1. Date: Approx. 45 AD from Jerusalem
One of the earliest and most practical of the books.

2. Written by James the half brother of our Lord.

A. James was not saved during Christ's ministry but saved after the resurrection. John 7:1-5; 1 Cor. 15:7

B. He was numbered among the disciples in the upper room and accordingly, shared in the formation of the Jerusalem church. Acts 1:14ff

C. He was the leader of the Jerusalem church from 44 AD until the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Acts 12:1, 17; 15:13; 21:18; Gal. 1:19; 2:2, 9-12

3. The letter is written from the viewpoint of Christian application and production.
James deals with the overt side of things.

What you do shows what you have. Ie, production comes from growth.

4. The style is Jewish with emphasis on Jewish culture rather than Gentile.
This is because the early church was comprised of primarily Jewish people who had recognized Jesus as the promised Messiah. A person does not lose his cultural distinctions or necessarily "give up" his cultural practices just because he has become a believer in Christ This Jewish emphasis, however, does not detract from its Christian value. It still properly represents principles of grace and love as exemplified in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

5. Principle: When a person becomes a Christian, he does not lose or discard his cultural heritage. There is nothing wrong with preserving one's "roots" as long as through that preservation, one does not elevate human viewpoint, religion or evil to displace Christian values.

A. 1 Cor. 7:17-24
B. 1 Cor. 12:13
C. Compromise: Acts 24:17-18 with 21:3-26

6. It cannot be disputed that James is written to believers FOR believers. He addresses the recipients as "brethren" 14 times.

7. It is written to encourage, rebuke and comfort.
It is not really a very positive letter, for it is comprised entirely of corrective exhortation.
However, in that correction there are many positive principles about growth and application. It thus becomes a very beneficial letter not only to those who need such correction, but also to those who practice any degree of sinless consistency, as it re-enforces the axiomatic truths that cultivate sinless consistency.

There is one exception to James' focus on believers. At James 5:1-6, he follows the pattern of the Old Testament prophets, and addresses IN PRINCIPLE the unbelieving rich who were oppressing various believers through their intense rich-mindedness. This will be detailed when I explain that section. It is not likely that any unbelievers will actually read and respond to this information, just as it was unlikely that any of the unbelieving people or nations would be exposed to the teaching and writings of the prophets. Of course, if any were to read the letter and get THAT FAR, the indictment would be used by the Spirit to expose and convict them.
Other than that, we need to understand that the information found in this letter will be of no spiritual value to the unbeliever. No moral character or religious behavior will commend an unbeliever to God, for it is only by faith that one can please God (Hebrews 11:6) and that faith must begin with trust in
Jesus Christ as Savior.
This is a very helpful truth when we get to the difficult passage at James 2:14-26.

8. James gives us a basic orientation to the Christian
way of life. But he does this in a very NEGATIVE way.
Throughout this letter, James addresses errant
believers; ones who have embraced friendship with the
world instead of friendship with God. He is not
encouraging functional believers to continue to
maintain sinless consistency, but he is rebuking the
many failures that are manifest in the lives of the
Christians who have settled throughout the Roman

1. the double minded man at v. 1:8
2. the one who is tempted by his own lusts at v. 1:14.
3. the one who has filthiness and the overflow of malice
at v. 1:21.
4. the one who is not a hearer of the word at at v. 1:22.
5. the one who is verbally incontinent at v. 1:26.
6. the one who shows partiality at v. 2:1-9.
7. the one who has no good works at v. 2:14-26.
8. the one who oppresses and commits murder at v. 4:2.
9. the one who is interested only in his own pleasures
at v. 4:3.
10. the one who judges his brothers at v. 4:11.
11. the one who makes decisions in life from creature arrogance at v. 4:13-17.
12. the one who is rich-minded at v. 5:1.

9. James starts with what is most pressing at the present time for his recipients, which happens to be the prevalence of temptation pressures and the prevalent failure in those temptations.

He then covers various basic principles as his own personality gives them a spontaneous order through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The order of his subject matter is not a logical order, necessarily, but given as each item comes to his mind while writing of his concerns for his fellow believers (my brethren).

The subject matter is all very basic, and although it is critical in its approach, it still provides a complete package for advance to spiritual maturity.


This man-made "chapter one" seems to provide a bona fide division in his thinking as he gives us a basic orientation to growth and fellowship.

1. Orientation to temptation pressure: v. 1:2-4
2. Orientation to teachability, the pursuit of wisdom: v. 1:5-8
3. Orientation to material possessions: v. 1:9-11
4. Orientation to future reward: v. 12
5. Analysis of temptation: v. 13-16
6. Orientation to God's character and plan: v. 17
7. Orientation to salvation security: v. 18
8. Orientation to fellowship and growth: v. 19-25
9. Orientation to testimonial impact: v. 26-27

V. 1 - Salutation

1. bondservant: doulos of theos
The term is used to indicate true humility that recognizes that God owns us and has the right to expect from us, undistracted devotion. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

2. And of the Lord Jesus Christ:

A. Lord: Kurios means the one in authority. In the context of the Jewish culture of Christ's time, for one to be called "kurios" in a "religious" context, was to be proclaimed deity. Thus we see at 1 Cor. 8:6, "yet for us there is but . . . one Lord, Jesus Christ. . ."

B. Jesus: The Greek, iāsous, is simply the form for the Hebrew, Joshuah (yeshua) which means Yahweh saves. With this personal name assigned to the Messiah, we see His first advent mission clearly proclaimed. Mat. 1:21, "And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins."

C. CHRIST: christos means anointed one and specifically refers to the Messiah (Hebrew, mishiyach - for anointed one) promised throughout the Old Testament. It was established throughout the Old Testament that the Messiah would in fact, be Yahweh come in the flesh Who will "dwell with us." Is. 7:14; Mat. 1:23

D. These three deity factors are proclaimed at His birth by the angel's message to the shepherds.

Luke 2:11, "for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

E. And the resurrection of Jesus is what offers proof that these three deity factors can indeed, be claimed by Jesus.

Acts 2:36, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ -this Jesus whom you crucified."

Acts 17:31, "because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."

3. Principle of equal honor: John 5:23; Isaiah 42:8; Rev. 5:13
Application of doulos to the deity of Christ. Mat. 6:24; Col. 3:22-24

4. To the 12 tribes: addressed to Jewish Christians who have been dispersed from Jerusalem because of the intense persecution. Acts 8:1 and 11:19

V. 2-4 Orientation to temptation pressures

Verse 2

1. Consider: hāgeomai (Aorist middle imperative).

A. Means to think, consider or regard something as having priority.
B. In this case, the believer is to look at all the pressure factors that come his way and realize that there is something more important, which is the promotion of the character and plan of God.

C. The imperative communicates S.O.P. for the Christian life and is the basis for success as an ambassador for Christ.

D. He should then make a conclusion that they are allowed by God for benefit. Rom. 8:28

1. Benefit according to God's wisdom and timing.
2. Benefit that sees the end from the beginning and knows what is truly best for us. Isaiah 46:10

3. Romans 8:28 does not say that all things ARE good, but that God works those "all things" for the believer's benefit as he maintains his fellowship focus on God. This is indicated by, "for those who love Him."

E. Genuine trust in this promise results in true inner joy.

F. Accordingly, the conclusion includes the reality of peace and joy no matter how severe the pressure becomes.

2. All joy: pas chara = total, complete, "real" joy.

A. A completely joyful occasion.

B. The joy in view is that promised by Jesus as the 2nd leg of the abundant life. peace, joy and inner security. John 10:10; 15:11

C. The joy which is inherently related to God's plan for the believer here on earth. Rom. 14:17

D. The joy which is based on learning and using divine viewpoint in your life. Romans 15:13

3. When you encounter: peripipto (aorist active subjunctive) means to fall (around) in the vicinity of something.

A. The subjunctive mood here, with the word, "when" (hotan), indicates a potential in relation to time but not to reality.

B. In reality, the believer lives in an antagonistic environment (the devil's world) and will constantly be falling into various pressures.

1. Mankind was created and placed into an antagonistic environment in the garden of Eden.

a. The presence of fallen angels in the universe with an agenda to undermine the character and plan of God. Is. 14:13-14

b. Thus the mandate to cultivate and GUARD the garden. Gen. 2:15

2. After the fall of mankind in Adam, the antagonistic environment is increased by four additional factors.

a. The presence of the sin nature in all people: Gen. 3:7-10;6:5; 8:21

b. The physical curse on the laws of nature: Gen. 3:16-19; Rom.8:20-21

c. Satan now possesses usurped rulership authority over the world. John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Acts 26:18; Col. 1:13

d. Satan claims a deity relationship with the world: 2 Cor. 4:4
And thus possesses spiritual authority over the world.
1 John 5:19; Eph. 2:2; John 8:44; 1 John 3:10

3. Accordingly, the condition of the world throughout man's history is described as "the present evil age," (Gal. 1:4) with the result that "the days are evil." (Eph. 5:16)
At Acts 2:40 it is described as a crooked generation.
At Phil.2:15, it is described as a crooked and distorted generation.
See Topic: The Antagonistic Environment

4. Various trials:

A. poikilos: many different categories and types

B. peirasmos: testing designed to bring someone down. Usually translated as temptation. In fact, at v. 13, the word group is very clearly used to indicate temptation.

