1 2 3 4 5
Author: James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ; the Lord's flesh brother (1:1; Matt. 13:55).
Time of Writing: Perhaps around A.D. 50, prior to the decline of the church, which is never alluded to in this book.
Place of Writing: Probably Jerusalem, from which James apparently never departed.
Recipients: The twelve tribes in dispersion (see 1:1 and notes 3 and 4).
Practical Christian Perfection
I. Introduction -- To the
Twelve Tribes in Dispersion
1 James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the dispersion: Rejoice!
II. Practical Virtues
of Christian Perfection
1:2 -- 5:20
A. Enduring Trials by Faith
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, whenever you fall into various trials,
3 Knowing that the proving of your faith works out endurance.
4 And let endurance have its perfect work that you may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing.
5 But if any one of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and does not reproach, and it will be given to him.
6 But let him ask in faith, doubting nothing, for he who doubts is like the surge of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed about.
7 For that man must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
8 He is a double-souled man, unstable in all his ways.
9 And let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation,
10 And the rich in his being brought low, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away.
11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass, and its flower falls off, and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so also the rich man will fade away in his pursuits.
12 Blessed is the man who endures trial, because when he has become approved by testing, he will receive the crown of life, which He promised to those who love Him.
B. Resisting Temptation as God-born Ones
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted of evil, and He Himself tempts no one.
14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own lusts;
15 Then the lust, having conceived, gives birth to sin; and the sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.
17 All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variation or shadow cast by turning.
18 He brought us forth by the word of truth, purposing that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
C. Living a God-fearing Life
by the Implanted Word according to
the Perfect Law of Freedom
19 You know this, my beloved brothers; but let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;
20 For the wrath of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God.
21 Therefore putting away all filthiness and the abundance of malice, receive in meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 And become doers of the word and not hearers only, who delude themselves.
23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, this one is like a man considering in a mirror the face he was born with;
24 For he considers himself and goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he is.
25 But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of freedom, and continues in it, becoming not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in his doing.
26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this one's religion is vain.
27 This is pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.