James 2:19

σὺ πιστεύεις ὅτι ὁ θεός εἷς ἐστιν καλῶς ποιεῖς· καὶ τὰ δαιμόνια πιστεύουσιν καὶ φρίσσουσιν

You believe that Theos is congruent.  You do well!  The demons also believe and shudder!

Does James 2:19 intend to answer the question, “Is there only one categorical God and not only one god whose name is God?”

No, if we are doing exegesis and not isogesis.

Exegesis considers the meaning of a Bible text within the bound of grammar and the meanings of the words and fits its context. 

 Isogesis considers the meaning of a Bible text within the bound of grammar and the meanings of the words, but out of context.

Exegesis is what the Lord wants us to do.  “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”  2 Timothy 2:15 ESV

Since exegesis seriously considers the context to determine word meaning when a word of the text has shades of meaning, what is the context of James 2:19?

The context is James 2:14-26.  If you are not familiar with it, please read it.  The point is living faith expressing in action.  Living faith is the integration of God’s words, receivers’ heart and will and opportunity and eventual action.  Living faith and action in life are one in the sense of integral as having integrity.
With this in mind, let see how James 2:19 should be translated to be appropriate in this context.

σὺ πιστεύεις ὅτι ὁ θεός εἷς ἐστιν

You believe that Theos is congruent.

How does God is one has to do with the integrity of living faith in God and His word?
The key is what does it mean by God is one.  Does it intend to reveal that there is only one God anywhere and any moment?  Or does it intend to reveal that God is intra-personally congruent in faith and action?  Based on the context about living faith and bearing the fruit of action, I choose the second option about God being congruent of His faith and His action.  There is a unity of faith and action.  So the Greek word one “heis” in James 2:19 is being used here like used in John 17:22 “… they may be one “en” as we are one “en”.  “heis” and “en” has the same root with Strong’s number 1520.  Here it can mean “to be united most closely (in will, spirit)”.
Yes, God has faith as well.  For example, God believes that His Son is willing to become a human being and pay the sin debt of human beings; God believes that His Son will for sure do what He promises to do.  So God took action and prophesied that the seed of a woman crush the head of the serpent that is referring to Satan and will war against the seed of the serpent that the demon, the angels fallen with Satan. (Genesis 3:15)  
καλῶς ποιεῖς·

You do well!

The Author through the writer James affirms the believe that Theos, God the Father, is congruent.  The base of this belief could be based on Deuteronomy 6:4.  For the magnified version of the English translation of this text, please see the page on Deuteronomy 6:4.


καὶ τὰ δαιμόνια πιστεύουσιν καὶ φρίσσουσιν

The demons also believe and shudder!

No wonder the demons that have at least four thousand years of experience of the congruence of God's faith and action in persistently besieging them shake due to being deeply afraid like a serpent being swallowed up by another serpent. (Exodus 7:12)

This text is not intended to support that Christianity is monotheistic but God the Father is congruent.  Satan shudders because he knows by experience that God the Father is congruent and there is no inconsistency in God the Father that he can take advantage of to prove that God’s judgment about him is unfair due to God’s own inconsistency.  The consistency or congruence of God makes Satan to feel doomed.