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Into Thy Word James Bible Study!

© 1994, 2004, 2005 Into Thy Word Ministries, Dr. Richard J. Krejcir, Pasadena,
California USA www.intothyword.org

Introduction on how to use the Into Thy Word Bible Studies:

This is copyrighted © 1994-2005 to Richard Joseph Krejcir and Into Thy Word
Ministries www.intothyword.org however; you may use it for teaching the Word
publicly and privately. More resources are available on our Website!

How we did this:

These Bible studies are designed so that you can role out of bed and lead a
Bible study; all the hard work is done for you! They can in turn teach you how
to develop your own studies, how to better understand and prepare your
outlining and teaching and of course to glorify Him. They are for the beginner
and for the seasoned pastor. They can also be easily converted into a
sermon series, thus you can use them for your Bible study, sermons in
personal devotions, church and group use. See our online resources for
more Bible studies and articles on “How to lead Bible Studies” and sermon
preparations. Also for a deeper engaging study it is best to do your own
outline of the Bible passage. You should do this first before any outside
influence, such as commentaries that may stray your objectivity. See ‘How to
Outline’ on our website or better yet order our book “Into Thy Word” Order
the book, 'Into Thy Word' with a 15-week curriculum!

The approach I took was Inductive, which is I asked primarily inductive


questions to the text, then I researched the word meanings, researched the
cultural settings, checked with other scholars. Then I and wrote it out in an
inductive format. The first part is the “general idea,” which is asking the question
“what does it say: then the body of the lesson is the “what does it mean” aspect
then closing with the aspect, “how does it apply.”

The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive
Bible Study):

1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?

3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?

4. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?


5. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?

6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my
listening to God?

7. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

8. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

How to use these Studies?

All you need to do is carefully read the passage, study all you can and use
our outlines as your teaching notes. You can also use these studies for
preaching! Note that these studies are very comprehensive and you may not
need to use all that is there. Thus, you may desire to use what is relevant to your
people. Usually Pastors use all of the “General Idea” and the concluding
paragraphs. Then they use the “deductive” notes where the bullet points are, as
they fit their sermon or Bible study. Then the same goes for a Bible study, you
can chose the questions that best pertain to your group, because you may not
have the time to use them all. The Questions mostly follow the order of the
teaching notes and the application questions are at the end to make your
teaching easer, especially if you use one study for more than one session. You
will find many online commentaries and numerous resources free on our Bible
Study Aids channel for further information. You can also use the questions to
further your sermon by asking the questions, our answering them in your sermon.
You can also use our article on “How to Prepare Bible Study Questions” on the
How to Study the Bible and How to Lead Bible Studies to develop more of your
own questions!

Remember these resources are free for you! Most ministries only sell
there materials, we feel we are doing what God has called us too, by going
ahead and offering the best materials possible for free and seek support for
doing so. There is no obligation but please consider supporting our ministry if you
are able to do so. As these materials have cost us a tremendous amount of time
effort and financial resources that have taken us years to develop for you!

Feel free to pass this around to any pastor who is overseas or on the
mission field who may need it! We also have several “Pastors Training Packs”
available in various languages on: “How to Study and Teach the Bible,” “How to
Lead and Manage the Church” and many more. As a missions and discipleship
organization it is our call to train pastors and provide resources to Christians and
Church leaders all over the world. They may printout any information we have
posted, reproduce it, make the needed cultural changes and translate it. All we
ask of you is to keep us in prayer, keep the name of our ministry and any
copyright information on the resources, and tell other pastors what we have to
offer. If anyone does translate any of our material, (and this is much
needed!!!) please let us know and give us a copy so we can make them
available to others in their language and culture!

If you are wondering about the theology at Into Thy Word, it is conservative
and Biblical! We are Spirit filled! We add nothing to the Word that is not
there, nor do we read into it what is not there! We are conservative Reformed
Evangelicals who hold to the inerrancy of the Bible and the historic
confessions of the Church! Please see our Statement of Faith on the About
Channel. Most of our people are in the Reformed Churches while others are
with Assemblies of God, Presbyterian, Calvary Chapel, Non-Denominational
plus many more; we share a passion for the Word and a heart for pastors
overseas!

There are over 19 lessons! If you use them as sermons or Bible studies for
your church, it will take you five to six months!

Blessings

Richard Krejcir Ph.D.


Into Thy Word Ministries
Phil. 1:6
www.intothyword.org

First is an article on the background of James to further help you!

James Introduction: Background Material

If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength! Proverbs 24:10

James is a book about the application of our faith and the importance to
learn and grow in Christ. That way, we can grow in faith and maturity so we can
apply our Christian character and conduct in how we are to others! The primary
theme running through James is the knowledge we are given by our Lord. The
knowledge we gain from our experiences in life must be rooted in our hearts so it
can bubble up into our daily life. That is, the knowledge that is in our heart must
transition to how we live our life! At the time, the Jewish statuesque and many
Greek philosophers believed that we are called to gain knowledge for
knowledge’s sake. To them, its only purpose is that it improves who we are as a
person. But, there is no requirement to put any knowledge into practice, and
some even taught only a low-life person would practice faith. They sincerely
believed knowledge alone was the way to spiritual enlightenment; they were
sincerely wrong! James combats this terrible mindset that was starting to come
about in his time and that has taken root in many churches today. Our knowledge
must change over from our hearts to our hands and feet so it is integrated into
our life and church!

If faith has not changed you over, you will lead a life of problems, without
purpose and one of no distinction or betterment to yourself or others. Why?
Because, problems are a part of life. At any one time, a problem is headed your
way now, you have just gotten out of a problem, or you are headed into a
problem. So, we have to know this—problems are coming! Problems are here!
The question is not how to avoid them, as most will not be able to—nor should
the question to ask be, why did this happen to me? Rather, the question needs to
be, how we are going to deal with them? The Epistle of James is about how “to
be” a Christian of faith so we will be able to handle problems and life while being
“doers” of our faith. When we are being real with our faith, we will be growing,
learning, maturing, and we will be leading a life of excellence to our Lord’s glory!

During the time of James, the church was at a crossroads of ending its
“honeymoon” period of being ignored by the religious leaders, so they were
growing and feeling comfortable and good. They were still a part of Judaism and
had not split off form their roots. Now, they are being singled out and picked on.
The persecutions were just starting; the two other Jameses in the New
Testament had been martyred, Steven had been stoned to death, and many
were leaving the faith because of fear. The Church was also starting to deal with
the human, sinful nature of gossip, strife, carnality, slander, doctrinal arguments
and power plays, so their faith was becoming useless and unproductive—the
themes we still have with us today. The self-filled life and the focus on the will of
ourselves was overtaking fulfillment in Him and seeking God’s Will (John 1:16;
3:30; Eph. 1:23; 3:19; 4:13; Col. 1:19; Col. 1:25). James seeks to write an
extolment of Christ and an encouragement to the saints to look to Christ in faith
and not to their circumstances. Thus, we will then be able to live a righteous life
and be a meaningful Christian.

Many of the Apostles had gone far off in their missionary journeys as
Jesus called, or had been martyred, so James takes over the lead of the Church
base in Jerusalem. Without the New Testament being available yet and the
instructions from the Apostles absent, a vacuum of instruction came into the
Church. James starts to write his sermons, based on Jesus’ teaching, to extol
and encourage the Church. He writes like a pastor to point out problems,
potential problems as well as sin, and encourage them to really follow Christ by
faith and make the changes in their lives so they reflect Christ. Then they will be
able to do something with their faith that is worthwhile.

James is a book of unparallel distinction, with no counterpart in


controversy in the early church to the Reformers. It is a book that is unique, as it
is not about the life of Jesus as the Gospels are, nor is it a treatise of doctrine
such as Paul’s letters, nor is it a prophecy as is the Revelation. Rather, it is a
“how to” in practical living and encouragement for what lies ahead. It is more like
Proverbs than any other New Testament book.

Jam
Son
Perhaps the actual burial box of James. The ‘Signature’ of James – James, a
servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ Jos
Bro
Background Setting: James is primarily speaking to Jews living in Jerusalem
who are starting to face persecution. Given the period; it has only been a decade
since Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Pharisees had started to persecute the Jes
early Christians. They Killed James the brother of John, then Steven, and Paul
was on the prowl to destroy the Church (Acts 6-9). The Israelites, of whom most
The ‘Signature’ of Jame
of the Early Church was made up, had a history of difficult circumstances, from
greedy fellow Israelites taking advantage of them, to famine, and then to the
James, a servant of G
Romans coming and taking most of the rich people’s land away; and then, things
got worse. Many of the new Christians, after having a honeymoon period of the

Lord Jesus Christ


faith and enjoying the freedom from the Law, suddenly scattered because they
feared the persecution. Their faith was in circumstances and not really in the
1st Century A.D. Ossuary
substance of our Lord. Many put their faith in the shallow end of the Christianity
pool and had not developed the maturity, depth, or character to endure. Because
faith was weak, the ways of the flesh sprang up; the gossip, slander, and strife,
as well as spiritual warfare, abounded. Thus, James was addressing the social
tensions of the time and pointing people to take responsibility for their faith
development by seeking Christ and not their circumstances.

Israel was under Roman occupation. The Romans had taken away many
of the influential families’ land and turned them into “sharecroppers” and into
forced poverty. The smaller families with the smaller farms were driven out of
business and left destitute. This is the reason Barabbas rose up to seek
insurrection (Matt. 27: 15-26). What little land was left in Jewish hands was then
taken by Herod the Great, and the people were forced to work the feudal estates
and farms. Thus, the culture was angry, poor, devastated, and downtrodden.
This caused people to gather in the market places to seek work, wherever and
whatever they could get it (Matt. 20:1-16). This created an extreme sense of
resentment between the poor and the rich that escalated into forming “Zealot”
groups and violence. The rich had guards that would force their will by maiming
and killing the poor (Matt. 21:33-46; Acts 21: 30-32), and the poor would rise up
in gangs, resorting to rioting and political revolts by desperation. They had no
hope—only anger. Since they did not have the money for arms, they lost.

One of the largest revolts occurred in 66AD because of grain shortages


and extreme corruption. The people rose up and attacked, and subsequently
massacred the priests (many who were wicked and oppressed the poor) and a
Roman garrison. Since this happened at the Temple, this led the Romans to
destroy Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. this was called “The Judean War.”
The remainder of the Zealots who survived gathered at Masada, Herod’s
fortress, and held out for three years until they were starved and killed in 73 A.D.
Many committed suicide rather than fall into the hands of Romans, including
women and children. This was the big news while James’ readers were reading
this Epistle and perhaps facing a similar fate themselves!

James’ Epistle was copied and dispatched to all the known Christian world
as a handbook on how to endure persecution, model authentic faith, and be
encouraged because Christ loves you! It was also a first century sermon
resource to pastors!

Theme: Right belief equals right behaviors from a Christ-directed and faith-
centered life. The theme is that the knowledge of what God puts in our hearts
must transmit into our daily lives. The key verse is, “…faith without works is
dead…” (James 2:14-20). The principle theme is, real, authentic faith will
produce works to glorify our Lord. Faith, without any actions to prove it, is
worthless and meaningless. Saved? Perhaps. But, what good are you—claiming
to be a Christian and not doing anything with your faith!

James is more of a book of sayings that it is an epistle, (meaning, a letter)


as it was not addressed or meant to a particular person or group, but it is also a
practical discourse of wisdom literature focusing on moral exhortations, just like
Proverbs. It is about personal responsibility by aligning one’s beliefs to be right
so that one’s behaviors are right. James uses the Old Testament, especially
Psalm 15, as his background, and his exhortations are almost like a commentary
to it. James warns and encourages his readers that the sufferings they are
experiencing are only the beginning, and it will get worse. But, when our faith is
in who Christ is and His work in us, we will have the confidence and
perseverance to not only get through our trials, but actually persevere so we will
also learn and grow through them! As a result, we will be even better and more
mature and then will be able to extol others for the faith. James then switches to
practical, “hands on” Christian living—to control our attitudes and tongue, to be
listeners, and to stay away from pride and sin. When we do such things, we will
be better able to grow in the faith and model the Christian life to others.
James uses illustrations directly for the time and events the people were
then facing; he draws from nature and Greek Philosophy. James’ main
assertions are our relationship of faith and life, and that we must make our
Christian life real and meaningful; if not, it is worthless (2:14-26). James speaks
to both the rich and the poor (1:9-11; 2:1-9; 4:13-17), to persecutions (1:2-8; 2:6-
7; 5:4-6), temptations (1: 2-4; 2:11; 4:2), handling our words (1:19-20,26; 3:1-12;
4:11-12; 5:9), how to seek wisdom (1:5; 3:14-18), developing our faith (1:6-8;
2:14-26), and enduring trials to benefit us (1:9-11; 5:7-11). James’ writings were
used by the early Church as sermon material, and often read in worship services
and gatherings. James was a man who not only taught the way of his Lord, but
also lived the life of sincerity with evangelical faith and righteous obedience, a
model for us today! This Epistle’s destination was for the use, in the church in
Jerusalem, as a resource; then it was recopied numerous times and sent as
letters to all the known churches there by courier.

Authorship: Who was the author of this epistle? Who is this James? Most
biblical scholars contend it is James the Son of Joseph—the half brother of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—who was fathered from Joseph and Mary,
whereas Jesus, His humanity, was fathered from God and Mary. The Epistle
does not give us the details of who James is; we have to research through the
writings of the Early Church Fathers as well as archeology, Church tradition, and
textual criticism. We know he was prominent and well known. The only prominent
and well known James we know of from the above areas of research is James,
the half brother of Jesus (Psalm 69:8; Matt. 13:55-56, Mark 6:3, Luke 24:10,
John 7:5; Acts 12:17; 15:13-21; 21:17-26; 1 Cor. 15:7; Gal. 1:18-19; 2:9,12).
There are four other Jameses in the New Testament, including the brother of
John referred by the Early Church Fathers as James the Less (Matt. 4:21; 10:2;
Mark 15:40). This was James, the son of Zebedee, who was the brother of John
(Matt. 4: 21-22). He was also a fisherman, and was a partner with Peter (Luke
5:10). He and his brother John (the writer of the Gospel of John, three Epistles,
and the Revelation—John 21:20-24), were called the Sons of Thunder, perhaps
because of the “hot” temperament of their father, or of themselves, as supported
in Luke 9: 52-54. This James was the first of the Apostles to be martyred in 44
A.D. (Acts 12:1-2). It is rumored that he preached in India and Spain before
Herod had him beheaded (Acts 12:1-2). There was also another Disciple named
James—James, the son of Alphaeus, who was also referred to as, James the
Less. Other than in the lists of apostles, little is known of him. He is not
mentioned elsewhere in Scripture. The Jews later stoned him. However, the
James who wrote the epistle was also the main spokesperson for the Jerusalem
church, first as an elder, and then as its leader (Acts 12: 17; 15:13-23; 21:17-19;
Gal. 2:9-12). The brother of John and the other James were conceivably already
martyred by this time.

James, the half brother of Jesus, was curious and yet skeptical of Jesus
until His resurrection when he was convinced and then converted (Mark 6:3;
John 7:5; 1 Cor. 15:5-7). It is assumed he was married (1 Cor. 9:5) and he was
not among the original twelve or perhaps only followed occasionally (Matt. 10:1-
4). He was probably there at Jesus’ last days, helping prepare the Passover due
to cultural customs, and was there at Pentecost (Matthew 26:17; Acts 1:12-14).
The Early Church Fathers call him “James the Just,” telling us of his
extraordinary godliness, integrity, and righteousness. He had a repetition for zeal
and prayer and was most known for his obedience. His nickname was “Camel
Knees” because of his constant prayer and the calluses on his knees because of
it. Remember, Jesus was his half brother; how many obedient younger half
brothers have you met? Eusebius and Hegesippus tell us James was beaten to
death with clubs and then thrown down the Temple parapet after witnessing his
faith to the religious leaders and Pharisees (Matt. 23). He is credited for saying
the same words of his Brother, Father, forgive them for they know not what they
do! There are no other known men called “James” who would qualify—by being
alive and by being leaders—who could have written this Epistle.

Objections to James, the half brother of Jesus, as the author? The Epistle
suggests a higher learning and grammatical structure that he may have had
access to. James, the half brother of Jesus, was uneducated. But, is this true? I
have no idea how the idea that the disciples were uneducated and illiterate men
came about. In fact, the disciples had the equivalent of a college education, as
they attended school and were able to read and write well. They did not have the
further formal education that the Scribes and Pharisees had, which was
equivalent to a Ph.D. of today. That is the reason the Pharisees looked down at
them—because they did not have “their” education and title, and they were not
under the care of another Rabbi (that they approved of)—not because they were
uneducated (Mark 6:2-3; 11:27-28; John 7:14). But, modern research now
suggests that Ezra indeed did set up schools and most of the population, as in
ours today in the U.S., were educated to read and write; in addition, they were
taught to know the Torah. The Romans also set up schools where people
learned to read and write Greek, then, forced it as the official language. The
objections the Religious leaders gave concerning that the Disciples were
uneducated is not that they did not know how to read and write, but rather that
they did not go to “their” schools! This was a snob approach, such as saying hey
you did not go to Harvard? Then you are uneducated! Thus, James and all of the
Disciples were more than capable to write such a letter and or had access to
“Amanuenses” (secretaries). Paul, the most educated of all of the Disciples,
dictated his letters, as did the very educated Josephus. James, being a
carpenter, would have access to even higher education that was necessary for
such a profession then. Galilee was not the backwards dump as many
commentators have espoused, and its near by city of Capernaum was, in fact, a
metropolis; it was a large, industrious city which would also have afforded many
other educational opportunities. Thus, James certainty could have written it or
dictated it.
The further proof of is that the Early Church Fathers credited it to him.
Origen (185-253AD), Eusebius (265-340), and Jerome (340-420) all state,
without a doubt, that James, the half brother of Jesus, wrote this epistle. Also, the
textual criticism (examining the recorded speech pattern from the grammar and
vocabulary in the writings of Acts 15:13-29) to the Epistle clearly shows author
agreement.

Date: Most conservative scholars give the date at about 44 to 50 A.D. and 60
A.D. at the very latest; this is from the use of language and its colloquialisms,
structure, describing of events prior to the destruction of the Temple as recorded
in Acts 12, and before the events in Acts 15. James himself was martyred in 62
A.D. by the high priest Ananus II, of which Josephus and Eusebius record. The
most logical date is 49 A.D., making this one of the first, if not the first New
Testament writing. The Early Church was just starting to be persecuted and
James’ purpose was to prepare the people for such further travesties and
sufferings that will come but that have not come yet. Also, the great “Judaizer”
controversy is not mentioned or the debate of circumcision that came after
50A.D. James’ pattern of writing is more like Proverbs and does not fit the genre
style of the Gospels and other Epistles that set the later tone. James uses the
Greek word for synagogue as the “meeting of worship” and not “church,” thus
indicating that the Christians have not spit off from the Jews yet, which also
happened after 50 A.D. In 66 A.D., the war with Rome erupted, leading to the
destruction of the Temple. Such events would have been recorded. The liberal
argument that it was written a generation or generations later just does not hold
up to textual evidence or use of rhetoric. James’ use of rhetoric was in line with
local and historical customs and use, and such rhetoric would be difficult, if not
impossible, to replicate a few centuries later, as some liberal scholars have
contended. It is possible that James was a collation of his sermons put together
by a scribe later in time. If so, this does not take away from the actual veracity or
the date and author. The only difference would be when it was edited and
distributed, and this still would be prior to 70 A.D.

Destination: How James addresses the letter, and that the Gentiles are not
mentioned, (as they come into the Church after 50 A.D.) are also strong
indications for an early date (Acts 8:1). Thus, at this time, this letter was written to
a church that was primarily Jewish, to the twelve tribes (1:1). Also, the mention of
assembly or meeting in the Greek (2:2) refers to a synagogue. Furthermore,
James uses the Hebrew term Lord Almighty or Lord of the Sabbath (5:4)
meaning “Lord of Hosts.” Thus, the letter was intended for the first Christians who
were mostly, if not, all Jews. Fear not, if you are not a Jew, because the rest of
us have been grafted in; thus, this letter is for you, too (Rom. 11:17-21)!

Canonicity: In contrast to Matthew, that was the darling of the Church without
controversy or argument, James was the most contested Epistle of the New
Testament, barely making it in the canon. This letter was not fully embraced by
the Early Church as Scripture. Many only took it as a set of new proverbs; since it
was not from an apostle, it was not theological enough and did not contain a
significant amount of direct quotations from Jesus, so they saw it as a mere
commentary that was profitable but not canonical. The authority was not in
question, nor was fault found in it as with other Gospels that were not included
such as 1 Clement. However, it was not used much in the Church. Just as today,
people did not like to be convicted, and James is a book about convictions!
People discredited it, but as time went on, it gained more acceptance. Eusebius
and Jerome put their stamp of approval on it; finally, in 397 A.D., at the Council of
Carthage, James was recognized as authoritative. Ironically, it may have been
the first written, yet the last approved! What swayed them? They realized that
James contains the very words and very thoughts of our Lord. See the outline
below!

Theological Value: The lack of theological value does not take away from the
importance, as James contains the application of theology. It is far more valuable
to do what Jesus says than just believe and not do! Ironically, James does
contain a lot of theological value apart from faith without works is dead. It has a
good presence of the doctrines of God, as in His generosity, holiness,
unchanging, goodness, sovereignty, justice, mercy, and His concern for us (1:5,
17; 2:19; 3:9; 4:15; 5:11). James also gives us a Doctrine of Sin, its indwelling of
all humanity, giving of death, its anger, it is filthy, it blasphemes, it is prejudiced,
bitter, lustful, its universality, evil, pride, and its oppression (1:14-15, 20-21; 2:7,
9-11; 3:2; 4:1-4, 6; 5:4). Even though the Church was not formed yet, James
gives a glimpse of Eschatology (end times)—the end of the Church; we will be
rewarded, our hope is eternity, God’s Kingdom is coming, Judgment will come,
and Jesus will return (1:12; 2:5, 12; 3:1; 5:7-8). Also, Jesus is called God (1:1;
2:1), we are regenerated (1:18), salvation is from Christ alone (1:21), faith that is
real will show fruit (2:14-26), justification is by faith alone (2:21-25), and our sins
will be forgiven (5:15). James, indeed, is a book of theological value and
eminence!

The great Reformer Martin Luther called this a “Strawy” Epistle (meaning
made of feeble straw that does not hold up),” because he thought it contradicted
the rest of the veracity of Scripture, especially of Paul and the Romans. However,
with all due respect to one of the Reformation’s great heroes, he got this one
wrong. James does not contradict Paul; in fact, they complement and dovetail
nicely into each other (Rom. 5:1-5 vs. James 1:2-8). Luther should have saw that
James enlightens us further to put more action to our faith. Luther was concerned
about how we become a Christian and James was concerned how to act like
one, so they are like two ships that missed each other in the night. However,
there is no contradiction, because all three, Luther, Paul, and James would
whole-heartedly agree that real faith produces real works. James is not about
salvation; it is about holiness, as in living as a Christian. While other critics of
James said he was about legalism, this, too, is not true. We are not forced to
comply to the precepts of James or Paul; rather, because we know God loves us,
we should be grateful and strive to live a purpose filled life. And, Paul
encourages and extols us to holy living as, of course, our Lord does in the
Gospels.

Genre: The type of literature is a Greek essay for exhortation called “Parenesis.”
It is literally a series of short exhortation sermons. James is a book of exhortation
that is intended to persuade, incite, advise, counsel, and rebuke us while
encouraging us to be responsible with our faith. James is calling Christians to
take their faith seriously and not recklessly.

James is perhaps based as a commentary from Psalm 15, and


incorporates Classic Jewish wisdom, some Greek stoic philosophy, Greek
rhetorical insights (indicating his higher education level) and some of his Bothers
teachings (Matthew chapters 5-7). It is possible these were sermons and writings
(proverbs) from James that were collected and turned into this Epistle after his
death, but this is speculation. It is more probable that this is a single, polished
work from James to encourage and extol the Early Church and prepare them for
the coming persecutions. This is referred to as a “letter-essay.” Epistles, such as
this and of Paul’s, were copied and delivered by messengers who also gave the
introductions, further explanations, purpose, and updated happenings. However,
textual research clearly shows that this Epistle is polished and unified and is
perhaps a single work by James that he drew from his own previous material like
any author does today. Keep in mind that paper and ink were some of the most
expensive possessions and the cost would amount to several months of salary!
That is why they are short and to the point! Remember, God uses the
personality, culture, and words of the writer to convey His most precious, inerrant
Word!

The Masada

Outline (James draws principally from Psalm 15 and Matthew, chapters 5


through 7)

Chapter 1: How do we react to pressure? Faith will not break when it is real,
even when times are dire. We are stable because who we are in Christ and not
because of our circumstances.
I. Trials are a part of life.
1:1 Greetings
1:2-4 Seeking Jesus to deal with problems! We can declare them joy
(Matt. 5:11-12; Luke 6:22-23)
1:5 Seeking wisdom to deal with life; receiving from God (Matt. 7:7; Luke
11:19)
1: 6--8! Asking for faith and not doubting (Matt. 21:-22; Mark 11:22-24)

II. Temptations will come.


1: 9-11 Humbleness, and seeking the proper perspective on life (Matt.
13:6; 23:12; Mark 4:7; Luke 14:11; 18:14)

III. How will you handle trials and guard against impurity?
1:12 Importance of perseverance (Matt. 5:11-12)
1:13-18 Holding on to the goodness of God (Matt. 7:12; 19:16; Luke 6:27,
35)

IV. We have to be doers of the Word, not just hearers.


1:19-20 The importance of listening (Matt. 7:11; Luke 6:46-49).
1:21-27 Our call to be compassionate toward those who hurt (Matt. 25:34-
36)

Chapter 2: When Faith is authentic, it will show it in our lives. We will have real,
dependable love that transitions into respect for God, for others, and for
ourselves!

I. Favoritism and prejudices.


2:1-4 Paying attention to what is important (Luke 12:21)
2:5 The poor will inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5; Luke 6:20)

II. Apathy and wrong mindsets.


2:6-9 Love your neighbor as your self (Matt. 22:39; Mark 12:30-31)
2: 10-12 Do not break the commandments (Matt. 5:19)
2:13 Mercy triumphs over Judgment (Prov. 21:13)
2:14-26

III. Obedience and action are the proofs of faith.


2: 11-13 Faith without works is meaningless (Matt. 18:23-34; 25:41-46)
2:14-26 We show our friendship with God by our obedience (Matt. 7:21-23,
26; 21:28-32; John 15:13-15)

Chapter 3: When our faith is real, we will show control and humility. We will have
constructive ways of being encouraging by our communication!

I. How we use our words reflects what is in our soul.


3:1 Teachers are more responsible (Mark 9:38-40; Luke 20:45-47)
3:2 We are judged by our words (Matt. 12:37)
3:3-6 Real corruption comes from our mouth (Matt. 15:11, 18; Mark
7:15,20; Luke 6:45)
3:7-12 We cannot do both good and evil together (Matt. 7:16-20; Luke
6:43-44)

II. How we express our attitude shows how real our faith is.
3:13-15 Bitterness and envy destroy relationships and opportunities (Prov.
13:30; 27:4)
3: 16-18 Blessed are the peacemakers (Matt. 5:9)

Chapter 4: When faith is working, we will be expressing patience. We will be


able to handle conflict and strife and resolve the tough issues of life!

I. How we control our desires shows whether we want God’s will or ours.
4:1-3 Desires will consume us (Matt. 4:39)
4:4 Spiritual adultery (Mark 8:38)
4:5 Friendship with the world means being enemies of God (John 15 18-
21)

II. Pride destroys


4:6 God hates pride and loves humility (Psalm 49; Luke 14:11)

III. Humility shows our devotion


4:7 Flee from the devil (Matt. 12:26-28)
4:8 Submit to God (Matt. 26:39)
4:9 Laughter turns into mourning (Matt. 5:4; Luke 6:25)
4:10 God is the One to lift us up (Matt. 12:17-20; Luke 3:16)

IV. We have no right to judge


4:11 Do not slander (Matt. 7:1-2)
4:12 Only God has the right to judge (Matt. 10:28)
4:13-16 Do not plan ahead without God (Luke 12:18-20)
4:17 We sin when we know God’s will but do not do it (Luke 12:47-48)

Chapter 5: When we are patient, we are persevering. We will have confidence


and hope in life whatever we face because who we are in Christ.

I. How we handle our money shows our devotion and what matters to us.
5:1 Woes to the rich and to corruption (Luke 6:24)
5:2-4 Wealth in time is all worthless (Matt. 6:19-20))
5:5-6 Self indulgence is sin and is of no benefit (Luke 16:19-20, 25)

II. Patience perseveres our faith.


5:7 Be patient (Luke 18:1-8)
5: 8-9 Watch because Jesus will return (Matt. 24:33; Mark 13:35-39)
5:10 The Prophets are our example (Matt. 5:10-12)

III. We are called to act with kindness to others.


5:11 God is kind to us (Psalm 94:12; Job 1:21-22)
5:12 Do not swear oaths (Matt. 5:33-37)
5:13-14 Meeting needs of others (Psalm 50:14-15)
5:15-18 Power of prayer (Matt. 6:6-8; Luke 11:2-4)

IV. Our call to care and bring back those who stray from the faith.
5:19-21 Our call to help restore the stray sheep (Matt. 18:15)

The final thought about James? Our short-term setbacks will produce
long-term results that glorify our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Psalm 15: A Primer for James

Using Our Faith To Live the Life To Which We Have Been Called !

Before we get into James directly, let us look at Psalm 15 for a general
overview and a primer to the precepts we will learn and be challenged by. As a
Christian, you should desire to grow beyond just being saved, right? Being
“saved” is being justified by faith for what Christ has done for us. This assures us
of eternal life, but is that all? Is there more to the story? No, for Grace; yes, for
obedience! Saved? Yes, we are! But, what good is it if we do nothing with our
faith? This is what James is addressing. A criticism of Christians by secularists
and people whom the church has failed (those who have been hurt by spiritual
abuse, gossip, slander, etc.) is that they are hypocrites; they like to take the
“cheap grace” and then live their lives as if nothing that Christ did really mattered.
The criticism goes on to say that many Christians just seek salvation like a “fire
insurance policy” against going to hell. Thus, their lives do not show any real
commitment to being a disciple. Character, fruit, maturity, and integrity seem to
be absent! James is a book of practical living, which challenges us away from
just being saved to where the “rubber” of our faith “meets the road” of life. It is a
scary book because it requires a response, as does Psalm 15.

