James 4:6 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

James 4:6, NIV: "But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: 'God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.'"

James 4:6, ESV: "But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”"

James 4:6, KJV: "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."

James 4:6, NASB: "But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, 'GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.'"

James 4:6, NLT: "But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, 'God opposes the proud but favors the humble.'"

James 4:6, CSB: "But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

What does James 4:6 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

So far in chapter 4, James has delivered a devastating diagnosis and a dire warning to his Christians readers. He has scolded them for living according to the wisdom of the world. They have been driven by envy, and the ambition to succeed at any cost. They have even been fighting with each other to get what they want.

To some extent, it feels normal to us to live that way. This is the world system we are born into, after all. But James warned believers that they are committing adultery against God by living this way! God takes this unfaithfulness personally. In fact, according to the most common translation of the previous verse, God was jealous for the Holy Spirit He had placed in them. To cheat on God by living according to the world's system of self-reliance, refusing to let go of getting what we want, puts us in the category of God's enemies.

Now James offers reassurance. Even if we have been living this way, we have not outrun the grace of God. This grace is given to all who trust in Christ. Our sin is serious, devastating, and wicked, but God gives more grace. He forgives our sinfulness in Christ and continues to give us the good we have not earned.

James quotes Proverbs 3:34. This relates a simple, but powerful idea: God opposes the proud. Our refusal to trust God to provide what we need, what He wants for us, and our insistence on getting what we want for ourselves is an act of pride. We are attempting to be the God of our own lives. God will lovingly, jealously oppose us when we do so—but He will not reject us in Christ.

Instead, He calls us to humble ourselves and receive more grace from Him. He calls us to repent of the sin of self-reliance and demanding what we want and yield to Him, receiving with gratitude all the good He chooses to gives us and all the seeming good He chooses to withhold.

God is calling us back to the peaceful, faithful path of trusting Him.