James, Chapter 1, Series


James 1:1-15

BIBLE STUDY

Part I

(Verses 1-4)

[Wednesday, September 2, 2009]

 

James 1:1-4) James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

Regarding “James,”

“He does not proclaim himself ‘the brother of Jesus’, but only a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was not just James’ brother, more importantly, Jesus was his Lord” [Guzik].

As it concerns “a servent,”

“A slave, one who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another, his will being altogether consumed in the will of the other” [Word Study]. 

“‘A slave, a bondservant, one who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another . . . Among the Greeks, with their strong sense of personal freedom, the term carried a degrading connotation’ (Hiebert)” [Guzik].

 

2) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

In regards to “divers,”

“It is used to describe the skin of a leopard, the different-colored veinings of marble, or an embroidered robe; and thence passes into the meaning of changeful, diversified, applied to the changing months or the variations of a strain of music. Peter employs it again, 1Pe_4:10, of the grace of God, and James of temptations, as here (Jam_1:2). Compare manifold, in Eph_3:10, applied to the wisdom of God. The word gives a vivid picture of the diversity of the trials, emphasizing this idea rather than that of their number, which is left to be inferred” [Vincent]. 

Concerning “temptations,”

“‘Trials’ is clearly the meaning here. Trials rightly faced are harmless, but wrongly met become temptations to evil” [Robertson].

Regarding “when ye fall,”

“James regards trials as inevitable. He says when, not if you fall into various trials” [Guzik].

John 16:33) These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Verse 2 In Other Translations:

(GNB)  My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way,

(GW)  My brothers and sisters, be very happy when you are tested in different ways.

(MSG)  Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.

QUESTION: How do we consider ourselves fortunate, be very happy, and consider it a sheer gift when all kinds of trials come our way, when we are tested in different ways, and when tests and challenges come at us from all sides?

QUESTION: Why should we do it?

3) Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

NOTE: The use of the word “trying” in this verse shows us that “trials” are meant in the previous verse, as opposed to “temptations.”

Regarding “patience,”

hupoméno (G5278), to persevere, remain under. A bearing up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances. This is in contrast to makrothumía (G3115), long-suffering or endurance toward people” [Word Study].

(BBE)  Because you have the knowledge that the testing of your faith gives you the power of going on in hope;

(CEV)  You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested.

(GNB)  for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure.

(MSG)  You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.

QUESTION: What happens when our faith is tried?

QUESTION: Do trials always produce patience?

 QUESTION: Do trials produce anything else in us?

“Trials don’t produce faith, but when trials are received with faith, it produces patience” [Guzik].

 

4a) But let patience have [her] perfect work,  

In regards to “let have,” the 2 words that surround “patience,”

“Present active imperative of echo, let it keep on having” [Robertson]. 

Concerning “patience,”

“cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy[Strong’s].

(BBE)  But let this power have its full effect,

(CEV)  But you must learn to endure everything,

(GNB)  Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing,

(GW)  Endure until your testing is over.

(MSG)  So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.

QUESTION: Why should we “let patience have her perfect work”?

4b) that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Regarding “perfect,”

téleios; fem. teleía, neut. téleion, adj. from télos (G5056), goal, purpose. Finished, that which has reached its end, term, limit; hence, complete, full, wanting in nothing” [Word Study].

Concerning “entire,”

“Whole, having all its parts, sound, perfect. That which retains all that was initially allotted to it and wanting nothing for its wholeness” [Word Study].

In regards to “wanting nothing,”

“Negative statement of the preceding positive as often in James” [Robertson].

QUESTION: Does this imply that when we face trials well that we then become perfect?

QUESTION: If so, in what way?

 

Romans 5:3-5) And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

4) And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

5) And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Concerning “glory,”

“To boast, glory, exult, both in a good and bad sense” [Word Study].

In regards to “tribulations,”

“to crush, press, compress, squeeze” [Word Study].

