James 2:1 – Our Glorious Lord Yeshua

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POSTED 28 JANUARY, 2018

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume II

“My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Yeshua the Messiah with an attitude of personal favoritism.”

In his epistle, James the Just emphasizes the fact that born again Believers are to have faith in Yeshua the Messiah, demonstrating proper actions and attitudes, particularly in their treatment of the poor (James 2:2-7). He admonishes, “My brothers and sisters, do not hold the faith of our glorious Lord Yeshua the Messiah while showing favoritism” (James 2:1, TLV). Apparently, for a sector of James’ audience, showing “snobbery” (Phillips New Testament) was an extreme problem, and it was disruptive for others trying to enter in. The CJB/CJSB offers the unique rendering for James 2:1, “My brothers, practice the faith of our Lord Yeshua, the glorious Messiah, without showing favoritism.”

The object of faith and trust is tou Kuriou hēmōn Iēsou Christou tēs doxēs, “our glorious Lord Yeshua the Messiah.” Associating Yeshua with the description of doxa, the Greek Septuagint equivalent of the Hebrew kavod, is Christologically important. Kavod appears in some critical Torah passages describing the Divine presence of God:

“The glory of the LORD [kevod-ADONAI] rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud” (Exodus 24:16).

“Then Moses said, ‘I pray You, show me Your glory [kevodekha]!’” (Exodus 33:18).

“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD [kevod ADONAI] filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34).

The term kavod literally means “heavy,” and it has a wide variety of connotations. The most significant of these predominantly regards the presence of God manifested in the Tabernacle in the wilderness. TWOT describes the significance of the word kavod:

“The bulk of occurrences where God’s glory is a visible manifestation have to do with the tabernacle (Ex 16:10; 40:34; etc.) and with the temple in Ezekiel’s vision of the exile and restoration (9:3; etc.). These manifestations are directly related to God’s self-disclosure and his intent to dwell with men, to have his reality and his splendor known to them. But this is only possible when they take account of the stunning quality of his holiness and set out in faith and obedience to let that character be manifested in them (Num 14:10; Isa 6:3; Ezr 10, 11).”[1]

When James uses the Greek term doxa, doxa carries with it the same understanding of kavod. While doxa is a title of honor to be sure, much more than just appropriate honor and reverence to be issued toward Yeshua was intended. McCartney’s brief estimation is, “In calling Jesus ‘glorious Lord,’ James effectively ascribes the divine attributes and importance to Christ.”[2] Peter Davids offers a much fuller thought on the title doxa ascribed to Yeshua, detailing how “this is not simply to say that ‘our Lord’ is most honorable or exalted, for to one who knew the LXX the term would immediately recall the OT use of [doxa] to translate the Hebrew kāḇôḏ, characteristically meaning, ‘the luminous manifestation of God’s person’ particularly in bringing salvation to Israel (Ex. 14:17-18; Psa. 96:3; Isa. 60:1-2; Ezk. 39:21-22; Zc. 2:5-11…). Thus it is a term of exaltation, revelation, and eschatological salvation.”[3] James 2:1 is not the only place where doxa is applied to Yeshua the Messiah (cf. Titus 2:13).


NOTES

[1] John N. Oswalt, “kaveid,” in R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, eds., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 2 vols. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), 1:427.

[2] McCartney, 137.

[3] Peter Davids, New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Epistle of James (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982), 107.