Bible Studies

James Chapter Five

James is first talking to sinners--the unjust rich. These are the warnings in verses 1-6. After this he goes to speaking of the saints again beginning in verse 7. It should be noted that this letter of James is not directed, as Paul's epistles were, to the brethren in Christ, but, in general, to the twelve tribes. And the salutation, or "hello" is not, grace and peace from Christ, but, in general, "greeting", (James 1:1)

James 5:1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

James repeating what his Master Jesus had said.

Luke 6:24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

The poor among the Jews received the gospel and many of them believed. But in general the rich rejected Christianity, and were hardened in their unbelief, and hated and persecuted those who believed on Christ. To these oppressing, unbelieving, persecuting, rich people, is to those James speaks to or of, in the first six verses.

James says, come on now you rich men, put away your laughter and cry and holler because of the tribulation that is coming upon you. James doesn’t say, weep and repent, because I don’t think that he expects repentance from them. He is denouncing sinners, rather than admonishing saints

James 5:2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.

Their riches are perishable and your clothing is ruined. It is not lasting, so why gather even more and store it for further use?

James 5:3 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.

Your riches are corroded and rusted and are a poison to you.

James 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

Rust & Poison are the same Greek word. Ref. Strongs Greek/Hebrew Dictionary # 2447

Used for good, riches can be profitable and fruitful and a blessing that heaps spiritual and physical rewards. But stored away in greed they are soon ruined. They turn to rust and the blessings that could have been obtained from then are now a deadly poison to the owner. These ill-gotten gains will testify against them. These treasures so highly thought of would be the cause of them being consumed in hell fire in their last days They think to heap up treasure for their latter days, so they can live lavishly when they get old. But as Jesus puts it they are only heaping up treasures to become a victim to others

Matt 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

These Jews with ill-gotten gains lost it all in A.D. the Jews had all taken from them by the Romans when Jerusalem was destroyed.

James 5:4 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.

Consider the treatment they rendered unto their hired help. The farm laborers had parts of their wages held back. They were cheated our of much of their agreed upon wages to further enrich the landowner. Because of the unrighteous treatment, the righteous complaints of the field hands were heard by the Lord of the sabaoth (sab-ah-owth- Lord of the armies. A military term for God.)

James 5:5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; (lavish, extravagant, excessive) ye have nourished your hearts, (cherished and pampered your desires) as in a day of slaughter. (Victory feast)

God does not forbid us to live in pleasure; but to live in pleasure as if we lived for nothing else is sin. Besides, we are but strangers and pilgrims on this earth, and even that for a short while. Why store up treasure and live as though we were living in a lasting home place? We should be laying up treasure for our REAL lasting home place.

James 5:6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

The poor have something the rich influential Jews want and they are brought to trial and condemned to death unjustly, just as they did to Jesus. These religious Jews are bringing Christian Jews to trial, just as they did to the apostle Paul, under false accusations and killing them and taking their property and they too, go as lambs to the slaughter as Christ did earlier .

James 5:7 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.

We should be patient and bear our afflictions without grumbling or complaining. When we are wronged or injured, it will not go without God’s revenge in due time. We should be patient and endure until Jesus comes, and if that be not soon, our patience should be lengthened to longsuffering. This is a lesson we as Christians must learn, and it is so hard and difficult it is repeated in verse 8.

We must patiently wait while the fruit, or harvest is being gathered. The husbandman, or farmer (Christ) is waiting until the early rain which started the growth of the CHURCH is gathered, (the early crop is now gathered) and the last rain while the crop (CHURCH) as it comes into maturity is gathered by the laborers with much patience and longsuffering. The last rain will be when the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 21:24)

Why must we wait for Christ, in patience and longsuffering? We are to pick up our cross as He put His down. The work of His cross is finished and the work of our cross is to finish the job He started. It will take MUCH patience and longsuffering to WORK as we WAIT for Him.

We are to take up OUR cross.
Matt 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Talk on "following" Christ. To be a "Christ follower", a "Christian" The article I wrote, "All believers are not Christians".

We are to "finish the job".
John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

What Job?
Matt 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Go ye where? To church and convert sinners, that are "in the church"? Hardly!

Matt 22:9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

We are to bid, call, invite, them to the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb". How do we do this? Only saved people are invited. SO we tell them HOW to be saved. We preach the gospel of Christ to them. WHERE WE GO? Into the highways. Roadways where we find people. A public square from where roads branch off.

Why Longsuffering? Because God is longsuffering and we are commanded and encouraged to be likewise

2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

2 Tim 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

The Lord is waiting for the precious fruit to be harvested.

Luke 10:2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

James 5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

We must set out hearts. We must establish them and make them unmovable. We can do this because Jesus can come at any time. Each day is closer than the last.

James 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

We are not to lose patience in the face of adversities, hardships, misery and trouble. We are to be unchanging in our hearts in view of the fact that the coming of the Lord draws close. Adversities cause tensions, and these in turn show themselves in human relations. James therefore warns us to not grumble one against another. Such action places them in danger of judgment, and the judge stands at the door. (He is not a long time coming, and Christians will be called into account for their actions.).

2 Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

James 5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

We are encouraged to be patient by the example of the prophets Take the Old Testament prophets who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. The prophets, on whom God bestowed the greatest honor, and for whom he had the greatest favor, were those who were the greatest examples of suffering affliction and were also the best and greatest examples of patience. Tribulation works patience and strengthens faith.

