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1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.

3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.

6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.

18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;

20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Commentary for James 5

The judgments of God denounced against rich unbelievers. (1-6) Exhortation to patience and meekness under tribulations. (7-11) Cautions against rash swearing Prayer recommended in afflictive and prosperous circumstances, Christians to confess their faults to each other. (12-18) The happiness of being the means of the conversion of a sinner. (19,20)1-6 Public troubles are most grievous to those who live in pleasure, and are secure and sensual, though all ranks suffer deeply at such times. All idolized treasures will soon perish, except as they will rise up in judgment against their possessors. Take heed of defrauding and oppressing; and avoid the very appearance of it. God does not forbid us to use lawful pleasures; but to live in pleasure, especially sinful pleasure, is a provoking sin. Is it no harm for people to unfit themselves for minding the concerns of their souls, by indulging bodily appetites? The just may be condemned and killed; but when such suffer by oppressors, this is marked by God. Above all their other crimes, the Jews had condemned and crucified that Just One who had come among them, even Jesus Christ the righteous.

7-11 Consider him that waits for a crop of corn; and will not you wait for a crown of glory? If you should be called to wait longer than the husbandman, is not there something more worth waiting for? In every sense the coming of the Lord drew nigh, and all his people's losses, hardships, and sufferings, would be repaid. Men count time long, because they measure it by their own lives; but all time is as nothing to God; it is as a moment. To short-lived creatures a few years seem an age; but Scripture, measuring all things by the existence of God, reckons thousands of years but so many days. God brought about things in Job's case, so as plainly to prove that he is very pitiful and of tender mercy. This did not appear during his troubles, but was seen in the event, and believers now will find a happy end to their trials. Let us serve our God, and bear our trials, as those who believe that the end will crown all. Our eternal happiness is safe if we trust to him: all else is mere vanity, which soon will be done with for ever.

12-18 The sin of swearing is condemned; but how many make light of common profane swearing! Such swearing expressly throws contempt upon God's name and authority. This sin brings neither gain, nor pleasure, nor reputation, but is showing enmity to God without occasion and without advantage It shows a man to be an enemy to God, however he pretends to call himself by his name, or sometimes joins in acts of worship. But the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. In a day of affliction nothing is more seasonable than prayer. The spirit is then most humble, and the heart is broken and tender. It is necessary to exercise faith and hope under afflictions; and prayer is the appointed means for obtaining and increasing these graces. Observe, that the saving of the sick is not ascribed to the anointing with oil, but to prayer. In a time of sickness it is not cold and formal prayer that is effectual, but the prayer of faith. The great thing we should beg of God for ourselves and others in the time of sickness is, the pardon of sin. Let nothing be done to encourage any to delay, under the mistaken fancy that a confession, a prayer, a minister's absolution and exhortation, or the sacrament, will set all right at last, where the duties of a godly life have been disregarded. To acknowledge our faults to each other, will tend greatly to peace and brotherly love. And when a righteous person, a true believer, justified in Christ, and by his grace walking before God in holy obedience, presents an effectual fervent prayer, wrought in his heart by the power of the Holy Spirit, raising holy affections and believing expectations and so leading earnestly to plead the promises of God at his mercy-seat, it avails much. The power of prayer is proved from the history of Elijah. In prayer we must not look to the merit of man, but to the grace of God. It is not enough to say a prayer, but we must pray in prayer. Thoughts must be fixed, desires must be firm and ardent, and graces exercised. This instance of the power of prayer, encourages every Christian to be earnest in prayer. God never says to any of the seed of Jacob, Seek my face in vain. Where there may not be so much of miracle in God's answering our prayers, yet there may be as much of grace.

19,20 It is no mark of a wise or holy man, to boast of being free from error, or to refuse to acknowledge an error. And there is some doctrinal mistake at the bottom of every practical mistake. There is no one habitually bad, but upon some bad principle. This is conversion; to turn a sinner from the error of his ways, not merely from one party to another, or from one notion and way of thinking to another. There is no way effectually and finally to hide sin, but forsaking it. Many sins are hindered in the party converted; many also may be so in others whom he may influence. The salvation of one soul is of infinitely greater importance than preserving the lives of multitudes, or promoting the welfare of a whole people. Let us in our several stations keep these things in mind, sparing no pains in God's service, and the event will prove that our labour is not in vain in the Lord. For six thousand years He has been multiplying pardons, and yet his free grace is not tired nor grown weary. Certainly Divine mercy is an ocean that is ever full and ever flowing. May the Lord give us a part in this abundant mercy, through the blood of Christ, and the sanctification of the Spirit.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for James 5

  • MARY STEINEBACH
    I LOVE JAMES. IT IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS. HUBERT, I DON'T WISH TO ANTAGONIZE YOU BUT THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. DOES IT HAVE TO BE IN THE BIBLE TO BE RIGHT? IS NOT ACCEPTING JESUS AS YOUR PERSONAL SAVIOR NOT A GOOD THING? I DO AGREE PEOPLE OFTEN SAY THINGS AS GOSPEL THAT ARE NOT IN THE BIBLE BUT IN THIS CASE I THINK IT IS A GOOD THING.
  • Hubert Guillotte
    So many people say to accept the Lord as your personal savior,,, but I don't see that scripture in the Bible, but I do see where the man that had the keys to the kingdom, to repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. If it's in the Bible let's say it if it's not in the Bible let's don't say it
  • Steve morrow
    JAMES 5:19 BRETHREN IF ANY OF YOU DO ERR FROM THE TRUTH AND ONE CONVERT HIM --5:20-- let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death and shall hide a multitude of sins 1 TIMOTHY 4:16 take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine continue in them for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee
  • James patterson
    Its the precious and powerful Truth. We had a 15 year old girl who is a relative of mine who attended our church and she since birth had seizures and the doctors could not figure out the cause or how to stop them. We took her up front one Sunday anointed her with oil and prayed over her and since that day (praise God ) she has never had another one . James 5:14 says to do this. Its 6 yrs later.
  • A disciple
    "...The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." If we are to have power with God in prayer, we are to walk as the prophets walked, as Elijah and Job walked, in the midst of this present vile generation of greedy and deceitful lovers of self, who make their wealth off the misuse of others. The fire of truth and zeal for God must be in our heart, and we must keep our integrity no matter how painful our earthly losses. Humility maintains a good conscience and holds truth in higher regard than every threat, and sustains us through every accusation of the wicked posing as brothers and friends in the Lord. The husbandman must labor before partaking of the fruits, and we must be proved before being entrusted with power in the world to come. The way of virtue and piety, which is the evidence of grace and the life of faith, is the way we will endure true and faithful to the end.
  • A disciple
    "Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy." Job is a great example of what it means to really know the LORD in this evil world. God's testimony of him from the very beginning was that he was perfect and upright above all others, even when Satan and men accuse and contradict.
  • Kurt Chappell
    Dear Lord thank you for warnings against our corrupt leaders from Isaiah and even James. We pray for our citizens who put trust in leaders who lie and go against God. We are sorry for our babies killed, crying out from the earth. We are sorry for society pushing you and Jesus out, and inviting false religions to influence us. We are sorry Lord for siding with enemies of Israel. Lord, heal us now.
  • Lilian
    Confess all your faults and pray to one another and always pray to others that they might be heald.Amen Praying for others is the best gift that you can give thank you Jesus for the love your kind and mercy i will praise yoi forever Jehova my provider Shalom

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Bible Trivia

What does James tell the merry among us to do?
  • Sing psalms
  • Leap for joy
  • Pray
  • Give to others