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Easy to understand commentary on the book of James chapter one

Easy to understand commentary on the book of James

Easy to understand commentary on the book of James chapter one

Easy to understand commentary on the book of James

By John Chopores

 

A few words of introduction

The book of James is a book that deals with very "day-to-day" matters. Such as, how to believe even when you do not feel like it! Also, walking as we talk. Like the Old Testament book of Proverbs, its wisdom can be "put to work" right away!††

The author of this book has been held to be James, the half brother of our Lord Jesus Christ. This view makes sense to me, because he would have spent much time with Jesus. And time spent with the Lord Jesus, is the best time spent! This James seems to know about the Law, which a Jew would have. Cf. Romans 2:17 ∂ And since you claim the name of Jew, and find rest and satisfaction in the Law, and make your boast in God,

†† 1 Corinthians 9:20To the Jews I have become like a Jew in order to win Jews; to men under the Law as if I were under the Law--although I am not--in order to win those who are under the Law;

Also, many Christians would have been more willing to read and obey a book written down, by someone so close to the Lord Himself!

 

Chapter one

James 1: 1 ∂ James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ: to the twelve tribes who are scattered over the world. All good wishes.

We see "right off the bat", that James is very thankful to be in Christ, for it is the first thing he mentions after his name. Also, in a way, being in Christ is part of who and what he is, and a part of his name. All Christians should be pride of carrying the name of Christ with them.There is no greater name for us to glory in! Cf.Ph. 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

We also see, that James has a good heart, for he wishes his readers well. Should not all people seem for the best, for their fellow men? The answer is of course, yes! Cf. Luke 6:27 ∂ "But to you who are listening to me I say, Love your enemies; seek the welfare of those who hate you;

James 1: 2 ∂ Reckon it nothing but joy, my brethren, whenever you find yourselves hedged in by various trials.

How why should we be joyful, in hard times? Well, with trial comes reward, if we endure. Cf. James 1:12Blessed is he who patiently endures trials; for when he has stood the test, he will gain the victor's crown--even the crown of Life--which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Matthew 5:10"Blessed are those who have borne persecution in the cause of Righteousness, for to them belongs the Kingdom of the Heavens.

James 1:3Be assured that the testing of your faith leads to power of endurance.

Here James helps our faith! For we can be "assured".

 

James 1: 4Only let endurance have perfect results so that you may become perfect and complete, deficient in nothing.

James says for us to "let" endurance do its work.The Greek word for "let" is "echo", it means "to hold one's self to a thing, to lay hold of a thing, to adhere or cling to",so we are to hold on to "endurance" until it has done its work! As they say, "Rome was not build in a day!"

Our Old Testament friend Job, learned this! Cf. James 5:11Remember that we call those blessed who endured what they did. You have also heard of Job's patient endurance, and have seen the issue of the Lord's dealings with him--how full of tenderness and pity the Lord is.

At the End Job was better off, then before! Cf. Job. 42: 12So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.

13He had also seven sons and three daughters.

14And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch.

15And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.

16After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations.

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James 1: 5And if any one of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask God for it, who gives with open hand to all men, and without upbraiding; and it will be given him.

As we can see, God is not selfish, for even while God is all wise and all knowing. Cf. Isaiah 55:9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Romans 11:33 ∂ O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out

 

He is more than willing to share some of His Wisdom and knowledge with us!He does not "put us down" as He gives it to us! For He wants to help us. Cf. 2 Samuel 22:33God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.

Psalms 59:9 Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence.

Psalms 62:7In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

 

James 1:6But let him ask in faith and have no doubts; for he who has doubts is like the surge of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed into spray.

Some reasons why we should have faith are-

  1. Faith in God, is pleasing to Him. Cf. Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
  2. God rewards, active faith in Him. Cf. Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
  3. We need faith, to enter into Heaven. Cf. Hebrews 4:2For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. Hebrews 4:6Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: John 3:18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
  4. As we believe, God will work through us! Cf. Mark 16:17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
  5. We should have faith, combined with our love for God. Cf. Galatians 5:6For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
  6. Faith can overcome fear. And fear can lead to death! Cf. Revelation 21:8But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Galatians 3:9So we see that it is those who possess faith that are blessed with believing Abraham.
  7. We need faith, for our prayers. Cf. Romans 10:14But how are they to call on One in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in One whose voice they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?†† James 5:15And the prayer of faith will restore the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up to health; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven.