The opposite end of this coin of doing nothing with our faith is legalism--
the forced practice of being good by means of a set of rules and regulations.
Even though these rules may be good, they come from obligation and not from a
heart of gratitude. Sanctification is not a part of legalism because the qualities of
Christ we are called to emulate are not present. Psalm 15 and James are about
living out a life of holiness, not because we have to, or we feel compelled by
obligation; rather, because we want to please the Father, we want to grow in
Christ, and we want to be empowered by the Spirit. It is not about receiving our
salvation; it is about what we do with it once we have it. Does our life make a
difference or are we just saved? And, if so, James and Psalm 15 say, “so what!”

Many commentators over the last two millennia have noticed that James is
a succession of sermons based on Jesus’ own words and Psalm 15 (See James
Background Article). Psalm 15 is about righteousness and ethics. It is called an
“entrance liturgy” about how we approach God in His Tabernacle, the tent
dwelling prior to the building of the Temple. Priests were not allowed to approach
God in a wrong attitude or for personal agendas or with just ceremonies; rather
with a heart of virtue (Lev. 10; 22:2). For us, it is how we worship and treat God
and how God desires us to be to others (Psalm 1; 24:3-6; 33:14-16), as our
personal agendas will cloud His work in us. This Psalm is a crucial image of how
we are to approach God and how we are to live our lives (Col. 1:1-8). It is a
template to James, his life, his work, and his Epistle. It should also be our
template on how we approach God and life with others! This Psalm is also an
excellent way to analyze to see if Christ is indeed working in you! Do you wonder
if you are really learning and receiving His Truth? Do you wonder if you are really
willing, and able to impart His Word, Fruit, and Character to others, as we have
been called to? Then, this is the Psalm to impact you, for you to memorize and
live by! This is the Psalm for the Christian who is real, authentic, and desires to
glorify our Lord, model His precepts, and be impacting to others! These are the
traits of faith that will produce results in a life that is victorious and impacting
(Phil. 1:6; 3:7-11; 4:4-9). Being wiling and able to develop your faith and Christian
walk will help, along with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, to build your
maturity and character (Gal. 5:22-23; 2 Pet. 1:5-11).

As Christians who desire to grow in Christ and be more than we are now,
we must come to the point that we allow the search and conviction of the Holy
Spirit upon our lives to the very core of our souls (2 Cor. 13:5)! Once this
happens, the result will be more faith and more use of ourselves to Christ. The
result for your church will be more focus upon His precepts and increased prayer,
which will bring an outpouring of the Spirit and renewal! This will impact your
neighborhood and the world in which you live. It all starts with your determination
to encompass the faith He has given you and obey! What is stopping you?

The wondrous privilege we have is that because of Grace, we may be


able to “dwell in the Lord’s Sanctuary” and place our home “on His Holy Hill.” But,
what good will it be if we do not show our gratitude and obedience for what He
has done by living out His principles!

If you are wondering if you have growing faith and a mature walk with
Christ or if you need the precepts to know what to do, the results of the former
will be:

• Walking with integrity and honesty, genuine and just to God and to others!
• Worshiping, rejoicing, and praising Christ as Lord!
• Teaching God’s Truth with power, conviction, and clarity!
• Restraining the tongue that reflects the soul!
• Working and living for righteousness and truth!
• Modeling Christ’s love to others!
• Always humble, generous, gentle, and kind!
• Not over-worrying, but trusting in the Lord!
• Committed to the importance and practice of prayer!
• Speaking from the heart with love!
• No gossiping, slandering or lying—or even listening to it!
• Not doing evil or reproaching others!
• Despising ungodliness!
• Honoring people who fear and respect the Lord!
• Not being influenced by power or position—of self, or of others!
• Not being corrupt!
• Not extorting, manipulating, or using people for false gains!
• Not taking bribes or fighting against the innocent!
• Allowing the Holy Sprit to direct your life!
• Swearing to one’s own oath and keeping promises!

Those who do these things will never be shaken!!!

What are the results? Usually, when we treat others well they reciprocate
and treat us well, too. These are the instruments used to determine character
and how one has taken in and used faith. These gauges do not lie. If these
precepts are weak, functioning improperly, or not at all, then there is something
definitely wrong and you need to get on your knees and into His Word. Without a
real, working faith, you will not be able to be used by God to build His Church!
(Prov. 26:10)! Need help? Of course you do; we all do! I know I do! This is one
of the roles of the Holy Spirit. So, commit yourself in prayer to Him to strive with
all of your strength and with His guidance to implement these principles!
Remember, we will not be perfect; we will have times of failure. The call for us is
not perfection; it is to strive in this direction with all of our faith, mindset, and
resources available!

Real faith will cause the above principles to work from you to those around
you! A real, called, mature Christian—especially a church leader—must follow
these principles from a heart and a desire to please God, resulting from the work
of the Spirit within him or her. A pretender or false teacher in the pulpit will not
exhibit these characteristics either publicly or privately!

Questions:

1. How do you feel when a Christian is dishonest or gossips to you? Why is this
bad?
2. How well can you relate to these principles from Psalm 15? Are they realistic
and practical for you, for today? Why, or why not? What do you think? Do
your thoughts mesh with Psalm 15 and the rest of Scripture?

3. Read Eph. 2:8-9 and James 2:14. Compare and contrast these passages.
How do they differ? How are they the same?

4. How can your growth in Faith and Character impact your church?

5. Some Christians put their emphases on what they believe, while others
emphasize on how they are to behave. What are the values of belief and
knowledge, and how does this relate to how we react in life?

6. Look at each of these “Principals” and answer the question, how have you
applied these to yourself, your family, your friends, your church, and people in
general?

7. Why would you or a church not want to follow these principles?

8. What about ways to demonstrate these principles to others around you so


that it affects “who you are” in your personality and deeds? In doing so, you
not only hear what God says, but truly listen and apply His “principles” in all
that you do.

9. What happens when we are not following these or other godly principles?

10. What would be the characteristics of a pretender or false teacher? Would he


or she model the above precepts? How would you know?

11. Our focus must be on edifying and encouraging. So, what can you and/or
your church do to make this a priority?

12. Which of the stanzas of Psalm 15 strike at you so that you need to deal with it
in your own life? When, and how will you?

13. How will these principles be used to build your faith and church?

14. How can you improve your spiritual walk so you can be the person who
models Psalm 15?

15. Can you think of other practical ways to demonstrate these principles in your
life?
Listening and not doing is wrong; but to obey what the Word of God
reveals in Psalm 15 is being a real disciple! Because of Grace, we may be able
to “dwell in the Lord’s Sanctuary” and place our home “on His Holy Hill,” but what
good will it be if we do not show our gratitude and obedience for what He has
done by living out His principles? Remember the last verse: “He who does these
things will never be shaken.”

Let us use our lives for His glory so we point people to Christ with passion,
integrity, and consistency!

© 1992, 2004 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

James 1:1-4 Seeking Jesus to Deal with Problems!

The general idea: James begins his Epistle in a very direct and blunt way. He
tells us that the key to dealing with our problems is to keep our eyes upon Christ,
allowing Him to be not only Savior but also Lord. James is addressing the new
Church that was starting to become complacent when suddenly Steven was
martyred (Acts 7:54-60). A wake up call is being pronounced that Christianity is
dangerous and requires a level of faith that some may not be willing to give.
Hardy anyone in the first century thought that becoming a Christian could bring
loss and suffering, they were only seeing the liberation from the Law. James is
saying that our faith is not to be cheap and he gives us a warning that trials are
coming so we had better be prepared for them!

For us to survive suffering and grow in maturity, we must have a real,


authentic faith. Our eyes must be on Him as well as our trust and faith. God must
have us in Him, all of us—every aspect (Phil. 3)! Why do we need to allow
ourselves to surrender to Him? One of the reasons that James implies is that
problems are not an “if,” they are a “when!” We will face problems; they are
inevitable, unavoidable, and unpredictable, and no one is immune! How we deal
with them is crucial for our contentment and faith. We cannot deal with them
effectively without Christ as Lord! He gives us the attitude of joy and the ability to
persevere! This attitude of joy is also a key attribute for an athlete in order to
excel on the field as well as for a Christian to grow in the Lord. What will you do?
Surrender to Him or live unto yourself (Job 14:1; Psalm 34:14; John 3:30; 2 Cor.
4:7-12; Gal. 2:20-21; 1 Peter 4:12)?

James simply tells us we can actually profit from trials. The key is for us to
look to Christ, not to our situation, and declare our circumstances as joy. We are
to be content and satisfied, to face them, and then learn and grow from them.
This does not mean to give up and do nothing; it means to refocus our energies
into productivity and faith—not questions and bitterness. It is to have our
convictions and fulfillment in Christ, not circumstances. So, when something very
difficult comes upon us, we will have the great comfort that God is in control and
will not allow us to carry more than we can tolerate.

Vs. 1 a: James starts out his book by massive humbleness in confessing who
Jesus is. James is so indebted to his Lord and Savior, that he calls himself a
slave to Jesus. He is not speaking of one who is in forced bondage, rather one
who has been freed and still desires to serve Jesus with all of his life and
strength, to glorify Him. James realized that his life and purpose was all about
who God is, and not who he is (Psalm 15; 101; 2 Thess. 1:12; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter
1:1).

• James is a form of Jacob (Gen. 49) (see introductory article).

• Bondservant, in Greek times, meant the lowest form of a slave, totally at the
master’s disposal and even expendable. They rowed the boats of war with a
whip at their back (Rom. 9:3). This is a profound testimony for James (1 Cor.
15:3-8)! For us, it means total, surrendered devotion to the Lord; our will has
been sacrificed to God's will and thus we are totally at the disposal of our
Lord (Acts 6:1-6; Rom. 12:7; Gal. 1:15; 2:20; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 2:8-3:13; 4:6)!

Vs. 1b: James desire was to communicate with passion, conviction, clarity, and
truth, the key essential issues facing them as Apostles, as Churches, and as
followers of Christ. These are the same issues we have today.

• Twelve tribes, refers to all those who are Jewish. At this time (and still in ours)
ten out of the twelve tribes are scattered and lost. It can also refer to all
Christians, since, as Christians, we are spiritually grafted in as Jews (Rom.
11:17-21; 1 Peter 1:1).

Vs. 2: We are to look at whatever situation we face and say this is good, this will
better me, or this will help me. I may not understand it, but I can trust God; He is
there and He will carry me through it! We are called to declare our situation,
whatever it may be, as joy! Because, it is not a question of if we have problems
but when, as we all will face them. There is no escape living in our corporeal
bodies and in a sinful world (Gal. 3:26; Col. 3:1-4)!!

• Brethren means “fellow believers,” as a respectful and endearing greeting.

• As Christians, we are all bothers and sisters under God. We are family, and
need to treat others in Him with the same reverence and endearment as
Christ has given us!

• Count it joy refers to declaring our situation as happy and fulfilling. It is to


change our mindset and focus. It is realizing the sovereignty of God and that
He is in control, even when life seems to be turned upside down and inside
out!

• Joy will allow us to enjoy our relationship with Christ, His creation, and others,
regardless of our circumstances, with an expression of delight and real,
authentic happiness that comes from and with harmony with God and others.
(Psalm 32:7-9; Proverbs 15:13; John 15:11; 17:13; 2 Cor. 12:9; 1 Peter 4:13-
19; Heb 10:34)

• Joy helps us understand God’s perspective and gives us the confidence and
patience to endure anything!

• Joy is not happiness, because we may not be content and pleased with it;
rather, joy is hope; it is our hope. It is not a meager wish, rather the
unshakable confidence in our future in Christ. Our pleasure comes from
knowing He is in charge and caring for us (Psalm 34:1-8; 1 Thess. 5:18)!

• Trials refer to persecution, but can also refer to any harsh circumstance that
is not under our control, such as adversity or some temptations like lust and
greed (they creep up, but we can still deal with temptations). It also refers, in
this context, to poverty—oppression that the poor experience, not as any fault
of their own (James 1:9-11; 2:5-6; 5:1-6)!

• Testing refers to the circumstances that God allows so we will learn


perseverance, produce our fruit, and prove and develop our faith further. This
gives us our maturity, our character, and enables our fruit to benefit others.
These are for our direct benefit and growth that He works out for our benefit
and for His glory (Romans 5:3; chap. 8).

We need to realize that we have no control over what happens to us at times,


whether it be trials, suffering, setbacks, injury, sickness, or death of a loved one.
We only have control of our attitude and response. We are called to choose to
declare our situation joy! We cannot change our circumstances; however, we can
accept them by learning and growing from them (Isa. 26:3). It does no good to
complain, to fret, or to be angry or bitter, as these things do neither others nor us
any good. All that complaining just escalates the situation and blinds us to our
ability to be better and not bitter! Real, authentic, Christian maturity will grow as a
result of our problems. They will strengthen us and make us better, stronger, and
able to get over things faster and get on with our lives. Then, we will be able to
be of better use to God and to others.

Vs. 3-4: Our Lord comforts us with the assurance that when we go through tough
stuff, even testing and trials, we will be better for it! Our setbacks and sufferings
will produce greater character and maturity in us; we will gain patience and our
faith will grow and be strengthened. When we see Christ, we have confidence
that we will be complete.
• Patience is “staying power.” It is like perseverance and the endurance to not
give up; it is about actively overcoming our situation—not just sitting,
accepting, and doing nothing (Hos. 2:19-23; Psalm 33:20; Matt. 27:14; Rom.
5:3; 12:12; Gal. 5:1; 6:9; Col. 1:11; James 1:3-4,12; 5:10-11)!

• Stoic philosophy, popular then, states that we can control our responses but
not our fate. Thus, we have no choice but to be content.

• Our faith and learning leads to our growth and development that further leads
to helping others in their situations (Romans 5:3-5; 8:28; James 1:14-15; 1
Peter 1:5-7).

Patience will help allow us to receive and participate in God’s love


because it builds loyalty and faithfulness, as in the life of Hosea. It will take us
beyond our comfort zone, into an area we do not want to go. Yet, when we do,
we are better and more able to be used by God and to be available for others.
Patience is not an excuse to do nothing, as it requires an action and a response;
so, wait for the right time and in the meanwhile learn and grow! Patience is
looking to hope and a time when there will be no more tears (Rev. 7:17; 21:4),
and when we will fully realize the wondrous purpose for which God created us.
Patience is not a finished product; it is a “beta site.” That means it is in process
and waiting for updated design, refit, and then placement! Patience also needs
persistence, to which this passage testifies (1 John 3:1-3)!

Applying His Precepts to our life!

There are two ways most people deal with trials; the first is to ignore them,
and the second is to panic. The first group can think all they want that, well, that
will never happen to me, but it will. The others can panic all they want, but panic
never solved anything. We have to literally change our mindset and consider the
trials as Joy. We are to take our lead from biblical considerations and the leading
of the Spirit—not the leading of ignorance or panic. This means we will see trials
from God's perspective and not ours or the worlds. Trials do not mean despair;
they mean opportunity and growth. They have a purpose. They are not God’s
original plan, but are, however, the one we have now because of sin. Do not
despair; we have the assurance of God's providential care. We have the
assurance of God's love, and that He is indeed in control!

Why do we struggle? To produce and enhance our faith, character and


excellence! If not, we produce despair from our callousness, carelessness, and
laziness. Just like in building muscles, it takes work. A bodybuilder or an
Olympian needs to work out several hours a day several days a week to compete
and succeed. A Christian needs to do the same in His Word; so, we can choose
to grow deeper in Him or not. Just be aware. If we do not, we will just sit on the
sidelines as the game of life passes us by and the carnal life takes us over (Rom.
8:1-11)! Our working out in our faith through struggle and trials means our
triumph and growth (Rom. 8:31-39). No, we do not like trials; we never need seek
them because they will always seek us. However, for our benefit and others’
encouragement and mentoring, we may as well let them teach and train us for
our Lord’s Glory. Otherwise our impulsiveness and self-interests will distract us
from our Lord and His plan. We may just keep repeating the problem until we
learn what we need to learn! If not, we gain nothing but despair, and how sad
that would be! We do not need material things and our ways fulfilled to make us
complete. Jesus makes us complete. He is perfect and His perfection covers us
and makes us whole!

James 1:5-8 Seeking Wisdom to Deal with Life!

The general idea: James is addressing Christians who are relying on


themselves and not really wholeheartedly seeking after God. He implores us to
literally beg for wisdom because we are empty in of ourselves. If we do not seek
wisdom, but remain in our own thinking, we will be un-tethered like a small boat
without an anchor in a storm, tossed and tumbled in the waves of stress and life.
We will be literally unstable mentally, relationally, and spiritually without our
Lord’s direction!

We, as Christians, need wisdom to take us through all of the avenues of life,
especially through the hard times of stress and suffering. If we do not seek
wisdom, we will never learn from our mistakes and experiences. We will never
grow and, in fact, we just may keep repeating the same mistakes over and over.
How sad it would be to go through a tough time and not get anything out of it! It
would just be a waste, an empty experience void of meaning or benefit to us, or
others around us. Without wisdom, we will neither learn His precepts nor have
His wisdom and help. We will not be infused with faith; therefore, the ways of our
self and the world will toss us about until we drown in anxiety and despair. Our
life will have been a vapor that had little meaning or benefit—a life wasted
instead of a life triumphant. What is the key? It is learning that our hope is in the
Lord, not in our expectations (Psalm 25:4-5; Mark 9:17-27; John 16:33; 2 Cor.
12:7-10; 11:23-27; Heb. 12: 6-10)!

Vs. 5-6: We are to accept God’s plan for our life and then ask for wisdom to deal
with it, not seeking what we think or want, or what others who are less mature
have to say; rather, we are to seek God and His Word to give us the knowledge
to grow and to get through. God assures us that when we seek Him, He will
respond. When we ask for wisdom, He will give it to us! The key is to ask by faith.
This is the confidence in God’s power that without doubt, He is there and He will
help. For, if we doubt, we will not have confidence, and we will be tossed, by our
struggles, to the point that they drown us.
• Wisdom is not just knowledge and information; rather, it is practical, spiritual
insight from God’s values and then application of righteousness and truth. It
means to be wise, as in understanding, to ask God for comprehension, what
His perspective is, to cooperate with Him, not just asking why, but rather how
we can learn and grow. It is also a response of being godly, how we can
please God in character and maturity (Prov. 1:2-4; 2:10-15; 4:5-9; 9:10-12; 1
Kings 3; Heb. 5:14).

• Ask God, means to beg God passionately, realizing we are helpless and in
great need. He is the source of wisdom and the One we are to go to for all
aspects of life! He will grant our request as long as it is sincere and in His will
(1 Kings 3:5-9; Prov. 2:6; Luke 11:9; James 4:2; 1 John 3:21-24; 5:14-15)!

• Tossed refers to being unstable, immature, and weak in faith (Eph. 4:14-16).
We only become un-tossed by the Anchor of who Christ is in us, and pursuing
Him!

• Sea is a term that drove fear into Jews then; they did not venture into the
ocean, but relied on others to do that in fishing and commerce (Isa. 57:20).

• Be given. Life is about pleasing God, not pleasing one’s self! It is about
abandoning our desires and focusing on Him! His plan is far better than our
desires!

• Faith is our object and loyalty. Christ is what we hope for; Christ is what is to
be seen! Faith is the promise of God that gives us the hope and confidence,
so we can receive, act on, obey, and trust God’s promises because God is
sovereign and trustworthy. Faith will help us perceive the world by what its
potential is, not just by the suffering we experience and see. This helps us be
implanted with hope (Matt. 6:33; John 14:9; Rom. 12:2; Phil. 4:8; Hebrews
11:1).

• Doubt comes when we are not exercising our faith. We will be consumed
with doubt and distrust—the opposite of God’s call and plan for us. We will
lose our trust and hope that God is in control! When we do this, we will lose or
miss out on seeing God come through with His promises!

We may not understand our problems or ever get a reason, as Job did not;
however, we can still trust in Him who loves us and is “caring” us through! Do you
accept His caring? It is sad how so few Christians, when faced with problems,
will really seek and rely on God. They tend to only see their situation, cowering in
bitterness and anger, even aiming that anger toward God. They do not see that
He is, indeed, in control (2 Cor. 4:7-12). Thus, many Christians withdraw into
isolation, bitterness, and denial, and avoid His true love and plan for them. We
have to learn to learn; we have to grow, so we can grow. If not, we stagnate and
our circumstances will sink us. We have been given victory. That is what the
Christian experience is all about, our victory over sin and despair by what Christ
has done on our behalf. If we do not declare the victory, we will only see defeat.
Even though we already have the victory, we will be defeated!

Doubts should not derail us unless it is the Holy Spirit saying we are going in
the wrong direction. To know the difference, be in prayer. Take comfort; the
impossible becomes the possible in Christ (Matt. 21:21-22)! Doubt will hinder you
greatly in your service and growth in Christ; doubt can actually cancel out your
prayer and His work in you! We are not called to be perfect, as He uses our
weakness and failures, but doubt is like putting our shoes on backwards; we will
be uncomfortable, hurt, and not go very far! Doubt will greatly hinder us! We have
to see how much God loves and cares for us, so we do not need to doubt! Have
sin and discouragement got you by the heel or throat? Seek out why you are
doubting; is there a good reason, or are past experiences and fears hindering
you (Luke 11:10)?

We have to take the initiative to reach out and accept His Hand; allow Him
lead you out. Do not try to swim by yourself, as the waters of life are too strong;
the currents and tides of desires and wrong opportunities will overwhelm us.
Anticipate what may lie ahead and prepare; this is James’ whole point!
Unequivocally, we have to reach out for Christ and Him only! We can choose not
to be bitter, rather be better!

Vs. 7-8: What we receive from God is good. What we receive from self and
others, with personal agendas that are not centered on God, will be bad and
distract us from our growth. If we are being real with our spiritual formation, we
will realize our need for Christ and our continual need for His wisdom (Matt. 5:3)!

• Double minded refers to being unstable emotionally and in thoughts, like a


split personality or schizophrenia. It also means to be a person who has two
souls in conflict, two desires that cannot be reconciled, two masters who ask
different things at the same time. This is “I want my will and God’s will.” This
just cannot be!

• Doubt, along with double-minded, is also a form of inconsistent living and


hypocrisy, and is greatly condemned by God. It is saying one thing and doing
another (1 Chron. 12:33; Psalm 12:2; Matt. 6:24; James 4:8). This is also
indecision! It is not being willing to make up your mind and go in the right
direction!

• Unstable. We are called to make decisions based on God’s values and not
our ideas or indecisions. How does our decision affect others? How is it
relational and beneficial to others and God’s glory?

Disappointments are the collision between our expectations and experiences,


while ignoring the signposts of God’s promises. Our expectations will collide with
our experiences and then create a wrecked life of self-pity and resentment. Or,
that can lead to a triumphant life. The choice is ours and the key is where we
look for our hope! This is about our circumstances and how we look at our Lord.
How we see adversity and His sovereignty will totally affect how we learn and
deal with it (Phil 1:27-30). Unanchored stress and disappointments along with
detachment from looking to God, will take us away from seeing His signposts of
precepts. Thus, we ignore God’s plan and this dumps us in the middle of a
tossed sea (Job 23:10; Rom. 5:3-5; 1 Thess. 5:16-18). We cannot just expect
God to get us through without any effort on our part. To grow, we have to
struggle and work it out (Phil. 2). It is the struggle that helps us; it is what builds
us and forms us. Without it, there is no growth or real impacting faith, honest
character, genuine patience, or maturity (Prov. 3:5-6; 20:30; Job. 36:5; Rom.
8:28-29; 2 Cor. 1:9; 1 Peter 1:6-7). When we do not rely on God, we are, in fact,
not taking care of ourselves by helping Him out; rather we are insulting Him!

The key is to learn to take your life and your surroundings as they are, and
then strive to build them to what they can be for His glory, not just as you wanted
it. If our hearts and minds are divided between seeking God or seeking
ourselves, we will become double minded and unstable. We will become
spiritually and emotionally unstable and thus sink in the waves of stress and life!
We will literally be torn apart spiritually and physically by our stress and worry,
because we have not yielded to Him. Let go and let God; allow your
wholehearted devotion to be on Christ and not on yourself. God will not make
your decisions for you; you need to seek His precepts and distil what is best for
value’s and character’s sake; then, He will enable us to form it and grow (Isa.
26:3; Matt. 6:33)

What do I do when I am overwhelmed? Ask God for help; for He is able!


Trust in His control! He is the God who can keep us walking above the waves,
and keep us alive and going when we are under them! Go through His Word,
seek what you are to learn, how you can get through, and for wisdom. If we do
not learn, all those “waves” will just be a waste, and perhaps we will keep going
through them until we do learn (Psalm 142:1-7; John 7:17; 1 Peter 1:6-7). Do not
escalate your situation by complaining, or distort it by denial, bitterness, or
isolation! Do not be dumb, trapped in your own anger and regret. Be smart; be a
Christian who learns and grows and who is committed to obedience, spiritual
growth, and maturity. Instead of moaning, seek His grace to solve the situation!
Do not blame, or seek fault in others or yourself; rather, get on with life and your
commitment to Christ. Allow His amazing work in you! Resistance to God, our
bad attitudes, and anger only cause us more harm, choosing for ourselves to be
tossed by the seas of life without hope or purpose. Let Christ be your anchor, or
else you will drown and your life will be a series of wasted opportunities. When
you could have and should have grown, you will have squandered His call and
put your energies into complaints, and your mindsets and attitudes into bitterness
and anger. We need to come to the point that we trust in the Lord, regardless of
how good or how bad life is, for it is temporary. What we learn will be eternal
(John 7:17-18)!

The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive
Bible Study):

1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?

3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?

4. Is there a sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

5. How can I be changed so I can learn and grow?

6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my
listening to God?

7. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

8. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

Additional Questions:

1. Are you impulsive? Why and how so? How does this benefit your personal
life? How can it distract you from growing in faith? What would be a healthy
Biblical balance for you to be free and spontaneous yet be pious and reliant
on Him?

2. What is not right in your life that needs wisdom and attention from God?

3. What causes you to be unstable? What do you need to do to become more


stable and to have an Anchor for the storms of life?

4. How can you become more confident that God gives us the plan and the
victory?

5. What do you do when you are overwhelmed? Because of this passage, what
will you do now?

6. Why do Christians need wisdom to take us though the avenues of life? What
happens if we do not seek wisdom? How will never learning from our
mistakes and experiences affect us as well as others?
7. How would you define Wisdom?

8. How do you make decisions? How can this passage help you be more
decisive?

9. How does Faith give us the promise of God, hope, and confidence? How will
you receive, act on, obey, and trust in God’s promises?

10. What happens when Doubt comes into your life? What will you do about it
next time it happens?

11. How can you better deal with your expectations and experiences so they do
not turn into disappointments?

12. How can you learn to take your life and your surroundings as they are, and
then strive to become what you can be for His glory, not just for what you
want? What would your life be like then? How would you benefit others?

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he
trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock
eternal. Isaiah 26:3-4

James 1: 9-11 Seeking the Proper Perspective on Life!

General idea: This passage is about our eternal perspective! James’ premise is
to move us to more maturity by moving our mindset away from false beliefs and
ideas. What we tend to pursue, in our desires in life, is meaningless against the
backdrop of seeking faith and the call that Christ gives us. How do we keep on
His track? Perspective! Perspective is the mental view or outlook of what we see
in our world, our circumstances, our situation, and our Lord. The reality and
outcome of our viewpoints influences our beliefs that in turn influence our attitude
which affects our actions. This is also called “worldview.” It is a position which will
dramatically and dogmatically affects our outcome in trials and in life. How do
you look at the world? Is it for what you can get out of it and what is in it for me,
or is it for what you can learn and grow? The answer will determine your
character, maturity, spiritual growth, how you deal with problems, and how you
can make your situation positive and meaningful! Without proper perspective, we
will be torn apart by our desires and the world’s influence, while our faith and
God’s precepts are being ignored.

Perspective is also the hope we are to have because of the reality of Christ’s
redemption. Our hope is anchored because He paid our debt. Because of this,
we will realize that He is more than able to carry us through whatever happens to
us. We will be able to see beyond the appearance of our circumstances and into
the depths of our significance in Christ. Then, our thinking will cause us to see
interrelations and outcomes that are pleasing to Him.

Vs. 9-10: Money (greed and corruption), sex (unhealthy relationships), and
power (pride and arrogance that oppresses others) are of no use in and of
themselves unless they are tools for His glory—as in money (stewardship), sex
(good marital relationships), and power (positive influence and encouragement).
Pursuits, in our lives, will burn and be of no value some day; only what we learn,
how we have grown, and the people we touch will be the real value that will echo
throughout eternity! We have the determination and ability to make something
better of ourselves by our spiritual, emotional, and social growth for our Lord’s
glory. We do this by seeing the situations we are in from a higher perspective. If
we have the mindset of learning in this way, trials will work for us and not against
us!

• Lowly refers to poor and oppressed. Such people were common then and had
little opportunity to get out of their situation, as they were oppressed by rich
landowners and a culture that said you deserve it. For us today, this means a
trial that we can endure! Both riches and poverty bring upsets and bad
circumstances.

• Glory, here, refers to the fact that both the rich and the poor can take pride in
what they have—in their positions and not possessions. The real treasure is
who we are in Christ, not what we have (Psalm 103; Job. 14:2; Isaiah 40:6-7)!
The NKJV uses the words take pride; this brings out the meaning that we are
made rich because of whom we are in Christ, not in our circumstances! Christ
will take us beyond our circumstances. The world cannot give us true riches—
only Christ can; He gives us our hope! Thus, we need to see beyond our pain
and our broken world.

• Exaltation helps us see the big picture, from God’s perspective, as best as we
can, so we can see what He has for us and what we can learn. This helps us
see our self worth in Christ, and this produces godliness and deeper faith
(James 3; Heb. 5:14). Human social structure is not God social structure!
Asking for wisdom means to be committed to the faith and to what God gives
(Gal. 3:26-29; James 2:14-26).

• Rich. People who have land and great possessions will rot and fade away
(Psalm 102:4, 11, 16). James is referring to where our trust and hope is
placed. Is our security in wealth or in Christ? These people historically and
typically exploited the poor; thus, tensions existed between the poor and rich,
which gave rise to insurrections and revolutions. If the Roman Empire did not
exploit the poor, they would perhaps still be in power today! America is great
because of the biblical precepts for all people to better themselves and the
owning of property that the founding fathers gleaned from this passage
(Federalist Papers)! Riches can also mean being self-focused. Being self-
focused will never gain us a thing of real meaning.

• Humiliation refers to being poor socially and financially because of oppression


by others or themselves.

