This letter was written by James, the half-brother of our Lord Jesus Christ in Palestine (Mk. 6:3; Mt. 13:55). The brothers of Jesus did not believe at first (Mk. 3:20-33), but after the resurrection they entered into the Church (Ac. 1:14; Ga. 1:19, 2:9, 12). Though maybe the first, and the oldest of the apostolic writings (cf. the word ‘synagogue’ Js. 2:2), it publicly surfaced much later than the Gospels, and was not accepted and incorporated into the Church canon until several generations later. James was considered an apostle by many — even called such by the apostle Paul, though only in a passing reference in Galatians. Though he probably was not summoned and gifted as an apostle, James was widely considered a pillar of the Church at large, and the leading elder of the Church in Jerusalem, and worked closely with the apostles at a council in Jerusalem (Ac. 15:1-29). He was later martyred around the year 62 A.D.
This epigrammatically hortatory epistle is his only surviving work, and was apparently unintentionally shuffled and copied at least three times before it became solidified into its current form stretching through the last 1900 years. It seems to be a Spirit-inspired instructional work which follows parallel Sermon on the Mount principles and concepts which were already written down by the apostle Matthew, as Papias relates when he says that Matthew wrote the oracles of the Lord in Aramaic or Hebrew, and the disciples interpreted them as best they could (cf. Js. 1:22,25 with Mt. 7:26; Js. 4:11 with Mt. 7:1-5; Js. 5:12 with Mt. 5:34-37; Js. 1:10 and 2:5-6 with Mt. 6:19, 24; Js.1:5 with Mt.7:7; Js.4:13 with Mt. 6:34; Js. 5:2-3 with Mt. 6:19; Js. 3:12 with Mt. 7:16). The faith vs. works controversy surrounding this epistle is a straw man put up by those who do not want to accept this letter. We are indeed not saved by means of our good works (cf. Rm. 9:30-32; 10:2-4; 11:5-6; Ti. 3:5-7), but genuine saving faith does properly motivated good works as a result, thus evidencing a true salvation (cf. Js. 2:14-26 with Mt. 7:21-27, 1st John. 3:23 and Mt. 25:31-46). James and Paul are in agreement, they just look at the same thing from differing perspectives.
Also this epistle is wrongly appealed to by faith-healers who attempt to make Chapter 5 verses 13-20 apply to what they do. This is not a right application because the word translated “sick” by most translations is to be translated “weary” by virtue of the words in all of the eight verses of the context taken together. If this were a formulary prescribed for healing, it would work every time for believers without fail. In reality it does not refer to sickness. Christians get sick and die all the time — even after doing all those things prescribed. If we always were healed, then there would not be any death. Does God lie? Of course not! Experience teaches that we all get sick — even the so-called faith-healers — and we all die of something eventually. The gift of healing was only for the apostolic era as a sign gift — a credential lending veracity to the truth of their message of the Gospel. If there were such a spiritual gift as faith-healer for today, then a person’s lack of faith would be no obstacle to an actual healing. Jesus and the apostles just did it without effort — no working it up. There are no apostles and prophets today. The Gospel is established. Paul said that sign gifts would cease, and they did — the gift stopped. God will heal on occasion, whom he will, when he will, where he will, how he will — according to his sovereignty, if we ask; but it was never a promised catch-all guarantee for everybody for all time. All victimized people are devastated and become disillusioned when they are afterward told by these so-called faith-healers that they simply did not have enough faith. There is only one verse that they utilize as a “proof-text” in the whole Bible where Jesus said, “Let it be according to your faith.” But a verse out of context is always a pretext. As it is now, in public, it is always something “healed” that one cannot see or detect. I am waiting to see a missing arm or a leg grow back. If faith healers were a true phenomena, then they would be walking the halls of hospitals putting doctors out of business for free — making a name for the Lord, rather than a name and a living for themselves off of their hopeful, hapless victims. Prominent newspapers would be carrying stories covering the truly miraculous if, after openly public scrutiny of an outcome that could withstand refutation, it were truly miraculous. False teaching, and false faith (delusional, gullible foolhardiness) based on this false teaching is to blame. Psalm 103:3 is to be understood in the context of all of Deuteronomy chapter 28, especially verses 59-62 since the dispensation of Law applied at that time all the way up to Pentecost; and even the verse 5 “…with his stripes we are healed” part of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 has nothing to do by context with a healing of the physical body, but the healing of the soul from the affliction of sin. They also claim promises made specifically to the apostles by Jesus as if they were for us also; and they arrogantly presume upon God, demanding this or that, claiming that it is faith in action. The reality is that it is nervy presumption in God’s face. Only God’s mercy and grace allows these charlatans to live. The ‘Word of Faith’ movement is heresy.