In regards to “temptations” in verse 2,

“Trial, temptation, a putting to the test, spoken of persons only” [Word Study].

In Closing:

2Corinthians 11:30) If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

“An early history of the church says that James was such a man of prayer that his knees had large, thick calluses, making them look like the knees of a camel. It also says that James was martyred in Jerusalem by being pushed from a high point of the temple; the fall did not kill him, and he was beaten to death on the ground as he prayed for his attackers” [Guzik].

 


James 1:1-15

BIBLE STUDY

Part II

(Verses 5-8)

[Wednesday, September 23, 2009]

 

James 1:5-11) If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

In regards to “If any of you lack wisdom,”

“Probably this refers particularly to the kind of wisdom which they would need in their trials, to enable them to bear them in a proper manner, for there is nothing in which Christians more feel the need of heavenly wisdom than in regard to the manner in which they should bear trials, and what they should do in the perplexities, and disappointments, and bereavements that come upon them; but the language employed is so general, that what is here said may be applied to the need of wisdom in all respects” [Barnes].

“Trials are a necessary time to seek wisdom from God. We often didn’t know we needed wisdom until our trial. Once in a time of trial, we need to know if a particular trial is something God wants us to eliminate by faith or persevere in by faith. This requires wisdom! —- In trials, we need wisdom a lot more than we need knowledge. Knowledge is raw information, but wisdom knows how to use it. Someone has said that knowledge is the ability to take things apart, but wisdom is the ability to put things together” [Guzik].

NOTE: The Greek word rendered “lack” in this verse is the same word rendered “wanting” in the previous verse.

QUESTION: If the end result of handling trials is our lacking nothing (vs. 4), and this verse starts with “If any of you lack wisdom,” what does that tell us?

Concerning “let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally,”

“Present active imperative of aiteō, ‘let him keep on asking.’” [Robertson].

“The Greek puts it so that giving is emphasized as an attribute of God. Lit., ‘Ask of the giving God, or of ‘God the giver’” [Vincent].

(BBE)  let him make his request to God, who gives freely to all 

(CEV)  you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous

(WNT)  let him ask God for it, who gives with open hand to all men,

QUESTION: Why can we expect God to help us when we ask Him for wisdom?

Regarding “upbraideth not,”

“To defame, disparage, reproach. Generally it means to rail at, revile, assail with abusive words” [Word Study].

(BBE)  who gives freely to all without an unkind word,

(CEV)  God is generous and won’t correct you for asking.

(GW)  God is generous to everyone and doesn’t find fault with them.

QUESTION: What is this verse telling us that God will do when we ask for help that we don’t always do when others ask us for help?

QUESTION: Are we to believe that God is O.K. with our continually making the same dumb mistakes, and that He’ll always give us what we need without ever a disparaging word?

6) But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

In regards to “nothing wavering,”

“To be in strife with oneself, i.e., to doubt, hesitate, waver” [Word Study].

“Negative way of saying en pistei (in faith)” Not equivalent to unbelief, but expressing the hesitation which balances between faith and unbelief, and inclines toward the latter [Robertson].

“Not equivalent to unbelief, but expressing the hesitation which balances between faith and unbelief, and inclines toward the latter” [Vincent].

(Murdock)  But let him ask in faith, not hesitating:

(MSG)  Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.

(GW)  When you ask for something, don’t have any doubts.

Considering “he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed,”

(CEV)  Anyone who doubts is like an ocean wave tossed around in a storm.

(MSG)  People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves.

QUESTION: How can you and I possibly “ask in faith, nothing wavering”?

 

7) For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

QUESTION: Wow! What do you think of this verse?

QUESTION: Considering our human condition, is God being fair?

 

8) A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways.

In regards to “double minded,”

“Such a person suffers from divided loyalties. On the one hand, he wishes to maintain a religious confession and desires the presence of God in his life; on the other hand, he loves the ways of the world and prefers to live according to its mores and ethics” [Word Study].