C. Temptation refers to anything that attacks the soul of the believer with the intent of causing the believer to function independently from God.

1. Satan and his demons are set up in array against the believer.

a. 1 Peter 5:8
b. Eph. 6:10-12
c. He utilizes many from among the human race to advance his agenda. 2 Cor. 11:13-15

2. Satan and man combine to accomplish persecution on the believer.
2 Tim. 3:12; Mat. 10:16-23; 1 Pet. 4:12-14; Rev. 12:17; 13:7

3. The sin nature is a constant source of temptation.
1 Pet. 2:11; Gal. 5:17; Rom. 7:14-25; James 1:13-15; 4:1-4

See Topic: The Sin Nature (OSN)

D. These "temptations" are common to man and should not be the source of any kind of spiritual defeat. 1 Cor. 10:13

E. God is faithful to provide what the believer needs to endure any and all temptations, but the provision is found only in Bible Truth. Psalm 119:11; 1 Pet. 4:1; Romans 15:4; James 4:6a


Verse 3 - The basis for JOY is KNOWLEDGE of Bible Truth.

1. Knowing: ginosko (present active participle) indicates the possession of divine viewpoint resident in the soul.

A. This requires previously acquired information in order to handle the pressure with divine viewpoint at the moment it is encountered.

B. This is the significance of 2 Tim. 2:15, "a workman, unashamed."

C. And 2 Tim. 3:16-17, "capable, equipped for every good work."

D. And 1 Pet. 3:15, "always prepared."

E. And finally, Eph. 6:11, "that you may be able to stand firm."

F. In this case, the specific "knowledge" involved is an orientation to the fact that God takes all circumstances and works them together for good to the believer who loves God (Rom. 8:28); who "endures" through faith-rest. (Heb. 12:1-3)

2. That the testing: dokimion (evaluation for the purpose of finding victory)

A. The change from peirasmos to dokimion is significant.

1. Word group peiradzo, means to solicit with the intent of causing one to fall. Ie, tempt.

2. Word group dokimadzo, means to examine or test with the goal of finding approval in the results.

B. In v. 2, it is indicated that real and powerful "temptations" can be a source of great sorrow, depression and spiritual failure.

C. Here, the word, "testing" indicates that God will take that "temptation," that comes from some corner of the antagonistic environment, and turn it into a "test." And any test "from" (allowed by) God is an opportunity for us to use the Bible Truth that we know, in order to keep our eyes on Him and not give in to the attack, but rather endure to the praise of His glory and to the further advance of our own growth.

3. Of your faith: Lit: The faith of you, with the "of you" in the emphatic position to indicate what you possess as the vital part of your relationship with God.

A. It is not only the function of faith as we express our dependence on His character and plan by applying His word to the pressure at hand. (Heb. 12:1-3, "running with endurance. .looking unto Jesus.")

B. But it involves the whole "spiritual" value system which is built into the soul through spiritual growth, by which we are able to make a conscious choice and discern between good and evil (Heb. 5:14).

C. This is what James has in mind at verse 2:1,
"My brethren, be holding THE FAITH of our Lord Jesus Christ . . ."

D. It carries the same idea as is found at 44 other places where the emphasis is on the Value System that IS Christianity and embraces all the revelation God has made available to the church including the Old Testament.

Examples in Timothy and Titus: 1Tim. 1:19; 1Tim. 3:9; 1Tim. 3:13; 1Tim. 4:1; 1Tim. 4:6; 1Tim. 5:8; 1Tim. 6:10; 1Tim. 6:12; 1Tim. 6:21; 2Tim. 1:13; 2Tim. 2:18; 2Tim. 3:8; 2Tim. 4:7; Titus 1:1; Titus 1:4; Titus 1:13; Titus 2:2; Titus 3:15

4. Works out: katergadzomai (present middle indicative)
Something on the inside that works itself to the outside.
Ie, expresses itself toward the realities of life.
How the believer handles those realities of life depends on the quality of the knowledge content in his soul. Or more specifically, the quality of his value system.

A. We need to understand Psalm 119:11, stockpiling the word in the heart.

B. But we also need to understand the principle of "mixing" that word with faith.
Hebrews 4:1-2

5. Endurance: hupomonā

A. This word is translated in the KJV as patience, but it is not.
B. hupo = preposition, under
C. monā comes from meno which means to remain.
D. Thus the idea of remaining "stable" under pressure.
E. The Greek word for patience is makrothumia and means to be controlled in the face of emotional pressure. Thus it is often translated as, longsuffering.

F. Endurance is the objective application of facts and principles from a functional divine viewpoint value system.

G. Patience is the emotional control that results from endurance.
H. Endurance under pressure is evidenced by patience toward people and circumstances in your every day life.

I. If the believer's value system remains VITAL to his soul (top priority) it is viewed by God as dokimos. That is, approved after evaluation, to be accurate and functional. The result will be a faith "function" of endurance and patience.

J. This is realized as the maintenance of one's fellowship with God through the filling/control of the Holy Spirit, for all that is not of faith is sin (Rom. 14:23).

K. As the quality of one's faith value system becomes more stable through spiritual growth, the more consistent will be that endurance and the patience.

L. Thus the urgency and the command for spiritual growth.


Verse 4 - The urgency of growth

1. And let endurance have its perfect work:

A. Let have: echo (present active imperative) indicates commanded policy for growth.

B. Endurance: hupomonā - the reality of handling pressure through application of your divine value system.

C. Perfect: teleios indicates complete, mature or even consistent.

2. Work: ergon = production or endeavored goal

A. Allow endurance to be fully or consistently accomplished.
B. It is maintenance of a divine viewpoint value system that accomplishes endurance.

C. This requires diligence in spiritual growth (2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Pet. 1:5).
D. The potential result of such diligence is consistent endurance which translates into sinless consistency and further enhances the growth process so that the believer will be "complete and whole, lacking in nothing."

E. That refers to the possession of spiritual life resources for fulfilling our priesthood and ambassadorship.

F. This is called "equipping" at Eph. 4:12 and 1 Pet. 5:10.

3. So that you may be: hina + present subjunctive of eimi to indicate the resultant status of soul which comes from maintenance of fellowship during the pressures of normal Christian living.

4. Perfect: teleios = adjective which means, complete, mature.
It therefore speaks of the consistency which comes from maturity.

5. And complete: holoklāros only occurs 2 times (1 Thes. 5:23) in the NT.
It indicates the possession of all one needs to fulfill the Christian mandate given to him by God. It is explained by the next phrase.

6. lacking in nothing:

A. lacking: leipo (present middle participle) means to be deficient.
B. In nothing: en māden
C. This indicates then that the goal of growth is to possess all the operating assets needed to fulfill our ambassadorship.

D. 2 Pet. 1:3, "everything we need for life and good-worship."
E. Eph. 4:11-16 "grow up in the sphere of all things with reference to Him, who is the Head, that is, Christ."

F. Eph. 6:10-17, "the whole armor of God."
G. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, equipped for every good work


Verse 5-8, Orientation to teachability, the pursuit of wisdom

V. 5 - the reality of deficiency

1. But if any of you DO lack wisdom:

A. First class condition "if" to indicate the reality of this deficiency in some of the believers addressed.

B. And since this is a "general" letter, it recognizes the reality "in general" that there are believers who have failed to acquire the divine operating assets for living the Christian way of life.

C. Lack: this is leipo again (present middle indicative) in the "if" clause to communicate the reality of this deficiency.

D. Wisdom: sophia = the knowledge comprehension that is able to relate reality to the character and plan of God. It thus speaks of "application" knowledge, that is, knowledge put into practice in order to achieve the reality of endurance in the crises of life.

E. The reality of ignorance:

1. Former ignorance as an unbeliever: 1 Peter 1:14

2. Paul's desire recognizes the reality of ignorance in believers.
Rom. 11:25; 1 Cor. 10:1; 12:1; 1 Thes. 4:13

3. Thus the need for growth: 1 Peter 2:1-2; 2 Pet. 3:18

4. The failure factor: Heb. 3:7-11
Failure to "mix" the word of God with the function of FAITH.

5. The reversion factor: Heb. 5:11-14
Retrogression from a previously attained growth level.

6. The carnality factor: 1 Cor. 3:1-3
Inability to perceive truth because the sin nature is in control.

7. The emotions factor: 2 Cor. 6:11-12
Inability to perceive truth because emotions are in control.

8. The religion factor: Col. 2:8, 16-23;
Mat. 15:3, 6; Mark 7:8-9, 13
Standards of truth are compromised and watered down by religion.

