan.


4. Greek preposition "pros" means FACING, and takes the accusative of either friendly intent or HOSTILITY. It generally means "toward", in the sense of FACING, because the preposition is a truncation of Greek noun for "face", proswpon. Now, you can face someone with friendly or hostile intent. So pros ALSO takes the accusative case of hostility, as well as the normal accusative of "toward" in a friendly sense. If hostility, then you'd translate it, "against". You learn all that also, in 1st-year Bible Greek. Here, obviously it's the accusative of hostility, so "against" is the meaning.


Oh, but the scholars all FORGET that, when translating James 4:5? Satan laughs again! We'll see why they forget it, in what follows below.


5. Greek noun phthanon means jealousy, envy: basic idea of resenting what someone else has which you lack, rationalizing you have the right to have it instead; and thus you might even justify stealing it from them, or harming them in revenge. That's the theme of James 4, the strife and jealousy of the people James writes, so he's writing AGAINST jealousy. So now: put together "pros" and "phthanon", and you have "against jealousy" as the proper translation in James 4:5, since it's the TOPIC he's on.


In first-year seminary Bible Greek you are warned to read IN CONTEXT. "Context, context, context" is the usual way a Bible Greek teacher will express the rule. You can find that expression in books by Bill Mounce and/or Daniel Wallace, two authors whose Bible Greek books are often used in seminaries today.


So notice what's happening: how all the translators, for 500 years, IGNORE CONTEXT in James 4 -- and make the Holy Spirit a sinner, in the process! All this, because

    they first regard hoti as introducing a quote so they DISregard its usage for indirect discourse;

    so they DISregard the known fact that the alleged quote is nowhere in Bible.

    Next, they regard the PUNCTUATION which is not in the original, so DISregard the warning to ignore punctuation.

    Next, they treat the CAPITALIZATION of pros as the beginning of the alleged quote, though they are warned to DISregard capitalization, in seminary.

    Next, they ignore the CONTEXT of the passage, though taught to Regard Context As Determinative of meaning.

    Not to mention, they all ignore the fact that God is NOT a sinner (jealousy is a sin, violates the "thou shalt not covet" commandment in Mosaic Law).


How many red flags do you need to warn you that you're misreading the text? All these things are warned about, in first-year Bible Greek classes, preparatory to teaching how to read Bible in its own original Greek. So how do these PROFESSIONAL translators -- all quite sincere and talented, people you'd admire in real life -- how is it, that they manage to ignore all this warning? Keep reading!


6. Greek verb epipothew means to yearn, desire intensely, and has a wide semantic range all the way from its negative end -- lust -- to the highest positive end (used in James 4:5 for God's Attribute) -- Absolute Love. Ties to Psalm 23:6, allusively. Again, you're taught this. Moreover, since James is writing against the negative end of the verb -- the lusting of his audience, hence their carnality and unhappiness, no Word in them -- it's appropriate that he would pick epipothew as a verb, rather than an expected agapaw (agapaw means Divine-Level Love, never mere human love, in Greek). Makes a trenchant point, to use the holy end of epipothew's semantic range. Very punny. Memorable.


For at the high end, epipothew signifies an exclusive love, a marital-possessive love, one reserved only for the object. And since God uses the marital analogy to signify His Love for Israel in the OT, and James' audience is well aware of that, the deft choice of epipothew makes his point with common sound: instead of phthanon, pick God's epipothew. Gotta love that James. He uses but one word to sum up his entire letter. Very climactic.


Now since the Holy Spirit is the One Doing the Epipothew, obviously the Exclusive Virtuous Love meaning of the verb is meant. Oh, but the translators all MISS that! Instead, they restrict the verb to its negative-end meaning, as LUST! Never mind, the Holy Spirit is the Subject! Satan & Co. roll in the aisles with laughter.