“It means, properly, one who has two souls; then one who is wavering or inconstant. It is applicable to a man who has no settled principles; who is controlled by passion; who is influenced by popular feeling; who is now inclined to one opinion or course of conduct, and now to another” [Barnes].

NOTE: Only James uses this word; and he uses it only twice [also in James 4:8]. I’m in disagreement with the Word Study Dictionary and Barnes on this. The subject is faith and doubt. In this context the man who is double minded is not vacillating between the pleasures of the world verses walking in the principles of God; but rather, he’s vacillating between trusting God and doubting God.

IF YOU WANT TO SEE WHAT HE’S TALKING ABOUT THEN SEE WHAT HE’S TALKING ABOUT!!!

QUESTION: In vs. 5 it says, “let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally,” and in vs. 7 it says, “let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” Is this a contradiction?

 

  


James 1:1-15

BIBLE STUDY

Part III

(Verses 9-13)

  [Wednesday, October 7, 2009]

 

James 1:9-13) Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:

10) But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.

11) For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.

(NIV) 9) The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.

10) But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.

11) For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

(NLT) 9) Christians who are poor should be glad, for God has honored them.

10) And those who are rich should be glad, for God has humbled them. They will fade away like a flower in the field.

11) The hot sun rises and dries up the grass; the flower withers, and its beauty fades away. So also, wealthy people will fade away with all of their achievements.

(MSG) 9) When down-and-outers get a break, cheer!

10) And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it.

11) You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that’s a picture of the “prosperous life.” At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.

Concerning the “brother of low degree,”

The lowly brother probably has no control over his humble circumstances. There is no reason to believe he is lazy or careless. But God has seen fit to place him in a low income bracket and that is where he has been ever since” [BBC].

QUESTION: Does God have a special place in His heart for the poor/downtrodden?

QUESTION: Does God have it out for the rich?

A note from a commentary:

“Too many Christians go through life rebelling against their sex, their age, their height, and even against life itself. Girls with a flair for baseball wish they were boys. Young people wish they were older, and old people want to be younger. Short people envy those who are tall, and tall ones wish they weren’t so conspicuous. Some people even say, “I wish I were dead!” All this is absurd! The Christian attitude is to accept from God things which we cannot change. They are God’s destiny for us, and we should make the most of them for His glory and for the blessing of others. We should say with the Apostle Paul: “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1Co_15:10)” [BBC].

QUESTION: What can the poor rejoice in?

QUESTION: What is He actually saying to the rich?

NOTE: The rich have truly been blessed with material things, but that can change in a moment. The rich who know Jesus should rejoice in the fact that regardless of what happens to their wealth in this world, like the poor believer, they have a blessed hope in Jesus.

 

12) Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

QUESTION: What does it mean to “endure” temptation?

QUESTION: What is “the crown of life”?

QUESTION: So then, if you fail in the hour of your temptation, does this verse imply that you won’t go to Heaven?

 

13) Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

(CEV)  Don’t blame God when you are tempted! God cannot be tempted by evil, and he doesn’t use evil to tempt others.

(GNB)  If we are tempted by such trials, we must not say, “This temptation comes from God.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one.

(MSG)  Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way.

(NLT)  And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else either.

QUESTION: Does God “try” us?

QUESTION: Does God “tempt” us?

QUESTION: What is the difference?

What Does the Greek Show Us?

Temptation [vs. 12] – “a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication adversity:[Strong’s].

Tempted [vs. 13] – “to test (objectively), that is, endeavor, scrutinize, entice, discipline:[Strong’s].

Tried [vs. 12] – “properly acceptable (current after assayal), that is, approved:[Strong’s].

“The meaning is not, as the A. V. suggests, when his trial is finished, but when he has been approved by trial[Vincent].

NOTE: The Greek word rendered “patience” in vs. 3, and the Greek word rendered “endureth” in vs. 12 come from the same root word.