The basic context in which to understand this letter is that it was written to scattered Jewish believers of the Church of Jesus Christ at large. No unbelievers are addressed in it at all, except maybe that some of the rich mentioned might have been unsaved to begin with, considering the indication that they were failing to regularly exhibit the requisite spiritual fruit indicative of salvation (cf. Mt. 7:15-20; Ga. 5:13-25), or perhaps they were living a habitual life of sinful conduct, which also is indicative of a lack of true salvation (1st John. 1:6-7; 2:29; 3:6, 9-11, 14, 16-17; 4:7-8, 11, 21; 5:18).
Unlike with most of the epistles of Paul and others of the New Testament, James has many Greek words unique to itself. It has been restored according to the shuffled manuscript theory to its original form. Verse numbers were left out to avoid confusion since it was in so many mixed up parts, being such a short epistle.
James was unintentionally shuffled and copied at least three times before solidification into its present form 1900 years ago.
1. James 1:1-4
2. James 5:10-11
3. James 5:7-9
4. James 4:11-12
5. James 5:12
6. James 1:12-15
7. James 4:1-3
8. James 1:5-8
9. James 1:16-18
10. James 1:21-25
11. James 3:13-18
12. James 1:19-20
13. James 2:12-16
14. James 2:18-25
15. James 2:17
16. James 2:26
17. James 2:1-11
18. James 4:17-5:1
19. James 5:3c-6
20. James 5:2-3b
21. James 4:13-16
22. James 1:9-11
23. James 3:1-12
24. James 1:26-27
25. James 4:4-10
26. James 5:13-20.
1:1-4 James, a slave of God and Lord, Jesus Christ.
To the twelve tribes among those scattered abroad.
Consider it all joy, my brothers, whenever you all may happen to fall into various trials, knowing that the test of the faith you all possess is itself producing patient endurance. And let patient endurance have a fully accomplished course of action in order that you all might be mature and complete, quitting/deserting/bailing because of no-one.
5:10-11 Take the prophets who spoke in the Name of the Lord — an example of the persevering fortitude in affliction, and of the patient enduring of evil: see, we are pronouncing happy the patiently enduring/steadfastly persevering ones. You all heard of the patient endurance of Job and the objective of the Lord: you all know that he is very mercifully compassionate and compassionately merciful. 5:7-9 Therefore, endure with patient expectation, brothers, until the advent of the Lord. See, the farmer himself is waiting for the precious fruit of the land, enduring with patient expectation until it can receive early and late precipitation. You all also/likewise endure with patient expectation. Render steadfastly stabilized your hearts because the advent of the Lord has drawn near.
Do not give vent to querulous, censorious feelings with reference to one another, brothers, so that you may not be judicially visited — called to account incurring guilt. See, the Judge has taken position before the doors. 4:11-12 Do not calumniate one another, brothers. The one calumniating a brother and assuming censorial power over his brother is calumniating a standard, and is censoring a standard. And if you are censoring a standard, you are not a practitioner of a standard, but a censor. One is the standard-maker: the One being able to utterly save and to utterly destroy. And/But who are you who is censoring the other? 5:12 And foremost of all, my brothers, do not swear (by anything), neither the heaven, nor the earth, nor any other solemn oath; but let your yes be yes, and no be no, so that you all may not fall hypocritically under indictment/impeachment.