7. Greek verb epipothew means to yearn, desire intensely, so is also INTRANSITIVE, not necessarily transitive. Intransitively-used verbs stress the attitude of the subject, rather than the object of that attitude. Transitive verbs place some (or a lot) of stress on the object of the verb. In Bible, the verb is used both ways, so the question is, which way is it used here?


Additionally, in Drama Greek -- which Bible uses often -- when you want to stress absoluteness and omnidirectionality, you OMIT direct objects. See how that's done in LXX of Isaiah 53:10-11. Hebrew does this, too. So even if we read epipothew of God transitively, ALL OBJECTS would be in view, so you OMIT referencing any object directly, lest you restrict the absoluteness and omnidirectionality, which Signify God's Infinite Quality. See how deft, then, to make epipothew, as both intransitive and omni-transitive -- by having NO direct object in the sentence.


Now: if you were paying attention to the previous text, you'd know that the verb here, especially since God is the Subject Who Needs No Object for His Love -- the verb here, is intransitive AND dramatic. Of course, if you read the verb wrongly to mean lust -- you're looking for an object in the sentence. That's what happens here. Lust always has an object. Absolute Love, needs no object, and whatever object exists, God loves it. Because, God loves (see how "loves" is intransitively used, even in English). God LOVES. God Absolutely Yearns. God the Holy Spirit YEARNS. But all that is ignored, if you IGNORE GOD when you translate!


Satan & Co. laugh so hard now, as it were they lose bladder control. See how easy it is for us to blind your best and brightest, you stupid humans! Oh, the SPRIT LUSTS for you, envies for you? LOLOL!


God loves Righteousness. God IS Righteousness. You can YEARN for what you already have. Even in English, the concept of yearning isn't restricted to what one lacks, though most often "yearn" is used for an absence of the object yearned for, in English. Obviously the translators have a problem with God "yearning" for something, because to them that implies somehow God "needs". No, that's not the point. But by the time they get to epipothew they are already so off-base in their reading of the verse, they don't recognize the point James makes.


In short, men translate Bible by reducing God down to fallen human ideas; forget, that anthropathisms are only used to draw analogy, so man can learn to 'identify' with God. Here, that analogizing goes too far, so translators don't see the warning signs in the text. Thus they 'translate' God Himself, into a sinner with needs, as Satan & Co. die with laughter.


By contrast, a good translation of epipothew is "pursue with love"; God PURSUES Righteousness; as well as, He IS Righteousness. See the real analogy? So, Thayer's lexicon for epipothew lists "pursue with love" as a way to translate the high-end of the verb's semantic range (in 2nd video). My pastor, when he corrected James 4:5's mistranslation, used "pursues us with love" for epipothew. Greek doesn't need to state "us" twice, as "us" ends the verse. But for English, it helps us to understand the meaning: obviously He loves us if He indwells; obviously He pursues TEACHING us with love. See how easy this is to understand?


8. So now watch: since the translators have ignored the textual warnings previously given, and since they ignore God as the Subject of the verb epipothew, warning them to read its meaning at the VIRTUOUS end of verb's semantic range -- the translators also mistake the verb as transitive, so seek an object of their false idea of the verb as "lust". So the translators incorrectly seize upon "pros pthanon" as the object of epipothew.


In Greek, you sometimes create emphasis by deliberately putting a word or phrase, out of its normal order. Of course, if the phrasing is in the right order, then someone who misreads it OUT of that order, will mistake the word/phrase as being stressed.


That's what happens here. Greek "pros phthanon" belongs to "legei" to syntactically complete its clause, as covered earlier. But due to the misplaced punctuation and/or the capitalization of pros, the careless reader will assign "pros phthanon" as being the stressed OBJECT in the misread (and non-existent) Bible quote.