Sometimes, God uses faith, to save more than just the soul!

Such as the human body. Cf. 2 Peter 2:5And He did not spare the ancient world, although He preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a deluge on the world of the ungodly.††† James 5:15And the prayer of faith will restore the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up to health; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven.

 

James 1:7A person of that sort must not expect to receive anything from the Lord--††

When you pray in line with the Will of God, you truly pray in faith. Cf. Luke 11:2And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.Matthew 26:42He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

James 1:8such a one is a man of two minds, undecided in every step he takes.

The only mind that we need, is the Mind of God! We find this Mind, in Christ (God the Son). This Mind comes to us, my the Holy Spirit. Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. Mark 1:8I have baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." Luke 11:13If you then, with all your human frailty, know how to give your children gifts that are good for them, how much more certainly will your Father who is in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"

John 16:13But when He has come--the Spirit of Truth--He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak as Himself originating what He says, but all that He hears He will speak, and He will make known the future to you.

John 16:15Everything that the Father has is mine; that is why I said that the Spirit of Truth takes of what is mine and will make it known to you.

Romans 8:14For those who are led by God's Spirit are, all of them, God's sons.

Romans 8:16The Spirit Himself bears witness, along with our own spirits, to the fact that we are children of God;

††† Matthew 10:20for it is not you who will speak: it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

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As we seek more of God, He will show us more of Himself. But we much come in faith, with all of our hearts! James 4:8Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and make your hearts pure, you who are half-hearted towards God.


 

James 1: 9Let a brother in humble life rejoice when raised to a higher position;

The Greek word for "humble" is "tapeinos " it means " lowly, of low degree", "humble of condition, or mind".So, what James is talking about, the humble Christian who follows God, will be lifted up!

James 1:10but a rich man should rejoice in being brought low, for like flowers among the herbage rich men will pass away.

Brought to a humble state of mind, and knowing that God is higher then men! Cf. Isaiah 55:8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Isaiah 55:9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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James 1:11The sun rises with his scorching heat and dries up the herbage, so that its flowers drop off and the beauty of its appearance perishes, and in the same way rich men with all their prosperity will fade away.

Only the things of God, last forever.


James 1:12Blessed is he who patiently endures trials; for when he has stood the test, he will gain the victor's crown--even the crown of Life--which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

"the crown of Life" that's the kind of crown, that I want!

 

James 1: 13 ∂ Let no one say when passing through trial, "My temptation is from God;" for God is incapable of being tempted to do evil, and He Himself tempts no one.

At the first temptation, in Eden, it was the Devil, not God who tempted Adam and Eve. Cf. Ge.n 3: 1 ∂ Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:


We know that the "serpent" is the Devil, because of Rev.12: 9. Cf. Rev. 12: 9The great Dragon, the ancient serpent, he who is called `the Devil' and `the Adversary' and leads the whole earth astray, was hurled down: he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.

It was the Devil who temped Jesus. Cf. 1 ∂ At that time Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the Desert in order to be tempted by the Devil.

Matt. 4:1 1 ∂ At that time Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the Desert in order to be tempted by the Devil.2There He fasted for forty days and nights; and after that He suffered from hunger.

3So the Tempter came and said, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to turn into loaves."

4"It is written," replied Jesus, <"`It is not on bread alone that a man shall live, but on whatsoever God shall appoint.'">

Jesus won, but Adam and Eve did not!Jesus trusted God the Father and His word. Jesus answered the Devil with the word of God, while Eve told what God had said earlier, she did not answer Satan's doubt with the word of God!

 

James 1:14But when a man is tempted, it is his own passions that carry him away and serve as a bait.

Yes, the Devil does put temptation, before us, but we are the ones who decide to take it! And for the temptation to be a temptation to us, there must be something inside us that wants it.


James 1:15Then the passion conceives, and becomes the parent of sin; and sin, when fully matured, gives birth to death.

In all of life, one thing can always lead to another thing. All that we do has an effect on something, even if only on us. ††

Someone has said that "you are what you think", true, but we are also changed by what we do!

James 1: 16Do not be deceived, my dearly-loved brethren.

James does not want them deceived, because he loves them!

 

James 1:17Every gift which is good, and every perfect boon, is from above, and comes down from the Father, who is the source of all Light. In Him there is no variation nor the slightest suggestion of change.

The best gift from God that came down, is His Son, Jesus Christ! Cf. Php. 2: 5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

 

James 1:18In accordance with His will He made us His children through the Message of the truth, so that we might, in a sense, be the Firstfruits of the things which He has created.

