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

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

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

4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

5 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.

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.

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

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

9 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.

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.

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:

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

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

16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Commentary for James 1

This epistle of James is one of the most instructive writings in the New Testament. Being chiefly directed against particular errors at that time brought in among the Jewish Christians, it does not contain the same full doctrinal statements as the other epistles, but it presents an admirable summary of the practical duties of all believers. The leading truths of Christianity are set forth throughout; and on attentive consideration, it will be found entirely to agree with St. Paul's statements concerning grace and justification, while it abounds with earnest exhortations to the patience of hope and obedience of faith and love, interspersed with warnings, reproofs, and encouragements, according to the characters addressed. The truths laid down are very serious, and necessary to be maintained; and the rules for practice ought to be observed in all times. In Christ there are no dead and sapless branches, faith is not an idle grace; wherever it is, it brings forth fruit in works.How to apply to God under troubles, and how to behave in prosperous and in adverse circumstances. (1-11) To look upon all evil as proceeding from ourselves, and all good from God. (12-18) The duty of watching against a rash temper, and of receiving the word of God with meekness. (19-21) And of living according thereto. (22-25) The difference between vain pretences and real religion. (26,27)1-11 Christianity teaches men to be joyful under troubles: such exercises are sent from God's love; and trials in the way of duty will brighten our graces now, and our crown at last. Let us take care, in times of trial, that patience, and not passion, is set to work in us: whatever is said or done, let patience have the saying and doing of it. When the work of patience is complete, it will furnish all that is necessary for our Christian race and warfare. We should not pray so much for the removal of affliction, as for wisdom to make a right use of it. And who does not want wisdom to guide him under trials, both in regulating his own spirit, and in managing his affairs? Here is something in answer to every discouraging turn of the mind, when we go to God under a sense of our own weakness and folly. If, after all, any should say, This may be the case with some, but I fear I shall not succeed, the promise is, To any that asketh, it shall be given. A mind that has single and prevailing regard to its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its purposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continue fervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions. When our faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, there will be unsteadiness in our words and actions. This may not always expose men to contempt in the world, but such ways cannot please God. No condition of life is such as to hinder rejoicing in God. Those of low degree may rejoice, if they are exalted to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom of God; and the rich may rejoice in humbling providences, that lead to a humble and lowly disposition of mind. Worldly wealth is a withering thing. Then, let him that is rich rejoice in the grace of God, which makes and keeps him humble; and in the trials and exercises which teach him to seek happiness in and from God, not from perishing enjoyments.

12-18 It is not every man who suffers, that is blessed; but he who with patience and constancy goes through all difficulties in the way of duty. Afflictions cannot make us miserable, if it be not our own fault. The tried Christian shall be a crowned one. The crown of life is promised to all who have the love of God reigning in their hearts. Every soul that truly loves God, shall have its trials in this world fully recompensed in that world above, where love is made perfect. The commands of God, and the dealings of his providence, try men's hearts, and show the dispositions which prevail in them. But nothing sinful in the heart or conduct can be ascribed to God. He is not the author of the dross, though his fiery trial exposes it. Those who lay the blame of sin, either upon their constitution, or upon their condition in the world, or pretend they cannot keep from sinning, wrong God as if he were the author of sin. Afflictions, as sent by God, are designed to draw out our graces, but not our corruptions. The origin of evil and temptation is in our own hearts. Stop the beginnings of sin, or all the evils that follow must be wholly charged upon us. God has no pleasure in the death of men, as he has no hand in their sin; but both sin and misery are owing to themselves. As the sun is the same in nature and influences, though the earth and clouds, often coming between, make it seem to us to vary, so God is unchangeable, and our changes and shadows are not from any changes or alterations in him. What the sun is in nature, God is in grace, providence, and glory; and infinitely more. As every good gift is from God, so particularly our being born again, and all its holy, happy consequences come from him. A true Christian becomes as different a person from what he was before the renewing influences of Divine grace, as if he were formed over again. We should devote all our faculties to God's service, that we may be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.