• The O.T. and Jewish “wisdom” literature both tell that riches fade, and that
God vindicates the poor and oppressed. God will judge the oppressor harshly
—especially those who have yet do not share with those who do not have
(Psalm 102; Isa. 40:6-7).

Take comfort that God does not take us through trials to punish us,
although He may at times (Rom. 1:24). Rather, He takes us through them
because they are a part of life. They are a part of our sinful nature, the sins of
others impacting and converging upon us, wrong choices, and our sin all
congregating, building in synergy, and affecting all—us, others, and our
environment. So, we will face suffering! The great news is we do not face it
alone; Jesus is there! He will take us through it even if He does not take us out of
it. He will even use us to help others around us. So, never consider trials and
setbacks as a personal attack from God, but, rather, opportunities for you to learn
and grow, and to be better, stronger, and more mature!

Our perspective is eternity. When we see our life here on earth as a mere
rehearsal, and how to learn and build to what is to come in eternity, we can be
better prepared to face anything—even dire situations and death, because our
eyes and attitude are in Him and not our circumstances! If we do not learn in our
trials and circumstances, they will be a waste. We need to seek their purpose
and allow them to better us and not bitter us! When we trust in Christ, we will be
allowing ourselves to learn from suffering and not take our blessings for granted.

Vs. 11: Poverty, in this context, is referring to a trial that we can overcome. Rich
people have their problems as poor people do. Money really does not bring
satisfaction; it only takes a person from one set of problems to another. Being
either rich or poor will bring trials and circumstances we need to learn from and
overcome. Thus, our focus needs to be on Christ and not wealth. Christ, who
saves us, is the same Christ who is there for us and gives us our significance
and hope. Being in Christ means our social structures have been obliterated
(Gal. 3:28).

• Burning heat and scorching wind refers to the “Sirocco” (not the VW sports
car, rather the hot winds that came during the summer from the desert into
the Palestine area). They were devastating to crops and people’s health. The
scored crops were useless as food so they were used as kindling for fires for
the cold winter ahead.
• Wealth is never a proof of God’s work or blessings, only growth in Him is.
Wealth is a not wrong; it is only a mere tool. However, it can also be a deadly
distraction! Wealth does not bring real security or contentment; it only brings
more trials and obstacles! James is condemning the Jewish Aristocracy that
saw material blessing as a sign of God’s blessing. This is not so!

When we realize who we are in Christ, all of our problems and


opportunities come into perspective (1 Pet. 1:6-7). We need to realize where our
security is placed; is it in stuff that will rot, or in Christ, who loves us and is
eternal? We should never trust in wealth and what is temporary when we can
have so much more in Him! We need to admit we cannot get out of trials
ourselves by just working harder; we have to realize Christ is willing and able to
help us! He cares! Go to Him with all honesty; do not make up situations, edit, or
distort them, for He already knows. Seek Him, His perspective, and His wisdom
to give you understanding, skills, opportunities, forgiveness, Fruit, the help of
others, attitude update, counseling, or whatever it may be. Then, do what He
reveals to you that you should do (Prov. 2:6; John 7:17).

God gives us the plan and the victory. We may not see it at times, but,
nonetheless, victory is there, because victory comes from being obedient. Our
key to growing as well as to reaching others for Christ is our patience while we
rely on God’s power (Acts 1:8; Galatians 5:16-18)! God gives us His Spirit and
His power in love, and we are to take that power of love, with the care and
compassion that God gave us, and present it as a tender mercy (Luke 1:77-79;
Colossians 3:12-17). This is what God does for us and calls us to in our dealings
with others, whether poor or rich! The love will be the power, as when the Spirit
intercedes in the lost soul (John 6:44-45; 64). They will see your efforts of care
and consistency (John 13:34-35), and they will see His Fruit in you (Galatians
5:22-23)! Your growth and experiences while coming out of trials will be the
evidence of Christ’s power! Your ability to be a Christian who realizes that you
are a witness to the Light of Christ will be the light that impacts others. Your
reliability in being a light to those who are weak in Him or do not know Him will be
the essence of Christ that others may see in you (John 1:6-9; 1 John 1:7)!

What is our benefit of perspective? Perspective will focus upon Christ as


Lord, the One to carry us through. This will infuse with our spiritual formation and
personal growth. When we are growing, we are becoming more mature in Him
and then being contagious with our faith. We will then be able to witness because
we will have something to say and something to model that people will want.
Everyone hurts; everyone needs help! When we are growing, we will become the
church that Christ designed, mobilized in Him to be welcoming and connective to
others for Him. This is the church triumphant! Let us, as the church triumphant,
adhere to His call and follow. Apply your faith! Watch yourself succeed and grow
and be contagious to others (Psalm 16:11; 107:09; Isa. 26:3; John 14:21; Gal.
5:16; 22-23; 1 John 1:7-9; 3 John 4)!
Put yourself in Jesus’ hands, and then your heart will be on Him and not
on what you desire. You will then be the person of faith and integrity who is
surrendered and poured out to Christ and will be used, powerfully, in the lives of
others (John 3:30; Gal. 2:20-21; Phil. 3:10)!

The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive
Bible Study):

1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?

3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?

4. Is there a sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

5. How can I be changed so I can learn and grow?

6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my
listening to God?

7. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

8. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

Additional Questions:

1. As you look back on your life, do you see good times or bad times as more
prominent?

2. How would you describe your perspective on life; what is God doing in you
and through you?

3. How important are your perspectives and viewpoints on life? Are you
confident that you are right? How so? What would cause you to change your
viewpoint on a particular subject?

4. How does your world-view influence your beliefs and actions? How does it
affect your outcome in trials and in life?

5. Have you realized yet that how you deal with trials will determine your
character, maturity, and spiritual growth? Have you realized that how you deal
with problems can make your situation positive and meaningful? How so? If
not, what is in the way?
6. How do money, sex, and power have an influence on you? What about in
your church? How can you be sure that money (stewardship), sex (good
marital relationships) and power (positive influence and encouragement) are
tools for His glory? What will be the real values in your life that will echo
throughout eternity?

7. How does being self-focused prevent you from gaining anything of real
meaning? Do you believe that wealth is never a proof of God’s work or
blessings? Do you believe that we are made rich in who we are in Christ, not
in our circumstances? Why, then, do many Christians think otherwise?

8. How does knowing that God does not take us though trials to punish us
(although He may at times) give you reassurance and trust in Him?

9. How does your ability, to be a Christian who realizes that you are the witness
to the Light of Christ, become the light that impacts others? Do you realize
that your reliability, in being a light to those who are weak in Him or do not
know Him, will be the essence of Christ they may see in you (John 1:6-9; 1
John 1:7)?

10. When we realize who we are in Christ, all of our problems and opportunities
come into perspective. How has this been so for you? How can this be so for
you?

11. How can you put yourself in Jesus’ hands, to be more of a person of faith
and integrity? How can you be one who is surrendered and poured out to
Christ and used powerfully in the lives of others (John 3:30; Gal. 2:20-21;
Phil. 3:10)?

12. How can you seek Him, His perspective, and His wisdom to give you greater
understanding, skills, trust, hope, security, and opportunities?

© 2004 R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

James 1: 12-18

Holding on to the Goodness of God!

General idea: We need to realize that we have a purpose; we have a reason to


keep going even in times of dire stress and when all seems lost. Even in our
darkest hours, God is there communing with us, enabling us to persevere. His
blessings come to us in ways we cannot always fathom. So, we need to realize
that God is indeed good. He is there for us! He does not bring harm to us; rather
He helps lead us out and away from sin and harm. He will take our temptations
and turn them into His great glory. Because of this, we will wear an inconceivable
crown all through eternity. Therefore, since God is good and we have a reason to
go through what we go through, then we can resist temptations. In fact, we can
stop blaming God and others, and take responsibility for our temptations. Then,
we can come to a place where the evils and ways of the world will no longer
interest us! Why? Because. Christ is formed in us, and He becomes greater than
our desires (John 1:29; 3:30; Gal. 4:19).

Vs. 12: James jumps off one of Jesus’ Beatitudes; he tells us how happy we
need to be because happy is what we ought to be. Keep in mind that true
happiness is like joy; it is not constrained to our circumstances. Rather, it is
determined by how we choose to respond in attitude and will. How and why can
we be happy? Because God loves us and cares for us, we can respond to His
precepts and apply them to our lives. Abiding in His will brings happiness; but,
living outside of it brings doom and gloom. He does not bring it; on the contrary,
we bring it by our disobedience, by being self-willed and not Christ-willed. The
results of realizing we are approved by God will bring perseverance that builds
our maturity, character, and faith.

• Blessed is or happy is, refers to an emotional state of satisfaction, well-being,


and contentment that results from being approved by God, by our fulfilling of
our duty. God is happy when we do not give up. So, let us persevere and
learn that He is happy when we do not give into sin. It is devotion, enjoying
God’s special favor and His Grace working in us. It is like being told by our
parent/father that He is proud of us. This is also a prophetical oracle (Psalm
1; 32:2; 34:8; 84:12; Isa. 56:2; Matt. 5:3-11; 17:7).

• Endures or Perseveres means one does not give up. It is similar to patience
with tolerance of and fortitude to others added on. It means even accepting
difficult situations from them and God without making demands or conditions
(Matthew 27:14; Romans 12:12; James 1:3). It is the possession of inner
strength needed to remain in Christ along with staying power in order to
accomplish God's will. Thus, we can have confidence in Him and not be faint
with our call or situation so we are able to persist and continue to deal with
stress in order that we can accomplish that to which God calls us.

• Temptation, Tempted, or Testing, in this context, does not refer to tempting.


To tempt usually means to lure someone by deceit or enticement to sin; test
means to see if it is good. Here, it refers to our inclinations to either lean on
God or on our apathy. To the Jews, this meant poverty, famine, or oppression
from either the government or the rich. And, many did. But, God does not
tempt us in this way! He does test us, as in Jesus’ example; God tested Him
while Satan tempted Him (Matt. 4:1-11). We do not get even with God nor do
we have the right to do so, because He is not causing our situation. He,
rather, desires that we learn and grow from it, and then get out of it.

• Approved or stood the test is a term meaning to test a precious metal, such
as gold, to make sure it is genuine. It means we overcome the obstacle. God
sees if we are genuine and real, such as, is our faith real all the time or is it
real only when we feel like it. God looks for authenticity; Satan seeks to get us
in trouble (Rom. 5:1-5; 1 Cor. 13:13; 1 Thess. 1:3).

• Crown of life is the prize given to a winning athlete. It was usually a wreath of
woven olive leaves the athlete won, and was valued more than a gold medal
today. The value is not in the substance of the medal, but, rather, in its
meaning and the achievement. When we endure, we win too! We are
victorious when we endure struggles (Psalm 16:11; 25:4-5; 119:30; Rom. 5:3-
5)!

• Promises refers to our place in eternity and for a higher quality of life now.
The catch? We have to receive Christ first (John 3:16; 5:24).

James’ Jewish audience saw temptations as testing, as many frustrated


Christians do today. They saw God as the One who caused the evil or allowed
the suffering. So, they saw their distress as opportunities to sin, thinking, well,
what worse could happen or God does not care. Look what He has done to me.
The Jews then, and some people still today, thought that God was causing them
to sin merely for His own amusement or for some purpose that was not
understandable. The fact is, we choose to sin. Period. God does not tempt us to
sin. Sin comes from our choices and those of others conflicting on ours. God
seeks that we avoid them and thereby grow in maturity. James is making the
point that we need to be responsible with temptations and avoid them—not to
blame God or others. The Christian life is also about being responsible! We have
to realize we are responsible for our welfare, the choices we make, and the
consequences from such choices. God will get us through them even when we
mess up; this is His love and grace for us. But, why get ourselves in a bad
situation and have to face repercussions from our actions (Rom. 6:1)?

Vs. 13-16: The Jewish people, at that time, thought God had bad motives (at
times), was callous, or was unconcerned with them, personally. Some Christians
today also think this way. Some think He tests us to cause us to fail or to suffer
needlessly. God does test us by bringing us into situations where we can learn
and grow. But, James’ point is, He does not tempt us to cause us harm nor does
He seek to cause us failure. Rather, God’s desire is for us to persevere and be
victorious in Him (Gen. 11:1-f; Deut. 8:2; 13:3; Judg. 2:22). It is Satan’s motive to
tempt and cause us harm, cause us to fail, and cause us to be immoral so God’s
character is not seen in our personal lives (Job 1:9-12; Matt. 13:19; James 4:7; 1
Pet. 5:8). Although, in this context, James is focusing on the human element; he
takes on spiritual warfare in chapter four.
• Tempted is what the Israelites did to God in the Old Testament (Num. 14:22;
Psalm 78:18, 41, 56; 95:9; Mal. 3:15), deliberately sinning by disobeying to
invoke His anger. They used sins such as pride, greed, lust, and sexual
impurity, showing themselves to be callous and unconcerned with truth or the
true benefit of self and others. God cannot be tempted, nor does He have any
malice or evil; therefore He will not direct any malice to us!

• Desires is to seek out and entice yourself or someone else to sin by trickery
or aspiration; this is a form of lust, an evil impulse we all have. God has no
evil or impulse to cause us to sin. This is the role of Satan, not of God. God is
working His plan of redemption to save us, not destroy us.

The fact is, Satan does not tempt us just so we can do the wrong things in
life or so we can gain more in what we feel is owed to us; rather, he tempts us so
we can lose more! It is his desire to block or take away what God has given and
what God has for us in future opportunities, experiences, relationships, and
ministry. We tend to want to make the world a way that will please us, and not
seek how we can please Christ and thereby, by this mindset, make the world
better. Our focus tends to be on Satan’s ways and not God’s way; while we will
fight with all of our might and say this is not so, it still is. Our focus needs to be on
the victory we have in Him and the perseverance we earn, not the desires we
may have or the defeat we may feel.

Vs. 17-18: God does not send temptations to break us; rather, He gives us good
gifts and abilities to fight them off! God is the Author of life and goodness. He
desires us to be good. The question for us, do we seek God’s sovereignty and
His birth for us, or the birth of our desires? The Bible tells us to be good (Psalm
103:17; 131; Prov. 8:13; Col. 3:12-17; Phil. 2:14-18; 4:8; 1 Timothy 4:12; 5:22;
Tit. 1:15; Heb. 10:5-10; 2 Peter 1:3-5; 2:9)!

• Do not be deceived, as in do not cave in to false thinking. We have to have


the right view of sin and temptation. Satan wants your thinking to shift away
from truth and the Spirit and to the slippery slope of sympathy for worldly
ways (Matt. 4:1-11; 1 Cor. 6:9; 15:33; Gal. 6:7; 1 John 3:7).

• From above refers to from God. Goodness and kindness are from God. We
should not seek contentment from our circumstances (1 Cor. 10:13).

• Father of Lights means Creator of the stars, and Creator of the universe
(Gen. 1:14-19; Jer. 31:35). Pagans saw the stars, and especially the moving
stars (planets and comets), as gods, and astrology to predict the future. Here,
God is above all gods! He does not fluctuate!

• Shadow of turning or shifting shadows refers to the phases of the lights in the
sky and how they change, becoming dim and bright; yet, God remains the
same. Some misguided Christians use this passage to support their belief in
astrology. This is very wrong! Our trust needs to be in God as LORD, not in
the created things we see in the sky or the universe!

• No variation or who does not change, in context, also refers to the phases of
the moon and stars. God is consistent. He is not evolving or in a process. He
is Lord! Not a stray partial of matter in the entire universe is out of His control!
We are not subject to random chances or fate; God is sovereign. Because
God is faithful, consistent, and in control, we can place our faith in Him and
trust Him!

• He brought us forth or give us birth. God brings us into the world, as in He


births us, then extends grace to us and saves us (Gen. 1:26; Ex. 34:22; Lev.
23:10; John 3:3-16; 1 Pet. 1:23). This is another testimony to God’s control
and power, and His desire to regenerate us. He created us, He loves us, and
He cares for us. The question is, how will we respond to Him?

• First fruits, in this context, refer to becoming or being made new and giving
first to God. In the Old Testament, it is at the first crop of the fields and trees
that God told the Israelites was the time to perform an offering to Him; then,
they would celebrate the Feasts (Ex. 23:16-19; 34:22-26; Lev. 2:12-14; 23:10-
20; Num. 18:12; 28:26; Deut. 26:10; 2 Kings 4:42; 2 Chron. 31:5; Neh. 10:35-
37; 12:44; 13:31; Prov. 3:9-10).

We can trust that God is indeed in control. He will not lead us astray or
direct malevolence toward us. The Israelites did not cause God to sin or lead Him
to it. Rather, He led them, with their sin and their malevolence, out of their
slavery and the desert and into the Promised Land—as He will with you! As a
loving God, He is testing you to see what you know and to further teach you. He
does not tempt us, as in lead us to succumb to our situation. God is not affected
by our actions or sin; rather, He is hurt that we choose to disobey and destroy,
and not live to build and be better. God does judge; He has, and will cause
destruction (Amos 6:4-11). In these cases, the situation was hopeless and the
people would not, and did not ever repent, and this was the best way to prevent
others from being taken in by sin. But, even in such dire cases, God listened to
human pleas and saved whomever was willing to be saved (Gen. 18:22-32; Ex.
32:10-13). For us, we now have grace!

We, today, like to say our temptation is too tough to resist. We do face
more temptations and options for sin today than in all of human history. They
may seem to be aimed at us personally and deliberately, yet most are
meaningless, casual cruelties that build from others and ourselves, and are
easily accessible. Consider the media, internet, magazines, or places we can go
that are full of sin and temptation within an easy drive or at the touch of a button.
Such ideas of temptation were inconceivable to James, even to people just a few
decades ago. However, in Christ, we are given the strength to endure and to
avoid temptations, even in our easy, “have it now” society. So, you can avoid sin
and temptation. It starts with your mindset and willingness to allow the work of
Christ in you.

The one temptation that all will fail at is the loss of hope! When you have
the hope of Christ in you, you will persevere and be triumphant! Never lose your
confidence of who you are in Christ! We can look to God for our help (Heb. 4:15).
We can admit we have a problem; we do have a sinful nature and will cave into
sin (1 Cor. 10:13; Gal. 5:17). Thus, we have to admit our need and seek help
from Him and others (Gal. 6:1-5). We need to set boundaries for our desires so
we will not deliberately seek sin out. Then, we will be victorious! We will
persevere and be approved because the trials we go through will enable us to be
poured out to God (Gal. 2:20-21). We will be able to come to the place where our
will is emptied, our desires are set aside, and His will is at work in us. To refinish
a fine piece of furniture, it first needs to be stripped of the old finish; we need to
have the finish of our self stripped, so His finish will shine through us!

The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive
Bible Study):

9. What does this passage say?

10. What does this passage mean?

11. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?

12. Is there a sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

13. How can I be changed so I can learn and grow?

14. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my
listening to God?

15. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

16. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

Additional Questions:

1. The Christian life is also about being responsible. How is this so? Why would
a Christian not want to be responsible?
2. How can you be happy and have a reason to keep going, even in times of
dire stress, when all seems lost? How have you been victorious as you
endured struggles?

3. What would your life look like if you fully and truly trusted that God is indeed
in control?

4. Do you believe that God’s blessings come to us in ways we cannot always


fathom—that He is indeed good? If so, how has this been true for you? If not,
what is in the way?

5. How is perseverance a factor in your faith development? What do you need to


do to further understand God’s sovereignty so you have more willingness to
endure, and not give up?

6. How can the accepting of difficult situations from others and God, without
making demands and conditions, give you confidence in Him?

7. What would your attitude and relationship be like if you were not faint in your
call or situation? If you were able to persist and continue to deal with stress,
how would it help you accomplish what God has called you to?

8. Greek athletes accomplished their feats, not by seeking money or power, but
seeking what was of more value than the medal—meaning, and achievement.
How is this like our faith development and growth in Christ?

9. Do you seek God’s sovereignty and His birth for you, or the birth of your own
desires? How will this affect your relations with God and others? What can
you do to control your desires so they do not take you over?

10. Why is it important to not be deceived, not cave into false thinking? What
happens when we do? What can you do to make sure you have the right view
of sin and temptation? What can you do to make sure that Satan does not
cause your thinking to shift away from truth and Holy Spirit and toward the
slippery slope of sympathy for worldly ways?

11. How have you struggled with temptations? How can this passage help focus
you on the priority that Christ can and will fill you with Himself so that you will
not even be interested in worldly desires?

12. The one temptation that all will fail at is the loss of hope! What can you do to
have the mindset and faith to know more in-depth about never losing your
confidence of the hope of Christ in you (1 Pet. 1:3, 21)?
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable,
through the living and enduring word of God. 1 Peter 1:23

© 2004 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

James 1: 19-20: Are you Listening?

General idea: This passage is about the importance of our behavior showing our
beliefs. James gives us two tools that are essential and necessary for life and
trials. One is listening and the other, anger management! James seeks to get our
attention and then cuts to the crux of the matter of how we are to behave by
telling us directly to be good listeners, and to control our tongue and our temper.
When we do such things, we are able to put others first in our lives. We can
minister to their needs and, if others are also doing these simple and necessary
precepts, have our needs met, too. These are the principle and essential
elements of relationships and community. You cannot have a quality dialogue
with another person if they are not listening to you or if you are not listening to
them. The words become stray balls on the court of life, without substance or
meaning, while our minds fill with the racket of our desires. The same is with
anger that is not bridled and tempered.

Vs. 19: The Greeks and educated Jewish aristocrats considered the eloquence
of speech the most important thing a person could do. James switches the focus
from eloquent speech to eloquent listening. James wants to make sure we are
not only are good listeners, but that we also listen to God, His precepts, and call.
We cannot put our faith into practice unless we are listening. Listening is
quintessential to relational development and personal growth. For us to adhere to
God’s truths, we must be willing and able to receive them, and we receive them
by listening!

• So then or take note of this is a call to attention, a call to “listen up”. It is an


exhortation for us to hear God’s call. Because of the previous passages, we
can adhere to His call and put His precepts into practice. Remember, James
is a book about the application of our faith, so we can apply our Christian
conduct in how we treat others!

• Let everyone means we all fall under this imperative, there are to be no
slackers! This means we are all to prepare ourselves so we can learn and
have no excuses. As we learn, we can respond to God’s will (Matt. 13:9; Mark
4:24; Luke 8:18; Col. 1:10).
• Swift refers to not wasting time—just “do it!” Offer no excuses, no buts, no
coming up with reasons, no backtalk—just do it, as David’s men did (2 Sam.
23:13-17)!

• Listen means to pay attention, to open our ears and hear. If we are reluctant
to listen, then we will also be reluctant to learn and grow. When we listen, we
open our minds and hearts to the Truth of our Lord. We can hear what others
are saying to sharpen us and we will know when there is error. The person
who listens is the one who is of good character and exhibits godliness. This
truth transitions into the following verses to be doers of the Word.

• Slow means to keep it under control, like bridling a farm animal (Prov. 16:32;
19:11).

• Speak, when we talk continually, we cannot hear God or others. We are being
called to restrain our speech. This means we have to shut our mouths before
we can engage our ears and open our hearts; if not, we cannot hear God,
understand His Way, or apply His precepts. (More on this in chapter 3.)

• Wrath or Anger. James is condemning acts of violence and uncontrolled


unrighteous anger. Violence starts with aggressive rhetoric! Anger here is an
imperative in grammar; thus, God is demanding us to control our anger. Why?
Because it incites violence, it destroys relationships and community, and it
does not solve problems. It closes off our minds and hearts from God and
others, and keeps us from seeing and understanding God and His instruction
(Prov. 14:29, 15:18; 16:32; 29:11; 22; Eccles. 7:9; Matt. 18:15-17; 21:12-13;
Rom. 1:18; Eph. 4:25-27).

This passage seems to come from nowhere, out of place and context-two
sentences of miscellaneous exhortations that do not fit. It has given some
Christians the excuse that since they do not fit, I can acquit myself from obeying
them. How sad that is! But, under careful examination, it is really a connection
between the previous passage on enduring temptations and the following
passage on being a person who practices the Word and faith (James 1:2-18; 21-
27). The connection? These are the qualities that are essential in trials, how we
are to go through life, trials, and temptations. We cannot learn and grow if we are
not listening. To mature, we must be listening to God’s correction and discipline,
listening to godly advice, and listening to others to see their point and concerns.
We cannot learn if we are doing all the speaking, because all that comes from
that is ourselves, all that we have thus far in life, and not the necessary
information we need to grow and move forward in faith and maturity. When all we
do is speak, we create a vacuum that is empty of the tools and precepts
necessary to handle life and trials. Thus, we become frustrated and angry, as the
Jews were at this time.
Vs. 20: The Word of God cannot take root in us when we are full of the toxic
waste of anger and pride! The spirit of revolution was in the midst of Jerusalem.
The Zealots, a Jewish militant group, were gaining popularity then. They
advocated violence and were known for not caring about facts or the opinions of
others, and were very argumentative. As they struck against the Roman vassals,
they caused the loss of welfare for their fellow Jews and the problems just
escalated. Thus, they were not able to understand others or seek information to
provide the real help needed, but only throw stones, kill, and cause disruptions.
They thought they were acting as agents of God. However, in reality, they were
the tools of the devil. They caused the city to be in total disarray, and set a
course for severe repercussions. A few years later, these Zealots caused the
Romans to march in full force with the consequences being the total destruction
of Jerusalem and the loss of Israel for the Jews for nearly two thousand years—
until 1948! Hence, the warning from James is not to do as the Zealots, but rather
do as the character of our Lord.

• For means the reason—the why and outcome of the argument that has been
presented.

• Not produce is learning and growing in Him; here, it is in the negative—not


learning. Anger and the lack of listening come from a heart that is not humble;
when we are not humble, we are full of ourselves and not God. When we are
full of ourselves, we cannot receive His call or learn and grow (1 Pet. 5:6-11).
Anger does not produce righteousness, or the good life we are called to lead
for others and His glory. When they see us unconcerned with truth and
displaying little or no love, they are distracted from seeing God as Truth and
Love.

• Righteousness of God, The goal of the Christian life is to pursue


righteousness, our character, and maturity, all of which we get from the
workings of the Spirit in us (Matt. 7:16-18; John 15:4-8; Gal. 2:22-23). When
we do not, we are arguing with God or seeking loopholes away from our
responsibility (Luke 10:29; James 4:1).

The early Christian community, as it was facing persecution, knew that to


be supportive and lead, it must listen so it could progress in spiritual growth; the
Christian and, especially the leader, must be willing to listen. As followers of the
Lord and relationship builders, we have to listen to His Word, and to the people in
our world. How we listen shows where our interests and our capabilities as a
friend and as Christians of distinction are. Are we mirroring Christ’s character and
grace or just our personal needs? The fruit that flows from listening is the growth
and spiritual maturity that leads to godly action and then creates friendships and
real fellowship. These are the tools that will take us though both the pleasures
and the travesties of life as victors, glorifying our Lord.
From birth to death, we have the need to be heard. Each of us has a deep
need to have others listen to us, whether we admit it or not. It can be a casual
conversation or a deep therapy session; if you feel that person is not listening,
then you feel they do not care. Being listened to is a lot like being loved; so, we
must take this manner seriously and grow in this skill. Listening is not just
hearing, it is actively participating in the conversation with your full attention,
putting your response on hold. Listening is something we all can do and are
called to do, even if we are deaf. Listening is a natural ability and a skill that can
be improved on; all it takes is the will to turn it on and let it work. We can also
learn techniques to improve our abilities.

Anger is a valuable commodity when it is controlled and directed, so do


not lose it! Anger can move the passion of a person in motivation, such as
starting an organization to prevent drunken driving versus shooting the drunk
driver. Uncontrolled anger and not listening gives people a false impression of
God and has an extreme negative impact on others for the faith (Col. 3:8; James
3:18; 5:7). The Bible tells us that it is OK to be angry, but not to allow it to cause
anyone to sin! Jesus saw His house of worship and prayer turned into a market,
and modeled to us the correct way to channel our hostility in fervent action (Matt.
18:15-17; 21:12-13). Anger can be a solution or a real problem, depending on
how you handle it. Anger can also become evil. Literally, it is the rotten fruits
unhitched from our temper and control. They will harden our hearts and cause us
to become people who do not forgive, filled with resentfulness, contempt,
defensiveness, bitterness, pride, critical nature, and withdrawal. They kill, they
cause wars and hatred, and they destroy relationships and society, and put an
end to our effectiveness in being a reflection of Christ’s character and
call. Temper is the steel containment vessel for the sinful nature we all have. The
Holy Spirit will restrain us but only in the parameters of our will to control it (Rom.
8:11; 2 Thess. 2:6; 1 John 4:4). Remember, temper is a valuable commodity that
we are called to cultivate and care for; so, do not lose it!

Not listening? Have anger? These are sure ways to keep people and care
away from you. What else can you do to make friends? Listen! What can you do
to control your anger? Listen! What can you do to help you grow spiritually?
Listen! What can you do to help your church grow? Listen! The lack of listening
and the abundance of anger, especially when it is out of control, will create a very
negative atmosphere for the Christian and the Church (Prov. 27:9).

The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive
Bible Study):

1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?


3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?

4. Is there a sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

5. How can I be changed so I can learn and grow?

6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my
listening to God?

7. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

8. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

Additional Questions:

1. How would you define listening? How well do you control your temper?

2. How do you feel when someone takes the time to listen to you? What
prevents you from doing this for others?

3. How, and why are listening and anger management necessary tools for life
and trials?

4. Do you believe that you cannot have a quality dialogue with another person if
they are not listening to you, or you are not listening to them? How? Why, or
why not?

5. The goal of the Christian life is to pursue righteousness. So, what does this
mean to you? What can and should it mean?

6. Why is it we cannot produce (learn and grow) if we are not listening to God’s
correction and discipline, listening to godly advice, and listening to others to
see their point and concerns?

7. How is listening quintessential to relational development and personal


growth?

8. When all we do is speak, we create a vacuum that is empty of the tools and
precepts necessary to handle life and trials. So, why do so many Christians
only have their mouths open and not their ears?

9. What blocks you from adhering to God’s truths? Why, at times, are we not
willing and able to receive them?
10. Do you understand why you become frustrated and angry? What can you do
to set up boundaries for yourself so you can control your temper?

11. What excuses and reasons can you come up with not to listen to God or
godly advice? Which of these reasons are right and biblical? Do you believe
we just need to listen and forget about making excuses?