It is God's will that we become His children and be holy.

 

James 1: 19 ∂ You know this, my dearly-loved brethren. But let every one be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to be angry.

Cf. Pr 10:19 ∂ In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.

 

James 1:20For a man's anger does not lead to action which God regards as righteous.

There is a great power in keeping one's angry under control! Cf. Ecclesiastes 9:17The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. 2 Timothy 2:24and a bondservant of the Lord must not quarrel, but must be inoffensive towards all men, a skilful teacher, and patient under wrongs.

 

Jas 1: 21 Ridding yourselves, therefore, of all that is vile and of the evil influences which prevail around you, welcome in a humble spirit the Message implanted within you, which is able to save your souls.

There is great power; from God; that is in His words! Cf. Ro 1:16 ∂ For I am not ashamed of the Good News. It is God's power which is at work for the salvation of every one who believes--the Jew first, and then the Gentile.

1Co 15:2 through which also you are obtaining salvation, if you bear in mind the words in which I proclaimed it--unless indeed your faith has been unreal from the very first.

 

This power is for all of Godís people. Cf. Eph 1:13 And in Him you Gentiles also, after listening to the Message of the truth, the Good News of your salvation--having believed in Him--were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit;

Tit 2:11 ∂ For the grace of God has displayed itself with healing power to all mankind,

 

22 But prove yourselves obedient to the Message, and do not be mere hearers of it, imposing a delusion upon yourselves.

True faith; will show itself, by good works, done in obedience to the Word of God. Cf. Mt 7:21 ∂ "Not every one who says to me, `Master, Master,' will enter the Kingdom of the Heavens, but only those who are obedient to my Father who is in Heaven.

Ro 2:13 It is not those that merely hear the Law read who are righteous in the sight of God, but it is those that obey the Law who will be pronounced righteous.

1Jo 3:7 Dear children, let no one lead you astray. The man who acts righteously is righteous, just as He is righteous.

 

23 For if any one listens but does not obey, he is like a man who carefully looks at his own face in a mirror.

The first problem here is looking, only at oneís own face!We must look beyond are own selves.

It is possible for a Christian to see somewhat as the Lord sees. We will need to be holy. Cf. Mt 5:8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Heb 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

 

24 Although he has looked carefully at himself, he goes away, and has immediately forgotten the sort of man he is.

25 But he who looks closely into the perfect Law--the Law of freedom--and continues looking, he, being not a hearer who forgets, but an obedient doer, will as the result of his obedience be blessed.

26 If a man thinks that he is scrupulously religious, although he is not curbing his tongue but is deceiving himself, his religious service is worthless.

27 The religious service which is pure and stainless in the sight of our God and Father is to visit fatherless children and widowed women in their time of trouble, and to keep one's own self unspotted from the world.

(WNT)

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James 5: 17Elijah was a man with a nature similar to ours, and he earnestly prayed that there might be no rain: and no rain fell on the land for three years and six months.

Elijah was not a "super saint", for there are none! But he has faith, in God, in the power of true prayer, and he kept at it!

The power of prayer, the greatest power ever put in the hands of men! But not in the hands of all men, for to use this power, you must believe that cares and will answer! Cf. Hebrews 11:6But where there is no faith it is impossible truly to please Him; for the man who draws near to God must believe that there is a God and that He proves Himself a rewarder of those who earnestly try to find Him.

 

James 5:18Again he prayed, and the sky gave rain and the land yielded its crops.

The power of faith, is only as strong as the One that we have it in!

 

James 5:19My brethren, if one of you strays from the truth and some one brings him back,

20let him know that he who brings a sinner back from his evil ways will save the man's soul from death and throw a veil over a multitude of sins.

We are to always watch out, for each other.†††

Caring for the welfare of others is a major part of the Gospel. As Jesus Cf. Luke 6:38give, and gifts shall be bestowed on you. Full measure, pressed, shaken down, and running over, shall they pour into your laps; for with the same measure that you use they shall measure to you in return." John 15:12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

†† and Paul make clear!Cf. Galatians 5:13 ∂ For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

†† 1 Timothy 4:16Be on your guard as to yourself and your teaching. Persevere in these things; for by doing this you will make certain your own salvation and that of your hearers.

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[Please note, that all main New Testament text use in this page, are from the Weymouth New Testament, unless other wise noted.].

 

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