2. Let him ask of God: aiteō (present active imperative) exhorts the "hungry" believer to appeal to God in prayer.

A. This is the humility attitude of the "positive" believer;
The one who "hungers and thirsts for righteousness." (Mat. 5:6)

B. We can call it an "awareness" humility that realizes one's deficiencies and seeks God's solutions to them.

C. Of God: God the Father is the recipient of all prayer and the ultimate source for providing us with spiritual truths for our life.

D. Prayer: The divine authority structure:

1. Pray to God the Father: Mt. 6:6,9; Jn. 16:23; Eph. 1:17; 3:14; 5:20; Phil. 4:6

2. In the name of the Son: Eph. 5:20; Jn. 16:22-27.
Not with His "title", but under the authority of His character, work and resurrection.

3. Through the filling of the Holy Spirit: Eph. 6:18; Jude 20; Rom. 8.26-27

4. Romans 15:30

5. Comments on Acts 7:59-60: "Lord Jesus, receive - -"
not really a prayer but more of an exclamation or announcement. Here I come.

6. Comments on Acts 9:10-17: This is a vision, not prayer.

7. Comments on 2 Cor. 12:8, "I entreated the Lord" God The Father is addressed as Lord.

8. See TOPIC: God the Father: Addressed as Lord

E. God as the source: John 14:24; James 1:17

3. Who gives to all men: didomi in the present active participle, indicates a "constant" expression of God's essence which is both willing and anxious to give His wisdom to those who seek it.

4. Generously: aplos (only here) is an adverb that indicates the function of God's grace when providing His wisdom to His creatures. It is always on a grace basis. That means that man cannot earn or deserve anything from God. God simply wants from man, the humility attitude that truly recognizes God as the source (Micah 6:8), for "whatever is not of faith, is sin." (Rom. 14:23).

5. And does not reproach: oneididzō (present active participle) means to insult, ridicule, make fun of, belittle, "chew out."

A. The statement in the present participle describes a "constant" characteristic of God. He does not and will not ridicule the positive believer, no matter how much they have failed in the past. Nor will he "rebuke" the one who humbly comes to Him.

B. God only "mocks" the believer when he persists in his spiritual rebellion and rejection of the Word. Prov. 1:24-27

6. And it will be given to him: didomi (future passive indicative) indicates the assurance we can have that God will provide what we need when we approach Him on His terms.

A. However, this does not mean that God is going to "zap" the soul with wisdom.

B. It simply indicates that God will take the necessary steps to provide for the searching believer what he needs to fulfill his desire for truth.

C. We know that God has provided "everything we need for life and godliness (good worship)," but that is THROUGH His knowledge. 2 Pet. 1:3

D. We know as well that God will "provide the way of escape" so that we can endure temptation (1 Cor. 10:13) but this is through knowledge of His word. Psalm 119:11

E. Furthermore, this "knowledge" of God's word is provided by God's system for spiritual growth and does not refer to some kind of mystical or supernatural bestowal of information.

F. God's system for spiritual growth:

1. The written Word: 2 Tim. 3:16-17
2. The Filling/control of the Spirit: John 16:12-15; 1 Cor. 2:10-14
3. Communication gifts in local church: Eph. 4:11-16; Col. 1:28-29
4. Fellowship with God: Heb. 3:12-14; 10:24-25 (no un-confessed sin in the life).

See Topic: GROWTH: Spiritual growth


Verse 6

1. But let him ask: de + aiteo in the same present active imperative to further clarify Standard Operating Procedure.

2. In faith: pistis - refers to the function of total dependence on God and trust in His character and plan.

3. Without doubting: The negative, māden + diakrino as a present active participle to further describe the nature of this functional faith.

A. diakrino means to evaluate or judge something thoroughly.
B. It is usually used in a good sense, but here it indicates "operation over-think."

C. This then refers to emotional reaction or intellectual rationalization which questions and doubts the reliability of God's provisions for one's life.

D. This then indicates the presence of a genuine attitude of humility and teachability which corresponds with the "awareness humility" of verse 5, "if anyone lacks wisdom."
E. Nothing: meden, That is, NOTHING that God offers and promises.

4. For the one who doubts: present middle participle
Engages in religious activity (prayer) without the attitude of humility and faith with the result that:

A. They that are in the flesh cannot please God: Rom. 8:8
B. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord won't hear: Ps. 66:18

5. Is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind:

A. Driven: anemidzo (present passive participle) means to be moved by the wind (only here). This word indicates being forced in a particular direction.

B. Tossed: ripidzo (present passive participle) means to blow from one place to another (only here). This word indicates being tossed in a variety of directions.

C. Human viewpoint in control of the soul will do both.

1. It will push the erring believer in one particular direction.

2. Or it will toss him one way and then another.

D. This is the same image that we have at Eph. 4:14, of the believer who has not matured and learned - "truth as it is in Jesus," (Eph. 4:21).

1. Agitated by the waves: carried back and forth
2. Carried about by every wind of doctrine: carried in one direction

Verse 7

1. For let not that man expect: oiomai (present active imperative)
This word indicates a subjective assumption or presumption.

A. Compare its use at Philip. 1:17, where they "suppose" to cause Paul distress.

B. In this case, we can see either assumption (from ignorance) or presumption (from pride).

2. That he will receive anything from the Lord.
Operates on the doctrinal understanding already noted in reference to Romans 8:8 and Psalm 69:17, to which we can add, Prov. 28:9,

"He who turns away his ear from listening to the instruction (law);
even his prayer is an abomination."

A. Such presumption in prayer actually becomes sin: Ps. 109:7
B. For indeed, "all which is not from faith is sin," (Rom. 14:23c).

Verse 8

1. Being a double-souled man: dipsuchos = two-souled

A. This describes the condition of the believer who "over-thinks," (v. 6)

B. It explains why he ends up being "driven and tossed" by his emotions and false doctrine.

C. It is because there resides in his mind, human viewpoint which continually strives within him to influence him to reject and live opposite to truth.

D. Thus, the two-souled idea, for there is division within that produces constant conflict.

E. The conflicting standards in his soul result in instability.

F. He has no divine viewpoint absolutes to steer the ship of his soul and so is swayed by the relativity of human viewpoint.

2. Being unstable: akatastatos is an adjective that means one who has no stability or consistency.
It is evidenced by turbulence in the soul; not only is it chaotic and disruptive, but also fickle, restless and vacillating.

3. in all his ways: in everything he does; every area of his life.

4. This person is described at James 4:8 as one who needs his mind purified.

5. The solution as indicated there, is the growth process which purifies the soul from human viewpoint and evil, and brings the emotions under control.

A. Rom. 12:2
B. 2 Cor. 7:1

6. This is the subject of James 1:19-25


Verse 9, Orientation to material possessions: Wealth humility
The real issue in Christianity is HUMILITY

1. But let the brother: refers to a believer.
This recognizes the fact that he is in the family of God.

2. Of humble circumstances: adjective, tapeinos.
This word group is another one of those that does "double-duty."

A. Usually it indicates humility of soul which is oriented to God's character and plan.

B. Sometimes it indicates material poverty or hardship.
That is, being in a condition of limited material resources.

C. It is used this way by Paul at Philip 4:12, where the verb indicates deficiency of material resources in the area of food and shelter.

D. Our context here, indicates that believers are facing serious temptations that truly "test" their ability to stay focused on God's character and plan. Ie, ENDURE.

E. The believer who fails to learn and/or utilize the wisdom of God made available for bearing up under these trials (Cor. 10:13), will find himself continually at the mercy of his emotions and human viewpoint. This is the one who will be tossed and agitated not only by the winds and waves of false doctrine, but also by the many and varied pressures of every day life.

F. The character that needs to be cultivated is humility.
This is the viewpoint that recognizes the greater value of following God's plan over anything else in life.

3. Rejoice: kauchaomai (present active imperative) means to boast, glory, celebrate. Keep on celebrating. This is the attitude that recognizes the greater value of spiritual victory and the honor that comes from God through spiritual consistency.

4. In his high position: in the sphere of exaltation (en + hupsis).
Promotion in God's plan regardless of circumstantial reality.
This "high position" refers to the status of honor as a child in the family of God. No matter how grievous his material condition may be, the spiritual value of being a member of God's spiritual family SHOULD motivate the believer to stay focused on his purpose of ambassadorship while he lives here on earth.

5. This is similar to what Paul teaches us at 1 Cor. 15:50-58. Here, the promise of future resurrection is the motivation to stay focused on our service responsibility of bringing honor and glory to God.

1 Cor. 15:58, "Therefore my beloved brethren, become stabilized, immovable. always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your effort is not in vain in the Lord," (BFT).


Verse 10

1. And the rich man: This is a wealthy believer who through the trials of v. 2, finds himself persecuted and his material resources diminished.

2. The loss of material resources is described as "his humiliation."
The word is tapeinōsis. It is from the same word group as in v. 9, used here to indicate the loss of material resources so that the finds himself in a "deficiency" situation.

3. But he also is exhorted to celebrate and boast in God, knowing that the greater value is found in spiritual resources.

4. The occupational hazard of the rich believer is to become dependent on those material resources as the source of happiness and stability in life.