19-21 Instead of blaming God under our trials, let us open our ears and hearts to learn what he teaches by them. And if men would govern their tongues, they must govern their passions. The worst thing we can bring to any dispute, is anger. Here is an exhortation to lay apart, and to cast off as a filthy garment, all sinful practices. This must reach to sins of thought and affection, as well as of speech and practice; to every thing corrupt and sinful. We must yield ourselves to the word of God, with humble and teachable minds. Being willing to hear of our faults, taking it not only patiently, but thankfully. It is the design of the word of God to make us wise to salvation; and those who propose any mean or low ends in attending upon it, dishonour the gospel, and disappoint their own souls.

22-25 If we heard a sermon every day of the week, and an angel from heaven were the preacher, yet, if we rested in hearing only, it would never bring us to heaven. Mere hearers are self-deceivers; and self-deceit will be found the worst deceit at last. If we flatter ourselves, it is our own fault; the truth, as it is in Jesus, flatters no man. Let the word of truth be carefully attended to, and it will set before us the corruption of our nature, the disorders of our hearts and lives; and it will tell us plainly what we are. Our sins are the spots the law discovers: Christ's blood is the laver the gospel shows. But in vain do we hear God's word, and look into the gospel glass, if we go away, and forget our spots, instead of washing them off; and forget our remedy, instead of applying to it. This is the case with those who do not hear the word as they ought. In hearing the word, we look into it for counsel and direction, and when we study it, it turns to our spiritual life. Those who keep in the law and word of God, are, and shall be, blessed in all their ways. His gracious recompence hereafter, would be connected with his present peace and comfort. Every part of Divine revelation has its use, in bringing the sinner to Christ for salvation, and in directing and encouraging him to walk at liberty, by the Spirit of adoption, according to the holy commands of God. And mark the distinctness, it is not for his deeds, that any man is blessed, but in his deed. It is not talking, but walking, that will bring us to heaven. Christ will become more precious to the believer's soul, which by his grace will become more fitted for the inheritance of the saints in light.

26,27 When men take more pains to seem religious than really to be so, it is a sign their religion is in vain. The not bridling the tongue, readiness to speak of the faults of others, or to lessen their wisdom and piety, are signs of a vain religion. The man who has a slandering tongue, cannot have a truly humble, gracious heart. False religious may be known by their impurity and uncharitableness. True religion teaches us to do every thing as in the presence of God. An unspotted life must go with unfeigned love and charity. Our true religion is equal to the measure in which these things have place in our hearts and conduct. And let us remember, that nothing avails in Christ Jesus, but faith that worketh by love, purifies the heart, subdues carnal lusts, and obeys God's commands.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for James 1

  • Melle on James 1:5
    The Bible says If any one lacks wisdom...... Who is the any one? Does it only refers to christains? How was James speaking to? How can we apply this today?
  • Chris - in Reply on James 1:5
    The book of James, as with Hebrews, is generally understood to have been written to Jewish Christians (as we refer to them now as, Messianic Jews). They are very much a part of Christ's Church but their backgrounds & understanding of Scripture required these letters to be written with them in mind.

    James 1:5, therefore speaks to believers (specifically to the twelve tribes of Israel scattered abroad) & not to unbelievers, simply because unbelievers wouldn't think of asking God for wisdom or anything else. Sometimes, in their desperation they may call out to God, but these truths don't speak about those people.

    Our present day application would be that, not only for wisdom, but for anything that we ask of our Father, He will give according to His Will but we have to believe that He can & will (1 Jn 5:14,15). Many folk ask amiss (Js 1:6-8, 4:3) & don't receive. If we are close to God, in our love & obedience to Him, then His Spirit intercedes on our behalf (helps us) with what we should ask (Rom 8:26,27). So if we are listening closely to Him, then it changes completely what things we ask for. Many people are disappointed when they ask & don't receive. It is not that God is not listening, it is because we're asking to satisfy our desires & not of His Will.
  • Bob on James 1
    I find it interesting that James letter is written to the twelve tribes of Israel . Not all Israel is Israel , but the Israel of God is in Christ .

