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James 4:8

    James 4:8 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Come near to God and he will come near to you. Make your hands clean, you evil-doers; put away deceit from your hearts, you false in mind.

    Webster's Revision

    Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.

    World English Bible

    Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.

    Definitions for James 4:8

    Nigh - Near.

    Clarke's Commentary on James 4:8

    Draw nigh to God - Approach Him, in the name of Jesus, by faith and prayer, and he will draw nigh to you - he will meet you at your coming. When a soul sets out to seek God, God sets out to meet that soul; so that while we are drawing near to him, he is drawing near to us. The delicacy and beauty of these expressions are, I think, but seldom noted.

    Cleanse your hands, ye sinners - This I think to be the beginning of a new address, and to different persons; and should have formed the commencement of a new verse. Let your whole conduct be changed; cease to do evil learn to do well. Washing or cleansing the hands was a token of innocence and purity.

    Purify your hearts - Separate yourselves from the world, and consecrate yourselves to God: this is the true notion of sanctification. We have often seen that to sanctify signifies to separate a thing or person from profane or common use, and consecrate it or him to God. This is the true notion of קדש kadash, in Hebrew, and ἁγιαζω in Greek. The person or thing thus consecrated or separated is considered to be holy, and to be God's property; and then God hallows it to himself. There are, therefore, two things implied in a man's sanctification:

    1. That he separates himself from evil ways and evil companions, and devotes himself to God.

    2. That God separates guilt from his conscience, and sin from his soul, and thus makes him internally and externally holy.

    This double sanctification is well expressed in Sohar, Levit. fol. 33, Colossians 132, on the words, be ye holy, for I the Lord am holy: אותו מלמעלה ארס מקדש עצמו מלמטה מקישין, a man sanctifies himself on the earth, and then he is sanctified from heaven. As a man is a sinner, he must have his hands cleansed from wicked works; as he is double-minded, he must have his heart sanctified. Sanctification belongs to the heart, because of pollution of mind; cleansing belongs to the hands, because of sinful acts. See the note on James 1:8, for the signification of double-minded.

    Barnes' Notes on James 4:8

    Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you - Compare 2 Chronicles 15:2. This declaration contains a great and important principle in religion. If we wish the favor of God, we must come to him; nor can we hope for his mercy, unless we approach him and ask him for it. We cannot come literally any nearer to God than we always are, for he is always round about us; but we may come nearer in a spiritual sense. We may address him directly in prayer; we may approach him by meditation on his character; we may draw near to him in the ordinances of religion. We can never hope for his favor while we prefer to remain at a distance from him; none who in fact draw near to him will find him unwilling to bestow on them the blessings which they need.

    Cleanse your hands, ye sinners - There may possibly be an allusion here to Isaiah 1:15-16; "Your hands are full of blood; wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil." The heart is the seat of motives and intentions - that by which we devise anything; the hands, the instruments by which we execute our purposes. The hands here are represented as defiled by blood, or by acts of iniquity. To wash or cleanse the hands was, therefore, emblematic of putting away transgression, Matthew 27:24. Compare Deuteronomy 21:6; Psalm 26:6. The heathen and the Jews were accustomed to wash their hands before they engaged in public worship. The particular idea here is, that in order to obtain the favor of God, it is necessary to put away our sins; to approach him with a desire to be pure and holy. The mere washing of the hands, in itself, could not recommend us to his favor; but that of which the washing of the hands would be an emblem, would be acceptable in his sight. It may be inferred from what is said here that no one can hope for the favor of God who does not abandon his transgressions. The design of the apostle is, evidently, to state one of the conditions on which we can make an acceptable approach to God. It is indispensable that we come with a purpose and desire to wash ourselves from all iniquity, to put away from us all our transgressions. So David said, "I will wash my hands in innocency; so will I compass thine altar. O Lord," Psalm 26:6.

    ("To obtain the favor of God, it is necessary to put away our sins" - is somewhat unguarded phraseology. If the favor of God were not obtained but on this condition, none ever would obtain it. The passage is a strong injunction to holiness and singleness of heart: it does not say, however, that by these we obtain acceptance with God. Of his favor, holiness is the fruit, the effect, and not the cause. The sinner must not think of getting quit of his sins to prepare him for going to God by Jesus; but he must first go to Jesus to prepare for laying aside his sins. Yet in every approach to God, it is true there must be a "desire "to be free from sin; and this doubtless is the view of the commentary; indeed it is so expressed, though some words are objectionable.)

    And purify your hearts - That is, do not rest satisfied with a mere external reformation; with putting away your outward transgressions. There must be a deeper work than that; a work which shall reach to the heart, and which shall purify the affections. This agrees with all the requisitions of the Bible, and is in accordance with what must be the nature of religion. If the heart is wrong, nothing can be right. If, while we seek an external reformation, we still give indulgence to the secret corruptions of the heart, it is clear that we can have no true religion.

    Ye double-minded - See the notes at James 1:8. The apostle here seems to have had his eye on those who were vacillating in their purposes; whose hearts were not decidedly fixed, but who were halting between good and evil. The heart was not right in such persons. It was not settled and determined in favor of religion, but vibrated between that and the world. The proper business of such persons, therefore, was to cleanse the heart from disturbing influences, that it might settle down in unwavering attachment to that which is good.

    Wesley's Notes on James 4:8

    4:8 Then draw nigh to God in prayer, and he will draw nigh unto you, will hear you; which that nothing may hinder, cleanse your hands - Cease from doing evil. And purify your hearts - From all spiritual adultery. Be no more double minded, vainly endeavouring to serve both God and mammon.