The Meaning of James 1:3 Explained

James 1:3

KJV: Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

YLT: knowing that the proof of your faith doth work endurance,

Darby: knowing that the proving of your faith works endurance.

ASV: Knowing that the proving of your faith worketh patience.

What does James 1:3 Mean?

Context Summary

James 1:1-11 - Steadfast Faith
This Epistle is marked by the austere features of the Jerusalem church, which refused to be affected by that wider contact with the Gentile world, by which the life and teachings of St. Paul were so powerfully influenced. "Brother to Jesus" was the designation that James might have used, but he preferred the more modest title of bond-servant. The slaves of such a king are nobles! The times were full of severe testing. Each believer had to face ignominy, loss and death for his testimony to Jesus and His saving power. But James encourages these harried souls by the immense revenues that would accrue, more especially in the acquisition of patience. While patience is drawn out almost to the breaking-point, God is developing our characters with perfect beauty, so that no side is incomplete.
There are three urgent requirements for us all: (1) Wisdom to act and speak wisely in the hour of trial; (2) faith that refuses to respond to the surging billows of doubt; (3) humility and contentment with God's dealings. [source]

Chapter Summary: James 1

1  James greets the twelve tribes among the nations;
2  exhorts to rejoice in trials and temptations;
5  to ask patience of God;
13  and in our trials not to impute our weakness, or sins, to him,
19  but rather to hearken to the word, to meditate on it, and to do thereafter
26  Otherwise men may seem, but never be, truly religious

Greek Commentary for James 1:3

Knowing [γινωσκοντες]
Present active participle of γινωσκω — ginōskō (experimental knowledge, the only way of getting this view of “trials” as “all joy”). [source]
The proof [το δοκιμιον]
Now known (Deissmann, Bible Studies, pp. 259ff.) from the papyri examples of δοκιμιος — dokimios as an adjective in the same sense (good gold, standard gold) as δοκιμος — dokimos proved or tested (James 1:12). The use of το δοκιμιον — to dokimion (neuter article with neuter single adjective) here and in 1 Peter 1:7, clearly means “the genuine element in your faith,” not “crucible” nor “proving.” Your faith like gold stands the test of fire and is approved as standard. James here, as in James 1:6; James 2:1; James 5:15, regards faith Present (durative) middle indicative of the compound verb with the perfective sense of κατα — kata as in Philemon 2:12, which see.Patience Old and common word for remaining under (υπομενω — hupomenō), “staying power” (Ropes), as in Colossians 1:11. [source]
Worketh [κατεργαζεται]
Present (durative) middle indicative of the compound verb with the perfective sense of κατα — kata as in Philemon 2:12, which see. [source]
Patience [υπομονην]
Old and common word for remaining under (υπομενω — hupomenō), “staying power” (Ropes), as in Colossians 1:11. [source]
Trying [δοκίμιον]
Rev., proof; but the American Revisers insist on proving, and rightly. See on 1 Peter 1:7. [source]
Worketh [κατεργάζεται]
The compound verb with κατά , down through, indicates accomplishment. The proving will work successfully and thoroughly. This harmonizes with a perfect work, James 1:4. [source]
Patience [ὑπομονήν]
See on 2 Peter 1:6, and James 5:7. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for James 1:3