5. There is nothing wrong with being rich, but it is the attitude toward that wealth that determines whether truth is followed and fellowship is maintained.

6. 1 Timothy 6:15-19

Verse 17, "Instruct those who are rich in this present age, not to be conceited or to fix their confidence on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who abundantly supplies us with all things for enjoyment., (BFT)."

7. If the believer maintains the right "grace" attitude toward his material things, when they are removed, he will keep his focus on God's character and plan and preserve his fellowship with God.

8. When the believer recognizes the temporal value of material things, he will be able to celebrate in God's character and plan whether he continues to possess those resources or not.


Verse 11, an illustration from nature: The temporal nature of vegetation.

In the same way that vegetation is short-lived, so also (houtōs kai), or "in the same way also," the rich man in his "rich-minded attitude" will fade away.

1. The rich man: plousios means wealthy. The issue here however, is NOT just the idea of someone who is rich, for there is nothing wrong with the believer possessing an abundance of material resources. But it is the rich believer who is operating in the sphere of rich-mindedness who is doomed to wither and fade like the material things he hoards.
We know this because of the next phrase which indicates that the person is occupied with his material resources.

2. In the midst of his pursuits:

A. In: en = in the sphere of, and indicates while involved with.
B. His pursuits: puria (plural) = the attitudes and actions expressed by the rich-minded believer.

C. These pursuits are explained at 1 Tim. 6:9-10

V. 9

1. Want to get rich: boulomai (present middle participle) indicates a deliberate determination set up as a goal in life.

2. foolish desires: anoātos = having no sense. That is, it is a desire which does not truly make sense according to the divine design of things.

3. harmful: blaberos expresses the effect of the "no sense" desires on the person's life. Ie, ruin and destruction.

A. Ruin: olethros communicates "ruination" of one's soul.
B. destruction: apoleia indicates physical effects on the body.

V. 10

1. Love of money: philarguria indicates total occupation with material things.

A. Philos: having a rapport love for something.
B. arguros: silver, money
C. Together, it indicates having a "love affair" with money.

2. Longing for it: oregamai (present middle participle) means to reach or stretch out for something. This expresses the intensity of the pursuit as being very aggressive and taking precedent everything else in one's life.

3. Will fade away: marainomai (future passive indicative) indicates that it has no lasting value. Jesus explained this at Mat. 6:19 with the two images of decay and theft.

4. This is mentioned here NOT to bring shame to the rich man, but to comfort and encourage him as he is reminded that the loss of his wealth is meaningless, just as Paul views all "human" values, "for Whom (Christ) I have endured the loss of all things and I conclude them to be dung in order to gain Christ (the reflection of His character in the heart)." (Philip. 3:8, BFT).

See Topic: Rich Mindedness


V. 12 Orientation to eternal reward

1. Blessed: makarios = happy. This is a reference to true inner happiness that results from experiencing divine provisions and evaluation.

A. The happiness is a reality both in time - through consistent endurance as at verse 2.

B. And a future reality based on reward for that endurance at the justice seat of Christ (1 Pet. 1:7).

2. The man who endures: hupomeno (present active indicative) means to consistently bear up under the pressures of temptation (peirasmos).
This fulfills the activity of verses 3 and 4.

3. trial: peirasmos, refers to temptation as has already been discussed.
It is temptation to act independently from God in the face of any crisis in life, although persecution pressure seems to be primarily in view.

4. Because: hoti, indicates the source of the joy. In this case, it is a future joy based on reward meted out at the justice seat of Christ which will take place after the rapture of the church at the Day of the Lord return of Jesus.
However, knowledge that one has remained faithful to the divine value system built up in the soul, and accordingly has endured, provides "in time" (here on earth) the inner peace, joy and confidence of the abundant life.

5. When he has become: ginomai (aorist middle participle), indicates a specific point of time which the context determines to be yet future.

6. Approved: dokimos (adjective), indicates approval after examination.
That examination refers to the justice seat of Christ at which time all the believer's works will be evaluated and then, either rejected (burned up) or accepted (rewarded) as is explained at 1 Cor. 3:10-15.


7.He will receive: lambano (future middle indicative), indicates reward in the future rather than at the moment of time that the trial is endured.

8. The crown of life: a specific reward earned for consistent faith-rest activity in the face of all kinds of pressures. (See Topic: Faith Rest)
At Rev. 2:10, this reward is related to being faithful to the point of going through physical death.
Here, it is directly related to "those who love the Lord."
At Rev. 12:11, we find those who "did not love their life, even to death."
Jesus taught that we should love Him much more than father or mother, sister or brother, children, and even more than our own soul (Luke 14:26).

The crown of life, then, is the reward received for consistency in maintaining the divine value system as the most important thing in life.

See Topic: REWARDS

9. Which the Lord has promised: epangellomai (aorist middle indicative).
The better manuscripts read simply, "which He has promised," and leaves the subject of the verb "understood" as being God.

10. To those who love Him: agapao (present active participle), indicates the attitude that places maximum value on an object and therefore, consistently seeks to promote what is beneficial to that object. In this case, the object is God. Loving God means to seek what promotes His character and plan in this life, often at the expense of one's own welfare.



Verses 13-15, Orientation to Temptation

V. 13

1. Let no one say: lego (present active imperative)
This is a commanded attitude based on understanding of the principles to be related. Lego means to assert, contend, to say.

2. When he is tempted: peiradzo (present passive participle).
This is a reality for all believers. But when the reality is encountered, it is imperative that we recognize the source and nature of temptation so that on the one hand, we do not improperly relate to God, or on the other hand, be ill-equipped to properly handle the temptation.

3. I am being tempted: peiradzo (present passive indicative).
This is the possible inaccurate assessment that the believer can make concerning the temptation encounter. Ie, that it is from (apo) the source of God.

4. For: gar, explains why this is a wrong assessment.

5. God cannot be tempted:

A. God is: eimi (present indicative) indicates a status or condition.
In this case it is describing a permanent condition or status of God.

B. un-temptable: apeirastos (adjective) means just as translated.

Temptation is activity that attempts to get someone to act in a way inconsistent with what is true and righteous. God is absolute truth and righteousness, and it is impossible for Him to violate His own character.

Thus, anyone who acts toward God in such a way as to get Him to be inconsistent with truth and righteousness, is simply "beating the air." Only a creature can be tempted, not the creator. However, that does not release from guilt anyone who does act in such a way as to "test" or "tempt" God. For to even attempt such an expression is creature arrogance and rebellion against Him (Ps. 78:17-18; Mat. 4:7).

6. By evil: kakos (adjective in the plural) = evils or evil things.
Ie, expressions of evil; that which seeks the harm of someone else.
It occurs in the genitive case to indicate "of" or "from" evils.
God is not intimidated, shocked, or threatened in any way by the rebellion of His creatures.

7. And He Himself does not tempt: peiradzo (present active indicative) to indicate the consistency of the principle. Ie, God never acts in such a way as to seek someone's failure. He never solicits someone to do evil.
The word group, peiradzo, is not used of God as the active source of temptation.


Verse 14, the exact nature of a temptation

1. But each one is tempted: peiradzo (present passive indicative). This is the way it always goes down.

2. when he is carried away: exelko (present passive participle) is a nautical term that means to take in tow. Spiritually, it has the idea of grabbing and pulling in a particular direction. It occurs in the passive voice to indicate that the subject receives this "pull" from the tempter.

The context relates this to an actual sexual encounter of a woman (believer) being enticed by a man (tempter).
Being "grabbed" is not sin, it is the temptation. The lust of the sin nature grabs hold as in, gets your attention, then it entices.

3. And enticed: deleadzo (present passive participle) means just that - to lure or entice through the promise of benefit. But the promise is deceitful and will not result in benefit, but harm. Again, the enticement is not sin, but simply the solicitation to sin.

4. By his own lusts: empithumia refers to the dictates of the sin nature.
The same conflict that is described at Gal. 5:17.

A. The flesh lusts: epithumeo = to set its desire toward or against (kata).

B. Against the Spirit: This refers to the Holy Spirit who indwells the believer's heart and from the moment of salvation is "in control."
The sin nature (flesh) dictates against the Spirit seeking to get the believer to reject that filling/control and quench it.

C. And the Spirit sets His desire against the flesh: The Holy Spirit influences the believer via truth he has learned. He brings to mind the various standards of The Faith value system which will enable the believer to resist the temptation (1 Cor. 10:13; Ps. 119:11).

D. For these two are in opposition to one another: There is a warfare going on which pits divine viewpoint against darkness viewpoint, and the volitional self-consciousness of the believer is right in the middle of the conflict. This results in decisions - good and bad ones, for sometimes the self-consciousness will choose for the flesh and sometimes it will choose for the Spirit. When it chooses for the Spirit, this is called endurance. When it chooses for the sin nature, it is called personal sin.

E. Operating on the premise that the Holy Spirit provides a desire within the believer to pursue Divine viewpoint standards, when the self-consciousness is deceived and chooses against the Spirit, it is described as "not doing the things you want to do."