Look: the correct translation of James 4:5 goes something like this: "Or do you imagine that [The Spirit enabling] the Writing [technical term for Scripture, in Bible] speaks without reason, against jealousy? For the Spirit who indwells us, pursues with love." That's roughly how my pastor translated it, too, in his "James 4" series available on mp3 for free at http://www.rbthieme.org. [In Greek you'd not repeat "us" again, and in this English translation you'd not need to repeat it, either: the placement of "us" is between both verbs, so does double duty in English. In Greek, it's placed at the end for emphasis and double-duty.]


Notice now that the verse makes perfect sense, in James 4's context. No Bible being quoted by James, but ALL Bible being referenced. All you need is God's Pursuing Love, so you don't need to jealously pursue anything else in your own lusts. In English, look at the wordplay: replace one four-letter word beginning with "l", lust -- with the Better four-letter word beginning with "l", Love. In Greek this is done with pth sounds: phthanon being replaced by epipothew.


But if you're busy misreading the verse already, you'll seek an object for a lusting idea of epipothew -- which after all rather flatters MAN -- so would read James 4:5 as: "Or do you imagine that the Writing speaks without reason: "Toward Jealousy the Spirit who indwells us, lusts". After all, you'd console yourself, didn't God say He was a Jealous God in the OT? And of course by analogy, we Church being the Bride of Christ.. would buttress your consolation. Awww, God lusts after His Bride...


Look at the commentaries on this verse, notice how they all follow this false line of 'logic', with nary a lightbulb turning on to warn them of such an arrogant 'spin'. They all KNOW that "jealousy" is used anthropopathically in the OT, but if you looked closely at the Hebrew text, you'd see it never quite says God is jealous. Closest English translation should be to say " 'jealous' ", rather than "jealous" , the embedded single quotes in English denoting it's an obvious figure of speech that is not in fact true. When speaking such an obvious figure, in English we often use the first two fingers of both hands to make quotes when we say such words. The hand movements emphasize that the word within the 'quotes' is not really true.


Think: if you're dog-tired after a day of wrestling with Greek text, when you come upon this verse you'll dismiss it as figurative, especially when 'helped' (note those single quotes) by the misplaced punctuation, capitalization of pros, default idea that hoti (+legei) introduce a quote, and the (wrong) idea that you need an object for epipothew. Easy mistake to make.


But you'd be yet again warned, since NO verse in OT even remotely says the alleged quote you're constructing as you read. Holy Spirit didn't indwell anyone, until Christ. Would the Spirit have as His Objective, to make you jealous? No! That violates the OT "thou shalt not covet" commandment! It's ludicrous! Translators know it's ludicrous; so, as you saw in the videos, every English version of James 4:5 plays translation games, to get around the meaning translators IMAGINE (heh) they see in the verse.


9. What makes this situation even more tragic, is that you can tell God foreknew this centuries-long mistranslation error would occur. The Greek word order specifically protects AGAINST such error. For to pneuma is actually placed where the direct object should be -- you can see NASB translation even try to make the Spirit the object of the verb. So that's yet Another Big Red Flag about how to properly read the verse: were "pros pthanon" the proper object of epipothew, then it would FOLLOW the verb, not precede it. Sigh...


Also, the Drama Greek heroic use of the accusative means here that the Holy Spirit is a Hero, both Subject and Object (same usage as Romans 8:28, for God the Father); doing it for Himself, not coerced or constrained. Yeah Father wants it, but the Holy Spirit does it of His Own Free Will. Deft way to say Holy Spirit is equally God, huh...


In Greek, to express Dramatic Heroic Accusative with INTRANSITIVE verbs (again, as in Romans 8:28), you'll put the Subject of the Verb in the Place Where the Direct Object Belongs. That stresses the efficacy of the Hero's Work, accomplishing its purpose. Moreover, James already used that same concept, in James 2:22 (using the same intransitive sunergew verb, as in Romans 8:28). So it's part of James rhetorical style, tying back to WORD BELIEVED, DOES THE WORK, as he stressed in James 2:22-2:26 (well, really since James 1:1). And how does it do this work? By the Spirit, the Writer of the Writing! See: Bible is not at all boring, in the original text!