12. How does anger and not listening give people a false impression of God?
What can you do to be a better listener?

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the
salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in
the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith
from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith.” Romans
1:16-17

© 2004 R. J. Krejcir IntoThy Word Ministries, www.intothyword.org

James 1: 21-27: “Becoming Doers of the Word!”

General idea: James uses more word pictures and illustrations to show us the
necessity of putting the Word of God into our life, in how we feel and how we are,
and then allow it to transform us into how we treat others. James is telling us in
order to be a “doer of the Word,” which means to put into practice the precepts of
our Lord, we have to rid ourselves of the rotten filth in our lives. That is, the evil in
us must go before we can sincerely be humble and obedient to the Lord and
grow in Him. Just listening to the Word and then doing nothing with it is total
foolishness. It conveys the stupendous stupid-ness of our mindsets. We will be
missing out on what God has for us and replacing it with foolishness at best, and
with unadulterated evil at worst. In either case, we are being disloyal to God,
throwing out prime opportunities, and wasting what He gives us. The solution to
the problem of evil and willful disobedience, as well as to a meaningless life is to
receive His Word. We must be willing to let God’s Word affect, as in influence us
deeply, our achievements and purposes because of who He is and what He is
doing in us! When we are receiving His message, we are more likely to obey Him
and live a life of Christian distinction and purpose, and to give God the glory.

Vs. 21: God’s Word is the powerhouse and platform for our salvation. His Word
conveys His Truth and precepts for living and doing the Christian life. Yet, it can
easily be thwarted simply by our refusal to acknowledge Him as LORD, and
allowing our human waste of sin to be in the way of His Way! God’s Word is
strong enough, but God usually does not override our will once we are saved
(our will is overridden from His Spirit testifying about Jesus so we will have faith
to revive the faith: John 3:3-6; Rom. 5:4-5; 8:14; 8:26-27; 1 Cor. 12:3).

• Filthiness means earwax; it needs to be cleaned. You cannot hear well if your
ear is full of wax. This is also a colloquialism for evil; it is a form of adultery! It
is adultery by our hidden motives and willful, moral rebellion against God. It is
literally cheating on Him with our desires, lust, and sin from what He as called
and planned for us. It is us, as humans, seeking what is contrary to His will
such as hatred and bigotry (Isaiah 14:12-15; Matt. 15:18-19; Rom. 3:23; Eph.
2:3; Rev. 21:4). God calls us to strip it off like filthy clothing.

• Wickedness refers to unrighteous anger, where our anger is invalid and/or out
of control, such as people who are just bitter in life, easily angered, or never
satisfied.

• Receiving refers to listening, as in hospitality and welcoming. In context, it is


applying truth, putting into action the precepts we hear, then being obedient to
them.

• Meekness is not weakness or a lack of strength, rather, it is being humble and


gentle toward God and others (Ex. 32:19-20; 30-34; Num 12:1-3; Psalm 37:11
Matt. 5: 3-12; 11:29). In this context, it refers to being nonresistant to God and
His work in us. Meekness produces a desire and effort seeking to please God
and submitting our will and aspirations to His will and what is best. Meekness
enables us to endure being personally attacked by keeping our focus on
Christ with humility.

• The Implanted Word is the message of God conveyed through His Bible. In
Stoic philosophy, this is called “innate reason,” meaning either we are born
with it or we can reach within ourselves for it. For the Christian, it means we
all have His Word in our hearts and we reach for it as it comes from God
(Psalm 119; John 17:17; Rom. 1:2; Eph. 1:11-14; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:15-
17; James 1:18; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). The call is to take His Word, allowing Him to
plant it in us just like a gardener would plant a tree, then allow our efforts in
Him and the work of the Spirit to grow the tree of our faith in order to produce
the Fruit in our lives that will impact others around us (2 Pet. 1: 3-11).

James uses the illustration that looking in a mirror and then forgetting what
we look like is foolish, as is reading the Bible and not doing anything about what
it says. James is telling us that an effort and determination is needed to apply the
precepts of our Lord into a life that is Christian. The word “Christian” means more
than just a professing belief; it means following Christ; it means being like Christ,
manifesting His qualities which are demonstrated, when we are like Christ, by our
obedience and what we do. Saved? Yes, perhaps; but as James will say later,
what good is that faith if we do nothing with it?
Vs. 22-25: God’s Word gives us our spiritual birth and reason in life (Col. 3:16; 1
Pet. 1:22-23). Who am I? What am I here for? What is the meaning of life? It is
all wrapped up in who we are in Christ, and our allowing Him to empower us.
God calls us to put our faith in action; we do this by listening to Him and then
doing what He says. When we hear the Word of God, the proof text that it is
working will be that it affects and impacts us and we are able to make a response
to it. If we do nothing with it, we are like the man in the Parable of the Sower
(Matt 13:1-23). The concept, Do what it says, is essential for our growth as well
as our societal influence and betterment.

• Doers. When we really hear God’s Word without putting up any barriers, it will
impact us existentially (change us internally) down to the depths of who we
are in personality, thinking, and attitudes, then it will lead to godly actions. It
will model and show a loving concern for others and His precepts in concert.
We have to be willing to hear before we can practice it. If we do not practice
it, it becomes useless. This does not mean doing something without the
knowledge to do it right, or going off without purpose or direction.

• Hearers only is a statement that characterizes self delusion and hypocrisy. In


contrast, some Jews at the time believed they were only required to
memorize the Law (Word of God), but did not need to practice it. The value
was only in the learning; the practicing of it was considered with contempt.
James is using the stoic philosophy and tweaking it to attack the complacent
Jews. (Ezek. 33:30-32). Complacency is deadly to a church, as it will fall
swiftly and hard into utter worthlessness and eventual closure.

• Mirror was a handheld piece of polished bronze and was very expensive; only
a rich person would have one (1 Cor. 13:12). The image is that the Bible is a
mirror to our souls—who we really are in motivations, desires, outcomes, and
character!

• Perfect law means sacred Scripture (Psalm 19), and, along with mirror,
means how the Word of God reflects our character. The purpose of a mirror is
to show what we really look like so we can improve ourselves. It is the
examiner of what is plainly seen, not by us, but by others. It is the same with
the Bible. God’s Word examines us and gives us the information to “comb the
hair” of our faith, to make us worthy of going out in public, and being practical
and appealing to others. The Bible helps us see ourselves so we can fix, with
the Spirit’s empowerment, what needs attention and improvement or
whatever is needed.

• Liberty means God’s Law does not enslave us, but rather sets us free (John
8:36; Rom. 8:2; Gal. 5:13)!

• Forgetful. To be a person who does not desire to improve himself or who


does not care James plainly says is stupid behavior to be that person!
Philosophers, at that time, believed knowledge freed them from worldly care;
thus, having knowledge meant you did not have to deal with it. James is
attacking that apathetic concept that was creeping into the Church then, and
has taken deep root in the Church today!

God’s Word sets us free; it does not bind us to traditions and meaningless
rhetoric; it liberates us into joy and contentment; it brings out our best and gives
us purpose and real, authentic meaning. The application of this is in how we
control what we say and do, as we are called to do. Our words reflect what is in
our heart as do our actions. Serving the needy is our character and maturity in
action.

Vs. 26-27: These are the principle verses for us as sincere, authentic Christians
who are responsible to do something with our Christian life. We are not called to
just be pretty; rather, we are called to get dirty! This is implied in all that we do
and believe (Prov. 19:17).

• Does not bridle his tongue. God calls us to control our words (Psalm 141:3;
Prov. 10:19; 16:24; Matt. 5:9; 12:34; Eph. 4:29)! We are not to divorce our
tongue from our mind and heart!

• Useless. Here comes the practical application, the essential quality that
shows who we are in Christ, as our words reflect our faith and character.
When we are careless with our words, we are being careless with our Lord
and call. James calls us to wake up and get real with our faith and work. God
hates it, literally hates it when we do not take care to what comes from our
lips (Psalm 5:9; 12:3; 52:2; 109:2; 120:2; Prov. 17:4; 27-28; 25:23; 26:20; Jer.
9:8; James 3:1-12; 3 John 9-12)!

• Pure and undefiled religion refers to obedience that is pleasing to God—doing


something with our faith.

• Orphans and widows. These are the powerless ones in society. They have
little to no resources or rights, and were often thrown away as many cultures
do with them today. The Jews did a fair job of taking care of them, and the
Romans only took care of the orphans of its citizens. Even though it was a
very small percentage, most other cultures did nothing. True Christianity
involves defending and providing for the helpless and needy! God’s call is
powerful, purposeful, and clear; take care of them! Period! No ifs, ands or
buts; no excuses or getting lost in committee. We are to take care of them
(Ex. 22:20-24; Deut. 10:18; 14:29; Psalm 9:18; 68:5; 146:9; Isa. 1:17; Ezek.
22:7)! A church that does not care for its helpless is a useless and worthless
church deserving a bulldozer (James’ language is far more emphatic than
mine!)!
God’s Word is the seed that is implanted in us to grow our faith and make
our life impacting and worthwhile. His Word cannot be planted in our hearts when
all the room is taken up by our pride and personal, evil agendas! God’s Word
must be an active participant in us; His words must transcend our soul and will so
that they take root in us in a deep and personal way so all we do will be the result
of what God has impacted in us. We are never to divorce our Christianity from
God’s Truth or His call! Allow yourself to receive His reconciliation and Truth for
your life and ministry!

We are not called to be prefect all of the time. We still have His
forgiveness when we mess up, but we are called to put forth an effort and have a
caring heart’ in whatever we do, we must do it with excellence for His glory.
Listening is extremely important and James will expand on it later, but just
listening and doing nothing is useless! If a person went to a police officer and
said a burglary was in progress, would the police officer be doing a great job by
just being a great listener? Perhaps the police officer did all of the earnest,
proper listening skills, paid close attention, and took the time to carefully listen—
perhaps even writing it down. But, if he never responded to the burglary by
calling it in, or trying to stop or investigate it himself, his job would be of no value
to the community.

God's Word will lead to godly action when it is received by a person who is
rooted in Christ, whose life has been transformed. If not, we are self deluded as
James states in verses 23-27 and Ezekiel in Ezek 3:30-32. Thus, the Bible must
be read, it must be adhered to, it must impact us. Then, a visible and viable result
will occur as our faith development increases, and our purpose is set with a life
that is worth living and that leads others to Him. Further action is taking our faith
to the streets of life and actually helping others in a real, authentic way.

The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive
Bible Study):

1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?

3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?

4. Is there a sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

5. How can I be changed so I can learn and grow?

6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my
listening to God?
7. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

8. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

Additional Questions:

1. How do you use a mirror? What do you look for?

2. According to this passage, what is the solution to the problem of evil?

3. Why is it a necessity to put the Word of God into your life? Have you
considered how it affects how you feel, how you are, and how it transforms
you in how you treat others?

4. God’s Word is the powerhouse to the Christian life. How has this been so for
you? How can it be more for you as you put into practice the precepts of our
Lord?

5. How can the implantation of God’s Word in you be easily thwarted? What
blocks you from adhering to God’s truths? Why, at times, are we not willing
and able to receive them? How does putting up barriers slow down or stop
our growth in Christ? What are the barriers for you?

6. Have you considered there is filthiness and evil in you (Rom. 3:23)? How is
evil a form of adultery?

7. Read 2 Pet. 1: 3-11. God calls us to take His Word and allow Him to plant it in
us just like a gardener would plant a tree, then allow our efforts in Him and
the work of the Spirit to grow the tree of our faith in order to produce the Fruit
in our lives to impact others around us. How can this transpire more
effectively in you?

8. Read Col. 3:15-17: How does God’s Word give you a spiritual birth and
reason in life? Consider the age old philosophical questions: Who am I? What
am I here for? What is the meaning of life?

9. Do you fully believe when the Bible has impacted us, we will make a
response to it? How have you done this? How can you do this better?

10. What would your church look like if more people were “doers of the Word?”

11. How has the Bible been a mirror to your soul?


12. When we are careless with our words, we are being careless with our Lord
and call. What can you do to be a better Christian by controlling what you say
and how you say it? True Christianity involves defending and providing for the
helpless and needy! What can your church do to make this more of a priority?

I desire to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8

For more insights on who the Bible is important see:

What Difference can the Bible Make in My Life? - Into Thy Word On our Website

© 2004 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

James 2: 1-13: “The Call to Avoid Favoritism!”

General idea: What are your motivations? Do they line up with God’s precepts?
James calls us away from the way we think we should do our daily life and our
church and how we should treat people, and into the precepts Jesus gave us.
People, within the new church that at this time was still a part of Judaism, were
playing favorites, as was the tradition. Rich people were being catered to. They
received the best seats and respect and were honored from the pulpit while the
poor were being ignored, rebuked, and seated in the back—if they were allowed
inside at all. The new Christians were doing the same as the Jews; not only was
there no distinction in character or love, neither were the teachings of Jesus
being adhered to. Perhaps, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was being read; a poor
person, hearing this for the first time, hears blessed are the meek, and blessed
are the poor. How excited he must have gotten, only to be disillusioned by an
usher who kicked him to the back or out on the streets. Prejudice and hypocrisy
were in action!

Vs. 1-4: The early Christians were favoring the rich; ironically, they had been
oppressed by these rich ones themselves, as most had. Thus, James’ question
was, how could they favor them? They put their favor, not in faith, but in personal
motives which is foolishness because it is based on inferior guidelines. They
were seeing fancy clothes and putting their efforts into evangelizing the rich while
ignoring the poor and were not interested in what is in the heart. They were
giving the wrong people special attention and missing the point of Jesus’
teachings.

• Lord of Glory means God is Glorious, Wondrous, All Powerful, All Knowing
and All Important (Psalm 24:7-8). This describes God in the most powerful
and profound language we have. In context, Jesus is God and has all of these
attributes, referring to Immanuel, God is with us (Prov. 1; Matt. 1:23).

• Partiality/ favoritism means to receive by face value only, like judging a book
by its cover. It is to favor someone externally based on their appearance,
race, economic status, or value in society. Here, racism is superficial and it is
condemned as being evil! Jewish wisdom stressed (but did not always
practice) when our focus is on God, we are to see others in Him, not what
they can do to or for us. We are called to discern evil from good, but not make
judgments based on appearances only (Rom. 2:11; Gal. 2:6-8 Eph. 6:9; Col.
3:25).

• Assembly refers to the Synagogue. The Christians had not broken away from
Judaism yet (James 5:14). James was passionate that the Christians be
messianic (follow Christ) and, thus, stand out with more character and
morality than their Jewish cousins.

• Gold Rings were the symbols of status for the aristocracy; it is the archetypal
element of status and wealth. It literally means you carry your financial
portfolio with you to show others up.

• Poor man refers to the beggar, who wants to work, versus the “sluggard” who
does not (Prov. 6:6-11; 13:4; 19:24). The poor man wants to be in society and
work but is being oppressed and cannot; the poor were the lowest level of
Jewish and Greek society.

• Fine apparel. People gave respect and honor because of the outward
appearance of a person. The motivation for seeking favor with the rich is they
were seeking funds for themselves, a self-demeaning act, but something the
poor could not do as they could give no special favor. The Greeks were
famous for catering to the rich who wore elaborate clothes; the rich and
politicians sought votes while the people sought favor. James says this is
immoral!

• Filthy clothes. The poor often had only one set of clothing, thus it would be
dirty because they both worked and slept in it! Clothes were some of the most
expensive items a person had. Those who were poor, or, at least not rich,
usually had only one or two outfits, while the rich had many elaborate robes.
Thus, clothes were the symbol of who you were in society. In contrast,
maturity and character is the “status symbol” of who we are in Christ. Christ
wants to see our love, not our clothes or bank account!

The advice James gives us is to seek within ourselves and observe in our
actions whether true faith is working; and, if so, we will have no partiality. We will
not show favoritism, rather believing and acting as if all who are in Christ are
equal, which they are. The true measure of a person is not in his wealth or his
estate; rather it is his character and maturity, how he exhibits the precepts of our
Lord, how he lives his life. These are the true marks that are to be honored. The
early Christians missed this point, as do many Christians today! The call is that
we are to love and respect one another because of who we are in Christ, not
because of our looks, clothes, or bank account.

Vs. 5-7: The rich were honored; yet, it was the rich who did them the most harm
and even slandered our Lord. James tells us the true wealth is in our faith, the
fact that we are chosen by God! The rich are only rich temporarily while the poor
will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven—not for being poor, but for being in Christ
(Matt. 25:34, 46; John 3:3-5). Insulting those who are in Christ is an attack on
Christ Himself!

• Has God not chosen? Our status in the Kingdom and our salvation is
predestined by God alone. We are not chosen by any work, merit, popularity,
or wealth; thus there should be no reason for us to treat others with favor
because of what they can do or for whom they are in the world (1 Cor. 1:28-
29; Eph. 1:4).

• Dishonored the poor. Treating others by the ways of the world and not the
way of our Lord brings disgrace to people and God (Deut. 15:7-11). The poor
gain grace and favor because they have learned to trust and rely on God
alone, not just for being poor. Thus, they were, and are the ones with the
most faith and contribute to the church the most in what matters (Psalm 9:18;
Luke 6:20; 1 Cor. 1:26-31)!

• Drag you into courts. Some Jewish judges forced all litigant parties in court to
wear the same clothes, thus show the public that no favoritism took place
(Lev. 19:15). The Romans were the opposite and always favored the rich; in
fact, you could not accuse a person of any wrong doing who was in a higher
class than you. As today, the rich had more favor in the courts because they
could hire lawyers and witnesses. Greek philosophers said this was immoral,
and got themselves into trouble for saying so!

• Oppress is a very harsh word, normally attributed to Satan, meaning an


immense and cruel work (Acts 10:38). The rich had a bad habit of oppressing
people and creating a feudal system. It makes no sense to honor those who
dishonor you. The contrast is that the rich rely on their wealth while the poor
rely on God; the poor have honor, and the rich are typically reprobate (Matt.
10:25).

• Blasphemed. God’s Name is sacred (Yahweh), especially for the Jews. To


even say His name or write it directly was considered a curse. This is why
there are over 100 names of God in the Bible that describes His character
and attributes, but do not name Him directly.
Prejudice is defined as forming an opinion without knowing the facts.
Prejudice, discrimination, and favoritism are heinous things before God the
Father, who sees us as all His children. The biggest problems, both in the family
and in nations, are the superficial ways we judge each other and do not love.
Looking at someone with favor or disgust because of appearance, ancestry,
wealth, achievements, gender, age, theological position, or education is purely
dumb. In God’s eyes, we are forsaking our brother for superficial and
meaningless reasons. We have to remember, God accepts us and calls us to do
likewise with others (1 Sam. 2:7; 16:7; Prov. 14: 31; 17:5; 22:2; Job. 34:19; Matt.
28:19-20; John 13:34-35; Acts. 10:34; 17:24-28; Rom. 2:11; 15:7; 1 Cor. 1:25-
29; Gal. 3:26-27; 5:14; Eph. 6:9; Phil. 2:3-5; 1 Thess. 5:11; 1 John 4:7-21)!

Vs. 8-13: God is honored, not by our worth in society, but, rather, how we obey
His precepts and trust in Him. We sin by playing favorites and having skewed
values; and we are bringing shame to God and His Church. We cannot take
comfort thinking I keep these precepts of our Lord, and not worry about the ones
we ignore. For, when we break one law, we are guilty of it all. How we use mercy
will tell God how He should be merciful with us! Beware that being partial will
cause an encounter between you and judgment!

• Royal law refers to an imperial edict which became a supreme law and
overwrote other laws (Ezra 6:11; Est. 8). Here, it refers to God being the
Supreme King and His Law as absolute; thus, we are to follow His decrees
(Lev. 19:15-18; Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:36-40; Rom. 13:8-10)!

• Whole law. The Bible teaches that some sins are more heinous than others;
however, in God’s sight, sin is sin. A small sin will condemn you just as a
much bigger one. James warns us not to have a superficial understating of
the Law (God’s Word) (Matt. 5:17-20). Stoic philosophers also stated that all
sins are equal.

• Adultery, Murder. James quotes His Brother, Jesus (Mark 12:29-34). James
is putting the abuse of the poor and favoritism as a violation of the Great
Commandment, and in the same category as murder and adultery! During
this time, Zealots who were too religious to commit adultery would stab the
aristocrats in the Temple court. James is also saying not to go to the other
extreme, either.

• Transgressors, stumble means those who sin. The Jews, classically, had a
hierarchy of sins—which were the real bad ones, and which were minor. The
point James is making, as did Jesus, is that when we sin, we sin; there is no
“pecking order” or hierarchy (Matt. 5:18-19; 23:23).

• Be judged refers to how our words and actions reflect who we are and what is
in our heart (1 John 3:18).
• Law of liberty refers to being free from the ways of the world. It can also mean
being wise in our own eyes. Most scholars believe it means being freed from
sin (James 1:25).

• Mercy. God is not obligated to give mercy to anyone; yet, He does so


anyway, and in abundance (Zech. 7:9; Matt. 5:7; 18:21-25; Rom. 9). Judaism
recognized that God’s greatest attributes are His mercy and Judgment. If we
are not impartial in our judgments, it will fall back upon our selves! We always
have to remember we are given grace, liberty, and forgiveness, but never
forget we also have responsibility. We are called to give mercy and forgive—
as God has done with us (Matt. 18:23-35).

The basic, simple, and true thought is that we are to treat others as Christ has
treated us! Being a Christian means we are to see one another as who we are in
Christ. We are to treat one another the way Christ has treated us, because He
first loved us. Thus, we see each other as the children of God just as we are the
child of God (1 John 2:28-3:3). Each of us is a brother or sister in the Lord. So,
we must treat one another as Christ has treated us! We do this through the
empowerment of the Spirit! Worldly ways must not have an influence on we who
are in Christ—period!—nor on how we run our church or our daily lives. As God
is not influenced by societal desires, neither should we be (Mark 12:30-31; 1 Cor.
1:28-29; Eph. 1:4)! We need to realize this is important. We sin by playing
favorites. This dishonors our Lord and diminishes our witness.

To receive God’s mercy, we need to be merciful to others. Yes, we have


grace (praise God!), but why be the fool when we can be mature! We were under
the moral law of God through which there was no way to be pleasing and saved
unless we obeyed it fully. Our weakness, situations, and experiences could not
help us, nor could our education or will. We need to come to a point where we
will surrender to Him fully, allowing His Way to infuse our way (John 3:30)! We
are no longer under the law, but the law reveals who we are, our infirmities, and
our need for Christ as Lord and Savior (Romans 7:1-14). When we know we are
bad but we can be better, then we can begin to strive for goodness—with the
Spirit’s help!

The way of our sinful nature is to gravitate to those that are like us. God calls
us to rise toward Him and see others as His children too (Gen. 1:26-27).
Remember how our Lord reached out to the woman in Samaria (John 4:1-42).
Who do you reach out too? The call is to act in accordingly to what we believe,
and our beliefs need to be rooted in Christ! Two of God’s greatest attributes are
mercy and judgment. They go together and they do not operate without the other.
Neither should we judge or show favoritism. God’s mercy is dominant; we have
grace, but His judgments are still available. Do not allow yourself to fall into
judgment. Saved, yes we are, but consider what rewards and opportunities can
be wasted by you. Our efforts and ways only serve to glorify us while we ignore
God and His Glory
The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive
Bible Study):

1. What does it say?

2. What does it mean?

3. What is God telling me?

4. How can I be changed so I can learn and grow?

5. What is in the way from these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of
me listening to God?

6. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

7. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

Additional Questions:

1. Have you ever treated someone with extra respect and honor because they
were rich or a celebrity? Is this wrong? If so, how?

2. How would you and your church respond if a poor person who was dressed
badly and dirty, came to your services? How would they be treated? How
does God say for us to treat them?

3. How would you define partiality and favoritism?

4. What are your motivations for your dealings at church, work, or with family?
Have you considered if they line up with God’s precepts?

5. James calls us away from the way we think we should do daily church life.
What do you think about what James has to say in this passage? Do you
realize that many Christians will ignore these precepts? How do you feel
about that?

6. Do you believe that how we treat a person is rooted in our spiritual maturity
and character growth in Christ? How so?

7. How have you shown favoritism? How should you?


8. How would you define the true measure of a person? How should you? How
does God? How should the church? How would these percepts affect the way
your church chooses its pastors and leaders? Why would a church not follow
these precepts?

9. Take what James is saying and read Colossians 3:25. How do love and
respect for each other contribute to your witness, spiritual growth, church
culture, workplace, spouse, school or etc.?

10. God is not honored by our worth in society. How so? Why or why not? What
would your life look like if you followed this basic, simple, and true thought
that we are to treat others as Christ has treated us?

11. What do you need to do to look inside yourself and observe, in your actions,
whether or not true faith is working?

12. How can you be a person who is slow to show favoritism and gives respect to
those that even a liberal society may not give to? Who would that be? What
will you do?

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are
all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and
heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:28-29)

© 2004 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

James 2: 14-26: Do Faith and Works Go Together?

General idea: Real, impacting, effectual faith will have results. It will be lived out!
Faith is received alone, but it does not just stand alone; it is to be shown. Faith
will be backed up by the proof that it is present in a person. If there is no proof,
there is a good chance that the vessel is empty of faith. If the label says “coke,”
and when you open it and pour it in a glass, all that comes out is “chicken
feathers,” you may come to the conclusion that the label and contents do not
measure up to each other. The same case is with faith. Faith is given and
received by Christ’s work of grace alone. James’ point is not that salvation
requires works, an effort to receive it or even to cement it; rather, real faith will
result in an outcome that backs it up. Faith will be lived out in the believer’s life,
thinking, words, and actions. Faith will create initiative from the realization of who
we are in Christ, and then we will live out our lives in Him, through His power and
because of our convictions.
Many commentators have suggested that James was reacting against
Paul; however, James predates Paul, and they compliment and complete one
another rather than contradict. James was reacting to pious, fraudulent Jews as
well as the new Christians who were buying into their lies and demonstrating a
useless, meaningless un-impacting faith. Also, at this time, many Christians
wanted to join the Zealots and overthrow the Romans. James places the
emphases on impacting faith, doing good with it, not harm (James 1:26-27; 2:19).

The type of faith James is referring to here is not genuine, saving faith;
rather, it is the acceptance of our Lord’s precepts. There are three types of faith,
saving (Eph. 2:8-9), practicing (2 Cor. 5:7) and intellectual (James 2:14-26) or
sometimes refereed to as dead faith. Faith that is not powered by Christ, and
then practiced by our trust and obedience, is useless, false, dead, and even
demonic! Thus, this passage is not about salvation, but rather how we are to live
(Rom. 3:24; 14:23; Heb. 11:6; 1 John 5:12).

Vs. 14-17: James is using a rhetorical statement here. What good is a faith of
words and no actions? His point is that we are not to claim faith or brag about
faith if we are doing nothing with our faith. This type of faith is phony. Faith is
demonstrated by substance and connection, how we choose to live our lives and
touch others for Christ. It shows how our morality is applied. If we ignore our
brothers and sisters in the Lord, or in the world, while we boast we are in Him,
what good is our faith? Our demonstrations are ineffectual, and even detrimental
to others. Faith is not a substance that is to stand unused (1 John 3:16-20).

• Faith. James uses faith here as an “Academic Affirmation.” This means


having a mere intellectual understanding without trusting in Christ as Savior
and Lord. For James, faith was not just an allegiance to doctrine; rather, it
was to be a lifestyle. It was not just an idea to believe in, but rather the
purpose for our lives. Faith is not to be passive, but rather active; it is the
living Spirit living in us, empowering and growing in us (Gal. 5).

• Works/deeds refer to ethical behavior. Real faith is never to be hidden,


indifferent, or independent.

• Naked. God asks us to demonstrate our Christian life by helping out others in
need, especially the poor. Right thought will create right actions. This is not
about salvation; it is about our gratitude in Him and our obedience to His
precepts.

• Go in peace was a Jewish farewell blessing and saying. It means, may the
Lord bless you and go away from me. It is saying to someone, stay warm,
while you are in a warm home with a spare coat and they have no coat and
are out in the cold. But, the Law explicitly commands us to provide hospitality
(Deut. 10: 17-19; 15:7-8; Isa. 42:3-4; 58:6-7; Matt. 14:14-21; 20:34; Mark
1:41; Luke 4:18). Many Jews did; however, many refused and used their faith
as the reason not to give help to others—a perverted reason.

• Dead is a saying that means totally useless, words without actions. It is a


lifeless corpse from whence the spirit has departed. James is saying when we
do not demonstrate our faith we are as lifeless a dead body where the
spirit/soul is gone! This does not mean we lose our faith; rather, we never had
it.

Faith is not just an academic subject, something we just debate and talk
about, nor is it about emotions; rather it must be real and it must be the
motivating impacting force within us. If we have faith and do nothing with it, we
are being illogical and absurd. Saving faith is a living faith; it will have genuine
results! Thus, our desire, as Christians, will be to put into practice the precepts of
the Lord, not because we earn anything, but because we are grateful for what we
have and desire others to have it, too. Our faith will have activity that tells others
and God that our faith is real.

Vs. 18-20: Faith is not just belief; as James tells us, even the demons believe in
God. Belief does not save. Faith has a deeper aspect, rooted in our trust and
obedience and planted in us by Christ’s work on the cross. It will have
involvement, partnership, and heart. We are fools if we think all we need is to
believe in God and take comfort that our salvation is assured. Our assurance,
then, is not in Christ, but rather in our feeble thinking.

• If someone says was a literary device to demand evidence, to say “show me.”
It was meant to introduce a subject to answer an objection. In other words,
you cannot show me because your argument is unreasonable.

• Faith is like the wind. We cannot always see it, but we can see its affects. Not
to have deeds with it is like having a flashlight but no batteries.

• Show me. James challenges those with faith to show their faith with outward
fruit. James is not saying doctrine is unimportant; rather, if it is real in you,
then it will be shown in you. The Jews were required to declare the oneness
of God every day and then exercise their faith in Him. Many chose to only
proclaim their faith, but did nothing with it. God reads our heart; others read
our deeds. Thus, we are sometimes the only gospel a non-saved person ever
sees!

• One God. James places the emphasis beyond just believing in the One God,
the hallmark Jewish Shema (Deut. 6:4-5). The Jews were resting their faith on
their words alone. Faith, to many people, has become merely an intellectual
exercise; but, there is far more. There must be trust, too! It is not enough just
to believe, if you have correct doctrine. So what? What have you done with it?
• O foolish man. This is a very strong reprimand to wrong thinking and wrong
behaving. It is very reminiscence of the “fool” in Proverbs, and how judgment
falls on him. Don’t be the fool (Luke 7:35)!

• Dead, here, means not to have any fruit, as in no response from it.