F. Paul describes it the same way at Romans 7:15-23.


Verse 15, The successful temptation.

1. Then: eite, simply indicates the progression of events from the temptation to the actual sin.

2. When lust has conceived: sullambano (aorist active participle) means to become pregnant. The aorist tense here is really significant. The present tenses indicate the principle of the temptation scenario. But at some time the victim chooses to accept the "advances" of the tempter and at that very moment of time (aorist tense), the value system of the soul is compromised and the believer is out of fellowship.

Here begins a chain of events that result in the believer being "experientially" dead. That is, spiritually neutralized in this life as the sin nature takes control and enslaves the soul. The events in this chain, all take place instantaneously and immediately after the conception occurs. The sin nature is the tempter. The lusts are the verbal and physical enticements to engage in a "sexual" encounter (which in the temptation scenario, would be ANY sin).

When the self-consciousness of the soul (volition) accepts the "sexual" advances of the sin nature, it is like "going to bed" with it and immediately there results a conception, a birth, a maturity and an act of aggression toward the birth-mother, which results in death. This all happens in the very instant that one chooses to give in to the advance of the sin nature and not use God's word to ward it off.

3. It gives birth to: tikto (present passive indicative) to state the immediate and automatic result of cohabitation with the sin nature. Immediately you have a birth and all the consequences from that birth.

4. sin: hamartia, refers to a specific act of violating a righteous standard of God. It basically means to miss the target, the mark or the goal. Sin, therefore, is an expression of soul (either mental, verbal or overt) that comes short of God's standards.

5. And when sin is accomplished: apoteleo (aorist passive participle) means to become full grown. So, after the child is born (act of sin) it lives its life to maturity in an instant. The maturity of that sin, which is immediate, then results in causing a negative effect on the world around it, and specifically, to the one who gave it birth. For just as soon as it is born and reaches maturity - in an instant, it kills its mother (the believer). It places the believer in a condition of spiritual neutralization which can be designated as temporal death. That is, out of fellowship with God and under the control of the sin nature.

6. It brings forth death: One's first impression is that we see the progress from conception to death of this miserable, unwanted child. However, the language suggests something different.

A. Brings forth: apokueo (present active indicative) means to produce or bring forth in the sense of "causing" something to happen.

B. What happens is death (thanatos). But it does not say that "it dies," but rather that it produces death.

7. I suggest therefore, that the "death" that is caused is the death of the one who conceived the child in the first place. The believer who gives into the lust of the sin nature, conceives sin and immediately that "child" is born, grows up and kills its mother. This happens every time a believer fails to resist "the fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul," (1 Peter 2:11).

While the believer is in fellowship with God, that is, walking in the Spirit, experiencing the filling/control of the Spirit, there is a constant battle going on in the soul (Gal. 5:17; Rom. 7:23).

At any point of time when the believer gives in to the lust of the sin nature and sins, he loses that fellowship with God, and from the standpoint of his spiritual function on the earth, he is dead.

Death basically means, neutralization. There are 7 different kinds of death described in the bible and each one speaks of neutralization.

When the believer is out of fellowship with God, he is spiritually "neutralized" and unable to function as a "righteous" servant of God.
This can be called "experiential death" or simply "fellowship death (neutralization)." The concept of fellowship death is found in several places.

A. Romans 8:4-8, 13

Verse 6, "for the mind of the flesh (sin nature) is DEATH (fellowship death), but the mind of the Spirit is LIFE (fellowship) and peace."

Verse 13, "for if you live according to the flesh (sin nature), you are, as a matter of course, to die (experience fellowship death).

But if by the Spirit, you are putting to death (neutralizing) the deeds of the flesh (sin nature), you will live (experience fellowship life with God)."

B. Ephesians 5:8-18

The believer who is walking in darkness is exhorted to, "Awake sleeper and arise from the DEAD and Christ will shine on you."

C. 1 John 3:14

"He who does not love, abides in death." John reminds the believer that he has passed out of death (spiritual) into life because of the evidence of love reflected in your life. But if there is no love of God reflected, then the sin nature is in control and the believer abides in death (fellowship death). That is, he returns to that sphere of neutralization that he experienced as an unbeliever. The difference of course, is that he cannot actually return to the status of spiritual death, only to living the experiential effects of spiritual death.

D. 1 Timothy 5:6, a widow out of fellowship.
"But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives." She is alive physically, but is out of fellowship and spiritually neutralized.

And once the believer is out of fellowship (experientially dead) he falls into the category of "operational death," which is when there is no divine good production in the life.

This is the issue at James 2:17, "faith without works is dead (neutralized)."

And at verse 20, "faith without works is USELESS (argos)."

The issue is not "saving" faith, but vindication faith. Faith that demonstrates one to be righteous (reflecting the righteous standards of God in his life). The one who does not "apply" bible truth through "good works" (Eph. 2:10) is not using his faith, and it is useless or dead.


Verse 16, Warning about being deceived by the enticement from the sin nature.

1. My beloved brethren: exhortation to fellow believers in Jesus.

2. Do not be deceived: planao (present passive imperative) exhorts the believer to learn from the information just provided in verses 13-15.

This is a timely exhortation in view of being oriented to temptation.
Temptation deceives because it utilizes the lust patterns of the sin nature and "entices."

A. Jer. 17:9, the heart is deceitful.
B. Heb. 3:13, the deception of the sin nature
C. Eph. 4:22, the lusts of deceit as characteristic of the old way of life.
D. Rom. 7:7-11, deceived by the religion of Mosaic legalism.


The exhortation basically tells us to recognize that the weapon of the enemy is the sin nature. Yes, our "adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, prowls about seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8), but we must realize that the temptation is channeled through the sin nature in order to get to our soul. Thus while we are instructed to "resist the devil," (James 4:7) and to "resist him firm in the faith" (1 Peter 5:9a), we are also instructed to "abstain from the fleshly (sin nature) lusts, which wage war against the soul," (1 Peter 2:11).

3. Deceived by false teaching: Eph. 5:6; Col. 2:8; Jer. 29:8-9; Luke 21:8

A. Principle of the naive/immature: Eph. 4:14
B. Principle of the rebel: 2 Tim. 3:13
C. Principle of tickling: 2 Tim. 4:3
D. Principle of religion: Col. 2:20-23
E. Principle of peer influence: 1 Cor. 15:33
F. Principle of absolutes: 1 John 3:1-10
G. Principle of emotions: Teachers will apply emotional pressure on people to motivate an overt response. Although I cannot find any specific examples of this in the Bible, the practice is a reality.

Concerning this activity toward the unsaved, Lewis Sperry Chafer writes:

"Too often methods have been employed requiring mere outward actions which, though sincere, may indicate no heart experience; and those outward actions may be motivated by the earnest appeal of loved ones and friends who, being themselves saved, do appreciate the importance of a decision for Christ. The pressure of these outside influences has been, in many instances, the chief dependence of the evangelist for his apparent success in his work. It is often recognized that the evangelist to be a success must possess a dominating and even overpowering personality. This with other psychological influences which are skillfully employed amount to what is almost an irresistible effect. All this mass of influence may be focused upon the unsaved individual to compel them to do something which perchance is no choice of his own, nor has it a vestige of virtue in the realm of that which constitutes a decision for Christ." (Systematic Theology, vol. 3, page 224).

Verse 17, God is the source for all spiritual provisions

1. Every good: agathos means good of intrinsic value. That is, good by the very nature of goodness. It speaks of that which is truly good or beneficial according to God's standards. Man has his own ideas about what is good and beneficial, but this is usually determined by the distorted viewpoint of the sin nature and the selfishness that dominates the soul.

With such a viewpoint, circumstances and feelings dictate what is beneficial to self.

2. thing bestowed: This is the noun, dosis, and emphasizes the act of giving and thus, the character of the giver.

That which is provided; what is truly good and beneficial for man as it is found in three basic categories:

A. The things of the natural world: Acts 14:17,

"and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness."

B. The material things of this life: 1 Timothy 6:17,

"who richly supplies us with all things for enjoyment."

C. The gift of spiritual provisions both for salvation and for living the Christian way of life, after salvation. John 3:16,

"For God so loved the world, that He provided His only Begotten Son."

2Pet. 1:3,
"seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and good worship, through the full knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and virtue."

3. And every perfect gift:

A. teleios is an adjective that means complete.
The emphasis here is on that which "completes" or fully meets the needs of God's creation.

B. We thus have the two factors of God's provision for the human race. It is both "good" (beneficial) and it is "complete" (perfectly adequate) for the human race. In other words, there is nothing MORE that man needs other than what God has provided. Furthermore, true happiness in the possession of these provisions is only possible as one recognizes God and relates to Him on His terms.

4. Gift: dōrāma is a noun which emphasizes what is given and the fact that there are no strings attached. God has given mankind many wonderful gifts. In this chapter, there is one that stands out - the gift of God's wisdom.

This is the real issue for all interaction with God. We need His wisdom for endurance in pressure. We need His wisdom for salvation in the first place. His gift of bible truth is always reliable because it is based on His character and His character never changes. But for us to benefit, we need to accept that gift. Whether it be His wisdom or the gift of salvation through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, it avails us nothing unless we choose to accept it.

