Redundancy in James?

In the King James Version, the James 5:16 seems to contain a little redundancy and/or truism:

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

The redundancy is “effectual” and “availeth much.” If it is effectual (in modern usage) then it means it works.

The apparent redundancy is a result of a slight semantic shift and an attempt to convey a Greek word in English.

The underlying Greek is:

Jas 5:16 εξομολογεισθε αλληλοις τα παραπτωματα και ευχεσθε υπερ αλληλων οπως ιαθητε πολυ ισχυει δεησις δικαιου ενεργουμενη

In this, the phrase in question is: “πολυ ισχυει δεησις δικαιου ενεργουμενη”

πολυ => greatly
ισχυει => enables/has force
δεησις => (a / the) prayer
δικαιου => righteous
ενεργουμενη => [(the thing that) is (itself) empowering]

The tricky word, as you can guess, is the last one – it is a present middle participle, which is a bit challenging to express in English. The KJV translators tried to express its meaning using the phrase “effectual fervent.” The point of the passage is that we should pray for one another, and that we should have confidence to pray for one another on the basis that an empowered prayer by a righteous man can accomplish great things, both as to physical healing and also conversion: with Elias’ prayers for and against rain provided as an example.

Pray to God and pray boldly, for if God gives your prayer power, you may save a soul by prayer!


7 Responses to “Redundancy in James?”

  1. Godith Says:

    So an “empowered prayer” works. That may be a little clearer, but still…Thanks for the info!!–Godith

  2. Turretinfan Says:

    not just works – but works greatly!An empowered prayer can do a lot!

  3. natamllc Says:

    I will be praying. I will not stop until I stop breathing.Prayer works.Not on my terms.I like these other verses too:::>Psa 18:3 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. Psa 18:6 In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. Psa 18:7 Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. Eph 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, Eph 6:19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, Eph 6:20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. and my all time favorite:::>Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.

  4. Turretinfan Says:

    Dear Michael,That’s great – but don’t stop just because you stop breathing!-Turretinfan

  5. natamllc Says:

    TFnow that you bring that up, that matter is one to experience first. When I do, if you be there, let’s have lunch. I sure I can afford to buy it then!On the other hand, you could be well younger than I and I stop before you?Who knows??I have many friends who have gone on before me. All I can witness is where we laid them to sleep!Did I say prayer works and not on my terms?Ah, yes, I believe I did!What did you say the Bible teaches?:)

  6. orthodox Says:

    if God gives your prayer power, you may save a soul by prayer!You’re one step closer to orthodoxy. The saints can save you through prayer.

  7. Turretinfan Says:

    Thanks, Orthodox, though I haven’t moved. It’s just your perception of Reformed theology that has been improved.-Turretinfan

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