Colossians 1:11 With joyfulness []
Compare Colossians 1:24; James 1:2, James 1:3; 1 Peter 4:13. Some connect with giving thanks, Colossians 1:12, and this is favored by the construction of the previous clauses: in every good work bearing fruit: with all power strengthened: with joy giving thanks. But Paul is not always careful to maintain the symmetry of his periods. The idea of joy is contained in thanksgiving, which would make the emphatic position of with joy inexplicable; besides which we lose thus the idea of joyful endurance (Colossians 1:24) and of joyful suffering expressing itself in thanksgiving. Compare Romans 5:3. [source]
James 1:12 Endureth [υπομενει]
Present active indicative of υπομενω — hupomenō Cf. James 1:3. [source]
James 1:12 Temptation [πειρασμον]
Real temptation here. See James 1:2 for “trials.”When he hath been approved (δοκιμος γενομενος — dokimos genomenos). “Having become approved,” with direct reference to το δοκιμιον — to dokimion in James 1:3. See also Romans 5:4 for δοκιμη — dokimē (approval after test as of gold or silver). This beatitude (μακαριος — makarios) is for the one who has come out unscathed. See 1 Timothy 6:9.The crown of life The same phrase occurs in Revelation 2:10. It is the genitive of apposition, life itself being the crown as in 1 Peter 5:4. This crown is “an honourable ornament” (Ropes), with possibly no reference to the victor‘s crown (garland of leaves) as with Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8, nor to the linen fillet Στεπανος — Stephanos has a variety of uses. Cf. the thorn chaplet on Jesus (Matthew 27:29).The Lord. Not in the oldest Greek MSS., but clearly implied as the subject of επηγγειλατο — epēggeilato (he promised, first aorist middle indicative). [source]
James 1:12 When he hath been approved [δοκιμος γενομενος]
“Having become approved,” with direct reference to το δοκιμιον — to dokimion in James 1:3. See also Romans 5:4 for δοκιμη — dokimē (approval after test as of gold or silver). This beatitude (μακαριος — makarios) is for the one who has come out unscathed. See 1 Timothy 6:9. [source]
James 5:7 Be patient therefore [μακροτυμησατε ουν]
A direct corollary First aorist (constative) active imperative of μακροτυμεω — makrothumeō late compound (Plutarch, lxx) from μακροτυμος — makrothumos On the exhortation to patience (υπομενω — hupomonē) see James 1:3., James 1:12 and repeated in James 5:11. They will need both submission (μακροτυμια — hupomenō James 5:11) and steadfastness (εως της παρουσιας — makrothumia James 5:10). [source]
James 5:11 We call blessed [μακαριζομεν]
Old word (present active indicative of μακαριζω — makarizō), from μακαριος — makarios (happy), in N.T. only here and Luke 1:48. “We felicitate.” As in James 1:3, James 1:12; Daniel 12:12. [source]
1 Peter 1:7 Trial [δοκίμιον]
Only here and James 1:3. Rev., proof. The word means a test. As the means of proof, however, is not only the touchstone itself, but the trace of the metal left upon it, the sense here is the result of the contact of faith with trial, and hence the verification of faith. The expression is equivalent to your approved faith. Compare Romans 2:7, Romans 2:10. [source]
1 Peter 1:7 The proof of your faith [το δοκιμιον υμων της πιστεως]
The identical phrase in James 1:3 and probably derived from there by Peter. See note on James 1:3 for discussion of το δοκιμιον — to dokimion (the test or touchstone of faith). [source]
2 Peter 1:5 Adding on your part [παρεισπερω]
First aorist active participle of εισπερω — pareispherō old double compound, to bring in Old word from πασαν σπουδην — speudō to hasten (Luke 19:5.). This phrase (ποιουμενος — pāsan spoudēn) occurs in Judges 1:3 with ισπερεσται — poioumenos and on the inscription in Stratonicea (2 Peter 1:3) with εν τηι πιστει υμων — ispheresthai (certainly a curious coincidence, to say the least, though common in the Koiné).In your faith Faith or αγαπη — pistis (strong conviction as in Hebrews 11:1, Hebrews 11:3, the root of the Christian life Ephesians 2:8) is the foundation which goes through various steps up to love See similar lists in James 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:3.; Galatians 5:22.; Romans 5:3.; Romans 8:29. Hermas (Vis. iii. 8. 1-7) has a list called “daughters” of one another. Note the use of επιχορηγησατε — en (in, on) with each step.Supply (επιχορηγεω — epichorēgēsate). First aorist active imperative of επι — epichorēgeō late and rare double compound verb (χορηγεω — epi and χορηγος — chorēgeō 1 Peter 4:11 from χορος — chorēgos chorus-leader, ηγεομαι — choros and αρετην — hēgeomai to lead), to fit out the chorus with additional (complete) supplies. Both compound and simplex (more common) occur in the papyri. In 2 Peter 1:11 and already in 2 Corinthians 9:10; Galatians 3:5; Colossians 2:19.Virtue Moral power, moral energy, vigor of soul (Bengel). See 2 Peter 1:3.Knowledge (gnōsin). Insight, understanding (1 Corinthians 16:18; John 15:15). [source]
2 Peter 1:5 In your faith [πιστις]
Faith or αγαπη — pistis (strong conviction as in Hebrews 11:1, Hebrews 11:3, the root of the Christian life Ephesians 2:8) is the foundation which goes through various steps up to love See similar lists in James 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:3.; Galatians 5:22.; Romans 5:3.; Romans 8:29. Hermas (Vis. iii. 8. 1-7) has a list called “daughters” of one another. Note the use of επιχορηγησατε — en (in, on) with each step.Supply (επιχορηγεω — epichorēgēsate). First aorist active imperative of επι — epichorēgeō late and rare double compound verb (χορηγεω — epi and χορηγος — chorēgeō 1 Peter 4:11 from χορος — chorēgos chorus-leader, ηγεομαι — choros and αρετην — hēgeomai to lead), to fit out the chorus with additional (complete) supplies. Both compound and simplex (more common) occur in the papyri. In 2 Peter 1:11 and already in 2 Corinthians 9:10; Galatians 3:5; Colossians 2:19.Virtue Moral power, moral energy, vigor of soul (Bengel). See 2 Peter 1:3.Knowledge (gnōsin). Insight, understanding (1 Corinthians 16:18; John 15:15). [source]
2 Peter 1:6 Patience [την υπομονην]
For which see James 1:3.Godliness (την ευσεβειαν — tēn eusebeian). For which see 2 Peter 1:3. [source]

What do the individual words in James 1:3 mean?

knowing that the testing of your - faith produces endurance
γινώσκοντες ὅτι τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως κατεργάζεται ὑπομονήν

γινώσκοντες  knowing 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: γινώσκω  
Sense: to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel.
ὅτι  that 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ὅτι  
Sense: that, because, since.
δοκίμιον  testing 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: δοκίμιον  
Sense: the proving.
ὑμῶν  of  your 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive 2nd Person Plural
Root: σύ  
Sense: you.
τῆς  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
πίστεως  faith 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: πίστις  
Sense: conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it.
κατεργάζεται  produces 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Middle or Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: κατεργάζομαι  
Sense: to perform, accomplish, achieve.
ὑπομονήν  endurance 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: ὑπομονή  
Sense: steadfastness, constancy, endurance.