James 1

Promise of Wisdom
 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.
 1 -Twelve tribes Some have taken this statement to indicate that the Jews who left their homeland are still recognized by God as distinct tribes or that various tribes live in specific places. When James wrote, the Jews were no longer seen by God as His special people re0704b.
 2 - Temptations We are to avoid temptation as far as responsibly possible lu1104, 2ti0222 but when it comes, victory strengthens us for more Godly living. Trials for the committed soul are permitted for a reason ps03407. Often we don't understand, but development of patience or humility may be the most common one.
.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.
   5 - Wisdom This promise is not to help us pass a test when we have neglected to study but for understanding truth. You certainly need this wisdom when reading the Bible and especially comments from those who explain it. Daniel's wisdom was a gift from God. da0117.
   6 - Faith, nothing wavering We must recognize our need and God's power but must recognize that a positive answer does not depends on how hard we try to exercise faith. God may say, no, to righteous people.
 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
  7 - Not ... think Advice for the unstable one of v6.
  8 - Double minded man Literally "Man of two souls." "The man of two souls, who has one for earth, and another for heaven; who wishes to secure both worlds; he will not give up earth, and he is loth to let heaven go.  This was a usual term among the Jews, to express the man who attempted to worship God, and yet retained the love of the creature." (Clarke)
  9 - Brother ... exalted Following the counsel of Jesus mr0935, mr1031.
.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.   Crown of life Note that enduring temptation to the end is the condition for receiving the crown. After committing ourselves to Christ and following Him, we may cease to endure and lose the crown jn1028., re0210.
.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.
  13 - Tempted of God When James wrote, pagan Greek gods were thought to tempt and be tempted. They were considered responsible for the sins prompted by such temptation. When our first parents sinned, Adam blamed God who had given him Eve and she, the serpent ge0312,13.
  14 - Tempted ... own We are tempted by the evil angels but too often we begin to play with the idea. See 1co1013.
  15 - Lust ... sin ... death An important concept. For victory and life, we must grasp the power of God in Christ when the evil thought first comes.
.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.
  17 - Every good gift This includes the good things people think they made for themselves. See jn0327.
  17 - No variableness This is our eternal security! mal0306. God does not change. Also ec0314, mt0517. Compare da0725.
  18 - Will His firm decision.
  18 - Begat us with His powerful word lu0432,36, ps3306-09.
 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.
  19 - Swift to hear Some of us need to keep this advice in mind. Situations we see are not at first completely clear. 
  20 - Wrath of man The verse implies that God's wrath is different. See on re1407.
  21 - Lay apart From apotihemi. "Get rid of." Being "swift to hear" is important.
  22 - Be ... "'Do the word,' but 'Be doers' systematically and continually, as if this was your regular business. James here again refers to the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 7:21-29)." (JFB).
  23,24 - Hearer We are comfortable with our own ideas. The law helps us understand ro0709.
  25 - Looketh into ... law of liberty It is the decalogue, as clarified in chapter 2. ja0210-12.
.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.
  26 - Bridleth not the tongue "Discretion in speech is better than fluency of speech (compare Jas 3:2,3). Compare Ps 39:1. God alone can enable us to do so. James, in treating of the law, naturally notices this sin. For they who are free from grosser sins, and even bear the outward show of sanctity, will often exalt themselves by detracting others under the pretense of zeal, while their real motive is love of evil-speaking." (JFB)
  27 - Pure See on mt0508.
  27 - Undefiled The Pharisees taught people to follow a burdensome form of ritual acts to remain "pure" acts that were added to the simple principles of Scripture. mt0701.
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