This is not talking about any gift that happens to be something you like. It is talking ONLY about what has intrinsic goodness from God's perspective. It is a spiritual issue.

The intent of James is to keep us focused on God's character.

In verse 5, we see God as the source of wisdom.
In verse 12, we see God as the source of reward.
In verses 13-16, we realize that God does not tempt us.
In verse 17, we see God as unchangeable and faithful

The exhortation continues to keep the believer positive to truth and focused on God's character.

5. Is from above: looks to the heavenly realm, the "official" dwelling of God and elicits from us a recognition of the heavenly source for all the divine provisions we have.

6. Coming down from the Father of lights:

A. From the Father, further stresses the specific source for our provisions. Heaven is the throne of the Father. The preposition, apo, indicates the Father as the ultimate source of these provisions and nothing can stand in the way of His plan.

B. Although Satan, as the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:1), has temporary rulership over the world system (1 John 5:21) and even has access to heaven at the present time (Job 1:6; Rev. 12:10), he is not the ruler of heaven and does not in any way hinder the availability of God's divine provisions for the Christian.

C. Of lights: The word, phōs, in the plural seems to restrict our application to the physical light bearers in the heavens.

Father of light (singular) would likewise be restrictive as a direct reference to the light system and the absolutes of divine righteousness and justice. For indeed, "God is light and in Him there is not darkness, not any," (1 John 1:5).

D. The reference to the heavenly light bearers (sun, moon and stars) and accordingly, God's creative person and power, focuses the believers attention on something that is constant in the physical universe and therefore RELIABLE. This should be a reminder to the believer that God too is CONSTANT and RELIABLE as the source for all the spiritual resources we need for life and worship (2 Pet. 1:3)

E. Some like A. T. Robertson, Peter Davids and Oesterley (Expositors GNT) want to give it the double application to both "light" and "lights" which focuses us on His physical creative power as well as His "spiritual" character in contrast to spiritual darkness. I think this is trying to find TOO MUCH in the passage.

LIGHTS in the plural is a simple, yet very dramatic reminder of the power and faithfulness of God as it looks to what, in the ancient world, was a very compelling phenomenon in the minds of the people. Perhaps today we are less enamored with the solar system through the advancements of science in many fields, but humility will always re-focus our attention on the magnitude of God's power in creation, which in turn, will be a great motivator for Christian faithfulness.

In the same way that the phenomena of the physical heavens speak of God's power and Divinity to the unbeliever (Rom. 1:18-21; Psalm 19:1-3), so it is that after salvation, the magnificence of the heavens should be a continuous reminder of God's faithfulness in not only preserving our salvation status IN CHRIST, but also providing everything we need to experience spiritual success here on earth.

1. The magnitude of the heavens should elicit continued humility from the trusting believer. Psalm 8:3

2. The "great lights" that God created (sun, moon, stars) should remind us of His continued grace provision and illicit our praise. Psalm 136:1-9

3. The present constancy of the physical heavens is a teaching aid for God's constant faithfulness to His promises given to Israel. Jer. 31:35-37.

6. With whom there is no variation: parallagā, only occurs here and means a change. It is a reference to His perfect character as fully delineated via the 10 character attributes of the Godhead.

7. Or shifting shadow: tropā aposkiasma (shadow of turning) refers to the shadow cast by the sun that changes from moment to moment and from day to day. One cannot "rest" within that shadow for it is constantly changing and the one resting would soon be disturbed by the intensity of the sun.

The faithfulness of God's character is thus described as having no shifting shadow and the one who rests within it can be at peace and confident that the pressures of life will not and cannot pierce into the shade of God's love as reflected in the promises of His word.

The stability of this principle is found at Psalm 91:1,

A. He who dwells: yAshabh - indicates to settle down and rest. It speaks of a permanent dwelling.

B. In the shelter of the Most High: This refers to the protection and care of God's character.

C. Will abide: lun - means to lodge or spend the night. This indicates that from day to day, there is safety and security as the believer finds a lodging place from the cold of the night.

D. In the shadow of the Almighty: This title for God, shadday, indicates the one who is an omnipotent provider (see topic: God Almighty).

In His shadow speaks of constant and permanent provision that does not change with the changing times and circumstances of life.

E. We can depend on God's character and plan. We can totally REST in all His promises, knowing that our salvation status is secure and knowing that He Himself has provided everything we need for life and good worship as we learn and use the full knowledge of God that He has made available to us.

God's faithfulness is stated in a wonderful promise given to Israel at Malachi 3:6.

"For I, Yahweh, do not change. Therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed."

Because God made promises of national preservation to Israel and because His integrity is perfectly faithful, He will not, indeed, He cannot break those promises.

And the principle behind that promise can be applied to us all, for we are all benefactors of God's unchanging character.

In reference to Israel's future beyond the period of national discipline which is presently being administered, Paul writes, "For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable," (Rom. 11:29).

This applies to all that God has done for the advancement of His plan and the blessing of His people. However, each promise must be kept within its own specific context so that we do not misunderstand the nature and scope of God's intent and attempt to make "every" promise, either a promise of eternal duration or a promise applicable to every believer.

The next point of confidence in God is our salvation security.

Once James reminds us of the absolute integrity of God's plan and the unchangeableness of His essence, he then draws our attention to the fact of security in our salvation status.

Verse 18

1. In the exercise of His will: this is NASB translation. The Greek has a participial phrase which is a bit awkward to reproduce in the English.

2. The verb is boulomai, which means to will, desire or plan.

It occurs in an aorist passive participle and would be rendered, literally as, "having been planned" (or decreed, or desired). If we give it a concessive idea (ie, a concessive participle), it would be rendered, "since it was planned (desired, decreed)." The aorist tense speaks of that which was accomplished in the past, BEFORE the action of "bringing forth" that is mentioned next. This is a reference to the eternal plan of the Godhead in providing salvation for the human race. Although God certainly has a desire that ALL MEN be saved (1 Tim. 2:4), that divine desire does not impose on the personal, volitional responsibility of each person to choose for himself whether or not he will accept the gift of salvation. But BECAUSE God desired and decreed the PROVISION of salvation for the human race, He responds to a person's faith and gladly receives him into the family of God by giving him spiritual life (the new birth).

See Topic: Predestination

2. He brought us forth: apokueo means to give birth and the aorist active indicative indicates the point of time that God accomplished the new birth for this group of people in view.

The "us" refers specifically to those Jews who are the recipients of this letter. These Jewish believers are part of the body of Christ and as such SHARE in the "first fruits" status of all believers of the early church.

3. The phrase, by the word of truth, indicates that the agent of the new birth is the seed of God's word.

The book of 1 Peter, which so closely parallels the book of James tells us, "since you have been born again not out from perishable seed but imperishable - through the living and abiding word of God, (1 Pet. 1:23, BFT).

In order to be saved, one must hear the message of truth, the gospel of salvation (Eph. 1:13).
Jesus taught this at John 6:44-45, "every one who has heard AND learned from the Father, comes to me."
Paul taught it at Romans 10:14, "How shall they believe in Him, whom they have not heard?"

Thus, the meaning at Romans 10:17 is that the faith required for salvation (Acts 16:31) is produced through the gospel message. There must be "knowledge" of the gospel before faith is even an issue. One would not be convicted of his need to believe (trust in Christ) unless he is convicted (taught) about "sin, righteousness and judgment." This information is required in any gospel message and it is the Holy Spirit who takes that message and uses the content within it (assuming it is accurate) according to John 16:9-11.

This is what Paul expressed to the Galatians at Gal. 3:2.
"The message of faith" translates the word, akoā, which means, what is heard. Paul wants them to realize that when they received the Holy Spirit, which happened at the moment they trusted in Christ, it was because of the message that elicited "faith" rather than the works of the law.

At Ephesians 1:13, Paul gives the basic outline of the steps to salvation.

A. heard the gospel
B. believed
C. sealed (indwelled) by the Holy Spirit.


4. Next, James gives us a specific result of God's regenerating activity. He writes, "so that we might be." This is the preposition, eis (unto, toward), plus the present infinitive of eimi (the "to be" verb) to indicate a resultant status from being born into God's family. Thus, "with the result that we are," communicates the present status of these Jewish believers. That is, they are in a group that is viewed as the FIRST ONES to have become members of the body of Christ.

5. A certain firstfruits of His creatures: There is a little word that occurs with the word "firstfruits." It is, tis. This word has a large variety of uses and one of them is the idea of "some." Accordingly, this could be rendered, "with the result that we are SOME firstfruits among His creatures."

A. The word, first fruits, is used to indicate the FIRST of a kind in reference to TIME. Originally, it referred to the FIRST of a crop that was harvested. Those first fruits were not necessarily any better than that which came afterwards, but simply ripened first.

B. At Romans 16:5, we have the firstfruits of Asia. That is, the first one to have become a believer from that province.

C. At 1 Corinthians 16:15, we have the firstfruits of Achaia. That is, the first ones to have become believers from that province.

