Righteousness comes from peaceful living

And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. (James 3:18)

This is a somewhat tricky verse, given the different translations:

  • KJV: And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
  • NIV: Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
  • RSV/ESV: And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
  • NET: And the fruit that consists of righteousness is planted in peace among those who make peace.

But maybe it’s not so hard if we break the metaphor down:

  • What is “grown”:  righteousness
  • Who “plants” it: peacemakers (those who make peace).
  • How it is “planted”: in peace

In other words (and in keeping with the tenor of the current chapter), James is saying that righteous living is the result of living a consciously peaceful life (perhaps in living a consciously peaceful life together); in contrast to what results when one lives in an environment of “bitter jealousy and selfishness.”

About Will Fitzgerald

I work on recommendation systems and lexical resources for Wordnik.

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