What is the accurate translation of "ἀντιτάσσεται"in the Greek text of James 4:6?

Some English versions of the Bible have the meaning "resists", others have the meaning "opposes".

Some meaning of the word:

  • to range in battle against.
  • to set oneself against.

Some Arabic versions of the Bible has the meaning: يقاوم which means also, "resists".

What aroused my attention is that:

Is it accepted logically that God "resists" the proud?

I mean: "resistance" mostly has the lower hand.

James 4:6;

  1. But he giveth more grace. Wherefore {cf15i the scripture} saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. ASV.

I hope you get the point.

  • The OED definition of 'resist' is : a. To stop or hinder (a moving body); to be proof against; to prevent (a weapon, etc.) from piercing or penetrating; to obstruct the passage of, to block. Also: to act in opposition to (a force). There is nothing in this that conveys an inferior force. It applies as much to a superior force as to an inferior one.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 14, 2020 at 17:16

1 Answer 1


The word you ask about in James 4:6 is ἀντιτάσσεται (antitassetai) which is from "anti" and the middle voice of "tasso"; to range oneself against, i.e. Oppose. BDAG suggests the following for the root verb ἀντιτάσσω (antitassó):

  • oppose, resist, eg, Acts 18:6, Rom 13:2, James 4:6, 5:6, 1 Peter 5:5.

James 4:6 is a quote from Prov 3:34 in the LXX. See also 1 Peter 5:5 which also quotes the same OT verse. Matthew Poole observes:

God resisteth; it is a military term: God sets himself, as in battle, against the proud, defying, beating down, exposing to contempt, and destroying them; he is so far from giving them more gifts, that he rather spoils them, as sworn enemies, of what they have.

Barnes suggests:

This resistance of pride he shows not only in the explicit declarations of his word, but in the arrangements of his providence and grace: (1) In his providence, in the reverses and disappointments which occur; in the necessity of abandoning the splendid mansion which we had built, or in disappointing us in some favorite plan by which our pride was to be nurtured and gratified. (2) in sickness, taking away the beauty and strength on which we had so much valued ourselves, and bring us to the sad condition of a sick bed. (3) in the grave, bringing us down to corruption and worms. Why should one be proud who will soon become so offensive to his best friends that they will gladly hide him in the grave? (4) in the plan of salvation he opposes our pride. Not a feature of that plan is fitted to foster pride, but all is adapted to make us humble.

That is, God always tries to remind us of our great need of Him without ever forcing us to serve and love Him. Forced love is not love at all! We are reminded of these truths in the same verse of James (never should the first part of the verse be separated from the second part); But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble."

As humble (needy) servants of God we need His strength and grace constantly. The proud cannot receive God's grace because they feel no need, so God attempts to remind the proud as this text so succinctly attests.

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