Vincent Word Studies - James 2:2 - 2:2

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Vincent Word Studies - James 2:2 - 2:2


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Assembly (συναγωγὴν)

The word synagogue is a transcript of this. From σύν, together, and ἄγω, to bring. Hence, literally, a gathering or congregation, in which sense the word is common in the Septuagint, not only of assemblies for worship, but of gatherings for other public purposes. From the meeting itself the transition is easy to the place of meeting, the synagogue; and in this sense the term is used throughout the New Testament, with the following exceptions: In Act 13:43, it is rendered congregation by the A. V., though Rev. gives synagogue; and in Rev 2:9; Rev 3:9, the unbelieving Jews, as a body, are called synagogue of Satan. As a designation of a distinctively Jewish assembly or place of worship it was more sharply emphasized by the adoption of the word ἐκκλησία, ecclesia, to denote the Christian church. In this passage alone the word is distinctly applied to a Christian assembly or place of worship. The simplest explanation appears to be that the word designates the place of meeting for the Christian body, James using the word most familiar to the Jewish Christians; an explanation which receives countenance from the fact that, as Huther observes, “the Jewish Christians regarded themselves as still an integral part of the Jewish nation, as the chosen people of God.” As such a portion they had their special synagogue. From Act 6:9, we learn that there were numerous synagogues in Jerusalem, representing different bodies, such as the descendants of Jewish freedmen at Rome, and the Alexandrian or Hellenistic Jews. Among these would be the synagogue of the Christians, and such would be the case in all large cities where the dispersed Jews congregated. Alford quotes a phrase from the “Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs:” the synagogue of the Gentiles. Compare Heb 10:25, “the assembling together (ἐπισυναγωγὴν) of yourselves.”

With a gold ring (χρυσοδακτύλιος)

Only here in New Testament. Not a man wearing a single gold ring (as A. V. and Rev.), which would not attract attention in an assembly where most persons wore a ring, but a gold-ringed man, having his hands conspicuously loaded with rings and jewels. The ring was regarded as an indispensable article of a Hebrew's attire, since it contained his signet; and the name of the ring, tabbath, was derived from a root signifying to impress a seal. It was a proverbial expression for a most valued object. See Isa 22:24; Hag 2:23. The Greeks and Romans wore them in great profusion. Hannibal, after the battle of Cannae, sent as a trophy to Carthage, three bushels of gold rings from the fingers of the Roman knights slain in battle. To wear rings on the right hand was regarded as a mark of effeminacy; but they were worn profusely on the left. Martial says of one Charinus that he wore six on each finger, and never laid them aside, either at night or when bathing. The fops had rings of different sizes for summer and winter. Aristophanes distinguishes between the populace and those who wear rings, and in his comedy of “The Clouds” uses the formidable word σφραγιδονυχαργοκομῆται, lazy, long-haired fops, with rings and well-trimmed nails. Demosthenes was so conspicuous for this kind of ornament that, at a time of public disaster, it was stigmatized as unbecoming vanity. Frequent mention is made of their enormous cost. They were of gold and silver, sometimes of both; sometimes of iron inlaid with gold. The possible beauty of these latter will be appreciated by those who have seen the elegant gold and iron jewellery made at Toledo, in Spain. Sometimes they were of amber, ivory, or porcelain. The practice of wearing rings was adopted by the early Christians. Many of their rings were adorned with the symbols of the faith - the cross, the anchor, the monogram of Christ, etc. Among the rings found in the catacombs are some with a key, and some with both a key and a seal, for both locking and sealing a casket.

Goodly apparel (ἐσθῆτι λαμπρᾷ)

Lit., bright or shining clothes. Rev., fine clothing.

Vile (ῥυπαρᾷ)

Compare Jam 1:21; and see on 1Pe 3:21.