QUESTION: What are verses 12 & 13 actually telling us?

 

James 1:1-15

BIBLE STUDY

Part IV

(Verses 12-15)

[Wednesday, November 4, 2009]

 

12) Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

QUESTION: What does it mean to “endure” temptation?

QUESTION: What is “the crown of life”?

QUESTION: So then, if you fail in the hour of your temptation, does this verse imply that you won’t go to Heaven?

 

13) Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

(CEV)  Don’t blame God when you are tempted! God cannot be tempted by evil, and he doesn’t use evil to tempt others.

(GNB)  If we are tempted by such trials, we must not say, “This temptation comes from God.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one.

(MSG)  Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way.

(NLT)  And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else either.

QUESTION: Does God “try” us?

QUESTION: Does God “tempt” us?

QUESTION: What is the difference?

What Does the Greek Show Us?

Temptation [vs. 12] – “a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication adversity:[Strong’s].

Tempted [vs. 13] – “to test (objectively), that is, endeavor, scrutinize, entice, discipline:[Strong’s].

Tried [vs. 12] – “properly acceptable (current after assayal), that is, approved:[Strong’s].

“The meaning is not, as the A. V. suggests, when his trial is finished, but when he has been approved by trial[Vincent].

NOTE: The Greek word rendered “patience” in vs. 3, and the Greek word rendered “endureth” in vs. 12 come from the same root word.

QUESTION: What are verses 12 & 13 actually telling us?

 

 

 

 

14) But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

(GNB) But we are tempted when we are drawn away and trapped by our own evil desires.

(MSG) The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust.

(NLT) Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires.

(TLB) Temptation is the pull of man’s own evil thoughts and wishes.

QUESTION: What are your thoughts on this verse?

Concerning this verse,

“James tracks the lion to its den” [BBC].

 Matthew 15:19) For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

“That is, the fountain or source of all temptation is in man himself. It is true that external inducements to sin may be placed before him, but they would have no force if there was not something in himself to which they corresponded, and over which they might have power” [Barnes].

NOTE: The Greek word rendered “lust,” epithumia means “craving (to have a desire for) either good (Phi_1:23) or evil” [Robertson].

Philippians 1:23) For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

NOTE: This Greek word is overwhelmingly used more often in the evil sense, such as in our current verse. We are not tempted to sin by God, but rather, by something inside of us as a result of the human condition.

QUESTION: Is there any hope for us?

 

15) Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

(GW)  Then desire becomes pregnant and gives birth to sin. When sin grows up, it gives birth to death.

(MSG)  Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.

(CEV)  Our desires make us sin, and when sin is finished with us, it leaves us dead.

(NLT) These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death.

(AMP) Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death.

QUESTION: What are your thoughts on this verse?

QUESTION: When a believer sins what does “when it is finished, bringeth forth death” mean?

“The statement that sin produces death may be understood in several ways. First of all, the sin of Adam brought physical death on himself and on all his posterity (Gen_2:17). But sin also leads to eternal, spiritual death—the final separation of the person from God and from blessing (Rom_6:23 a). There is a sense also in which sin results in death for a believer. For instance, in 1Ti_5:6 we read that a believing widow who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. This means that she is wasting her life and utterly failing to fulfill the purpose for which God saved her. To be out of fellowship with God is for a Christian a form of living death” [BBC].

NOTE: Sin always produces death. It kills something!

QUESTION: What “death” did Adam’s original sin cause?

ANSWER: Adam’s original sin killed the human race, causing humanity to grow old and die physically, and to immediately die spiritually.

QUESTION: When a believer sins, what “death’ does that sin cause?


James 1:16-27

BIBLE STUDY

Part V

(Verses 16-21)

[Wednesday, December 2, 2009]

 

James 1:16-27) Do not err, my beloved brethren.

(BBE)  Do not be turned from the right way, dear brothers

(CEV)</stro



Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church