1:12-15 Happy (is) a man who is enduring/bearing up under temptation, for, existing approved, he will wear the laurel-wreath of the life which the Lord himself promised to those faithfully delighting in him. Let no one being tempted say thus, “I am being tempted by God;” for God is untemptable by evil, and he himself is tempting no-one; but each is being tempted by his own lusts/passions/cupidities, being allured and enticed. Then lust/passion/cupidity, conceiving, is giving birth to sin, and the sin arriving at full maturity gives birth to (spiritual and temporal) separation (from God). 4:1-3 From where come conflicts and contentions among you all: from not here — out of the lusts/internal passions you all have, themselves battling for your body-parts? You all are coveting and yet you are not possessing. You all are jealously envious, and are committing murder, and yet you all are powerless to score. You all fight among yourselves and are quarrelling, yet you all do not possess because of your failure among yourselves to ask. You all are asking and yet are not receiving because you yourselves ask amiss so that you can, for your passions, consume in extravagance.
1:5-8 Now if any of you all are lacking wisdom (i.e. the proper, practical application of experiential knowledge), let him ask in respect of the God giving to all liberally in simplicity and sincerity, and yet not chiding or censoring, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, not even hesitating/deliberating, for the one indecisively holding back has been like an aimless sea-wave, driven and tossed by wind. In fact, let not that man presume that he himself will get anything from the Lord — a fickle man — unstable in all of his ways/means of access. 1:16-18 Do not kid/fool yourselves, my beloved brothers, every good, generous, beneficent outlay and every fully realized free gift is from above, coming down to the enlightened from the Father, with whom there is existing no vacillation or hint of reneging. Willing, he birthed us for an expression of Truth, in order for us to be some of the first portion of his (spiritual) creations (cf. 2nd Co. 5:17).
1:21-25 Therefore, renounce and be done with all filthiness, and excess of evil. With submissive deference you all follow the implanted Word, enabling your lives to save. Moreover, you all be/become word practitioners, and not hearers only, deceiving/deluding yourselves. For if anyone is a word hearer and not a practitioner, this fellow is like a man examining the condition of his birth by means of a mirror: that is, he contemplated himself, and has gone, and has immediately forgotten of what kind he was. But the one stooping down to attentively look into the consummate prescript of liberation, and persevering therein, this fellow — becoming not a negligent, forgetful hearer, but an active practitioner — this fellow shall be blessed in the course of his performance.
3:13-18 Let one enlightened and knowledgeable among you all demonstrate, prove or show by means of proper, good, virtuous conduct his actions through a submissive deference of wise enlightenment (i.e. the proper, practical application of experiential knowledge). But if you all are harboring virulent jealousy and a party-spirited, contentious disposition within the heart of you all/your midst, don’t you all vaunt yourselves and deceive yourselves in the presence of/contrary to/in violation of the Truth. This is not that wisdom coming down from above, but earthly groveling, animal instinct — a demonic spirit/devilish attitude. For where jealousy and a factious, contentious disposition (are), there (is) unstable, tumultuous commotion and every trashy occurrence.
Now the wisdom from above is initially modest, then disposed to peace and concord, kindly considerate and graciously amenable, flexibly reasonable and mildly pliant, replete with mercy and full of compassion and good fruits, without partiality and prejudice and feigned sincerity. Also, the fruit of righteousness is being sown/planted in peace, to/for those effecting/bearing/putting forth/bringing about peace. 1:19-20 So then, my beloved brothers, let every individual be continually ready to hear, not hasty to speak, not hasty with a view toward impulsive anger; for a man’s impulsive anger does not effectively bring out/produce as a result, God’s righteousness. 2:12-16 Be so speaking and so acting as though being always about to be evaluated by means of an unfettered standard — that is, compassionless scrutiny for the one practicing no compassion.
What is the augmentation, my brothers, whenever anyone can be said to continually possess faith, yet can continually fail to possess available works? That “faith” can’t be able to save him! Moreover, whenever a brother or sister may be continually lacking in proper, sufficient clothing, and may continually be destitute of necessary daily nourishment, and any of you all should say to yourselves, “Go away in peace: continually warm yourself, and be continually satiated with sustenance,” and should you not provide for them the necessities of the body, what is the augmentation? 2:18-25 However, someone will inevitably say you consistently have faith. But I have works! You demonstrate to me your faith apart from your works, and I will demonstrate to you my faith by means of my works. You are believing that God is foremost: you are accomplishing good? Even the demons are believing — and are shuddering.