God did not call us just to a creed; He called us to a way of life that
includes thinking, faith, reason, and action. It is not about just right thinking or
right doing; it is the synergy of the two. In this way, we can look after His sheep
and be His hands and feet in the world; we can be what we are to Him and then
show it to others (John 21:16).

Vs. 21-26: The Patriarchs were the principal models for Judaism (Deut. 7:7-9; 2
Chron. 20:7; Isa. 41:8). Abraham’s offering of Isaac was the climax of his faith.
For James to point them to Abraham, was the ultimate means to make his case.
The context is living according to God's precepts—not for salvation, but rather as
a response that our salvation has impacted us and is real (James 1:19-20). The
Jews were being challenged that they must not only know the law, they must
obey it too, or it is meaningless (2 Cor. 3:15). It is the same with the Christian; we
do not have the Law, nor need conditions for our salvation. But, what good would
our salvation be unless we are transformed by His precepts into our character.
Here, James uses Abraham and Rahab, two opposites in personality,
experiences, gifts, and call, yet united in faith.

• Abraham was saved by his faith in God (Gen. 15:6; 22; 26:4-5). What
Abraham did was prove his faith by trusting in God and then backing up that
trust by his obedience to God’s directive, even though it seemed irrational to
offer up his only son, for whom he had waited so long.

• Justified normally means to be reconciled to God as Paul uses this term.


James uses it as a proof. It is not just the profession of faith that is important;
it is the possession of faith that matters. James is using this term to indicate
being aligned with faith, as Paul does. We are justified; this means God
declares us righteous before Himself by the merit of Christ’s redemptive work
alone, by our faith alone. No meritorious deeds are worthy or necessary from
us to receive salvation (Eph. 2:8-9). However, as Martin Luther pointed out,
not by a faith that is alone.

• Made perfect. The perfect is when true faith is visible and produces fruit. Faith
and works are separate definitions and ideas, but they go together
synergistically and are never separated from a true follower of Christ.

• Rahab trusted in God and she was saved. She then hid the spies sent from
Joshua. She knew the city was judged and doomed and that the Hebrews
were God’s own. She was willing to sacrifice herself so that God would be
honored and so that perhaps her family could be saved too (Josh. 2:1-21;
6:17-27; Heb. 11:31).

• Paul also was saved by trusting in God. Then, his life was radically
transformed, so he put the same, if not more, energy into equipping the
church as he had in trying to destroy it (Rom. 4:1-5). Paul and James do not
contradict. Paul tells us outright that faith will have a response to it; thus, Paul
and James do not contradict, but rather complement. Salvation is a gift, not a
reward (2 Cor. 5:10)! Salvation is by His grace, condemnation is by our
works. Thus, Paul places the focus of faith on its root saving force while
James emphasizes its results. Paul describes the fire of faith and James the
smoke; they complement one another well!

• Faith without works is dead/Not by faith alone. Here is the statement that
brings the controversy. However, it is misunderstood. James is not saying we
are saved by works! He is saying, you are saved, but big deal if you do
nothing with it! None of our deeds can save us; salvation comes only by what
Christ has done. The point here is there is an evidence for it. In theology, this
is called “Antinomianism” meaning to say, Jesus is my Savior, but not to trust
in Him, and I do not need to obey His precepts and morals. The balance is
that we are saved by Christ alone, by faith alone. However, it will be
demonstrated if it has taken root in us.

For us, Christianity is not a once for all simple prayer we pray at a crusade
or church. It is not to be just an intellectual acceptance or idea. Rather, it is a
lifelong, purpose-driven lifestyle as Jesus as Lord over all (John 3:16-30). The
prayer may enter us in our new life—not the prayer itself, but the focus of our
faith in Christ. This leads to effectual commitment. If no commitment is shown,
then we may not have the real faith and trust in the Lord, or at the very least have
never ventured any further in our faith journey than when we first received Him.
There is a relation between faith and works. One proves the other. All too often,
the focus switches to how faith is to be used for salvation, when it is the Bible
view that faith is not academic, but needs to be a part of our daily life.

It is purely by His acceptance of us that we are saved (Rom. 3:23-28;


6:23; 7:18; Gal 3:11; 5:17; Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:5). There is nothing that
we can add to it, such as good works or clean living. Justification means that
God's righteousness is covering us, protecting us from His wrath and punishment
as a blanket! It is like getting a speeding ticket, going to court, and having the
judge declare you innocent, even though you were speeding. To God you are
clean, covered by what Christ has done for you. This creates our reconciliation to
God; we were in perfect relationship to Him before the fall, and now we are again
in harmony. Take great comfort; this does not happen overnight. Our faith has
grace to it. We will make mistakes and have setbacks, but He is there for us,
carrying us through. Allow Him to do so!
The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive
Bible Study):

1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?

3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?

4. Is there a sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

5. How can I be changed so I can learn and grow?

6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my
listening to God?

7. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

8. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

Additional Questions:

1. Do you consider yourself a person who just thinks, or a person who just
does? Do you base your comfort on what you do, or your works? How so?

2. The classic question is if you were arrested for being a Christian, would there
be enough evidence to convict you? Think about your faith; how genuine is it?
We will have ups and downs, but our faith should show growth.

3. How does real, impacting, effectual faith have a result to it? Why does faith
not just stand alone?

4. Do you believe that James was reacting against Paul, or that they contradict?
How so? Why not?

5. Faith is demonstrated by substance and connection. What has that meant in


your life? What can it mean for you and your church?

6. How does your faith answer James’ question to “show me?”

7. How would you answer this question from a traditional Catholic: When we say
by faith alone, “what good would your salvation be without being transformed
from His precepts and into His character?”
8. James is saying that when we do not demonstrate our faith, we are as a
lifeless, dead body where the spirit/soul is gone! If we have faith and do
nothing with it, it is illogical and absurd. How does this make you feel, or
convict you?

9. Faith can easily become just an intellectual exercise. So, what can you do to
make sure that you are applying far more to it, such as trust and obedience?

10. If James asked you, “What have you done with your faith?” how would you
respond?

11. Remember the WWJD craze a few years ago? What would Jesus do? I did
not like that much, because we are not Jesus. It should have said what would
Jesus have me do? Thus, what will He have you do about your faith
development (Gal. 3:2-6; 5:16; Eph. 3:16)?

12. God asks us to demonstrate our Christian life by helping out others in need,
especially the poor. What can your church do to be more obedient to this
precept?

© 2004 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

James 3: 1-12: Taming the Tongue!

General idea: Here is where James is slapping our face to get our attention on
discipline so we do not fall further into judgment. Why? Because; words can get
us in so much trouble, and serve both for the good of the Kingdom and the
determent of the Church. Who has control of your words, God or man? Do your
words reflect who you are in Christ, or does the sinful nature have it roots in you?
Is wisdom guiding them, or the desire for the world’s attention? This are James’
questions to the early Church in their struggle with gossip, slander, and, a
problem we all have at times—speaking before thinking (James 1: 26; 2:12; 4:1,
11-12). Words have the crucial role of communicating not only our ideas but how
we are connecting with others. Thus, how we use our spoken language, as well
as our body language, is of utmost importance and that we do so knowing we
have been bought by Christ and we are His ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20). Our
tongue must reflect our spiritual maturity and character! Our words, and the
deeds that result from them, will convey to others who Christ is in us and how
they should view Him. This may sound overwhelming, but it is also an honor and
blessing to be called to convey His precepts, not in just preaching a sermon, but
in how we live our daily life to God’s honor, demonstrated in our connections with
others.
Vs. 1-5a: James first mentions, in verses 1: 19 and 26, how Jesus calls us to be
wise stewards of our words (Matt. 12:33-38; Mark 7:20-23). Now, he gives further
reproof. Teaching is not just a job or call; it is a responsibility we must take very
seriously! The office of the teacher is perhaps the most important role in the
church, and the one with the greatest responsibility. James then gives us
illustrations that the tongue is small but its wake and impact can be
immeasurable. God calls us to tame our tongue, and acknowledges that we do
not have the ability to do so alone; however, He gives those who are in Him the
ability to do so!

• Become teachers…stricter judgment. A teacher has the responsibility of the


trust of the susceptible student to teach with clarity and truth. Jewish sages,
who were pious, warned that wrong teaching, leading others astray, and
deliberately teaching error were heinous sins, as was promoting our own
desires for personal glory and position. We are held accountable for our
teachings; we are to teach God’s wisdom not ours, His glory not ours (Matt.
5:19; 18:6; Rom. 14:10-12; James 3:13-18)!

• We all stumble means we all make mistakes that are not deliberate,
premeditated sins. This is also a Jewish adage that we make mistakes and
sin. However, as God knows we are fallible, we still have the responsibility to
do our best to be wise stewards of our words.

• The human tongue, to Jewish wisdom and Scripture, is a wild and evil force
as well as an instrument for good. Our heart and spiritual formation will
determine the impact and outcome of our words (Prov. 11:9; 12:18; 18:21).

• Horse…bits. This representation is that great results come from small means.
In an agrarian culture, the domestication of animals was essential as a source
of labor, substance, and wealth. Every family unit in biblical times, except a
slave or a very poor person, would have animals. This is a rhetorical question
that all could understand; we can control wild animals, why not our very own
tongue? Thus, our words can determine the direction of our lives and shape
us for what is ahead!

• Little member. James’ point is that small devices can have great power. The
tongue is nether friend or foe, yet it is a refection of our mind and a mirror to
our soul. Thus, it is a tool at our heart’s and mind’s disposal! It is the
indication of how we are dealing with life, our spiritual growth, our character,
and our maturity.

James is telling us that those who teach have a greater responsibility in


communicating effectively and we will be judged in a stricter sense due to the
fact we are conveying to others His precepts. If we do it with bad intentions, or
use words to put others off/down instead of lifting them up, we will be judged for
it! So, how we can make sure we are better at modeling Christ to others? The
key thing James brings to our attention is the discipline to exercise self control in
how we use words! This is paramount, because what comes out will either lift up
or destroy. The power and responsibility are ours.

Vs. 5b-12: James was attacking gossip and equating it with a devastating forest
fire in a time man could do nothing but watch and see everything destroyed.
Some Christians, as well as radical Jewish groups, were leading people astray
by teaching violence and not reconciliation. If we do not get under His discipline,
as in Fruit of the Spirit, with our tongue, we may be under God’s discipline as in
Judgment. Are we aware of the consequences when we misbehave? God has
grace for us, but we should never negate our responsibility (Matt. 7:16-21; 15:10-
11, 17-19)!

• Kindles. The point is that a small force can ignite, become out of control, and
then destroy a large area. Our words have awesome power and they can
fervently destroy (Prov. 16:27-29)!

• World of iniquity/evil means the world’s evil is from the tongue. Even though
Satan can get control of our tongue, he is not need to do so, as our pride,
boasting, anger, bitterness, gossip, lust, slander… is just as powerful in its
devastation as he!

• Defiles means evil speech such as lies, false vows, and slander as well as
blasphemy and gossip. The Bible says they are all evil! A small tongue in our
large body controls our direction, relationships, and all we experience in life
from peace to violence; it is how we are perceived and how others react to us
(Psalm 25:15, 23; 28:23; 39:1-3; 52:1-4; 57:4; 120:2-4; Prov. 16:27; 26:21).

• Hell, (Greek Gehenna) refers to the valley of Hinnom, the place where the
heinous child sacrifices took place under Ahaz and Manasseh (2 Chron. 28;
33; Jer. 7:32). This was the wickedest place a Jewish mind could conceive of,
and where the first century Jews burned their trash. It also refers to
everlasting torment (Mark 9:43-48). It is the image of judgment. Our tongue is
hurtful when it is boastful and condescending and thus will lead to the fate of
those who are dammed. James is not saying gossip causes a person to go to
Hell, rather it is where its concept and veracity leads, the logical conclusion.
Remember, we still have grace that saves and protects.

• Tame. The tongue is harder to tame than a wild beast! Animals are made to
be to be subservient; we are made to be over the animals (Rom. 3:13-14).
Can we have rule over the animals but not ourselves?

• Deadly poison, as in deadly cobra venom, the most powerful illustration that
could be made in this time! James is using the image of Moses’ snake, how
the snakes killed and how the symbol which is the modern medical symbol
today, heals (Nub. 21:6-9). This compares the uncontrolled tongue to the
deadliest snake, and how our words can be of love or be a deadly toxin
(Psalm 52:2; 58:1-6; 64:3; 140:3; Prov. 12:8, 18; 16:24; 18:21; 25:18)!

• Similitude of God/ Made in God’s image. James’ point is that we are made in
God’s image and to be in Christ; animals are made for our use and it is our
responsibility to care for them. (Gen. 1:26-28; 9:2; Prov. 12:10). Thus, we
should have control and care over our own mouths and words!

• Bless...curse, the context, meaning our sinful, human nature, is inconsistent;


these ideas of blessing and cursing are incongruities to each other. Perverse
words, rhetoric, a curse, a battle cry, or the pronouncement of a blessing and
our worship of God totally contradict, but both can come from the same
source—us!

• Does a spring. James illustrates these incongruities with examples of the


most common crops that were necessary for life from nature (Gen. 1:11-12,
21, 24-25). The point is that we cannot worship God authentically if we use
the same mouth to curse His children!

So then, do you fully understand the power of our words? Our tongues are
two to six ounces of muscle and whether from the biggest bodybuilder to the
frailest little child, they get more exercise and less control than any other muscle
in our 50 lb to 350 lb body! Thus, we must be conscious of what comes out of our
mouths before it comes out. Squeezing the toothpaste out is easy, but putting it
back in the tube is nearly impossible. When our words come out, they are out for
good! We must have them under control! How can we do this? By making sure
our tongue is under a good helmsman, God (Psalm 19:14; 51:10; 141:1-4;
Eccles. 3:7; Mark 12:34; Luke 6:45; 2 Cor. 6:3-10; 10:5; 11:3; Phil. 4:8; Eph. 4:8;
1 Pet. 1:13-14), and by making sure our spiritual formation is growing in Christ as
Lord. When our spiritual life is growing, we will be disciplined as our unspoken
words from our thoughts, and our motivations and attitudes are aligned up to His,
then our spoken words and deeds will show authentic character and maturity.

Perhaps, you may think that James does not apply to you. I do not gossip
or lie. But, the bottom line is to improve our relationships; thus, we have to start
with how we honor and respond to our Lord and Savior! We are to respond to His
precepts with our personal holiness! Because we received His grace that
sanctified our heart and covered our sin, it should strike a cord within us to
respond. Out of our gratitude for what He has done for us, we should be willing to
strive to seek righteousness in all that we do including, and most importantly, our
tongue. Our words can be the sweetness that spills unto others and be the honor
and trustworthiness we earn in the hearts and minds of the people God brings
into our life. Or, our words can also feverishly destroy!
We must be willing and able to check our words before they leave our lips,
and to think in good terms before we speak. We have to see the destruction that
can come by inflicting anger and frustration, resulting in low self-esteem,
loneliness, and despair. Our words can create success or they can create failure.
We all have been positively motivated by someone’s words uttered purposefully,
or negatively, as a slip of the tongue is made as a mistake. Thus, if you like to
use words as weapons, consider this; words have a boomerang affect. That
means, what you throw out will come back to hit you. If you think you can duck
them, well you cannot, because once you release those hurtful words, you
cannot put them back any more than you can put the toothpaste back into the
tube. They are out, and out for good.

Having trouble? Take heart, He is the One who changes us and forms our
character. All we do is adoringly respond by faith and commit to His precepts. We
need to think before we speak, so we are careful not to say things that could hurt
someone, or cause a fight or an argument. Commit to preventing your words or
body language from discouraging others. This translates that we will not ever
gossip or talk negatively about others at work, school, home, church, or
anywhere in the universe—period—if we claim Christ as Lord!

Remember, your words will reflect your true character! Your words have
the power to change someone else’s life for the better. If you criticize others, then
you will be criticized, too. If you lie to others, then you will be lied to, also. If you
gossip about others, then others will gossip about you. If you cheat others, then
others will cheat you. Do you see a pattern? It is a simple pattern; what you give
out, you will soon get back. We have to realize deep down in our hearts and
minds how powerful our words are as they shape and form both us and others
around us. Words have power to destroy people’s lives, just as a spark can
destroy an entire forest.

The greatest gift you have is the ability to communicate; the greatest
responsibility you have is using your ability to communicate with character and
distinction within the parameters of God’s call to you!

The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive
Bible Study):

1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?

3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?

4. Is there a sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

5. How can I be changed so I can learn and grow?


6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my
listening to God?

7. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

8. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

Additional Questions:

1. What is the greatest slip of the tongue that you have experienced? What
about from someone else (without naming names)? How did you feel?

2. How important is communication in your life? What happens when we


communicate wrong or badly?

3. Who has control of your words, God or man? What does your tongue say
about yourself to others?

4. Do you truly know the power your words have? How are the words from your
mouth being used? How are your words guiding you? How are your words
touching others?

5. How is teaching a responsibility we must take very seriously? What happens


when a teacher is leading people astray?

6. We all make mistakes. So, what is the difference between a deliberate or


premeditated sin and a mistake? How do you balance personal responsibility
and the grace that God has for you?

7. Yes, gossip is fun and inviting, and it seems everyone is doing it. But, are you
aware of the consequences when you misbehave with your words?

8. How and why do our words reflect our true character?

9. How is your tongue a refection of your mind and a mirror to your soul? What
would it take for you to fully realize that our words are a tool at our heart’s and
mind’s disposal?

10. How are your words an indication of how you are dealing with life, your
spiritual growth, character, and maturity?

11. How can you make sure you are better at modeling Christ to others with your
words as well as the inflection of your words?
12. What would your life look like if you were completely under God’s discipline,
as in Fruit of the Spirit, with your tongue? We must have our words under
control! How can we do this?

© 2004 R. J. Krejcir IntoThy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

More information on our website in our Problem Solving Channel under Church
Leadership

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body
you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you
richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing
psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And
whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord
Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17

James 3: 13-18

“Wisdom, the worlds or God’s?”

General idea: My grandfather who was a carpenter always told me you measure
twice and cut once. The theory was to make sure your measurements were
correct as you can always recalculate, but once the wood is cut wrong, it is
wasted. James is speaking on how we are measured before we cut into the world
and other people’s lives. Is it with good intentions or conceited objectives? Does
the Fruit from Galatians 5:19-21 or from 22-23? Fruit produces motives stemming
from our spiritual maturity in Christ. If we are seeking His wisdom, we are being
righteous and measuring twice, if we are seeking our own or the world’s ways,
we are not even measuring; consequently, cutting wrong, thus wasting what the
Lord gives and distorting His Truth.

Vs. 13: James is confronting the early Christians on what their motives were for
the wisdom that they are proclaiming. Many were promoting violence while
claiming to be righteous (James 1:5, 17; 3:1; 5:7-11). Then he makes the
distinction between the world’s wisdom and the wisdom of God. He challenges
the contemporary thinking that all wisdom was good and profitable from the
Greek Philosophical thinkers, but there is a sharp contrast to what is good and
profitable and what is error and leads to destruction. Motives are a crucial
indicator to the type of wisdom from God. James nails it when the contrast is
bitterness and envy versus being a peacemaker and seeking to please God;
because, if we are really wise, we will live really wise. Are you pleasing God or
yourself? Is your heart seeking reconciliation or alienation? As the previous
passage indicates how we use our words is paramount on how God is impacting
your life!

· Wise, here in this context it means to demonstrate your faith by godly living,
real wisdom will produce goodness (1 Tim. 4:15-16).

· Let him show, this means know the real thing first and then you will know the
counterfeit. Popularity is never a sign of real truth it just means that more
people are deceived!

· Meekness/ humility, means applying wisdom with humbleness and


gentleness and under control. Here it means an active attitude of deliberate
acceptance, as humility and wisdom go together as does foolishness and
arrogance. Wisdom equals humility and does not boast and brag. This word is
used to mean “broken” or “harnessed” as in a wild untamed horse that is
brought under control. The spirit and strength of the horse is still there,
however, its focus and purpose has changed. The horse is now usable and
available; the same is with us when we are broken from our ways to His Way.
We are called to be broken into the Lord!

· Wisdom, here is not about facts and figures, or knowledge and our
intelligence level or education; rather, how we are to control the truth. That
control is to be gentle and real. We are to look to God in what real wisdom is.
We are to look to the future implications as the measure of how we dispense
wisdom.

The best way to determine counterfeit money is to know the real one very
well. James is addressing that real wisdom is essential for Christian living; this is
one of his main themes. Wisdom also has a dangerous counterpart; it is easily
counterfeited and misrepresented! The measurement will be whether the person
is seeking God or seeking themselves. For the mature Christian they will seek
God’s and do all they can to learn His percepts and not rely on their instincts and
feelings in place of wisdom. Then, they can model Christ and even teach with
gentleness and respect being righteous as they claimed.

Vs. 14-16: Bitterness, envy, and selfish ambitions may be the adoring motivators
for many people in the world; but for the Christian, these are to be abhorrent!
These rotten characters are the root of bad wisdom; they seek power and
prestige for themselves and forsake God and His Truth. They cause broken
relationships and dysfunctional homes and churches (Prov. 11:18; Rom. 12:9; 1
Cor. 2:6-15).

· Envy / jealously, refers to covetousness (Duet. 5:21). James is attacking the


zeal of the Zealots who were disillusioned in thinking they were following
“Phinehas” the grandson of Aaron who was passionately following God when,
in fact, they were deluded and acted contrary to Phinehas and God. (Nub.
25:11-13; Psalm 106:30-31) Envy is misplaced zeal and is mourning for what
we do not have and conniving to get it, then boasting about it. This poisons
the Spirit’s work in us, as it leads to the creation of vice and bitterness as well
as suspension and distrust. Thus, real truth will be denied, falsehoods
fabricated and promoted, and our passions will go astray.

· Self-seeking, creates strife and brings disharmony and prejudices to others. It


gains the person nothing of real or eternal value only pushes the person down
further.

· Boast, means to show off with deceptive means. It is used to describe


elections won by deceiving and manipulations. It is like an elected official
winning an election dishonestly and then bragging about it.

· Lie, is stating that a particular wisdom is from God when it is not. This is done
to manipulate and scheme to get our way over His Way. This is evil!

· This wisdom here refers to earthly wisdom, the humanistic approach to life
that we are great in of ourselves. This is very limited, as it is unspiritual and
only has our imperfect insights and perspective. This ignores God and what is
His best for feeble ideas and egocentric gains while creating unhealthy
relationships and dysfunction.

· Above/ Heaven, was a saying to mean “coming from God.” It is the contrast
and opposite of earthly wisdom (Matt. 16:22-23).

· Sensual, our wisdom is deceptive as it reflects Satan and evil; it is


foolishness and opposes God’s call and precepts to us.

· Demonic, refers that demons have an extraordinary body of knowledge by


being very old and having former access to God. They have far more wisdom
than any human could ever conceive; however, by not yielding to God, their
wisdom has no benefit, it is only used to stir up their ungodly values,
discourage, manipulate and destroy.

· Every evil thing, this is the destructive power of the rotten works of the flesh
James lists. These ideas produce evil such as adultery, thieving, slander,
conflict, harm to others and murder that leads to chaos and the destruction in
the Church and world.

Understanding His grace will help empower us to be honest with wisdom,


seek His percepts and not that which is false. The grace we receive if it has
taken root within us will display humbleness; as we are exalted in Christ, we have
no need to have inflated egos. Our significance is in Him, thus we are upgraded
in Him beyond any human hopes or dreams (Deut 4:6; 1 Kings 3:9; Psalm
119:97-98; Matthew 6:33; Romans 12:3; 1 Timothy 1:18-20).

Vs. 17-18: The goal of wisdom is to yield to Christ, so to uplift Him and point to
His precepts, so we can live a Christ filled and directed life that is uplifting and
contagious to others. The opposite is a heart full of rotten fruit, a Pandora’s Box
that when opened will distribute its sin onto others. Our wisdom is arid and
devoid of what is real authentic truth that is a benefit and is edifying. It is seeking
waste water and not His Living water. Only Christ can bring us real wisdom, we
must seek it by asking Him for it. Recognizing real truth and what is counterfeit is
essential for our maturity (Psalm 37; Prov. 1:7; 3:5; Eph. 5:5-20).

· Wisdom that is from above, this is God’s wisdom that He gives us that is
eternal and from the One who is all knowing, all loving, and all caring (Col.
2:2-4). It creates healthy relationships and a contagious faith because it has
respect, honesty and pure intentions. It uplifts Christ and edifies and
empowers those who seek it (see study, James 1: 5-8).

· Pure, means when we are exercising God’s wisdom we are bringing purity, it
is not to be mixed with anything else, especially the world’s wisdom. It is
applying His fruit into other’s lives as well as our own. We won’t be defiled in
the rotten ways of evil people, prejudices, favoritism or our own evil which is
defilement. Rather, our motives will be morally based and be good.

· Peaceable, means to not quarrel, give in to anger, be jealous or have an


arrogant attitude.

· Gentle, means to be fair, thoughtful and tolerant towards others. That is to


know justice and dispense justice with Godly intentions without selfish
motivations.

· Yield, means to listen and obey and to be open to reason, so we can make
allowances for other’s feelings, weaknesses and strengths by learning,
exercising care and grace as we have been given. We are not to be critical
while modeling the real Truth. We are to be aware of our own weakness and
strengths. Yield is the opposite of being stubborn.

· Mercy, here means to be charitable and not to be stingy with compassion. It


is to get rid of cynicism and condescending attitudes, so we can be more
Christ like. To be effectively used by God, we have to know He calls us not
only to be fruit inspectors but more so to produce Fruit (Rom. 7:4-6; Col. 1:10;
2 Peter 1:5-10; 3:14-16)!

· Without partiality means to be fair and not be deceiving, scheming or


hypocritical, so we know when and where to draw the line of exercising grace
and rebuking arrogance and the world’s wisdom. We are to have our mindset
fixed on Christ.

· Fruit of righteousness, this is the illustration of a seed of wisdom produces


bountiful righteousness, because it is growing in the Lord being nourished
from God’s wisdom. James point to the Zealots is that violence and peace
cannot coexist in one another (Prov. 11:18; Isa. 32:17).

Arrogance and condescending attitudes and actions are heinous acts that
are diametrically opposed to all that Christ taught and modeled. To be a Christian
who is condescending is an oxymoron, with the emphases on the moron. It is
stupid and a slap in the face of our Lord who saves and loves us! At the same
time, real wisdom will not be compromised, as integrity and compassion do go
together.

God calls us to be wise stewards of not only material things but of what is
even more important, wisdom. Wisdom for the Christian desiring to live for Christ
and not in the world is to be living a life patterned off our Lord. Jesus Christ both
fully God and fully man was also wise beyond our comprehension, yet He
tempered His wisdom and dispensed it ever so gently on others. He showed the
Truth while exercising love and care. If we live a passion directed life, this is
good, but is the passion under check and control or have the reins become
unbridled and on the ground dragging. If so, love and gentleness is not coming
from you while the house of your will is in full spirit and wild. We are called to be
under control and not wild in our thinking, temperament, actions and our words.
At the same time, we are to be passionate and this is essential on how we
dispense wisdom (Matt. 7:15-23; Col. 3:10).

This all translates in how we are to others for Christ. We are to be


exercising purity, righteousness with gentleness and respect while being
responsible and unwavering with His percepts, so no hypocrisy can come from
us. This creates an atmosphere of peace where His wisdom is sought and
exercised. When we are learning and proclaiming God’s wisdom, we will live this
life with passion and conviction. We will see life as a wondrous adventure staying
in His presence and precepts. So, ask for His wisdom and then live it for His
glory! Seize the fantastic opportunities He has for you!

The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive
Bible Study):

1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?

3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?


4. Is there a sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

5. How can I be changed so I can learn and grow?

6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my
listening to God?

7. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

8. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

Additional Questions:

1. Have you ever measured something wrong and wasted your wood or
material? How did you feel? How is this like living the Christian life?

2. What is jealously? Have you struggled with jealousy? How so? What causes
it? How can you know when your emotions get out of control with envy?

3. What is arrogance? Have you struggled with arrogance? How so? What
causes it? How can you know when your emotions get out of control with
being condescending?

4. How would you describe the distinction between the world’s wisdom and the
wisdom of God?

5. How would you describe a peacemaker? How have you seen this work?
Have you been one? How can you be one?

6. Read 1 Peter 5:1-4: How do Peter’s principles compare to James? How


would they improve your relationships? Improve your church? How can you
live them out?

7. How do integrity and compassion go together? How would you contrast


humility and wisdom to foolishness and arrogance? Why is it, that to be a
Christian who is condescending is an oxymoron?

8. How can you go from being just a fruit inspector to a fruit giver?

9. When we are learning and proclaiming God’s wisdom, we will live this life
with passion and conviction tempered with truth. How so? Why do some
Christians refuse to do this?
10. How would you honestly assess what your motives are for the wisdom that
you are proclaiming?

11. God calls us to be wise stewards of not only material things but of what is
even more important, wisdom. What would your life and church look like with
this precept in action?

12. What can you do to gain a better understanding of His grace, so you can be
empowered to be honest with wisdom and seek His percepts and not that
which is false?

For more information: The Character of Wisdom

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise
wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7

© 2004 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

James 4: 1-6: “God hates Pride!”

General idea: Our human nature loves to be in competition and fight, but God
has a higher call for us. James takes us directly to the root cause of fights and
quarrels, wars and conflict; they all come from one source, and that is the conflict
that resides in our own hearts! Our desires are at war with the precepts of our
Lord and the call He gives us. This is the war of good and evil of man versus
God, of our sinful nature and that of the new life in Christ. These desires
converge and conflict with the desires of other people and escalate into
interpersonal conflict and all out war.

We lust after what we do not have, so it controls us; that which is wrong becomes
our passion and quest. Then we become jealous of others, hording what we have
and coveting what they have. We engage in fighting like wild dogs and tear at
one another in conquest of the demented goals we have. In all of this, we ignore
God and forsake His call and wisdom. When we do ask of Him, our motives are
skewed and our passions misdirected, as we seek personal pleasures and the
self, not Christ and His mission for us.

Then James tells us out right that our desires which are contrary to God’s
desires are adultery; we are cheating on Him with the mistress of our notions and
evil plans. We become enemies of the very God who created us and loves us
and is holding a perfect plan for us which we forsake for futility. God wants us to
be His friends, not His enemies, but the choice is ours to determine, and the path
is ours to undertake.

