JAMES CHAPTER ONE
(Please understand that these are only "expanded" Bible Study "summaries".)
James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
James simply calls himself a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. His readers are the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, James does not have in mind a single congregation but the church at large throughout the Mediterranean world.
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
James calls his readers brethren around 15 times. He is talking to "saved Jews". Divers temptations is defined as various or different temptations. (evil temptation to sin or adversities-afflictions-troubles or tests) Verses 3 and 4 tell us that James is talking about the testing of our faith in verse 2. This will be adversities-afflictions-troubles or tests
James 1:3-4 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James says that all Christians will be tried by God. The fruit of trials is patience and endurance and its goal is perfection.
Matt 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
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. 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. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
I believe this speaks of the understanding the purpose of the trail. Many cannot discover any divine purpose in their hardships. We are to ask God for wisdom of correct understanding into life and God will grant such a request liberally (generously) and He will not upbraid (scold) or reproach (blame) them.
There is a condition for this though. The request must be made in faith, nothing wavering (with no doubting) Be careful what you pray for. Make sure you really want what you pray for. If we waver to and fro, (cant make up our mind) we will never have our prayers answered. We cannot be double minded. If on one hand we really want this request but we have mental reservations, (doubts or uncertainty) we most likely will nor have our request answered.
James 1:9 "Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:"
Let the brother who is depressed , cast down and humbled. be happy, because he is elevated to higher heights that he was before the trail.
James 1:10-11 "But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. 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."
A rich Christian, on the other hand, is to rejoice that in Christ he has been brought down to a level where the 'deceitfulness of riches and the anxiety to accumulate and keep them are no longer foremost or even considered. As the flower or green grass is only temporary, so is riches of this world. We should not "set out sights" on temporary things but on things eternal.
Mark 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
James now makes the shift from outward to inner trials
James 1:12 "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."
Here James is speaking of temptation to sin. We can only resist, or endure this temptation because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The crown of life could be the gift of eternal life, although it is not our love for God that wins for us eternal life.
James 1:13-15 "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: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
Instead of blaming God for evil, man must take personal responsibility for his sins. It is his own lust by which he is drawn away and enticed. When evil desire arises in the mind, it does not stop there. Lust gives birth to sin, and sin produces death. "Death (spiritual) is thus the mature or finished product of sin"
James 1:16-18 "Do not err, my beloved brethren. 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. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
God, instead of being the source of temptation, is the source of all good. In God there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. God is completely consistent. He does not change. Rather then God tempting us to sin, He is the cause of our regeneration. We are a kind of firstfruits. By reason of our salvation we will continue to bear fruit. Much fruit is still to come because we are in His Word.
James 1:19-20 "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."
The wrath (anger-vengeance) of man is not a light unto Jesus Christ. Wrath in Gods children brings reproach to God. Do I not bring dishonor to my teaching of Gods Word when I behave that way?
James 1:21-22 "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Since the Word is seed, it must have good soil in which to grow.
Matt 13:23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
We must lay aside all the remaining evil that we brought into our new life of Christianity. We are not to be puffed up because we are saved. ( I can do whatever I wish-I am saved) We are to receive the engrafted (implanted) Word in meekness.
Christianity is a religion of action. It is important to listen but we must not stop there. Doing must follow listening. To be a hearer only is self-deception. If the Word we heard saved us we will be doers. Faith without doing (works) is dead.
James 1:23-24 "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: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was."
The hearing-but-not-doing man is like a person who sees the reflection of his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, as he is. A saved man lacking works. But he goes on with whatever he was doing (not working) without the slightest recollection of what sort of person he saw in the mirror.
James 1:25 "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."
The mirror, which reveals the imperfections of the outer man, is now compared with the perfect law, the law of freedom, which reflects the inner man. James, speaking to the saved Jews, tells them that they are no longer under Moses Law of ordinances. They do not have to observe days, ect.
Col 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
We are not freed from the Law of commandments but we are freed from the condemnation of the law. We are free from sin.
Conscience will tell us to be doers of the Word. We do not HAVE to do good works but if we have the habit of looking into this perfect law of liberty, (examine ourselves) will become a doer of the work and find true happiness (shall be blessed in his deed).
James 1:26 "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."
." The word religious means taking part in religious observances, such as attendance at worship services and to other observances of religion, like prayer, almsgiving, and fasting. If we have a hot temper and hurt people because of what we say then out religion is in vain. (worthless, unfruitful)
James 1:27 "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.
"This is not a definition of religion, but a statement of what is better than "external" acts of worship. Since orphans and widows were not provided for in ancient society, they were typical examples of those who needed help. Personal purity is another way in which true religion manifests itself.