James 1:15

15 Then desire 1when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and 2sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

James 1:15 Meaning and Commentary

James 1:15

Then when lust hath conceived
A proposal of pleasure or profit being made, agreeable to lust, or the principle of corrupt nature, sinful man is pleased with it; and instead of resisting and rejecting the motion made, he admits of it, and receives it, and cherishes it in his mind; he dallies and plays with it; he dwells upon it in his thoughts, and hides it under his tongue, and in his heart, as a sweet morsel, and forsakes it not, but contrives ways and means how to bring it about; and this is lust's conceiving. The figure is used in ( Psalms 7:14 ) on which Kimchi, a Jewish commentator, has this note;

``he (the psalmist) compares the thoughts of the heart (Nwyrhl) , "to a conception", and when they go out in word, this is "travail", and in work or act, this is "bringing forth".''

And so it follows here,

it bringeth forth sin;
into act, not only by consenting to it, but by performing it:

and sin, when it is finished:
being solicited, is agreed to, and actually committed:

bringeth forth death;
as the first sin of man brought death into the world, brought a spiritual death, or moral death upon man, subjected him to a corporeal death, and made him liable to an eternal one; so every sin is deserving of death, death is the just wages of it; yea, even the motions of sin work in men to bring forth fruit unto death. Something like these several gradual steps, in which sin proceeds, is observed by the Jews, and expressed in much the like language, in allegorizing the case of Lot, and his two daughters F9;

``the concupiscent soul (or "lust") stirs up the evil figment, and imagines by it, and it cleaves to every evil imagination, (trbetmv) , "until it conceives a little", and produces in the heart of man the evil thought, and cleaves to it; and as yet it is in his heart, and is not "finished" to do it, until this desire or lust stirs up the strength of the body, first to cleave to the evil figment, and then (herh Mwlvt) , "sin is finished"; as it is said, ( Genesis 19:36 ) .''


F9 Midrash Haneelam in Zohar in Gen. fol. 67. 4.

James 1:15 In-Context

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Cross References 2

  • 1. Job 15:35; Psalms 7:14; Isaiah 59:4
  • 2. Romans 5:12; Romans 6:23
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