Vs. 1-3: James is addressing the oppressed poor who are in insurrection,
displaying violence toward their masters. James is telling us that our selfish
inclinations that bubble up from our pride are causing divisions, destroying our
relationships, and giving our Lord a bad name. Our warring attitudes come from
the war we have within our very own hearts and minds. We are seeking the
world’s wisdom and ways and not God’s way. It may not be popular to seek real
Christ-centered wisdom, as the world’s wisdom tends to be more appealing just
as it was in James’ time (James 2:14-26; 3:13-18). But, what will that get you in
life and in eternity?

• What causes. James is stating a rhetorical question to direct their attention


away from their false mindsets and aligned them with God’s. Such things are
contrary to God; they are not from Him, but rather from our sinful nature and
evil desires!

• Wars is hyperbole here (exaggeration emphases), meaning great military


campaigns like the Cesar’s. Here, it refers to the war of desires wavering
between options, and the seeking of destructive passion and not wisdom.
Plato stated that all wars are from the desires of our physical body, our lusts
as well as our hearts. Jewish wisdom stated that our “evil impulses” will
dominate all actions unless it is controlled.

• Fights are the divisions we have with one another; they cause strife and never
solve the underlying problem. The root is the same: envy and evil desires.
Consider this; if we choose to act in love from the precepts of 1 Corinthians
13, then fights will not occur or even be considered! Real love creates perfect
peace! Imagine your life and connections at peace or having more peace
because of the love you bring others!

• Murder, here, is hyperbole and rhetorical, and refers to hate and the logical
ends of quarreling and fights. James’ readers had not murdered anyone
literarily, at least not yet! But, being exposed to violent teaching will lead to
violent attitudes, and then actions (James 3:13-18).

• Desires, refers to hedonism, what gets in the way of our growth in Him and
His call for us. We are to desire the gifts from the Lord (1 Cor: 12) not the gifts
of the world. We know our desires are off His path when they do not align with
His love, grace, and teachings. Personal desires are usually the target toward
which we shoot our lives. Honesty is crucial to seeing them. (For more info
see study James 1:12-18.)

• Covet. James’ readers desired violence, even craving it and rationalizing that
it was OK. We have to be careful that we do not reason and rationalize our
desires, thus making them happen. This would show we do not realize God is
the One who gives wisdom and gives it liberally. The counter to coveting is to
be in prayer seeking reconciliation and not division. They were seeking wealth
and status to satisfy lustful desires, but such things only bring temporary relief
and not meaningful or eternal outcomes (Prov. 10:24; 13:23; Phil. 4:12).

• Cannot obtain. We cannot take hold of God’s promises when we are full of
false promises or selfish desires. Nor, can we follow Him when we are full of
envy, because envy blocks our gratitude toward Him for what He has given
us. It may seem God gives to those who are evil and selfish, but remember,
what they receive is mere straw to what you will receive for faithfulness!

• You do not ask indicates the neglecting of prayer and seeking our way to deal
with life and conflict, not God’s wisdom and call. It was Jewish custom to ask
God for daily needs as well as crisis intervention; it is foolish not to do so. We
are called to seek Him and His ways, and not envy (Matt. 6:11, 33; 7:7-8;
John 5:30; James 1:5).

• Amiss is to miss the mark God has for us—like the definition of sin. God will
not grant us our requests when we are filled with bad motivations or seeking
what is wrong or bad for us and/or others. Nor, are we to use faith or prayer to
manipulate, deceive, or conspire (Rom. 14:23; Heb. 11:6).

• Prayer is far better than fighting, as we are seeking God. He will give us what
we ask. However, if we do not receive it, then it was not meant for us and not
in our best interests!

When we are only concerned with pleasing ourselves and living for the
pleasures of life, we miss out on what Christ has for us. Even when we seek to
please others, we tend to be only seeking to lift ourselves up. So, we need to
watch our attitudes, even how and what we are praying for, to make sure they
are centered on His goodness not our selfish desires. If not, we show that we are
self-centered and just end up hurting others and forsaking God’s feelings and
call.
However, our call is clear and our path is lit. His light will keep us from
tilting into temptation and into disobedience. If we really want homes that honor
God and churches that teach and model His precepts, we must ask ourselves if
our deepest desires and pleasures in life are devoted to pleasing Christ or
pleasing ourselves. We need to take a hard look at our motivations and see how
we are honoring or perhaps, dishonoring God.

Vs. 4-5: We are at war and war stands for we are right; but, in fact, we are
wrong. Only God is right. We have to see where our aim in life is pointed; is it at
God, His love, and His percepts or the foolishness of our whims? When we
ignore His Scriptures, we forsake our loyalty and betray our loving Lord. He is
faithful with us; we need to remain faithful in Him and not allow our desires to rule
our hearts and minds.

• Adulterers: This means spiritual betrayal. In the OT, it meant being called to
serve God in a covenant with Him, then rebelling in disobedience with idols
(Jer. 31:32; Hos. chaps 1-3; James 2:23). This means adultery, betraying
God by the mistress of our malevolent desires and loving the world rather
than God. It also means claiming to be friends with God and then being
disobedient with His principles. We are giving our love away cheaply and to
the wrong place or person! Don’t give the world love that is meant for Christ!

• Enmity with God means to be unfaithful, spiteful, and immoral. It is to share


the world’s values, rejecting Him and His truth. We are at enmity with God
when we are being rigid, inflexible to others, and seeking to squash His work
in other’s lives as well as ours (Eph. 4:30).

• Makes himself indicates our self-directed motivations that are contrary to


God’s, and are, as the Jewish wisdom stated, “evil impulses.”

• Scriptures says refers to not a specific passage, but the veracity of God’s
Word as to the consequences of sin (Gen. 6:3; 8:21; Ex. 20:5; Deut. 4:24; Isa
55:1; Gal. 6:1).

• In vain means that we allow our evil impulses to override the principles of
God’s Word (1 Pet. 1:7).

• Yearns jealously. God calls us to seek Him and to desire His ways; thus, we
ought to and should long for God and His wisdom and truth, and not the ways
of the world (Psalm 42:1-2; 63:1; 84:2). Also, in this context, it refers to the
jealousy of God; He is a jealous God and will not tolerate any competition (Ex.
20:5; Duet. 32:21; Joel 2:18).

• Humble. This passage quotes Proverbs 3:34, and is referring to submitting to


the sovereignty of God. God’s plan for our life is far better than any desire—
evil or good—we could ever have; thus, it is logical and beneficial to be
humble in Him (1 Pet. 5:5)!

Our desires can be overwhelming at times, and the world seems to fuel
them more and more. But, we still have faith. God will increase our faith when we
develop more dependence on Him and less dependence upon ourselves. To get
to this, we must abandon ourselves to Christ as LORD, and never hesitate with
worldly reasoning and logic, bow to our emotions, or hide in our own thinking and
rationalizations. Our drive must be to see Christ’s supremacy so we follow Him
and lift Him up as LORD and supreme in our lives (Col 1:18)! Reaching this point
will be when our interests are surrendered to His; His interests will be mine
(Romans 1:1; Gal. 1:5; 2:20-21). We will not even want our own pleasure
because it is more gratifying to serve Him (John 15:13; 1 Cor. 9:22; 2 Cor.
12:15)!

If a new person comes to visit your church, what would they observe?
Would they see your church as an example of how to love and care for one
another or how to bicker and fight with one another? What about your home, your
family? Is it one that quarrels or one that loves? What glorifies our Lord and leads
to a better life for us: conflict and violence or love and peace?
Ask yourself this: what brings about the quarrels warring at you and your
church or home? Then commit a way, His way, to dissolve the fight and replace it
with His love so it overflows to those around you! Why is it so hard to get along
with other people who are also in Christ, whom He loves, whom He has called
and saved and empowered, too? The answer is what is motivating our hearts
and directing our passions! The choice, His way or our way, will determine how
every relationship and encounter we have in life will be affected! The result is we
will seek God’s wisdom and live our lives in love, bringing growth and
reconciliation.

It is good for a car to be on a road; that same car should not be under or
in the road. If so, it is useless. The church is called to be salt in the world, to be in
the world as His influencers (Matt. 5:13-16). However, the church is not called to
have the world in it or to be influenced by it! We can overcome; we have the
ultimate tool, the Holy Spirit, within us. Let us live as we should, and seek to
please God, forsaking our warring ways. God gives us the strength! He stands up
with us and gives us the ability to win the war of the flesh so our sinful nature is
subdued and we are victorious in Him. It all comes down to pride; will it belong to
His pride or will we dwell in our pride? Pride in Him is amity, like a kinship of
lions. Pride without Him is making the lion our enemy; pride lifts us up to think we
are a god and do not need the one true God as our Lord. We must allow His
grace to penetrate our envy and desires so we are poured out to Him and not to
ourselves or the world. He will make us more than conquerors, but we have to
seek Him and allow Him to do so (Rom. 8)!

The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive
Bible Study):

1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?

3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?

4. Is there a sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

5. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?


6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my
listening to God?

7. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

8. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

Additional Questions:

1. Why do you suppose it is so difficult for God’s people to get along? Consider
all the fights and divisions and denominations throughout church history to the
conflict in your church right now.

2. Have you ever considered that when your desires are bad, you are cheating
on Him? Literally, it is adultery against God by the mistress of our malevolent
desires!

3. Why do you suppose our human nature loves to be in competition and


conflict? What can you do to seek God’s higher call and prevent and solve the
fights, quarrels, wars, and conflict?

4. Do you think that using a rhetorical question to get their attention worked for
James? What needs to happen to get you away from false mindsets and be
aligned with God’s?

5. How have you seen conflicts in the church that seem like the logistics and
tactics of military campaigns?

6. Do you think most Christians are deliberately seeking destructive passion and
not wisdom when they fight in church? Why, or why not?

7. What desires and passions have you had trouble with that get in the way of
our growth in Him?

8. How does neglecting prayer and seeking our own way of dealing with life and
conflict get us ahead in life and with God’s good graces? Then, why do so
many people do it?

9. How do bad motivations or seeking what is wrong or bad for us and others
cause a bad reputation to the church?

10. What causes quarrels in you and your church or home? What can you do to
commit to a way to stop them before they escalate?
11. How can you take a hard look at your life’s motivations and see how you may
be honoring or perhaps dishonoring God?

12. Our desires can be overwhelming at times, and the world seems to fuel them
more and more. So, what can you and your church do?

© 2004 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

What the wicked dreads will overtake him; what the righteous desire will
be granted. Proverbs 10:24

James 4: 7-10: How to Repent!

General idea: Do you struggle with which direction in life to go? It is James’
intent in this passage to show us the direction by imperatively grabbing us with
ten commands that are essential to honoring God and relating to people. These
commands call us to direct, hands-on action without delay. We are to humble
ourselves before God and, at the same time, resist the devil, as we cannot serve
both. When we draw near to God, the devil is pushed further away. If we draw
near to the devil, then God is pushed further away. The signpost is clear where
we are to go; the direction we choose is up to us.

God wants us to make the fervent attempt to repent, get right with Him, and not
lead a double life in trying to serve two contradictory paths in life. When we do,
we are being hypocritical, creating broken relationships, shattered lives, and
unmet opportunities. This leaves us in despair as the devil and our ways have no
hope or purpose other than to steal what God has to give to us. We already have
joy and completeness in Christ when our hearts and minds are centered on Him.
So, the bottom line of this passage is the call to submit and surrender to God,
allowing Him to be our only Lord and direction. Then, He will lift us up beyond our
greatest desires and plans to a much greater plan and purpose in life!

Vs. 7: This passage asks us the crucial question: are we resisting God or
resisting the devil? How we respond to life and other people will be rooted in how
we respond to God. Do we fight Him or do we glorify Him? How do we know?
The answer is in how we are with our attitudes and mindsets; are we humble or
proud? If we are proud, we are serving the devil, even though we may think we
are serving ourselves. If we are humble, then we are serving our Lord. This
strikes at the root of our mindset and motivation in life.

• Submit means to obey! It is our surrender to God in His will. We are urgently
called to accept the absolute authority of God. We are under His authority
whether or not we acknowledge Him, so we might as well acquiesce. It does
no good to fight God, as Jacob discovered (Gen. 32:22-32). In this context, it
also refers to fights and quarrels so they do not build and take us over (James
4:1-6). Jacob’s dispute with his brother had to be resolved (Gen 33).

• Resist the devil. This means to flee the devil’s kingdom, his values, and his
wisdom and embrace God’s kingdom, values and wisdom. This has more to
do with moral values than spiritual warfare. The devil does not have equal
authority or power as the popular “Ying/Yang” philosophy states; rather, he
only has the power we give to Him, while God has absolute power. The devil
is not invincible; he is easily thwarted when we don God’s armor so we can
disregard his temptations and flee from him. We evade the lusts of our heart
and world by running from it, not toward it (Eph. 6:11-18; James. 3:15, 17;
4:4; 1 Pet. 5:8-9)!

• The knowledge of who we are in Christ will be the driving force of how we are
with others (Galatians 2:20-21; 6: 3-5; Philippians 3:10)!

• We are best able to function in ministry by concentrating our efforts of


growing in our relationship with Christ into a daily love endeavor (Hebrews
10:19-25; 11:1-3).

Vs. 8: How do I maintain my direction in life, so I am pleasing Him and seeking


His purpose? The answer lies in the direction in which we are heading. When we
draw to God, we undertake His precepts and apply them to life. God is
consistent; when we seek Him, we find that He has already sought us and will
continue to reveal Himself and the depths of His love and will all our days on
earth as well as throughout eternity. The key to this is our willingness to confess
our sin and move toward Him and away from false and deceitful ways.

• Draw near to God means purification, developing your personal relationship


with God through the disciplines of the faith (Ex. 30:19; Matt. 7:7; Rev. 3:20).
We are responsible for our spiritual growth. God provides the plan, Christ is
the way, and the Spirit is the guidance; however, we provide the will of our
hearts from our humbleness, and further exhibit it with our hands and feet.
The focus is on trust and obedience.

• Cleanse your hands refers to Psalm 24:4, "clean hands and a pure heart."
Our inner purity guards us against moral defilement. This is an illustration of
how a priest cleaned his hands and feet at the bronze basin before he
approached God at the Tabernacle/Temple. They had an elaborate ritual that
cleansed them from the dirt of the land and the dirt of the heart (Ex. 20:16;
30:17-21; Lev 19:12; Deut. 21:6; Psalm 24:4; Jer. 5:2; 7:9; Zach. 5:4; Mal 3:5;
Matt. 5:8; Eph. 6:11-18; James 4:2, 14; 1 Pet. 5:8-9).
• Purify your heart. This means that submission to God produces humbleness
which then produces right attitudes and motives.

• Double minded. This is a harsh diatribe that describes a hypocrite. James is


directly calling his people, “you sinners!” Greek philosophers, as well as many
Jewish teachers, detested hypocrisy and considered it the most heinous sin.
James, as with his brother, Jesus, in Matthew 23, is making the point that the
people are being “two faced,” insincere, and treacherous. Our behaviors must
show our beliefs!

Vs. 9-10: James is plainly telling us that God hates pride! God hates worldliness!
God loves humility. What did our Lord exercise while He walked this earth?
Humility! He is God incarnate, Lord of the universe. Born as a baby, he lived in
the lower social order of human life in devotion and meekness, serving as our
ultimate example. He did not have to live that way. He could easily have lived as
the greatest king in the most lavish lifestyle imaginable, yet He chose humility
because it was the best way; it was His way (John 3:16; 17:24; 1 John 2:15-17).

• Mourn/Lament/Grieve is a call to us for authentic repentance. When we do


wrong, we will realize from the law written on our hearts that we did wrong.
We will feel remorse and guilt.

• Wail/Weep means to express grief for our sins! We must see the heinousness
of our sin, and in humbleness and honesty, sincerely be upset so we can fully
accept His grace and forgiveness. There was a connection in the ancient
Jewish world between grief and self-humiliation. At funerals, families would
wail loudly; when they tired out, they hired others to continue on, to
pronounce to the community humiliation to show their grief. In the same way,
they could show true repentance, as wailing was the cultural thing to do to
prove, by self-humiliation, the mourning of one’s sins (Lev. 23:29; 26:41; 2
Kings 22:11; Joel 1:13-14; 2:12-13).

• Repent means to completely and utterly turn away from our desires and
deeds and toward His love and plan. Real, authentic repentance is sincere;
we will regret our past behavior and be on guard in future relationships so that
a moral and lifestyle change will result. It is God’s desire that we repent of our
sins and come to His way (Matt. 4:17; Acts 17:30; 24:14; Rom. 2:4; 1Thess.
5:6, 8; 2 Tim. 2:5; 1 Pet. 2:22-24)!

• Humble. This passage is quoting Proverbs 3:34, and is referring to submitting


to the sovereignty of God. God’s plan for our life is far better than any desire,
evil or good, we could ever have. Thus, it is logical and beneficial to be
humble in Him (1 Pet. 5:5)!

• He will lift you up. God alone deserves the right to be exalted and honored.
This is an essential attitude before effective Christian character, maturity, and
spiritual growth can be possible (Chron. 7:14-15; Prov. 3:34; 25:6-7; Isa. 2:11-
12; 5:15; Matt. Mt 18:4; 23:12 Luke 11:43; 14:11; 18:14; 20:46; 1 Pet. 5:62).

This passage is a roadmap of how to repent. God tells us both what to do


and what not to do which will lead to a victorious life from a life that is
transformed in Him. The call is simple, for us to submit, come near, wash, purify,
grieve, mourn, wail, change, and humble ourselves. Each one leads to a closer
relationship with God, and to a life that is bearing fruit, building character, and
becoming more mature and effectual to others around us. This is exhibited and
practiced by maximizing our time with God through the disciplines of the faith,
Bible reading, devotions, prayer, and godly fellowship. It comes from trusting our
Lord and His plan, thereby taking the focus off ourselves and the ways of Satan
and the world. We are to be vulnerable in confessing our sins and drawing to Him
as LORD. When we are humble, God is glorified and He lifts us up. It is not about
our way; it is all about HIS WAY (Prov. 24:3-4; Isa. 45:7; Jer. 29:11-14; Phil. 2:3-
4)! When we chase the devil and/or our pride, we will sink below the tossing
waves in a sea of despair, a life that boils over with trouble (James 1:6-8). The
key to preventing that sinking is to allow God’s work in us and these commands
to take root, so our lives reflect righteousness. When we remove our sinful
attitude of pride, He is glorified.

When we accept Christ in our life, He needs to be Lord of our life. We are
to take responsibility for allowing His conviction to touch us deeply; then we can
let go of our ways and surrender to His way (Matt. 11:28; Luke 11:9-10). We
must stop trying to manipulate God to give us our desires and needs, and
concentrate on how we are to worship Him in all that we do, in total trust, and
total devotion. So, let us stop combating with God, stop fighting within ourselves,
and stop the hostility with one another and concentrate our efforts toward God’s
glorification and worship. This means we are to recognize sin and its destructive
nature. It may look good, but it will take us away from God and others and leave
us bankrupt in our relationships, and filled with bitterness and despair.

So, what can I do? Do not laugh at sin; guard against it. Do not accept the
worldliness of the world; rather, model maturity and character because you are
being empowered by the Lord. We are to flee the world’s influence while being
the influencers of it. We are to flee the devil while being on guard of his tricks and
trade. You may be thinking that only the weak and cowardly would surrender
themselves—even to God. But, the fact is, only a coward will refuse to allow
ultimate greatness in himself that is only achieved by yielding totally to Christ. He
is greater than those who are His (John 3:30)!

The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive
Bible Study):

1. What does this passage say?


2. What does this passage mean?

3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?

4. Is there a sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

5. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?

6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my
listening to God?

7. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

8. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

Additional Questions:

1. If God asked you if you are resisting Him or resisting the devil, what would
you say? Do we fight Him or do we glorify Him? How do we know?

2. Why do you suppose James gives this diatribe of ten imperative commands?
How would your church respond if your pastor preached on this so
passionately that he would “get in their face” by pointing a finger at people’s
compliancy?

3. How does this passage point us to honoring God and relating to people?

4. What does it mean to you to, Draw near to God? How does being humble
before God help us resist the devil at the same time?

5. Why can’t we serve both our desires and God’s will? Why do so many
Christians try with all of their might? What will this double mindedness give
them?

6. When we draw near to God, the devil is pushed further away; if we draw near
to the devil, then God is pushed further away. How has this been so in your
life? What has been the pattern in your life and your closeness with God?

7. The signpost is clear where we are to go; the direction we choose is up to us.
So what does the signpost say to you? How can you submit to and surrender
to God? What would this mean? What would it look like? How will you go
about it?
8. What do you need to do to allow Christ to be your only Lord and direction?
How can the fact that He will lift us up beyond our desires and plans to a
much greater plan and purpose in life give you the confidence and passion to
do it?

9. The devil does not have equal authority or power as the popular “Ying/Yang”
philosophy states; rather, he has the power we give to Him, while God has
absolute power. How does knowing this help you resist the devil and your
desires?

10. What do clean hands and a pure heart mean to you? What would it mean to
your church? What needs to be cleansed from the dirt of the land (your
deeds) and the dirt of your heart (your desires)?

11. How does humbleness produce our right attitudes and motives? What would
real authentic repentance look like in your life?

12. What can you do to stop combating with God, stop fighting within ourselves
and stop hostility with one another? So, what will you do?

Remember, we are to flee the world’s influence while being the influencers of it!

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself
will be exalted. Matt. 23:12.

© 2004 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

James 4:11-12: Do Not Judge!

General Idea: (This is a harsh but true passage that we all need to hear and
heed. I have tried to put all the love in it while remaining true to the integrity of the
test—there is no intention to put anyone down, just as the passage commands.)
If you are a person who is up to no good and you do not want to be found out,
you can attack those who are good with false allegations, gossip, and slander.
This works well and covers your “rotten butt” by taking the focus off yourself and
putting it on someone else.

Some people love to put down those who do good things. This is a fear of
conviction thing. They may see others as good and themselves as not good, so
they think, I will point the dogs to them so they do not chase me. Or, perhaps,
they just use a well placed, crafted put down or word play to make themselves
look better. Yet, what these behaviors really do is grieve the Spirit, bring
disrepute to the church, and cause the person involved to forfeit any learning or
growing. Therefore, he or she remains in sin and then he or she dies in
condemnation.

The wake they leave is a church of dysfunction and strife, putting disease into
God’s family, hurting people, and creating disillusioned saints who, striving to
serve and do good, are thwarted by those who are evil and malevolent. This is
exactly what James was dealing with in his church; so, he is telling us not to
expose the sin in others to cover our trail of misdeeds. We are not to gossip,
slander, or judge falsely (Matt. 7:1-27). Why? Because God is a God of truth and
wants us to act out, in truth, in all our relationships as well as in the managing of
His Bride, His Church. We are to be His witnesses—not His accusers (2 Cor.
5:20)!

Vs. 11: James is examining, through his experience as a church leader, how
Christians can quickly resort to judging and chastising one another. We tend to
do this over all the other “one another” passages we are called to do, such as
“love one another.” James is also dealing with the violent speeches of the early
Christians against the Romans as well as Jewish militants killing fellow Jews who
were aristocrats. James is seeking a way to bring peace (James 3:1-12). Thus,
he lays it out as simply and as eloquently as possible. Do not speak evil,
because when you do, the reflection in the mirror shows your true self and how
sinful and fallen you are. We end up criticizing God’s law, plan, and purpose in
the other person while elevating ourselves to a position we cannot fit in or
maintain. We are plainly called to obey, to take care of ourselves, and not “play”
Holy Spirit in one another’s lives!

• Speak evil/against/slander means to talk down to others—as in being


condescending. This refers to slander out of envy and reflects the work of
Satan whose name means slanderer (Rev. 12:10). It breaks God’s royal law
(Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:36-40; Rom. 13:8-10; James 2:8), destroys fellowship,
and keeps non-believers away from the church. It also devalues those who
are also precious in His sight, as slander has no concern for truth or the view
from the other side (Ex. 20:16; Psalm 15:3; 50:19-20; Prov. 6:16, 19).

• Brothers here means fellow-Jews. At this point, most, if not all the early
Christians were Jews. However, the rest of us have been grafted in, so it now
also refers to all those in Christ (Rom. 11:17-24).

• Judges here refers mostly to slander. Jewish wisdom opposed slander too,
and they knew this well! It also refers to condemning the faults in others to
cover up our own faults, especially the ones we refuse to see in ourselves. He
also is condemning the practice of verbally attacking other, which will only
bring condemnation on us (Deut. 19: 16-21; 22:13-19; 1 Sam. 24:9; Psalm
34:13; 50:20; 52:4; 101:5; 109:3; Prov. 10:18; 11:9; Matt. 26:60; Luke 6:45; 1
Cor. 6:10; Eph. 4:31; 1 Tim. 3:11; 5:13; 1 Pet. 2:1, 12; 3:10, 16; 4:4).
• Law refers to God’s love and care—not to rules and regulations. As God
declared His love for Israel, He also does so with us; because He loves us,
we can respond in gratitude and keep His precepts. Thus, to slander a fellow-
Jew was to place oneself above the law and actually slander God. The same
goes to slandering a fellow-Christian—and this certainly does not give license
to slander non-Christians!

• Do not hide your sin by exposing the sin in others—whether true or false!
Gossip and slander do more to damage the church than any fire or false
doctrine could ever do! Refuse to compare yourself with others! Remember
the need for prayer! Remember the need for love!

Vs. 12: Only God alone is capable, qualified, and in a position to judge. Only He
can save or condemn! We do not know all that there is to know or how everyone
is intertwined; we do not see His plan or purpose, nor do we have the power to
carry out a judgment. We have no right whatsoever to judge another human
being. When we do this, we place ourselves in His seat where He is to be the
only occupant!

• One Lawgiver means there is only one God and you are not He; God is
supreme (Col. 1:18)! When we judge others we are saying I am a better
judge than God! We seek to punish those whom God has deemed not to be
punished, and pardon those whom God has deemed the need to be
punished! We do not have the facts or the aptitude to judge! The logical
notion to this is we will judge God Himself from our extremely limited
knowledge and experience! Are you wiser than God? If not, then do not judge
others!

• Who are you is a personal pronoun here; in the Greek syntax, it means LOOK
AT THIS! It is a spotlight shining on the darkness in us and asking, can you
be a better judge than God? Beware, lest your judgments of others
boomerang back on you (Rom. 2:17-24).

• The problem with this is we then ignore our own sin and rationalize we are
OK because someone is worse than we are, or we think we are better when,
in fact, we are not.

• The ultimate judgment is to come! So, are you preparing yourself for that day
when the Lord will judge you (John 12:48; 2 Cor. 5:10)?

Games are great for sports and activities, but one game that is a favorite
among a lot of Christians is crafting the well placed put down. This game is not
new; perhaps the serpent in the garden with Eve was the first to use it. This was
my favorite game for many years and I was very good at it! But, we have to see
this as evil and perverse, and not how God wants us to be to one another. Why is
it so perverse? Because; when we judge, we are playing God. This is ultimate
contempt to God, as we seek to usurp His authority. Being judgmental,
exercising gossip, and putting others down destroys a church more completely
than anything else. No government crack down, persecution, or ordinance can
remove or split a church better than when we seek to “play” God.

In Matthew 7, Jesus tells us, simply put, DO NOT JUDGE! That means we
are not to be critical or to compare anyone else! A Christian who is critical and
condescending is a terribly destructive force to the Kingdom of God as he or she
exhibits the direct opposite behavior of what a Christian should be. It is the role of
the Holy Spirit to give a critique, and He will work with you way before using you
to work with someone else! Every wrong thought you may observe in others
already exists in you, and if you are unwilling to deal with it, while pointing it out
in others, you would be as Proverbs so eloquently puts it, A FOOL! The chief
characteristic of a Christian should be humility! Remember, if God judged you
correctly and righteously, you would go straight to hell, as you deserve neither
grace nor His love. But, because of His grace, you have heaven—and Him—for
eternity!

Do you think, hey! I do not play games or judge! Really? Have you ever said I
do not mean to gossip but...or I do not mean to be critical but...or have you
heard? I know I have! Whether your intention is to be critical or the excitement of
the news is too overwhelming to keep under wraps, whether you start it or repeat
it, it is all the same; it is SIN (Matt. 7:1-6)! A judgment can be anything from
straight out condemnation to manipulating people and situations to make you
look good. In the context of this passage, the call is to draw near to God and not
to the devil. Nevertheless, such things do draw us very hard and fast to the
devil’s ways and far away from God and the humility He asks of us in order that
we might grow and mature. When we are being mature, we will not play
destructive games with one another.

There are differences between judgment and discernment. We are called to


be discerning, not allowing harm to come to us or others in our care, and to be
sensitive to potential trouble, attempting to prevent the bad actions of others. We
are also called to be discerning of what is right and wrong because the Bible
gives us clear absolutes; the relativism that the world teaches is evil and wrong.
We must clearly and lovingly proclaim moral and doctrinal standards that are
biblical and unambiguous (Acts 5:3-4; Rom. 14:1-12; Gal. 3:1; 1 Thess. 5:21).
This means that we are not to allow immorality and false teachings to come
about, or allow such things to attack the church from the outside.

This is also exercising church discipline (Matt. 7:1-6; John 7:24; 1 Cor. 5:9-13;
Gal. 6:1; 1 John 4:1). We are called to judge (as in discernment) and evaluate
the spiritual such as sin versus virtue and mental health of others. At the same
time, we are not to judge one another’s beliefs in regard to non-essentials such
as baptism or church order. Discernment and righteous judgment are always to
be done in the character of the Fruit of the Spirit and with mercy and love (Luke
6:36-37; Gal. 5:22-23; James 2:13).

The judgment that Jesus and James warn about is condemnation, being
critical, self-righteousness, condescension, or having a measuring stick for “our”
standards and ideas (Prov. 19:17; Matt. 5:7; 6:14-15). For a Christian to judge
someone is totally absurd in God’s Kingdom. By judging, we are superimposing
ourselves to His sovereign role with our extremely limited insights and lack of
understanding, mercy, or the ability to chastise or judge righteously. The fact is
that we are sinners setting ourselves up to judge other sinners. We are neither
qualified nor able to perform such a task! We are never to set ourselves up in
something we are not called or gifted to do. The right way to help someone with
faults is to go to them privately, with constructive criticism in love, and offer
gentle, humble criticism and help that would uplift them (Matt. 10:12-15; Acts
13:42-46; 2 Tim. 2:24-26).

May God keep us all from such judging and enable us to be more useful in
helping others with their problems! Be the person who seeks peace and
reconciliation. Allow His love working in you to flow to others around you!

The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions, see Inductive
Bible Study ):

1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?

3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?

4. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

5. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?

6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my
listening to God?

7. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

8. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

Additional Questions:

1. Have you ever used a well placed, crafted put-down or word play to make
yourself look better? How did it work? What would Jesus think?
2. Have you either executed or been a victim of an attack of gossip, slander, or
condescending remarks? How did you feel? What did it do to you? What did
you learn? How can you protect yourself from intended hurt by others while
exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23)?

3. What do false allegations, gossip, and slander do to the church? How is this
attractive to other Christians or to non-Christians? What do these behaviors
really do to the Kingdom of God?

4. What is the fall-out from a church that has dysfunction and strife as its focus
or function?

5. Why and how do some Christians quickly resort to judgment and


chastisement of one another over all the other “one another” passages we are
called to do, such as “love one another?”

6. Read one of these passages: Matt. 22:36-40; Rom. 13:8-10; James 2:8. How
does the slanderer break God’s “royal law?”

7. Could you better control your desire to judge wrongly, gossip, or slander if
you could see others as precious in His sight, too? How, and why? What
about by knowing deeply that He loves us, we then can then respond in
gratitude and keep His precepts? How, and why?

8. Only God alone is capable, qualified, and is in a position to judge. So, what
happens when we place ourselves in His seat?

9. How have your judgments of others boomeranged back on you?

10. Have you ever considered that when we gossip, we are putting disease in
God’s family, hurting people, and creating disillusioned saints who, having
strived to serve God and others and to do good, have been thwarted by those
who are evil and malevolent? What can you and the church do about this?

11. What can you do to help prevent yourself from being judgmental, critical,
comparing others to you or your ideas, gossiping, or crafting the well placed
put down?

12. What would be the right way to help someone with faults? How can you go to
someone privately with constructive criticism in love, and offer gentle, humble
criticism and help that would uplift them?

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every
form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just
as in Christ God forgave you (Eph 4:31-32).
James 4: 13-17: Do Not Plan Ahead Without God!

General idea: Do you wonder what the Lord wills for you? The picture presented
here is that life on this earth is short and no one knows the future—especially
that of his or her own. Yet, many Christians spin their wheels trying to guess the
future, and even demanding their will and might in making their plans, hoping for
the best. The problem is what is left out and what is often missed; and, that is the
question, does this align with His will? The call to us in this passage is that our
will and plans must focus on God and His ways—period! Our plans and ways are
not sovereign; only He is. As Christians, we must not plan our lives with God as
an after-thought, or as if He is not concerned or involved. Rather, all our plans
must be prefaced by prayer, seeking Him and His ways.

This is all about God’s will; and, the principle aspect of God’s will is not so much
what we plan and develop in our lives, but whether or not we are aligning
ourselves with His plan. It is far more important that our focus be that our
character and fruit come from Him, not so much in the specific actions in life such
as school, career, or who to date and marry. Rather, the important thing is “who”
and “how” we are in those areas. Our character and fruit must come first. Our
relationship with, and focus on Him helps determine our actions in life. When we
operate within His love and precepts, then His will becomes clear. His will has
more to do with our temperament, attitude, and fruit than it does with the specific
decisions we make. So, our focus must be on seeking Christ as Lord in all areas
of life, though prayer and His Word. Then, our path will line up correctly, and we
will lead a life that is transformed and triumphant!

Vs. 13-16: James is addressing people of wealth who were traders or who
bought and traded land. Most were born in aristocracy or obtained wealth from
dubious means. Their continual wealth was from renting and sharecropping land.
These were the people who oppressed the poor. Thus, both the poor and the
oppressors were a part of James’ congregation, and he addressed them further
in chapter five. James does not denounce wealth. Rather, he questioned the
practice of seeking wealth by trusting in one’s own abilities and plans instead of
seeking God’s. They were being presumptuous, thinking that “my life” belonged
to them, and feeling secure in their means while feeling they did not need God
(Jer. 12:1; Amos 6:1).

• Come now. In our modern vernacular, we say “pay attention” or “listen up!”
The common objection to Christian precepts and applying them to life were
the same then as they are today. People think that all assertions to truth are
equally valid, which is relativism.
• Today or tomorrow was a philosophical statement referring to having no
control of the future (Matt. 24:38; Luke 12:16-21). This is the classic
statement, “Life is short; death is sure; sin is the cause; Christ is the cure!”

• Know what will happen refers to a stoic, philosophical statement. This means
ignoring the providential, sovereign reign of God in our lives (Job 9:5-6; 28:25;
Psalm 104:10-25; 145:15; 147:9; Matt. 4:4; 6:26-28; Luke 12:6-7; Acts 17:25-
28; Rom. 8:28). It is to live our lives our own way with arrogant presumption
and self-satisfied forgetfulness of God. This mindset shows a total disregard
for God, His truth, and His call. James’ readers would wholeheartedly agree
with this; however, they did not practice it! When we make plans without God,
we are like a blind person stepping into the dark without guidance or sight.

• What is your life refers to thinking and living without faith, with only our own
perception in view. This is extremely restricted because what we see is
limited input that equates with limited output.

• If the Lord wills was a common Greek expression (Acts 18:21; 1 Cor. 16:7),
and a Latin motto, “Deo Volente,” for centuries for committed, pious
Christians. This refers to the fact that God’s will is supreme. We have no
preview to future events. The future is conditional to God’s will, not ours. God
is universal. He is sovereign, preserving, and leading all of us intimately and
personally with care, while remaining in control of the entire universe!

• Paul lived His life from the precepts of this passage. He saw that every day is
full of God's workmanship from His mercies and providence (Rom. 1:10; Acts
18:21; 1 Cor. 4:19; 16:7; 2 Tim. 4:9-21). We do not get any added days or
opportunities by chance; thus, we must live in the “here and now” as
vigorously as we plan for the future—all in God’s sight. We are to be
dependent on God, not on any fortune tellers or speculator’s so-called
“knowledge” of the future. Be prudent, yes; but, also be wise in Him!

• Boast is claiming that our own will and power are supreme and that our trust
is in our accomplishments and plans, not in God’s (Psalm 31:15; Daniel 5:23;
Acts 17:28; Col.1:17). By this, we ignore the fact that God is running the
world! God tells us this is evil. As Christians, the only thing we can boast of is
what Christ has done for us (Daniel 4:30; 2 Cor. 11:20; 12:5-9)!

• Evil is being arrogant so we are ignoring God, His love, and His plan! To
ignore what Christ has done for us is considered evil, both for the Christian
and the non-Christian! We have the ability to ignore the heart of the cross, but
we do not have the right to ignore God. This also includes ignoring what
Christ did on the cross on our behalf (1 John 4:4)!

Do you know what will happen tomorrow? No one does. The Bible is not
saying we are not to make plans or just sit on a couch and wait for our ship to
come in (as it will not). Nor, does it indicate for us to just pray and then put forth
no effort on our part; rather, the Christian, godly life requires our effort and
impact, but the principle point is that our lives are to be spent seeking what God
wants from us. We seek His wisdom, not ours! The warning here is not to “play
God” or to be self indulgent, thinking we have the final authority. Only God has
final authority! Our lives are far better in His arms of love and care than with our
whims and limited ideas (2 Cor. 5:16-17)!

Vs. 17: The warning is not to take God out of our plans. If we try to cut God out,
by either deliberate action or our unconscious inaction, the result is sin. We are
usurping His authority with our own. The context advocates humility and seeking
God, not the world or the devil. When we seek only our plans, it places us in the
world’s and devil’s camp that pushes us away from God! If we do not do what we
ought to do, it is sin!

• Does good. The call is to be introspective with what we are doing, to allow
God’s spotlight on us, so we see where we are headed and be willing to make
the corrections and course changes to fit His will. If not, all we will have is our
own self-satisfied forgetfulness of God that only leaves us in despair and
without hope.

• Does not do it is being overly aggressive with our plans; this is a sure sign
that Christ is not your Lord. Your Savior perhaps, but not your Lord because
your will is leading your path and not His! As Christians, we are not to assert
ourselves over others, as we are all God’s children. Thus, you have to find a
way to balance Christian character with marketing yourself for employment,
school, and competitions in sports, so you can excel to the abilities and call
He has given without mowing over others or commandeering God’s will.
Being a linebacker works in football; it does not work in the church!

• Sin is to go against God. We tend to govern our lives by what we want, not
always what is best for us. This passage beckons us to seek what God wants.
You may think, hey, this is my life, and I can do what I want. Yes, you are
right, and yes, you can. But, would you really rather have your limited,
imperfect perspective without the perfect, eternal, loving God’s insight and
plan? James is saying God is involved in us; He is not a cosmic idea but a
personal, loving God! Thus, only an extremely arrogant and dim-witted person
would say yes, I can do it on my own! God sees it all. He has the big picture
of how all things in life and all persons are interwoven in His tapestry of love
and redemption. Thus, do not seek to be a person who is a loose thread and
liable to be unwoven (Eph. 6:12)!

Saying “if the Lord wills” is not to be a catch-phrase or trivialized; it is to be


a lifestyle. When we make plans in our life, we must always ask, does this align
with His will (Prov. 27:1)? This is the veracity of His precepts and the character to
which He calls us. As Christians, our lives need to be prefaced by His precepts,
not our desires; then, the decisions we make become easier and clearer!

God is not an anachronism in science or in our personal lives. Chance


does not rule the universe; God’s providence does! Our comfort and hope is that
we do not need to be on this journey of life worrying about our destination, as we
are already secured in Christ! We are to make the most out of the journey of life
by embracing His precepts and plans over ours. Our lives need to be responses
from what God has given us, of indebtedness and love, so all we are and do is
infused with His love and care, and so our decisions are made that way, too.

The great comfort we have as Christians is that our lives, experiences,


and opportunities are not happenstance; we have a purpose! We have a God
who transcends space, time, and thought, who knows us intimately, and who has
a plan for each of us (Acts. 18:21; Rom. 1:10; 15:32; 1 Cor. 4:19; 1 Pet. 3:17).
What does this mean for me today? We are not to be making haphazard plans or
negating research, wisdom, or counsel, as there are many passages that exhort
us to plan carefully and effectively (book of Ephesians and Proverbs). Rather, the
point here is not to do it without putting God first and foremost! We must be in His
process, not ours, because He is personal and involved with us.

What is in the way of this thinking? Perhaps, it is our fear of conviction.


Yet, in my counseling experiences, the false perceptions of people tend to be the
biggest causes of fear and frustration. John Calvin stated, “we read everywhere
in the Scriptures that the holy servants of God spoke unconditionally of future
things, when yet they had it as a fixed principle in their minds that they could do
nothing without the permission of God.” Thus, the call of Scripture is to
expectantly await the Holy Spirit's additions and corrections, be confident, and
place our reliance in Him, so we can do all of our planning from God’s
providential providence. This means planning with God.

We can go further and ask God what are my opportunities and gifts and
how can I use them to Your glory? This is an operating system for your decisions
that control both your programming input and output. The system is prayer and
precepts, seeking Him, and learning His Word, so you can make good, healthy
decisions (Luke 12:19-20; Prov. 16:9; Isa. 56:12).
.
But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Luke 12:31

The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive
Bible Study):

1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?


3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?

4. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

5. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?

6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my
listening to God?

7. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

8. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

Additional Questions:

1. Do you know what will happen tomorrow? Does having no control of the
future frighten you or give you comfort?

2. How do you tend to plan things in your life—from a shopping trip to


determining what job or school to undertake?

3. We tend to govern our lives by what we want, not always what is best for us.
Why would a Christian do this? Why would we seek to make plans without
God?

4. Do you wonder what the Lord wills for you? What happens when God is just
an afterthought in your plans? What happens when we claim that our own will
and power are supreme?

5. Why do you suppose that many Christians will seek to spin their wheels,
trying to guess and even demanding their might and will in making plans,
hoping for the best? What is left out? Have you done this? If so, how and
why?

6. Why is it that our plans and ways are not sovereign? If you understood this
point, do you think that, as a Christian, you could be better at planning your
life?

7. How would you define being presumptuous? How have you experienced it in
your ways and that of others? What have you observed in others or yourself
when you seek wealth and trust in abilities and plans, while ignoring the
providential, sovereign reign of God in your life?
8. How do you practice dependence on God? Do fortune tellers or the
knowledge of speculators have an influence on you? If so, how and why?
When is this bad? When is it good?

9. How do you balance this passage on planning for the future with being
prudent and wise in Him?

10. How can the fact that God is concerned and involved in your life intimately,
and has the best plan for you help you make better decisions?

11. What do you need to do to be better at aligning yourself with His Will?

12. Do you realize that God’s will has more to do with our temperament, attitude
and fruit then the specific decisions we make? If so, how can this fact help
you make better decisions?

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring
forth. Proverbs 27:1

© 2005 Dr. R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

James 5: 1-6: Do You Have an Oppressors Heart?

General idea: James again tells the rich in his congregation, as well as the rich
Jewish oppressors who might be listening, to listen up! This denotes to pay heed
to my words (1:9-11, 19, 26; 2:1-13; 3:1-12; 4:1-11) in the style of Isaiah,
Jeremiah, and the OT prophets (Deut. 32:35; Prov. 20:22). The point is, this is
imperative and if you do not listen, trouble will not only knock, it will barge in
upon you! If we live just to acquire material possessions, we will end up with
nothing of real, intrinsic consequence. Our lives will be empty, lonely, and bitter
because that which we are chasing gives us nothing in return. When we chase
wealth, we end up robbing ourselves of the greater riches that God has to give
us. James tells his people not to be fooled by listening to the nonsense that
wealth is “the” sign of God’s blessings.

James is lecturing (as in scolding) people of wealth who had received their
wealth from “serfs” or sharecroppers. (In the Middle Ages this was called
feudalism.) In this period of time, over 90% of people in the Roman provinces
lived on rural, family farms or were serfs, while less than 10% lived in urban
cities. These people ran the farm and fields for the owner and did all the work;
and, after all of their work, they were cheated by not getting paid. The owners
rationalized that this was OK because other owners did it; thus, they were caving
in to the worldly pressure of financial success over all else. James is also
condemning the oppressing of the poor for which a strong reckoning by God
awaited. Remember, both the poor and the oppressors were a part of James’
congregation.

Vs. 1-3: What we chase is temporary and will rot, so why would we place our
trust in it? Even those things we think are important usually are not! People who
place their trust in wealth, accomplishments, education, self, or… are headed for
trouble as it takes them away from God just as chasing the devil does; both lead
to the same end—separation from God both while on the earth and if Christ is
never fully received also for eternity. Even if the person does become saved in
Christ, he or she will live a life of waste and no return for that which is important.
It will be the evidence to convict us of our sins and leave us earthly and the
danger of being eternally dejected, void of hope or meaning. Not the loss of our
salvation; rather the notification we never received it (Matt. 13)!

• Come now is an exhortation and a “wail.” To weep was a graphic way to


present your case; here, it shows the veracity of the situation (Joel 1:8; Micah
1:8).

• Rich, in this passage, refers to a social class of aristocracy. Wealth, in and of


itself, is not condemned here or any other place in the Bible. Wealth can be a
blessing from God if we use it as a tool and not as a devotion (Prov. 10:22).
The condemnation James gives it implies the abuse of money to oppress the
poor. This is a manner of the heart, as our checkbook will show where our
loyalty, commitment, and interest abound!

• Garments. Clothes were the most expensive possession then, sometimes


greater than even a home. Clothes were also the primary symbols of being
wealthy (Acts 20:33). Serfs often had only one homemade garment that was
more like burlap, while the rich had fine cotton and silk.

• Corrupted…rust are general terms that refer to anything that can, and will
corrode and decay by rust, mildew, bugs, weather, wood rot, or for anything
destroyed by fire. All matter, no matter how valuable, is in a state of decay. In
the end it is worthless and meaningless (Matt. 6:19-20). The devotion to
wealth comes from selfish motivations, and this selfishness will be used to
judge us (Acts 2:17; 1Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:2; 1John 2:18).

• The Christians and Jewish aristocracy who were oppressing the poor were all
heinously killed by the Romans after the revolt of 66 A.D. The judgment came
for them—personally and totally! To seek wealth over God and His call is to
rob one’s self of His precious opportunities and the substance of Himself and
of a great treasure in exchange for a miniscule lust (1 Tim. 6:6-10; 17-19).

Do you worry? Consider that we have a God who loves and provides. He
fulfills us with Himself beyond our expectancy. He will meet our deepest needs.
We can trust in Him! If you are a worrier, the call is to worship in place of that
worry (Matt. 6:19-34)!

Vs. 4: The poor will not be ignored by God; their cries reach Him. Our
responsibility to care for them must be heeded! There is never an excuse to
cheat or take advantage of another person. For a Christian, it is diametrically in
opposition to whom Christ is and what He has done for us! The cry and the fact
of the evidence are testimony and evidence against such an evil person (Gen.
4:10).

• Wages refers to being paid. To not pay someone was considered evil and
violated the law of God. People needed their daily wages to purchase food for
that day for their families. Thus, with no money, they would go hungry after a
hard days work, and have to live with a disappointed family (Lev. 19:13; Deut.
24:14-15; Prov. 11:24; Jer, 22:13; Mal. 3:5)!

• Fraud. The earnings of the poor were a meager fraction of that of the owners.
And, even when the workers were paid, it was not sufficient pay to provide
care for themselves and family. Sometimes, they were not even able to
“glean” the land they just worked (Lev. 19:9-10; 23:22; Deut. 24:19).

• Lord of the Sabaoth/The Lord Almighty, a name of God, refers to “JEHOVAH-


SABAOTH,” and means "The Lord of Hosts,” the commander of the angelic
host and the armies of God (Gen. 17:1; Isa. 1:24, Psalm 46:7, 11; 1 Sam. 1:3;
2 Kings 3:9-12, Jer. 11:20, Rom. 9:29; Rev. 19: 11-16). The Jewish reasoning
here is that it is a bad idea to offend a public official, much less the God of the
universe! The point here is that our misdeeds greatly offend our God who is
all powerful and all caring! This is the passage that so incensed and infuriated
the rich high priest that he made James a martyr!

The theme in this verse is covetousness (Rom. 1:29). To make one


prosperous by the manipulation of another may seem to be a good business
model and make sense in the ways of the world, but it is evil in God’s eyes.
Covetousness, in the Greek, signifies taking advantage of a situation as the
motive, just for the sake of evil. It can be from going too far in bargaining at a
market to having more than what is just in any dealings with others. This is
common from rich to poor—taking advantage, not seeking to get a good deal.
Taken too far, it hurts and takes advantage of the weaker, less fortunate person.

Vs. 5-6: Luxury and seeking satisfaction is an illusion that brings only temporary
relief and no real substance. It may be fun for now, but the fun now and pay later
plan is not worth it! Remember, the Christian life has liberty and grace, but we
are never to forget our responsibility and call. If you store up treasure on earth,
your heart will be besieged by disappointments, and the storms of life will
overwhelm you. The real treasure is living in Christ, sharing Him with others, and
with what awaits you in eternity (Matt. 7:24-27; 19: 16-26; Luke 12:33-34; 1 Tim.
6:17-19; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; 1 Tim. 6:9-10; Heb. 10:32-39)!

• Pleasure and luxury refer to self-indulgence (Luke 16:19-31), from eating a


pound of chocolate at once to partying your way to oblivion. Too much
excess will leave you empty and alone. It will cause you, at best, to gain a lot
of weight or to lose your friends, and, at worst, cause you to lose your life and
miss out on your heavenly reward! Self-indulgence seeks what is fleeting;
Christians are made for eternity (Gen. 3:1-7; Num. 20:7-12; 2I Sam. 13:1-19;
1 Kings 21:1-7).

• Fattened your hearts. The image here is animals being slaughtered; the rich
are the animals who are not aware or do not care. Are we doing this to
ourselves? Our desires that are contrary to God’s call and precepts will lead
us to destruction. It is not necessarily because God is there waiting with an
ax; rather, He is there with His loving arms open. When we ignore Him, we
destroy ourselves; He has warned us that it will happen. A god who does not
warn is a god who does not love!

• Day of slaughter refers to a feast of eating meat that occurred after the sheep
shearing season or harvest (1 Sam. 25:4, 36). This was a rare treat that the
rich did daily. They used it to be condescending; they showed no
benevolence to those who had none. The poor only ate meat at public feast
days and festivals.

• Leading a lavish lifestyle while others who work for you starve, or who are the
ones you are called to care for (Jesus says all Christians are to care for the
poor: Matt. 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 7:22; 12:33; 14:13,21; 18:22; 19:8; 21:2;
21:3; Acts 9:36; 10:4; 10:31; 24:17; Rom. 15:26; Gal. 2:10; James 2:23-6).
The theme here is that the rich, in their condescension, are just fattening
themselves up for the slaughter of Judgment. Thus, they are fattening
themselves up for their own slaughter, brought about by their own deeds and
words (Jer. 12:3; Amos 4:1-3; 6:4-7)!

• Condemned…murdered, in this context, it is not actual murder, but the setting


up of events that lead to it. The abuse of power will cause the loss of life. The
rich were taking food away from the people, not providing wages so they
starved while they worked, and taking their coats away in extortion so they
would freeze to death, too! The image is the oppression of the poor, as the
wicked were scheming against the righteous. In this context, James warns
them to repent. This condemnation of judgment does not pertain to a
Christian because we are saved by grace. It is condemnation to a non-
Christian; a real Christian would never do this. The audience for this passage
is the aristocratic Jews and pretenders who say they are Christians, but their
lack of fruit clearly shows otherwise (Isa. 13-23; Jer. 46-51; Ezek. 25-32;
Amos 1:3-2:16; Zeph. 2:4-15).
James is not saying wealth is wrong; rather, he denounces wealth when it
gets in the way of our relationships and call from God and when we use it to
bring harm to others. This comes down to our attitude concerning security, and
priorities about money over spiritual and relational matters! Our focus needs to
be on God and our trust in Him, not money, things, or power! It is not your bank
account; it is your soul account! Our true riches are in Christ alone! Wealth is not
sinful, or even harmful, as long as it is seen as a tool. It does become a problem
and a distraction when it becomes our focus and God is pushed out of the
picture. We are also called to use and be responsible and accountable stewards
with wealth; so, use it wisely, with honesty, and do not horde it, misuse it, exploit
it, steal it, or waste it. Give it away with generosity for godly influence to further
His Kingdom (Prov. 11:24-25; 15:27; 16:8; 17:23; 20:17; 21:14; 22:2; 23:1-3;
30:7-9; Eccl. 5:10-20; Matt. 6:19-21; 25: 14-30; Luke 12:13-21; Acts 4:36-37;
Eph. 5:10; 1 Tim. 6:10).

Remember, when we draw near to the world, God is pushed away! The
warning is two-fold; one, we are not to oppress the poor and needy. There is
never a reason or call to do that; rather, we are to help and provide, educate and
motivate. Second, by seeking wealth, we are the oppressors to ourselves; we are
seeking what only God is to fulfill (Matt. 6: 33).

The question is, do we “listen up” to what God is saying to us? Do we ask
ourselves (and, of course, God Himself), what does God want from me? Because
if we do not, our focus in life becomes skewed! To focus upon what the world
defines as success is to miss out on things that are much greater, both for the
here-and-now and for eternity to come. For the person whose pursuit is in wealth,
it becomes a weed that chokes off the soul from God and from others. One of the
hardest things to do is be a Christian with worldly wealth because it most always
leads to worldly interests that lead to worldly activities. Wealth can be done and
be done for greatness, but most, if not all of the time, it only brings darkness to
light and buries the Christian soul in the desires of the world. This leaves the
person empty from lost opportunities, destitute of important relationships, and
from Christ as Lord. If all we do is live for this world, then there may be nothing
left for the next!

The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive
Bible Study):

1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?

3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?


4. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

5. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?

6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my
listening to God?

7. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

8. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

Additional Questions:

1. How do you see wealth: with favor, with suspicion, or…? Do you believe it is
good or bad? Or, is there a balanced view? Is wealth “the” sign of God’s
blessings? Why, or why not?

2. Have you seen in others or experienced for yourself the lesson that when we
just live to acquire material positions we end up with nothing of real
consequence? How so?

3. In your experience, what happens when all a person does is chase wealth?

4. Have you ever considered that when we just chase wealth, possessions, or
power, all we end up doing is robbing ourselves of the greater riches that God
has to give us? How and why are these worthless and meaningless?

5. People in James’ time rationalized that it was OK to cheat others because


others did this, too. They were caving in to the worldly pressure of financial
success! How have things changed in two thousand years?

6. How does what we chase become temporary and rotten? Have you
considered that the things we think are important usually are not, such as
trust in wealth, accomplishments, education, self, or…? Why would we place
our trust in this stuff and not in the One who loves us?

7. How does the abuse of money to oppress the poor dishonor our Lord? Do
you believe that stewardship is a matter of the heart? Take a look at your
checkbook; it will show where your loyalties, commitments, and interests
abound!

8. To seek wealth over God and His call will rob you of His precious
opportunities and the substance of Himself. How so? Why not?
9. How do our desires become contrary to God’s call and precepts? Why will
they lead us to destruction? What can you do about it?

10. Many people just see the condemnation and judgment in this passage. How
can you see Christ there with His loving arms open?

11. Do you worry? What can meet your deepest needs? How can the worship of
our Lord replace your worry? What can you do to get in a state of worship
when worry comes your way?

12. Why will the poor not be ignored by God? Do you hear their cries? They
reach Him, and our responsibility to care for them must be heeded! What can
you do to be a better steward of caring for the poor?

© 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

James 5: 7-12: Patience in Suffering!

General idea: This passage is about standing firm, which we can do all the way
from sowing the right seed to receiving the greatest harvest of the highest quality.
It takes patience to work the land; one must clear the field, plow the dirt, plant the
seed, thin the sprouts, clear the weeds, fertilize, irrigate, constantly take care of
the plants, trim, pollinate, engage in the on-going endeavors of cultivating the
soil, including measuring and evaluating, and then, glean the final harvest. Then,
it is time for the next season. This all takes effort and time; it does not just
happen overnight at a whim.

It is the same with our spiritual formation. We receive Christ into our lives, but
that is not the end of the matter. Rather, it is only the beginning! Jesus plants the
seed, the Spirit waters it, and then we embark on our great adventure, the
cultivation of our own lives by the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading, prayer,
learning, sharing, devotions, fasting, fellowship, and the like. Then, we are honed
and trimmed so we can grow. This is a slow and glorious process; yes, this is
what the Christian life is all about on this earth, as it is about the journey and not
the destination. Our destination is already booked and secured; now, we are to
concentrate on what to do while we are on our way to His Way! Even when
others come against us to exploit and betray us, our purpose is to grow in our
security in Christ. It must be His Way and not our circumstances. Then, our faith
will flourish, even in times of adversity and sickness.

Vs. 7-8: The call is for patience. God is still in control, even when we do not see
it. He will return. And, even if it does not happen in our lifetime, He is still on the
throne and has our very being in His hands. When our eyes are on Christ, then
our eyes are not overwhelmed by what we are going through in life. As the
farmer looks to the rain, we are to look to the Ultimate Farmer, our LORD. He is
our hope because He is our courage!

• Patient means “waiting.” The context infers waiting for the correction of
injustice. We do not automatically receive God’s promise, except for our
salvation; we have to wait for His timing, which is the best timing (Luke 18:1-
8)! Those who transgress—who sin—will be judged! We can wait because we
have hope in the greater purpose which is unfolding for us.

• Coming of our Lord, also called in Scripture the “last days," means the
“Messianic era.” It does not necessarily mean that time is running out. It is not
a “time” reference but a period in time. Because of the phrasing in the
English, a lot of spurious doctrine has been read into this phrase that is just
not there in Greek syntax or meaning. Last days was inaugurated by the
incarnation of our Lord (Matt. 1; Acts 2:17; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 John 2:18). This
refers to the new and unique “covenant” (some call this dispensation) in
contrast to the period of The Law. The point is that God’s unfolding revelation
for us is His grace, giving us His fullness and the finality that is to come.
Whatever eschatological view you have, all biblical views look to Christ's
second coming as the next great event in our redemptive history. Nowhere in
the Bible are we given a timeline of when it will take place—just that it will. We
are called to always be watching for it, but not be so obsessed by it that it
takes us away from the main call of building His Kingdom and discipleship!
Most of the Disciples, including James, expected the impending return of our
Lord in their lifetime.

• Farmer, and his work of cultivation and harvest, are images of growth and the
Day of Judgment (Matt. 12:36-37; 24:36; 25:31-46; Mark 13:32; Acts 17:31; 1
John 2:28; 4:17). This parallels the parables of Jesus in Matthew 13. A farmer
was totally dependant (back then) on the rain, soil, and such for his crop. In
like manner, we are totally dependant on God for our salvation and
assistance in our spiritual growth. However, both we and the farmer still toil in
the efforts to make it come about.

• Precious/valuable means very important and valuable, as it is a fruit of the


earth to give us sustained life.

• Fruit of the earth/yield its valuable crop is an image of harvest, referencing


judgment; it is good for the elect, but bad for those who reject Christ (Matt.
13).

• Latter/Autumn...Spring rains. In Israel, these rains come in October and


November which amounts to three-fourths of the total yearly rainfall after the
grain is planted. If these rains come early, the crop cannot be planted in time
and the seeds will wash away. The spring rain comes in March and April just
prior to harvest. Without it, the seeds never germinate. If it comes at the
wrong time, such as the harvest time in June, the crop is ruined (Deut. 11:14;
Jer. 5:24; Hos. 6:3; Joel 2:24).

An illustration from agriculture is so appropriate for us and our faith


development because the example parallels the cultivation of a harvest as the
culture of our faith; the efforts, requirements, and obedience, as well as trust in
the Farmer—our Lord—is paramount. Without any effort, we will yield no results
—no harvest. Yet, when we are being cared for and cultivated in Him, we will
yield bounties of abundant, contagious faith that spurs on the cultivation in Christ
of others!

Vs. 9: Do not grumble, as in do not be complaining. Don’t criticize, find fault, be


irritable or argumentative, or whine to fellow believers—and definitely not to
unbelievers. All that does is bring stress and misery. Yet, when we look to Him,
our trust becomes complete. Our hope is fulfilled, and, ultimately, there is nothing
about which to complain. Yet, James still makes the case that we can and are
called on to speak against what is wrong, such as oppression. It is our hostile
orations that are in question (James 5:1-6)!

• Grumble refers back to James 4:11-12. This means we are called to patience
toward other Christians as well as to non-Christians.

• The Judge means “imminence” and "last days," and is a reference to Christ's
second coming and the judgment (Rom. 13:12; Heb. 10:25; 1 Pet. 4:7; Rev.
22:20). This can also convey the idea that our life is short and our time to
judgment even shorter, so we need to “wise up” in Him.