Now, are you willing to admit, O ineffective one, that the faith independent of works is fatal? Was not our father Abraham righteousized by means of works, having offered his son, Isaac, upon the altar? Notice that faith was a motivating principle for his works, and by means of works faith became fully developed. In fact, the scripture was fulfilled: that saying, “And Abraham was trusting toward God, and it was imputed to him as righteousness.” He was even designated a friend of God! Therefore, note that a man is righteousized by means of works, and not by means of faith only/alone.
And also was not Rahab the harlot likewise righteousized by means of works, herself having received and sent forth some other way the messengers? 2:17 Thus also, faith alone, unless it involves works, is fatal; 2:26 for just as the body without a soul is dead, so also the faith devoid of works is dead.
2:1-11 My brothers, do not continue holding the Faith of our Lord of Glory, Jesus Christ, with partiality. For even if a man in fancy clothing, having rings of gold on the fingers, should enter into your assembly — and also an indigent in filthy clothing; and perchance you all might look upon the one wearing the fancy clothing and you all might say to him, “You better sit yourself here,” and to the indigent you all might say, “You stand in that place,” or “Sit here below my footstool.” Really, have you all not been biased? Even you yourselves have become impious, malignantly disposed arbiters!
You all listen, my beloved brothers: has not God himself chosen out the indigents of the world, rich in faith and possessors of the kingdom which he himself promised to those continually loving him? But you all have slighted the indigent! Are not the rich always oppressing you all, and are they (not) hauling you all into courtrooms? Are they not always calumniating that distinguished, honorable Name — the one having been connected to you all by association? If you all are truly carrying out into full operation a law of the highest excellence after the fashion of the scripture: “You shall (perceptively, understandingly, intentionally, unconditionally, self-sacrificially, freely and lovingly) seek the highest good of, and care for, your neighbor, as if it were yourself (without any expectation of return, response, reciprocation or recognition, passing over their human frailty, faultiness and ineptitudes with acceptance),” you all are doing good. But if you all are showing partiality, you yourselves are engaged in sin — missing the mark, being exposed by the Law (of Moses) as transgressors — intentionally overstepping the line. For whosoever wants to strictly observe all (613 precepts of) the Law (of Moses), yet should they screw up/misstep in a single element, they have become an offender against each of them. For He having said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not commit murder.” Yet, if you are not committing adultery, but you are committing murder, you have become a violator of Law. 4:17-5:1 Therefore, to him knowing absolutely to do right, but refusing it practice, to him alone it is sin — missing the mark.
Now, the rich: Come now! You all weep — continually crying out in lamentation over your relentlessly impending calamities! 5:3c-6 You all amassed wealth in recent days during hard times. Lo! Having been unjustly held back by you all, the wages of the laborers — those having already mowed your fields — are crying out; and the outcries of the harvesting have burst into the ears of a Lord of omnipotence! You all lived in self-indulgent, elegant luxury upon the earth; and you all lived in self-indulgent sensualistic wantonness. You all nourished, pampered (and) fattened your inner selves, as it were, in a time of slaughter. You all condemned (and) murdered the innocent one who is not (even) setting himself in opposition to you. 5:2-3b Your riches have corrupted (you all); and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have become tarnished, and their corrosion shall be evidence against you all, and shall consume all your bodies as it were fire.
4:13-16 Now, come, those constantly saying, “We shall go today and tomorrow into this city, and we can spend a year there, and can trade, and can make a profit.” You all know nothing whatsoever of tomorrow! For, what is your life? Indeed, it will be a vapor — itself appearing for a moment, yet afterwards, however, becoming imperceptible. Instead of that, you all are to say, “Perhaps if the Lord would permit/allow, we might live, and even might accomplish this or that.” Yet now you all boast yourselves by means of your presumptuous speech!