D. At 1 Cor. 15:20 and 23, Jesus is designated as the first fruits of those who have died physically, which indicates that He is the first one to have received a resurrection body.

E. At Romans 8:23, Paul speaks of the PRESENT body of believers as those who have the first fruits of the Spirit. That is, they are the first ones to have received the Holy Spirit. Subsequent believers will receive the Spirit as well at the very moment that they trust in Christ as Savior.

F. At Romans 11:16, the first fruits (of the dough) refers to that which is first removed from the LUMP and used to make bread. The rest of the dough will be used later, but what is FIRST removed is the first fruits.

G. At Revelation 14:4, the 144,000 Jews who become converts after the rapture of the church, are said to be the first fruits unto God and the Lamb. This refers to the fact that they are the first ones to be saved after the rapture, for there will be many others who trust in Christ between the rapture and the battle of Armageddon.

H. In all of these examples, TIME is the issue. Thus, when we get to James 1:18 and "some firstfruits of His creatures," it is advisable that we find some kind of TIME concept here as well. Accordingly, the believers in James' mind, which includes himself, refer to those who were AMONG the first ones to become believers in a church age context. That is, the first ones to be entered into union with Christ though the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

6. The term, "of His creatures" probably refers to all those who are the NEW CREATION in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). The Jewish believers of the early church are AMONG the first ones to have become part of that new creation through the new birth. In fact, the church began with primarily Jewish people even though the gospel was not restricted to them.

James is focusing in on the fantastic grace of God that has now "appeared, bringing salvation to all men (Titus 2:11)." When the church first began, it was comprised primarily of Jewish people, but there were many Gentile converts as well. James is not trying to make a distinction between Jew and Gentile. He is simply telling the Jewish believers to whom he is writing, that they are AMONG the first ones to have received the grace of God from Messiah's victory on the cross. His focus is on the NEW spiritual reality, not on any supposed superiority based on either race or time of conversion.



Verses 19-25 Orientation to the growth process

Verse 19a Solidification of the previous principles

1. Know this: The perfect active imperative of oida refers to the information just given in verses 17-18. So James not only states the spiritual principles of verses 17-18, but then specifically exhorts the recipients to make these principles or "values" part of the doctrinal content in their soul.

2. The word "this," is not in the verse, but some think it needs to be supplied as an implied object. However, it does not go smoothly with what follows and would have to refer to the spiritual principles just mentioned in verses 17-18.

Verse 19b Orientation to fellowship and growth humility (Teachability)

1. Now: de is used as a transition to the growth process which exhorts the humility of teachability as the requirement for fulfilling growth.

2. Let everyone: The principle applies to all believers as they sit in local assembly teaching.

3. BE: The present imperative of eimi introduces the three factors that are necessary for success in the growth process.


A. swift: tachus, speaks of diligence and concentration.
The idea of "swift" in reference to bible teaching speaks of one's devotion and intensity of searching for God's wisdom.

B. To hear: akouo refers to the perception via the ear-gate in public assembly worship; listening to "those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you," (Heb. 13:7).
The student's roll in the classroom of the local assembly is to hear. It is hearing that is the primary gate for perception of bible truth. The responsibility that the believer has as he hears the teaching of the word of God is further stated at 1 Thes. 5:12-13, 20-22.

C. The eye-gate (reading) is certainly valuable in learning God's word
(Eph. 3:4; Rev. 1:3), but needs to be supplementary to the face-to-face teaching of a bona fide communication gift in public assembly.

D. Diligence at 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Pet. 1:5


A. Slow: bradus
B. In reference to speaking: laleo as an aorist active infinitive refers to speaking WHILE instruction is going on.

C. The student needs to maintain silence while in a teaching situation
D. He has no business expressing his own opinions and viewpoints.
E. He has no business expressing any verbal sins of criticism, etc.
F. He has no business engaging in verbal distractions to the teaching of the word of God, such as conversing with others.

G. Principle of 1 Cor. 14:40; amplified by 14:26-35.
H. God authorizes "laleo" teaching for shepherding the flock
(1 Peter 4:11), but private "laleo" in the public assembly is disruptive and undermines the communicator's purpose and authority.

I. To violate this command is either active or passive "laleo" arrogance.

1. Active arrogance:

a. Teacher lust is the desire to influence others by your own standards and verbal techniques.

b. Approbation lust is the desire for attention and honor from others by either claiming communicator status, or acting the role of a communicator of truth.

2. Passive arrogance:

a. Self-centered inconsideration of others.
b. Boredom which distracts others by trying to appease self.
c. Undisciplined emotionalism: tongues, holy hiccups, comments.
d. Blind zeal which actually thinks you can help others.


A. Slow to anger: orgā, refers to controlled anger expressed either at the communicator of the message or the content of the message. This is the mental attitude that prevents the planted word from taking root and producing growth in the believer's soul.

B. The focus here is not on anger "in general." That is, mental attitude aggression toward people or situations in your normal, everyday life, although that anger certainly gets you out of fellowship and hinders not only the growth process (1 Cor. 3:1-3), but also the experience of the abundant life of peace and joy. Our context is dealing with attitudes and expressions directly related to the "hearing" of God's word.

C. Orgā type anger is expressed toward someone because of the violation of some established standard. This kind of anger can be good or bad, depending on WHAT standard has been violated, and HOW the believer relates to that violation. Any time the believer takes the violation of the standard "personally" instead of "objectively," he is reacting from his emotions and is sinning.

D. In this condition, the sin nature promotes only self, and produces delusions of self-righteousness. It never promotes the righteousness of God. The believer in this situation is out of fellowship, unable to please God (Rom. 8:8), and his perceptive abilities are impeded from truly understanding principles of Divine truth.

E. The one who holds on to his anger, works out his own bitterness, frustrations and fears toward self, people, life in general and even many times expressed toward God Himself.

F. The term, "slow to anger," has a specific focus and refers to the humility attitude that accepts the content of the message without a negative emotional reaction.

The word of God has a tendency to "step on toes." it reproves and corrects (2 Tim. 3:17). It convicts us of our shortcomings and of our failures. It demands changes in our soul and life which the self-centeredness of the sin nature is very reluctant to allow. Such truth often elicits resistance; rationalization, denial and anger.

G. This anger does not accomplish the goal of spiritual growth; the goal of endurance (verse 1:4). It keeps the believer out of fellowship with God and under the controlling influence of the sin nature, in which condition there is no production of Divine Righteousness in the believer's life.

That brings us back to our immediate context, where we find the exhortation to have a humility-reception of both the communicator and the content of the message.

This humility attitude in these three areas mentioned can be summarized by the general response to one's communicator taught in other passages.

1 Thes. 5:12-13, 20-22; Hebrews 13:7, 17

See Topic: Anger

Verse 20, Anger is opposite to the reflection of divine righteousness.

1. For the wrath of man: orgā, is ascribed to "man" to indicate that it is not a reflection of God's anger. It is the self-centered anger that reacts emotionally when personal standards are violated.

2. Does not accomplish: ergadzomai (present middle indicative) means to produce, perform, accomplish, and indicates, with the negative, that there is no reflection of God's righteous standards in the life that is controlled by the sin nature. The production of righteousness here, refers to both "the fruit of the Spirit" (Gal. 5:22-23) based on knowledge content in the soul (Psalm 119:11), and refers to the development of production potential through the growth process. If the growth process is shut down by the various sins you allow to distract you, then the potential for you to produce God's righteousness in your life is hindered.

3. The righteousness of God: refers to a reflection of God's goodness as perfectly exemplified in the life of Christ. As children of the light (God's kingdom), we should be expressing the character of the light in every area of our life. Paul describes this as "the fruit (production) of (or from) the light" and categorizes it into three expressions (Eph. 5:9).

A. Goodness: agathosunā, is used to indicate "moral" goodness. It refers to "doing" that which cultivates and promotes the moral standards that God designed for the entire human race.

B. Righteousness: dikaiosunā, refers to the "inner" character that is conformed to the Divine Value System and is manifested by beneficent love, which seeks the benefit of all God's creatures. The emphasis with this word is fellowship with God so that everything the believer does is treasured up as divine good production (gold, silver, jewels, 1 Cor. 3:12-15) which will be rewarded as "praise, glory and honor" at the justice seat of Christ (1 Pet. 1:7). They that are in the flesh (controlled by the sin nature) cannot please God (Romans 8:8) but those who "in the sphere of the Holy Spirit, serve Christ," are pleasing to God (Rom. 14:17-18).

C. Truth: alātheia, refers to knowledge and application of the Divine Value System. The emphasis is on the content of the standards that make up that system, and give the believer understanding and insight concerning everything that happens in life.

4. If the believer allows the selfish lusts of the sin nature to control him, then he will be out of fellowship with God. In such a condition (carnal, at 1 Cor. 3:2-3), he is unable to objectively relate to the standards of God's righteousness which have been taught to him in the past, nor to the principles and truths being taught at the present time.