• Standing at the door. Christ’s return is imminent, not necessarily in timing but
in His actual presence amongst us. Whatever we face, it is only for a season
and then it will be over! Our hope is our relationship in Him and in His return
to come, not in what is going on around us.

We are called to speak out against injustice. You may wish to vent your
discontent, but make sure you do not blow it out of proportion or just wallow in it
for self-pity’s sake. Complaining serves only to stir the discords of strife, increase
stress, irritate others, and place the focus where it is not to be. There are times to
get things off your chest, but it must be to actually get it off, not to keep poking at
it so the stress sticks around and consumes you, drawing you away from Christ
as Lord. When overwhelmed, seek a pastor or counselor to help you through it,
but don’t turn it into a problem that has no resolution. He is our resolution, our
hope, our promise fulfilled. He is at the door; let Him in (Rev. 3:8, 20)

Vs. 10-11: James points us to the prophets of the OT as examples of faith in the
midst of extreme adversity. Job was a great comfort to those who were in
captivity. These examples help us to see the hope we have in Him, and give us
perseverance and patience.

• The prophets refers to Isaiah and Jeremiah as the main prophets, and the
others as “minor.” Most faced serious persecution from their own people who
refused to heed God’s call and warnings, focusing on their desires and
transgressions instead. The point is that we can have endurance! When we
preach or model Christ, we, too, may face great persecution; if so, we are in
good company!

• Perseverance of Job means endurance, as Job went through great sufferings,


and he persevered. James uses this to communicate encouragement for our
staying power, as in “you can do it too!” When God seems far away and no
one seems to care about injustice or your concerns, God is still there caring!
He will vindicate you and care for you!

We can honor people who have been triumphant in suffering because it is


encouraging and equipping to us. If they can do it, then so can we—so can you!
Whatever may be seeking to derail your faith or seeking to take you off God’s
path, be it spiritual warfare, toxic family members, disgruntled work situations, or
a debilitating illness, we can carry on because He appropriates us for a purpose;
He carries us through!

Vs. 12: Do not swear! That is, as James said before, to keep our tongue under
control. This time, the focus is on swearing, as in coarse language and paying
homage to what is irreverent or irrelevant. When we swear to an oath that is not
in Him, it is displeasing to Him. It is distracting from our call, and blatant sin! How
we use our tongue will show how we have cultivated our heart! James speaks
more on how to do this in verse 13, to pray!

• Above all is an emphatic expression meaning “this is priority;” God calls us to


godliness, especially with our behaviors and words!

• Swear...oaths. In the Greek, swear means to grasp something hard for


support. Here, it refers to a verbal agreement witnessed by divine intervention
or an object that represents God. An example would be swearing by the
temple that manipulates God as a witness to our position, promises, and
dealings (Gen. 24: 1-9; Ezra 10:5; Neh. 5:12; Acts 23:12; Heb. 6:13-17). They
would go through these long, elaborate oaths, then not live up to them. The
OT Law forbids irreverent oaths, especially the misuse of God’s name. It
beaks the third commandment (Ex. 20:7; Lev. 19:12; Num. 30:2; Duet. 5:11;
6:3; 22:21-33)!

• Yes be yes. As Christians, with Christ living in us, we need not make any
oaths as our word should indicate our faith. Our word is our bond; it must be
trusted. So, do not be a deceiver or a manipulator! James and Jesus are not
prohibiting all oaths; rather, it is for us to make very sure that whatever we do,
we go by our word, rooted in His foremost precepts, so our behaviors are
foremost and honest, especially since God is our witness. Let your yes be
yes, not saying “let God strike with lightning if I do not”… (Matt. 5: 33-37).

Being a farmer in James’ day was a harsh, life-and-death occupation,


where one was dependant on and at the mercy of the rain and ground. There
were no modern irrigation methods, fertilizers, or pesticides, just hard work and
waiting; it is a perfect image of what it means to grow in Christ at times, as
sometimes, all we can do is wait. We desire retribution and vengeance; He
desires for us to wait expectantly, seeking Him with confidence. But, we do have
irrigation, fertilizer, water, and pesticides in Him which are His Word, prayer,
fellowship, and His Spirit! If we do not learn and practice patience, we will quickly
become impatient, bitter, and bow to self-pity. When we wait, we are not in a
hopeless, meaningless holding-pattern, for we are learning and growing in Him!
While we wait, God is working, He is in control! He is compassionate and will
intervene, heal, restore, and bless in the fullness of His timing (Gen. 50:20;
Psalm 37:7; 130:5; Isa. 49:23; Jer. 29:11; Lam. 3:26; Mic. 7:7; Hab. 2:3; Matt.
5:10-12; Rom. 8:28-39; 13:1; Gal. 4:4; Phil. 1:6; James 1:2-18).

Do you sow the right seeds—the seeds of faith and devotion to our Lord,
with absolute trust and obedience in Him? If not, why not? Because, if our
purpose in life is not lined up to His, we will only have broken circumstances and
directionless pursuits that lead to emptiness and despair! When we do sow the
right seed, we are prepared to weather the storms of life, because our roots are
deep in our Lord Jesus Christ; our identity is in Him, and our hope looks to Him.
The storm-tossed seas will massage us and not break us; our anchor in Him will
keep us steady. The mooring ropes to tie us to His anchor are in our hands. He
gives us the boat, the rope, and the anchor; we still have to tie them to one
another, which we do as we grow in Him.

The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive
Bible Study):

1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?

3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?

4. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

5. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?

6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my
listening to God?
7. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

8. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

Additional Questions:

1. What are some of the things that cause you to lose patience or be
overwhelmed? What has really tested your patience to the breaking point?

2. What does it mean to you to be able to stand firm in your faith with distinction,
regardless of what you feel or face? How would your life improve with more
development in this area?

3. What kind of encouragement would you need in order to have “staying power”
if you were facing persecution?

4. How is it that when we do sow the right seed, we are prepared to weather the
storms of life, because our roots are deep in our Lord Jesus Christ and our
identity is in Him? What would you look like if this attitude permeated your
life?

5. How can you have confidence that God is still in control, even when you do
not see it?

6. Do not grumble—as in, do not be complaining. The call is clear; so, why do
we still do it? What can we do about it?

7. How can being totally dependent on God assist you in your spiritual growth?
What can you do to help your trust and obedience in Christ grow?

8. When God seems far away and no one seems to care about injustice or of
your concerns, how are you helped through it, knowing that God is still there
—caring, and will vindicate and care for you?

9. Why, as Christians, do we not need to make any oaths? How is your word an
indicator of your faith? What happens when a Christian’s word is not trusted?

10. He desires us to wait expectantly, seeking Him with confidence. How does it
give you perseverance in your life knowing that some day, you will see His
purpose and marvel at how it made you better?

11. What can you do to make sure your circumstances—whether they include
toxic family members, disgruntled work situations, spiritual warfare, or a
debilitating illness—do not derail your faith or take you off God’s path?
12. What happens when your purpose in life is not lined up to His? What can you
do about it and keep your “cool?” Remember, you can do it!

© 2005 Rev. R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

James 5: 13-18: The Power of Prayer!

General idea: What are we to do first in all situations? Is it to complain? Argue


with one another? Be stressed? NO! We are called to pray, as prayer not only
sets the tone for our behaviors and insights, but it also brings Christ into the
picture with us more powerfully and effectively. It is not about getting what we
want, as we may get a yes, or a no, or maybe a call to wait for the right timing.
This passage is a series of calls to prayer. We are all indeed called to prayer; it is
not a talent, a special ability, or a spiritual gift. It is not for certain occasions or
with certain postures. Rather, it is the communication through which we
encounter our loving, living Lord! Prayer is a call, to not bend our knees, but to
bend our heart, and for this call, we need to know the veracity and importance of
it.

These are not necessarily formulas, but encouragement that will lead us to
pursue God! When we seek Him, we are ready, along with others, to engage in
the actions of appeal and request to God for people who are in need and sick.
We can pray for forgiveness, for our nation, show our gratitude—even pray for
the weather. Thus, in all things, we are to be both in personal prayer and
collective prayer with other believers. Prayer is not just a means to get what we
request; it is the means to line us up with God, His precepts, and His presence.
Prayer can meet all things and needs; prayer can and must be a significant part
of anything we will ever face in life, from the trivial to things of utmost importance!
We can have confidence that our prayers are heard and answered. No matter
what we need or face, we have Christ! Thus, we must preface, surround, and
empower all that we do with prayer. It is never to be an afterthought; rather, it
must be our first thought, our principle action, and our primary plan.

Vs. 13-15: Prayer is not just an exercise we do. Rather, it is the active
communication we have with God; it is the most important act for us in any
matter or endeavor. Prayer is not about our will; rather, it is a means of seeking
His (Matt. 6:33). Prayer does not just prepare us for ministry and service; prayer
is our ministry and service. Prayer is not just a means of preparing us for the
encounters and battles of life; it is the battle! Prayer is more about being the
greatest work we can do than about the results we receive from it! Remember,
our obedience is what is important, not how others respond to us. We are even
called to bless those unreasonable people, and we do that, as we mature, by
remaining true to His Lordship. You cannot be responsible for how others
respond and treat you when you are acting in godly character (Romans 12:14-21).

• Suffering here means “in distress,” and includes physical sickness, being
stressed out, or having emotional and/or personal problems. To the person in
this situation, hope seems to be missing and relief is absent, but when we
come to them, we bring the hope and relief!

• Sing songs means praising our Lord, in unity, with a willing, loving heart. This
is an aspect of real worship and music, which is never a show; rather, it is a
response of our love giving praise. We, as a congregation, are the
performers, and Christ is the audience. Real, authentic worship is to be
inspired by who Christ is and what He is doing in us. It is not about form or
function or type; it is about our hearts showing our love to Him. Prayer and
worship share the same heart and attitude (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:12-17).

• Sick. The call for us here is to engage them with love and care; it is not about
the healing, although, whenever possible, we are to seek the best and
continual medical attention. It is more about showing our love coming from
His love. Also, the call for the sick person is to make sure others know they
are sick so others can respond.

• Elders are the people selected to be in charge of the local church, whose call
is to train, care for, and administer His love and precepts to the rest of the
congregation. They must have the qualities of Christ working in them before
they can help others. The connection is that the elders should be the primary
ministers to the people of the church (Acts 14:23; 20:17, 28; 1 Tim. 3:2-7;
5:15; Titus 1:5-16; 1 Pet. 5:1-4).

• Anointed with oil has two meanings: “the healing power of God,” a call, and
also to “seek medical attention.” It is not a ceremonial procedure, although it
can also infer actually applying oil to the person and praying over them. We
are called both to pray and to seek medical attention (Isa. 1:6; Mark 6:13;
Luke 10:34).

• Power of faith refers to trusting in God and then being faithful towards our
intercessory duty to others. It does not mean a “special power” as some have
proclaimed; rather, it is a call to action to show our Christian community and
faith displayed in our care toward one another. Yes, God does heal today, but
healing is not guaranteed or even normative. How we respond and learn is
what matters to God over all else, even an actual healing. If your body is
healed and your mind and heart are not centered on him, what good is it; it is
merely temporary and of no eternal use.
• Committed sins. James is not saying all sickness is from sin, as some Jewish
Rabbis thought; harboring resentment and unforgiveness actually deteriorate
the body and mind. Seeking forgiveness is very restorative to the soul and
body! Sometimes, though, God can cause us to be sick to get us out of sin,
as it is far better to be stooped by sickness than to create a much worse
environment for ourselves and others. Sin is the biggest barrier between us
and God, and prevents God’s work being received by us. Confession breaks
these barriers (1 Cor. 11:30; Phil. 2:25-30).

What is prayer? It is receiving the amazing, redemptive work of our Lord


and God, Jesus Christ, so His power and purpose flow through us and into
others. Prayer is spending time and talking with God, expressing our heart to
Him, and interceding on behalf of others. It is meant to be exciting, powerful, and
fulfilling. Just like a phone conversation, prayer is not a one way communication.
God will speak to us, not as a burning bush, but in quiet ways; so, we must also
listen. And, of course, always compare to Scripture what you think He said, as
He will never contradict Himself. Then, you will be able to distinguish between
your desires and His precepts. There is no need we can ever face that prayer
cannot meet; there is never a problem we go through that prayer cannot answer!

Vs. 16-18: Ask God, be real, be honest, be yourself, and make sure your motives
are right. We are never to seek to manipulate God to get our way, just as we are
not to do so with others. In this spirit, we can come to one another and seek
accountability and reconciliation. We can confess and be on guard with sin, so it
stops and does not fester or escalate. And, as Elijah demonstrated to us, always
remember that a righteous person is a praying person; we cannot do anything of
meaning or significance for our Lord unless we are a person and a church of
prayer!

• Confess. We are called to be accountable to one another, to state what we


are going through and struggling with to someone in confidence who will
listen and help guide us by His Word. It is not about going to a pastor or
priest, but to God directly, and with accountability, to another trusted person,
small group, or mentor. We cannot do the Christian life by ourselves; it is not
a spectator or an individual sport! Christianity is not for lone rangers, it is for
community!

• Righteous man means a person who is rooted in his or her faith to Christ and
has a growing prayer life that also shows up in his or her behavior.

• Elijah, in 1 Kings 18, was a miracle worker. James uses him as an inspiration
and incentive to the power and prominence we have available to us. Elijah
represents the “everyman,” who, by his prayer life, was powerfully used by
God (1 Kings 17:1; 18: 1, 41-46; 1 Sam. 12:17-18)!
Many misguided Christians will say to another Christian who is ill or going
through troubles, that he or she does not have enough faith or that he or she has
unconfessed sin in his or her life and that is why the sickness has come; then
they use this passage to back up their uncaring and insensitive claims. But, this
is not what James is saying! It is not about the healing; it is about showing the
love and care of our Lord. Making statements such as these does otherwise, and
misses the call of the Scriptures! If you are earnestly praying, and perhaps are
frustrated that you have not received an answer or the answer you desire,
remember: while you are waiting, God is working (Matt. 21:22; John 14:14)!

Prayer is our primary means of communication with our Lord. It is also the
bond that builds community, churches, and marriages, as it synergizes and
brings out God’s love! It is a marvel and a wonder that we, as created human
beings, can obtain direct communication with God, the Creator and Sustainer of
the universe. Prayer shows us His love and concern for us just in allowing us to
make our presence and requests known, and His even further, unfathomable
love in that He earnestly hears us and gives us an answer and intervention!
Prayer is precious; it is not to be a half-hearted endeavor, or just an empty
routine, an unctuous ceremony, or a meaningless ritual. Prayer is not about the
recitation of words, nor is it about posture, place, or expression usage; it is an
outpouring of the posture of our heart to His. Prayer is an expression of our
connection of love for what Christ has done for us in giving each of us this
precious relationship with God. It shows our love and dependence on Him. It is a
primary avenue for us to learn and grow in Him, and to be better equipped in life
to touch others in His Name. Therefore, it is a relationship of dependency, as any
real growth must involve the surrender of our will to His Will. Prayer pulls us up
by the roots and plants us further in His presence and will! Beware! We are
deceiving ourselves if we think we can live our Christian life without prayer, as
one could be married or have a child and never have communication with that
spouse or child. It could be done, but the relationship would be absent and soon
would be bankrupt; we cannot do life on our own. Even if we could (and many
Christians seem to), God just might let you; this would really be the time for fear
and dropping to our knees!

Prayer is not just about what our own needs are. It is about putting our
lives and experiences in Him, sharing our days and lives, both in times of
urgency and times of happiness, and bringing others to our thoughts and into our
prayers. Continual and effective prayer will build our relationship with God. We
will realize that He is in charge of all that happens in our lives, and that we are in
His Hands. How we interact with Christ as Lord and respond to others is rooted
in how we communicate. Our spiritual growth and how we can connect to God
with an effectual relationship is determined by how effective our prayer life is. It
can be put this way: all we do in life is based on our ability to communicate—and
our principle communication is to our loving Lord!
The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive
Bible Study):

1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?

3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?

4. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

5. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?

6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my
listening to God?

7. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

8. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

Additional Questions:

1. What do you do when you are facing hardships? How is prayer a part of
these experiences?

2. What is prayer to you? How much of your prayers involve listening to God?
How can you do this in a better way?

3. What are we to do first in all situations? What causes you to go first to the art
of complaining or arguing, or be stressed?

4. How does prayer set a tone for us in our behaviors and insights? How can
prayer help your church or relationships?

5. Why do some Christians feel that prayer is all about getting what we want?
How do you feel about that? What can be done to show people the primary
purpose of prayer?

6. How does prayer become the means to line us up with God? What can you
do to make sure your motives are right with prayer?

7. Do you believe that prayer can meet all the things and needs that you will
ever face? Do you have the confidence that your prayers are heard and are
answered? How can you have more confidence in prayer?
8. How does trusting in God and being faithful help you in being effective
towards your intercessory duty to others?

9. How do you feel about people claiming they can heal? Have you seen or
experienced it? I definitely believe that God heals today and have seen
amazing things! However, did you know that in Scripture, healing is not
guaranteed or even normative; it is about how we respond and learn that
matters to God over all else—even an actual healing? How can this fact
strengthen your resolve and faith in Christ?

10. How does harboring resentment and unforgiveness deteriorate your body and
mind? Can you give an example?

11. How does knowing that God can cause us to be sick to get us out of sin keep
you motivated in the right direction?

12. What can you do to make your prayer life more time invested, more exciting,
more powerful, and more fulfilling?

© 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

James 5: 19-20: Bring Back Our Wandering Brothers!

General idea: This final passage in James is about having personal concern for
others. Jesus shows the ultimate care as He seeks us out to offer salvation that
we do not deserve and continues to seek us when we wander from Him! The
picture is of the Good Shepherd who loves and cares for His sheep—us (John
10:11-18). He will do all it takes to get us back on the path of His plan and will—
which is the best path for us.

It grieves our Lord deeply when we reject Him or turn from Him and His
ways. He is especially grieved when we seek the tantalizations the world has to
offer and ignore His wonder and blessings. As our Lord showed us by example,
we are to follow up by caring for His people—our brothers and sisters in the Lord.
This is a call to rescue, like a lifeguard rescuing a person who is drowning.
People all around us are drowning in a sea of lost hope; we can be the person
who hands them the lifeline of hope. We do this by praying and by example with
humility, sensitivity, persistence, and by going out of our way for them.

Ministry is not just the proclamation of the Gospel; it is the example of the
Gospel lived out in the lives of Believers as they show real compassion for
individuals. If we are not doing this, we are not doing ministry. We are to not only
care in word, but we are to show that care in deeds; even if we have to confront
someone, we are always to do it in love and within the parameters of the Fruit of
the Spirit. Thus, when we see someone start to stray, we are to come along side
him/her in love and help him/her back to His path. We are to show His love and
our genuine concern by being willing and able to help out beyond our comfort
zone and cultural considerations. Do not wait; we are called to care and to care
now!

Vs. 19-20: James has concluded all he has to say about temptations, gossip,
wisdom, and riches. Now, he moves to summarize and encourage those people
facing persecution to live lives of distinction, regardless of what they feel and
face. Meanwhile, a famine was in its apex and the Jewish aristocracy was
preventing Christians from receiving their deserved rations and charity. The
temptations of the world were starting to appeal to them in light of the frustrations
of trials. Thus, the new Christians were starting to turn on one another. Many
people felt, as today, that the church rejected them so they turned away in grief,
while the other Christians did nothing to bring them back or to show them they
were loved or cared about. We have the same problem today; most people leave
a church because they do not get connected and they feel no one cares. We are
called to care and literally go out and bring them back, not by force, but by
showing the real, authentic love and the hospitality of our Lord Jesus Christ!

• If anyone. At this time, according to the Jews, if a person wandered from the
Law and faith, it was called “apostasy” and they were not counted by God
(Ezek. 18:21-25). There was a debate in Jewish sects as to whether such
acts were forgivable or unforgivable. There is no debate here for us if we are
real in Christ. As Christians, we may still have Christ if our faith is real; but,
we may also bring upon ourselves judgment and disfavor with God (Heb. 2:3;
2 Pet. 2:20-22). This is a serious matter and must not be ignored! James may
have also been calling back the radical elements that had left to fight the
Romans.

• Wandering from the truth. This is a person who has professed his/her faith in
Christ but at some point renounced or turned from it, or one who is not living a
godly lifestyle. Thus, he/she once had Christ as Lord, but now is fallen away
from the fellowship of the church, perhaps seeking and engaging in sin. This
is not about losing our salvation. Nowhere does the Bible teach this as
doctrine. Either you are backslidden—as in turned from the faith, or, you
never had it (Matt. 13:1-33; John 6:37-40; 10:28-29; 17:2-24; Rom. 8:28-39;
Phil. 1:6; 1 Cor. 1:8; 9:1; 1Thess. 5:23-24; 2 Thess. 3:32; 2 Tim. 1:12; 4:18;
Heb.11: 6). The faith they had was either not genuine (Heb. 6:4-8; 2 Pet.
2:20-21), or the circumstances of life strangled them as their eyes strayed
from Jesus as Lord (Gal. 6:1; Col. 1:19-23; 1 Thess. 5:16-18; James 1:9). The
urgency of this is that if a Christian has a bad attitude or is in sin, he/she
dishonors the church, gives a false impression, and scandalizes the rest of us
in the faith (Eccl. 9:18; Heb. 2:1).
• In 1 John 5:16, we find a parallel theme with this passage in James: sin that
leads to death. Both James and John are attacking the position of
Gnosticism, which denied the reality of Christ’s physical body, incarnation,
and the separation of our body and spirit, and led to the rationalization of
immorality. Thus, the meaning is about God’s judgment—that unrepentant sin
can lead to “spiritual death,” or to “physical death” by the consequences of the
sin such as disease (1 Cor. 11:30; Rev 21:8).

• Truth, refers to the Word of God, as the precepts of the Gospel and Scripture
(John 17:17).

• Turns a sinner. The church is a community of interconnecting people who are


in Christ; it is not to be selfish or individualistic. We are, as a church, called to
encourage and mutually care for the people. If a Christian is in sin, then it is
our call to help them be restored. Real ministry is in the care of individuals
over all else; teaching is imperative, programs are essential, buildings are
important, but if there is no care or love in them, if we are not connecting and
touching one another, then all is worthless (1 Cor 13:1-3; James 1:27; 2:1-4,
14-16)!

• Covers a multitude of sins refers to, in that time and culture, not to spread a
bad report. It also means securing forgiveness. Thus, the badness does not
get back to God; it is forgiven (Prov. 10:12; 11:13; 20:19)!

• Cover refers to God’s atonement. Jesus, literally by His shed blood, covers
our sin so that God does not see it nor is affected by it, so He can forgive,
give us grace, and bring us into the kingdom. In the OT, "cover" meant to
reconcile two opposing parties with an offering or gift that was sacrificial in
nature. For us, we are reconciled to God through Christ, who made amends
to "cover us" and please God's wrath on our behalf. Everyone has sinned and
everyone needs atonement (Lev. 17:11; Job 15:14-16; Psalm 5:4-6; 32:1;
85:2; Isa. 53:4-6; 64:6; Jer. 44:4; Hab. 1:13; Matt. 27:37; Luke 22:37; John
2:2; 4:10; Rom.10: 2-3; Gal. 3:13; 4:4; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14-22; 2:14; Heb. 2:17;
9:11-15; Rev. 1:5). Thus, our redemption is through Christ's blood and
suffering which was the sacrifice to bind us, in good relationship, with our
Creator and Lord. We model this by seeking to reconcile with others!

We are called to come together. Do not let bad situations or bad people
get you down, nor cause you to compromise biblical precepts or your character!
Never close the Bible or neglect prayer; your spiritual journey and your trust and
growth in Him will be your anchor to weather the storms. Do not allow yourself to
suffer in your spiritual pilgrimage because of someone else. Remember, the
church is filled with hypocrites because you and I are there. We are not perfect;
we make mistakes. People, including Christians, will always disappoint you, but
God will never disappoint you in reality. You are still God’s special child (Col. 3:1-
4)! Do not let yourself fall to the world’s way, regardless of what the other person
does. Do not allow the misguided ways of others get you off of God’s path. Even
if you are angry with God, He still loves you and has His best for you. Give your
hurt and those who have hurt you over to God; He is the one who dispenses
justice and revenge, not you (Hebrews 12:6)!

Having been to Europe many times for mission endeavors, not to mention
my postgraduate studies in England, I often wondered about all those medieval
torture devices I had seen in the museums that I frequently visited and in the
literature I read. Why in the world would people, claiming to be Christians, put
other human beings into an “iron maiden” or a “rack,” or some other heinous
torture device? It boggled my mind and I had very condescending thoughts for
such individuals (which I still do). However, while researching my article on “hell,”
I gained a glimpse of why they carried out such torturous endeavors

In the Middle Ages, the fear of hell was absolutely overwhelming, and to
forsake God and the church and venture to hell was the very worst thing that a
person could conceive of or endure. So, a righteous person who was
unacquainted with the precepts of Scripture (consider that the Bible was not
translated or read in that time, so the concepts of the Fruit of the Spirit or this
passage would not have been known, and, if so, very skewed), concluded in a
medieval way, that all means necessary must be involved to prevent a person
from straying from the church so they would not go to hell. This included placing
a person on a rack and stretching them until their spine broke in half. As long as
a person repented, their eternal salvation was assured and the condition of their
body did not make any difference.

I am not condoning such acts; but, when we comprehend the reality and
impact of a person who strays from the truth and engages in sin, what are we
willing to do about it? We are not to dust off our ancient torture devices, but we
are to do our best, in the parameters of the Fruit of the Spirit, to bring that person
back to the Kingdom.

Allow your faith to remain in Him regardless of what is going outside of


your self or inside with your feelings. He will give you all you need; He will water,
cultivate, and harvest, and give you the mercy and tenderness to go on. We must
allow our faith to build so it does not bring us down or motivate others negatively.
Because, the great hope is still to come; He is coming back. And, when He does,
our suffering will be ended and it will not have been in vain. We will see the
purpose and marvel at it as it will have made us better and stronger. So, let us
keep our focus on Him just as the farmer looks to rain; He is our hope and
reason, and He will carry us through; He will lift us up.

The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive
Bible Study):
1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?

3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?

4. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

5. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?

6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my
listening to God?

7. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

8. What can I model and teach? What does God want me to share with
someone?

Additional Questions:

1. What is care? How do you show care? Why is having personal concern for
others important?

2. How does Jesus show us the ultimate care? How do you feel about His love
and care for you personally? How can knowing more about His care for you
help you respond to others with His care?

3. How does it make you feel knowing that Jesus will do all it takes to get you
back on the path of His plan and will, the best for you? Why would we choose
not to take His care?

4. How do you know if a person wanders off from your church? Can you detect
the signs when people are disconnected or dissatisfied with your church?
How do you help those who are struggling with their church or with sin? How
long do you wait? When have you waited too long? Why do most Christians
do nothing to bring back a wandering brother?

5. How have you wandered from the faith or seen others do so? What are some
of the causes that give us grounds to wander from God’s loving and best
path?

6. Why do you suppose most people leave a church? Why do you suppose
Christians tend to turn on one another with the works of Gal. 5:18-20? Have
you, or have you seen other Christians turn on one another in a bad way?
How so, and why?
7. How do the temptations of the world appeal to you when the frustrations of
trials are getting to you? What can you do to see Christ and not your
circumstances?

8. How does a Christian who has a bad attitude or who is in sin dishonor the
church, give a false impression, and even scandalize the rest of those in the
faith?

9. A church is a community of interconnecting people who are in Christ, whose


call it is to encourage and mutually care for its people. How does this
knowledge influence you to be on guard not to be selfish or individualistic?

10. People, including Christians, will always disappoint you, but God will never
disappoint you in reality. So, how can you allow your faith to remain in Him
regardless of what is going on outside of your self or inside with your
feelings?

11. What can you do to keep people better connected in your church? What can
you do to reach out to those who engage in sin and/or leave the church?

12. What would your church look like if the leaders and the people showed, by
demonstration, real, authentic love and the hospitality of our Lord Jesus
Christ? What would it take to make this happen? What will you do about it?

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3

This concludes our series in the Epistle of James. I pray that you found it
insightful, challenging, and profitable. Next week we will be veering to the Epistle
of 1 Peter!

© 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

This concludes our study in James! It is my prayer that you, too, have
found it insightful and empowering for your life and practice. What is next? By
popular request, we are in Peter and developing new character studies, and, in
the fall of 05, we will start in the Book of Colossians!

References and Resources used:

1. Richard J Krejcir. Into Thy Word. “Into Thy Word Bible Study Method.” Writers
Club Press. 2000.
2. The Works of Justin
3. The Works of Josephus
4. The Works Eusebius
5. The Works of Early Church Fathers
6. Ralph Martin. James. Word. 1988.
7. Peter Davids. The Epistle of James. Eerdmans. 1982.
8. Warren Wiersbe. With the Word. Oliver Nelson. 1991.
9. Halley's Bible Handbook. Regency. 1927.
10. New Geneva Study Bible. Thomas Nelson. 1995.
11. Sturgeon's Devotional Bible. Baker Books. 1964.
12. Jerome H Smith, Ed. The New Treasury of SCRIPTURE Knowledge. Thomas
Nelson. 1992.
13. R.C. Sproul. Essential Truths of the Christian Faith. Tyndale. 1992.
14. Expositors Bible Commentary, Revelation. Zondervan. 1994.
15. Charles Haddon Spurgeon. The King Has Come. Revell. 1892.
16. Craig S. Keener. The IVP Bible Background Commentary. Inter Varsity Press.
1993.
17. Research at the Scholarly Archives at Fuller Theological Seminary in
Pasadena, CA; Years of study & teaching notes; Seminary notes; Prayer

Please keep us in your prayers!

Please see our website for continual serialized installments of other


Bible studies!

Richard Joseph Krejcir is the Director of “Into Thy Word Ministries,” a missions
and discipling ministry. He is the author of the book, Into Thy Word, and is also a
pastor, teacher, and speaker. He is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary in
Pasadena California (M.Div.) and Canbourne University in London England
(Ph.D, Doctor of Philosophy in Practical Theology). He has garnered over 20
years of pastoral ministry experience, mostly in youth ministry, including serving
as a church growth consultant.

www.intothyword.org

Dr. Richard Joseph Krejcir


Into Thy Word Ministries
Director

Into Thy Word Ministries


129 South Lotus Avenue
Pasadena, Ca 91107
info@intothyword.com
www.intothyword.org

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and
be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Nub.
6:24-26