James 4:3

3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

James 4:3 in Other Translations

KJV
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
ESV
3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
NLT
3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
MSG
3 And why not? Because you know you'd be asking for what you have no right to. You're spoiled children, each wanting your own way.
CSB
3 You ask and don't receive because you ask wrongly, so that you may spend it on your desires for pleasure.

James 4:3 Meaning and Commentary

James 4:3

Ye ask, and receive not
Some there were that did ask of God the blessings of his goodness and providence, and yet these were not bestowed on them; the reason was,

because ye ask amiss;
not in the faith of a divine promise; nor with thankfulness for past mercies; nor with submission to the will of God; nor with a right end, to do good to others, and to make use of what might be bestowed, for the honour of God, and the interest of Christ: but

that ye may consume it upon your lusts;
indulge to intemperance and luxury; as the man that had much goods laid up for many years did, to the neglect of his own soul, ( Luke 12:19 ) or the rich man, who spent all upon his back and his belly, and took no notice of Lazarus at his gate; ( Luke 16:19 ) .

James 4:3 In-Context

1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.
3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us ?

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Cross References 2

  • 1. Psalms 18:41; S Matthew 7:7
  • 2. Psalms 66:18; 1 John 3:22; 1 John 5:14