1:9-11 However, let the poor brother boast over his eminent exaltation, but the rich (brother) over his unassuming humbleness: for, he will die off as a garden-flower: ‘For the sun arose with scorching heat; and the plant withered; and its flower dropped off; and the temporal beauty of its appearance itself perished.’ So also the rich will be forgotten in the course of his goings.
3:1-12 Let not many become teachers, my brothers, having completely understood that we will in accountability receive greater scrutiny. For we are all always failing greatly. If anyone is not failing in speech, this mature man has power/ability to control/bridle even the whole body. Look! We are always putting bits into the mouths of horses in order to induce their obedience to us, and we are directing their whole body. Lo! Even the ships, (though) being so large, and continually being driven by strong winds, they are being steered by a comparatively small rudder, wherever the inclination of the one piloting may choose. So also the tongue: it is such a tiny member of the body, yet it causes such a great stir. Note how great a forest a small flame is igniting: the fiery tongue also — the epitome/realm of the unrighteous — the tongue being thus located among our body parts, defiling all the body — even setting in conflagration the drift of the next generation — being truly under the influence of hell. For every kind, of both wild animals and birds, of both reptiles and marine creatures, is being tamed, and has been tamed for the human race. But no one has been able to tame/restrain within proper limits the human tongue — an untamable, unrestrained affliction — full of deadly venom. With it we are eulogizing the God and Father; and with it we are imprecating evil upon those individuals having grown conformably to God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth continually come blessing and cursing. My brothers, things should not continue to remain this way — unless sweet and bitter flows out of the same spring-hole. My brothers, a fig tree is not able to produce olives, or a grape-vine, figs; so no one spring (is able) to produce (both) salt and sweet water. 1:26-27 If anyone among you all is presumed to be religious, however, deceiving his own heart (and) not habitually bridling his own tongue, this religion (is) twisted/corrupt. Pure and untainted religion, near to a God and to a Father, is this: to look after orphans and widows with a view to their tribulation: to keep oneself un-poisoned by the world (i.e. the structured, systemically carnal, humanistic establishment).
4:4-10 (Spiritual) adulterers and adulteresses! Don’t you all absolutely know that the inordinate regard of the world with affection is an antipathy of God? Therefore, whoever has been disposed to be a congenial associate of the world is being rendered a hater of God. Or do you all imagine that the Scripture is saying for no reason, “The Spirit who took residence within us strongly tends toward jealousy?” Yet he is exhibiting extraordinary graciousness. Therefore (the Scripture) is saying, “God is himself averse to arrogance, but is granting acceptance to humility.” Therefore, you all be submissive toward God; then you all resist the Devil and he will flee on account of you all. You all draw near to God and he will draw near to you. All you sinners! Cleanse hands. All you fickle: purge hearts. Suffer/endure compunction. Lament, mourn and weep. Change your joyous laughter into a sad grief, and happiness into dejection. Be humble/contrite in the presence/sight of the Lord and he will exalt you all.
5:13-20 Is anyone among you all suffering adversity? Let him/her pray. Is anyone encouraged? Let him/her continually sing praises. Is anyone among you all (spiritually) weary? Let him/her summon the advanced seniors of the congregation, and let them all offer prayer/pray for/over same, anointing same with olive oil in the Name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will restore the one (spiritually) tiring with exertion, and the Lord will restore his/her (spiritual) vitality. And even if he/she may continue, having committed a sin — a missing of the mark — it will be forgiven for same. You all yourselves continually confess/admit trespass — an intentional stepping over the line — to one another, and pray in behalf of one another in order that you all may be (spiritually) restored. An innocent/sinless supplication earnestly coming into play is very effective. Elijah was a similar man to us, and he prayed a prayer of ‘not to rain,’ and it rained not upon the land three years and six months. He prayed yet again and the sky yielded rain and the land produced its fruit.
Brothers, if anyone among you all should be led astray/seduced from the edge of the Truth, and a certain one should happen to bring him back: let him/her understand that the one bringing a deviator from the path of virtue back from his pursuit of deception will rescue a soul from (spiritual and temporal) separation (from God), and will quash/kill and bury a plethora of offensive errors.
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