Further, "pneuma" is a neuter-gender noun, so in either the nominative or accusative case, it's spelled the same way. See how James stresses Spirit As Hero, hence His Action means Absolute Yearning, Divine Love?


Nope, the translators don't see all that. For five centuries. Now you know how.


10. That leaves WHY are they all universally and consistently, mistranslating the verse to make the Holy Spirit, a sinner? Surely no translator gets up in the morning and sighs, "Gee, I'd like to blaspheme God today!" Bible translation is very frustrating and boring. The old texts are smudged, smelly; if you were a translator working on the Geneva English, you had to do it in candlelight, with quills you dipped in ink -- what a mess -- and the mildew of the manuscripts must have been overpowering. You'd be hunched over for hours at a time, you didn't have the convenience of a computer or the internet, and you'd be translating from memory. Which meant, only as well as you learned the Greek, could you translate.


Even the most virtuous human would be irritated -- a sin requiring 1Jn1:9 -- under those circumstances. So, if carnal, then Satan & Co. get to mess with you, and that combination of your own arrogance plus theirs, makes for missing the meaning lo these many centuries. We're all in this, together. Who doesn't get irritated?


Bible is always a political football.

    If you correctly say something about it, people attribute value to you.

    Never mind, you can't be correct on Bible without a) being filled with the Sprit, yourself, or b) without PARROTTING some other teacher who WAS filled with the Spirit, so happened to be right on that meaning.

    So the correctnesses you express, are really not yours.

    And, when people value you because they don't value Him, it means that

    others will compete with you.

    And being human, you come to crave being valued.

    So you rely on your respectability or popularity, to allow you to stand your turf, defending whatever you said.


That's how denominations formed, Paul's lament in 1 Corinthians (running subtheme). Loyalty begets partisanship, so true learning, ceases. Everyone gets stuck in the past. Fighting. Just as James warns against, in James 4.


So now you see more of Satan's strategy. What a coup:


    make a verse AGAINST Jealousy, produce it!

    Make the translators dokew (imagine) meaning in the verse which is not there (eisegesis);

    imagine, a verse in Bible which doesn't exist;

    imagine, that God would deign to envy man's affection.

    All by means of misplaced punctuation, forgetting hoti is used for indirect discourse and pros takes the accusative of hostility;

    forgetting, errant capitalization; & of two words that appear together nowhere else in Bible;

    reading Greek word order backwards, to support a sinning-end interpretation of a verb used of the Holy Spirit! Were you were trying to sabotage or deride, you couldn't do a better job!

    So now BIBLE is guilty, even as Holy Spirit is made guilty, ho! James quotes A MISSING VERSE!


Hey, be sure to replicate the same misreading in every translation and in every century, even until today. Oh, the derisive laughter never ends, at Satan & Co.!


Hence for five centuries, these mistranslations have been COPIED, rather than CORRECTED. For, if in 1599 some Geneva Bible translator messed up, well -- it would upset the common people if we said the past translation was wrong, so we'd best JUSTIFY that translation error he made. Or, blame the Bible and call James 4:5 a "problem passage". Peace within the Body, right? Yeah, never mind the the Holy Spirit must be turned into a sinner, to keep peace within the Body!


So notice how the false doctrines in Catholicism, Calvinism, KJV-only crowd and Bible mistranslations, inter alia, all are STUCK DEFENDING THE PAST. Yeah, because the hoi pouloi, respect whatever is old, never mind it might be an old heresy or lie!


As Paul Harvey liked to say, now you know "the rest of the story". WHY Satan & Co. can get us to mistranslate Bible century after century. On the one hand, it's not the translators' fault: obviously no group of humans can so competently mess up Bible in every translation all over the world for five centuries. On the other hand, it's all OUR faults, because we don't care enough about this BLASPHEMY against the Holy Spirit, to fix the translation. Century after century, Isaiah 53:6!