James 5:11 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.

We have heard of the remarkable patience of Job and of how he was happy in the end. We have seen the end of the work of the Lord concerning Job, and how he rewarded Job out of pity and mercy even though God allowed Satan to bring this affliction on him.

The main point of the illustration of Job is that patient endurance can endure itself on the confidence that hardships are not meaningless, but that God has some end or purpose in them which He will accomplish

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

James 5:12 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.

Christians should not swear, that is to take or declare an oath, promise or testimony. Neither by heaven. Example, "So help me God" or "I swear by all things holy". Or by the earth. I swear on my momma’s grave. "Cross my heart and hope to die". Or any other conceivable way. Let out yes, be yes and our no, be no. WE WILL be held accountable.

James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

Is any trouble of any kind or enduring hardship. Let him petition God for relief. God sends afflictions, that we may be inclined to seek him anew, that those who have neglected him may be brought to seek after Him anew. . The spirit is most humble in times of affliction, and the heart is tender; and prayer is most acceptable to God when it comes from a contrite humble spirit.

Is any in good cheer. (cheerful). Let him make melody. (play on a stringed instrument and celebrate and worship in song.

James 5:14 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:

Mark 6:13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

It is good to call the elders of the church and even the entire local assemble of believers to pray for the sick, but James 5:14 and Mark 6:13 are gifts that are no longer gifted to believers as well as speaking in tongues.(languages) and apostleship. (eye witnesses of Christ) These gifts were granted to the early church to verify it was of God as was Jesus ministry verified by God by many different miracles.

John 10:25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.

John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

John 5:36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.

John 10:38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

Jesus says, if you don’t believe what I say, believe the miracles that I do. You know only God can do what I do.

1 Cor 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, (foretelling heretofore events) they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, (new revelation after the canon, or scripture is completed) it shall vanish away.

The point is that these gifts mentioned will be done away with

James 5:15 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.

It is clear that it is the "prayer of faith" that heals and NOT the oil.. This is not to claim that God always answers believing prayer. All prayer, including prayer for healing, is subject to the will of God. Sometimes, but not always, sickness is the result of personal sin. Perhaps this is what is meant by if he have committed sins. In any event, the sick man is assured of forgiveness.

The faith spoken of here is the faith of moral conviction and of religious truth about God, especially the faith of reliance upon Christ for salvation. This would be the Gospel Truth itself. THIS kind of faith ALWAYS saves the spiritually sick and SOMETIMES heals the physically sick. In sickness, or adversities, ones faith is always strengthened. Reliance upon God is increased and repentance toward God is magnified and the sick person is more humbles and brought low. Therefore, if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

James 5:16 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.

We are to confess, that is acknowledge our faults one to another of the brethren, and not make excuses for these faults are defend them by laying blame elsewhere. One, like me may have an evil, that is a bitter tongue, another may be plagued with a quick temper. We are to acknowledge these faults and not deny them. We should pray for one another that we may be spiritually healed. The effectual fervent (active in works-a man who works for the Lord as well as prays eagerly) prayer of a righteous man (self-evident, obvious, clearly publicly seen of morality in character and acts) availeth (can do, accomplish, is mighty, forceful) in a great deal (much).

James 5:17 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.

James 5:18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

Elijah the prophet was a person just like us. He was not without faults and weaknesses. But he was a righteous man and God answered awesome requests and altered the course of nature because of his prayers.

James 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;

James 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.

Err—to roam, go astray, wander.
Convert him--Turn about again. Return him.
Hide—Cover, keep secret.

Brethren-James is speaking to saved people here. James says, if any of you brothers in the Lord sins and another brother in the Lord turns him back to God (put him back on the right track) you will save him from "physical" death, and you will hide a bunch of sins. How? Because, "one way or the other" the person will "sin no more".

He shall hide the sin because of conversion. (to revert his direction, and in turning him back in the right direction, that is back to God, will bring repentance) The sinner will be forgiven and God will remember his sins no more.

If a brother tries to convert the wayward Christian and cannot, he will not save him from the physical death, as God will kill him and take him home. "One way or the other" the person will "sin no more". Now this waywardness can occur more than once. If the brother is converted, there is no guarantee he will remain in that state. But he will be "brought back" again or "he will die". If he dies, you can be sure it will never happen again.

More on Signs & Wonders (miraculous healings)

Signs and wonders (miracles) followed the early preachers of the Word confirming their message while the revelation of the New Testament was being given. When the perfect Word of God was complete, those signs passed away

1 Cor 13:9-10 For we know (understand) in part, (somewhat) and we prophesy (speak under inspiration) in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away

Now we understand completely because the scripture is completed. "Somewhat" understanding is done away with.. Speaking by inspiration of the Holy Spirit is done away with. Signs and wonders are done away with because God has confirmed His completed Word. Early on faith came by observing signs and wonders (miracles) but now "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:11)

Mark 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

Miracles were to confirm the Word of God.. Wherever miracles were performed in the New Testament, they were never used to draw a crowd, promote a preacher, or for any of the basic purposes for which they are used today. You never find the Apostles announcing or advertising miracles ahead of time. You never find them referring back to a miracle that they had performed. In fact, no New Testament writer records his own miracle. God, worked these miracles by their hands, to confirm the Word. The indication is usually that they had no previous intention of performing a miracle, but were unexpectedly led by God at that very moment.