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The Book of James 1 Study (Part One vv. 1-18)/Psalm 142 (143) Study...



Greeting to the Twelve Tribes

1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:


Profiting from Trials

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces [a]patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be [b]perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

The Perspective of Rich and Poor

9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So, the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.

Loving God Under Trials

12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.

NOTES JAMES 1 – (v. 1, v. 2, v. 5, vv. 6-8, vv. 9-11, v. 12, v. 13, vv. 14-15, v. 17, & v. 18)

1 :1: James is establishing his authority – not as a brother of Jesus Christ or bishop of Jerusalem – but as A BONDSERVANT – (self-indentured slave) OF GOD … For the Jews, God is the only ruler, and true honor comes from Him … God refers to the Father, and THE LORD JESUS CHRIST to the Son of God incarnate … SCATTERED ABROAD – (Greek – “diaspora”) refers to the Jews in exile, but James applies it to the Church – Jewish and Gentile Christians alike- on pilgrimage …

1:2: TRIALS, the world’s oppression – (the true oppression) takes place by God’s permission … The issue is not the trials but our response to those trials – Here is an old saying, those of who suffer from PTSD, the emotions we feel are normal, but sometimes how we respond to those emotions aren’t always normal or acceptable … When properly received, trials reveal where our hearts are at … They are food for faith, which must grow or die … The godly reaction to trials is joy and perseverance – (Matthew 5:11-12; Acts 5:41; Romans 5:2-3; and Romans 8:18; Hebrews 12:11; and 1Peter 2:19) … Though unkind circumstances are from the evil one, to get angry at circumstances is to get angry at God, who permits them …

1:5: WISDOM, the practical and spiritual knowledge required for skilled living, comes to those who ASK OF GOD, who pray to Him … While James loves God’s law, for him faith is not found in the rules, as with the Pharisees, but in a relationship with God, a personal one …

1:6-8: Prayer as petition is effective when it is done IN FAITH, WITH NO DOUBTING (v. 6) … We all need an unquestioning loyalty to God along with the confidence that comes from a life stable in all its ways, which is only done through Christ… (v. 8) … James is teaching the necessity of works, for him works demonstrate a living faith… By contrast, doubting (v. 6) means questioning God… Double mindedness (v. 8) speaks of one who has two loyalties: love of the world competing with the love of God (see, also Matthew 6:24) … Such UNSTABLE life deadens our conscience and turns us aside from the truth…

Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and [a]mammon.

1:9-11: See the reversal of the order of the world … THE LOWLY (v. 9), those who have the least here, will have the most in the Kingdom of Heaven (see also, James 2:5; Matthew 5:3; and Luke 1:52), but they are tempted to be bitter and envious … THE RICH (v. 10) may perceive their good as passing, but they are tempted to be greedy and arrogant and may thereby lose true wealth – (see – James 5:1-12) …

1:12: We are to rejoice even in temptations … They reveal if we are or are not prepared for heaven – (see also, 1Corinthians 9:25) …

1Corinthians 9:25: And everyone who competes for the prize [a]is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

1:13: James has discussed outward trials – (vv. 1-11) … He now turns to inward temptations, those deceive us and lead us into even greater sins … God tries us, but listen carefully, the Lord will never tempt us …

1:14-15: The immediate origin of a temptation comes directly from our own sinful passions, which the evil one, devil, Satan energizes … Temptations also begin with DESIRES or lusts, then progression to being CONCEIVED, a fixation on or delight in sinful desires, and ends as BIRTH TO SIN, a consent to or acting out of sinful desires … We all fall into temptation because we all fall short of the glory of God … We fall into temptation because we allow ourselves to do so, FREE WILL … Neither God nor circumstances force us to yield …

1:17: AS FATHER OF LIGHT, God reigns over both the visible and invisible creation … He is the Creator of all and the Giver of Spiritual Gifts … The first part of this passage is used in Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Church, in the prayer before Christ’s icon …

1:18: God provides our salvation OF HIS OWN FREE WILL, not of necessity … BROUGHT US FORTH: He “begot” us, a reference to “baptism”, by which we become children of God by His Grace … THE WORD OF TRUTH is the Gospel, the precious, unchanging doctrines of faith … We are the FIRSTFURITS OF HIS CREATURES: In salvation we benefit not by taking on the essence or nature of God, but by putting on a new humanity consecrated to God (as with FIRSTFRUITS in the OT) … Humanity is preeminent over all creation, and through our salvation all creation is likewise being changed … The first half of this passage appears in the Divine Liturgy in the prayer of thanksgiving after the faithful receive Communion …

PSALM 142 (143) STUDY


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