    The 12 apostles will rule over the twelve tribes in the kingdom as well . In Christ there is neither Jew or Gentile . Interesting !
  • Alex on James 1
    comment by ALEX ON MAT 13 That Day of rest now under the new covenant is a 1000 yr day not a 24 hr day.When Jesus will reign on the earth ( his 1000 yr reign on this earth ) Thats the day of Rest that Paul is speaking of when his kingdom is gonna be with in us via that good seed the Word the seed of the kingdom Jesus mentions in mat 13.Remember he said the field was the world where that good seed wd be sown in our hearts etc. Thus we will birth our king th Son of MAN in our hearts via that heavenly seed as we have borne the image of th earthy we must also bear th image of the Heavenly via the good seed th WORD. Thats y the good seed is the pearl of great price its the very seed of God ( th H.G.) and the H.G IS THE KINGDOM.A baby Christ is gonna be formed in us, Unless ya receive the kingdom as a lil child etc impling a heavenly birth with N us.When isaiah saw the kingdom coming he said unto us a child is born unto us a son is given which is our new innerman th H.G. ( OUR NEW HEART AND NEW SPIRIT ) Whosoever receives one such CHILD in my NAME receives me.In my NAME implies he is the father of the Child SIMPLY B/C THE CHILD IS FORMED IN US VIA HIS SEED HIS BREATH, HE BREATH ON THEM AND THEY RECEIVED THE H.G. My lil children of whom i travail in birth till Christ is formed in you/us. These things are hid from the wise and prudent ( PREACHERS ) but revealed unto babes,the babes are spirits as that which is born of the spirit is SPIRIT WHICH IS CHRIST IN YOU ( th H.G. ) THE KINGDOM.
  • Patty Tozi on James 1
    In the early morning l sit in my car watching all God's creations come alive.The sun rises brightly as the Light of God once again ascends to start my day. I Love my God and He knows it. Many- Many times He helped me. Gave me Blessings when l prayed. Many Many hard knocks l faced alone with Him. Always writing from my heart what l saw and suffered for. I would go far from others to be alone with my God. Wait and seek the Strength once more by the sightings of His creations, and knowing He was close. Heaven is real. I was there thru a bad situation. My songs helped the less fortunate know Him to the point the Evilness of others would knock me down everytime. But our Lord would watch me climb back up. Start over l did many times. Always helping others. Even doing without. Many times He would send messengers to me when l did not know where to turn. They would explain what l saw was real. I was not going out of my mind. Then never to be seen again. Like a puzzle l became aware of everything to the point l stand as a rock for others and myself. All l knew my whole life was work and being alone. Helped natives alot so that at one point of my life l ended up knowing 2 medicine men from the old ways in South Dakota. Never got there to meet them. Even was invited. Received something from 2 areas of the states that no white person should of got. All miracles. Sent me many protections one said l would need when l fully developed my gift l was given from the mighty one. Said one, that he had a vision what l would be able to do. For a season got involved with their spiritualness. Then working l would always go. Job after job. Alone. Watching. Now the world is nearing the end. I wrote in 1998 and 1999 same months things started happening now what was to be. God gave me many insights why l suffered and how to handle it. Always with Him. He will not only take care of me- but people that l help. So far am just coasting in His valley as He leads me. So beware now. Stay close to God:
  • Etta - in Reply on James 1
    Dearest Patty,

    I was drawn to your beautiful sonnet, and touched by your authenticity, but I do not believe God intends His children suffer needlessly. I'm here for you, any time you need someone to just listen.

    Etta
  • Patty Tozi on James 1
    In the early morning l sit in my car watching all God's creations come alive.The sun rises brightly as the Light of God once again ascends to start our da
  • Jennifer Henry on James 1
    What to be learn about temptation.
  • Jennifer Henry on James 1
    Why is it wrong for believers to show favoritism
  • Bob Hilt - in Reply on James 1
    Jennifer God does show favoritism in some instances. God chose Jacob Israel and rejected his brother Esau

    Hebrews Chapter 12:16 Lest there [be] any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.

    17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

    Abraham had a son named Ishmael and the Lord rejected him as the seed of promise

    Genesis Chapter 21: 10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, [even] with Isaac.

    11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. (Ishmael)

    12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.


 

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