Verse 21

1. Therefore: In general, since mental attitude sins constitute being out of fellowship with God and counteract any righteousness influence in the life, it is necessary to deal with those sins on God's terms. Specifically, the sin of anger, and in this context, the negative attitude toward the communication of spiritual truth, and the resultant overt expressions of sin, are evidence of a character deficiency that continually influences the believer and consistently affects his fellowship and hinders spiritual growth.

The soul that is thus plagued needs to be "saved" or delivered from his continuous failure to promote God's righteousness in his life. Such deliverance is only accomplished by learning God's word and making it a part of the soul. Paul writes at Col. 3:16, "Let the word of Christ abundantly dwell within you." The "indwelling" of divine wisdom provides the resources needed to resist the temptations of the sin nature (Psalm 119:11).

However, before advance in growth can occur, that is, before one is able to perceive and receive the spiritual values found in God's word which will deliver the soul, the believer needs to be in fellowship with God. The sin or sins that are presently besetting the life need to be confessed to God and put out of the life. This is described at Proverbs 28:13, "He who hides his transgressions will not prosper,

but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion (forgiveness)."

Confessing is the mental acknowledgment of viewing sin as God views it.

Sin is a violation of God's standards; you agree with that.
God hates the sin; you hate the sin.
Sin breaks your fellowship with God; you agree.

If your mental attitude is not in line with these factors, then you have not genuinely confessed the sin to God.

Forsaking is the ACTIVITY of doing something about the sin that is in your life. If you accept the fact that God rejects the sin, then that sin must be rejected by you. That is, you must cease and desist from the sinful activity.

2. putting aside: the verb, apotithāmi, as an aorist middle participle, indicates action that precedes the action of the main verb. The main verb is "receive." Thus, the translation, "therefore, HAVING put aside," expresses the fact that sin must be put aside before the believer can truly RECEIVE the word of God.

In order for the believer to be ready to receive the "implanted" word (that which has been communicated to you and is ready to produce), he must be in fellowship with God. This is accomplished by having any sins confessed and discarded from his life. The word means to place away from self. Thus, to discard, reject, abandon, forsake. It indicates not only the attitude of confession to God via 1 John 1:9, but also the attitude of rejecting the sin or sins and finding absolutely NO MORE attraction in them, as per Proverbs 28:13.

3. all filthiness: The word is ruparia and indicates pollution that has filled the soul. Ruparia means dirt or filth in general. Thus the simple idea of being "dirty" or the more intense idea of being covered with garbage. The pollution is the mental attitude sins that are so subtle and hard to detect, but are still just as damaging to our fellowship with God. This word lumps all the mental attitude sins together in one group or cluster, which individually or linked, produce a garbage pile in the soul.

4. and {all} that remains: This phrase is one noun in the Greek (periseia + the definite article) and it means, abundance or overflow.

It should be translated as, "and the overflow." It refers to that which overflows from what is in the soul. What is in the soul is garbage. Therefore, what overflows from within is wickedness.

5. of wickedness: The word, kakia, refers to wickedness in general with emphasis on speech and action. Verbal and overt sins overflow from the pride sin cluster, and not only perpetuate and aggravate your carnality, but also reaches its filthy fingers out to touch others in society.

All sin needs to be recognized for what it is in God's eyes, and then confessed to the Father. This removes the presence of those sins from your life and accomplishes the experiential forgiveness of God. The believer, thus restored to fellowship, has the Holy Spirit in control (filling of the Spirit), and is now able to pursue with success the intake of God's word to the soul. The word of God that then enters into the soul and "abundantly dwells" within (Col. 3:16), accomplishes a "renewing of the mind," which in turn produces a character transformation (Rom. 12:2) that delivers (saves) the soul from the evil standards of the human value system.

6. in humility: The word, prautās emphasizes the expression of humility as outlined by the three growth factors found at verse 19.

7. receive: This is an aorist active imperative and indicates the volitional decision to "take in" God's word. This decision does not have to do with "accessing" the word (such as getting into a teaching situation), BUT responding to the word of God that one hears when he is in that teaching situation.

8. the word implanted: The word, logos, refers primarily to the "communicated" word; that which is accessed through public assembly worship and the communication gifts. This is suggested because of the 3-fold set of instructions at verse 19. Those instructions are given and heeded in a public assembly environment.

The word, "implanted" in the NASB, translates emphutos.

Phutos, comes from phuteuo, which means to plant. The preposition, en, is prefixed to the word to indicate the fact that through the teaching of the word, it is implanted into the soul of the hearers and has potential for growth--if it is cultivated by the volitional follow-through of the hearers. The cultivation begins with acceptance of the word. If one rejects the spiritual truth that is taught, the planting is in vain and yields no crop.

9. which is able to save your souls: The word, able, translates dunamai in the present middle participle and is used to describe a characteristic of the planted word. Dunamai speaks of either inherent or acquired power, thus the "ability" something has by virtue of nature or acquisition. In this case, it is the word of God which has inherent "power" to produce results. Hebrews 4:12 says, "The word of God is living and energizing." The word energizing, translates the adjective, energās, which communicates the EFFECT that comes from its inherent power. We see the same thing at 1 Thes. 2:13, "The word of God, which energizes itself in you who believe." Here, the present middle indicative of energeo, describes the effect the word of God has in the believers who have accepted it. It transfers its "inherent" power into the soul of the believer so that the believer is enabled to utilize the spiritual truths involved in order to gain victory over the many and varied temptations that are encountered. It is through stockpiling God's word in the soul (heart) that enables us to have a consistent victory over sin (Psalm 119:11).

The word of God that is received into the soul keeps on having ability (power) to produce experiential results in the life of the believer.

If the word is implanted in the soul, it can empower us by changing character and providing insight into into every aspect of life. If the word remains outside the soul, it is useless. There is nothing magical in the written words of the Bible. There is only benefit if the words are received inside the soul; accepted and applied to one's life. The "doer of the word" of v. 22, is the one who accepts the word as part of the Divine Value System, and applies it to his life for discernment and guidance. The "empowering" or "energizing" effect that comes from the inherent power found in the truths of God's word provide then, a deliverance of the soul from the attacks of evil.

10. To deliver your soul: The word, sodzo, means to deliver, but it is deliverance from ANYTHING. The context determines whether it is "salvation" deliverance (ie, deliverance from the penalty of sin, Rom. 6:23); physical deliverance or rescue; deliverance from oppression or from evil. The people addressed in this letter are already "saved." At the very moment of salvation (the moment that someone trusts in Christ as Savior) that person is delivered from the kingdom of darkness and transferred into God's kingdom of light (Col. 1:13; Acts 26:18). This is through a "spiritual" union with Christ in which the believer is viewed as being in heaven with Christ, seated with Him at the right hand of God the Father. Paul calls this being "a new creation" in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). The "old things" that have passed away, refers to "positional" deliverance from our sinful status "in Adam." That is, since we are in union with Christ, we are "positionally" dead to the sin nature and delivered from the eternal consequences of having been born in sin.

We have been set free from all our sins and the penalty of sin, having received "redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of His grace," (Eph. 1:7).

However, the sin nature still resides in our physical body (Rom. 7:14-25) and is the source of conflict within our soul as we seek to cultivate God's viewpoint in our life (Gal. 5:17; 1 Pet. 2:11).

We are thus, susceptible to the sinful desires and human viewpoint of "this present evil age," (Rom. 12:2) even though we have been positionally delivered from it through our initial trust in Christ (Gal. 1:4). The CHANGE happens in our "position" not in experience. In order to realize an experiential change in character and victory over the sin nature, one must "grow in the grace and the knowledge" of Jesus (2 Pet. 3:15). When there is success in growth; success in "receiving the implanted word," then the believer will begin to have experiential deliverance from the power and influence of sin.

This experiential deliverance is what Paul has in view at Rom. 7:14-25.

The victory is through Christ.

Both positionally: Rom. 8:2-3; 6:2, 4-11; 18, 22
And experientially: Rom. 6:12-16; Gal. 5:16-25

The primary focus of the entire Bible, found to a lesser or greater extent in every book, is that the person who has trusted in the Messiah/Savior, has been accepted into the family of God as a citizen in the kingdom of light. And that the believer now remains on earth to cultivate in his soul the standards of God's righteousness (The Divine Value System) so that he can demonstrate an experiential victory over sin, experience the abundant life of peace and joy, and efficiently represent God's truth to others as ambassadors of God's kingdom residing in enemy territory in this world of spiritual darkness.


Verses 22-25, Successful growth

Verse 22

1. But: Here we find the mild adversative, de, used with the force of alla (the strong adversative, but). There is clearly a contrast presented between the academic pursuit of bible truth and the functional pursuit. The functional pursuit of truth is when the believer applies all the factors of humility mentioned in verse 19 and embraces the standards of God's word as having absolute jurisdiction over every area of his life. The Divine Value System becomes the value system the believer now uses to relate to everything in life.

2. prove yourselves doers of the word: The use of the verb, ginomai (become) indicates that a change must take place when the believer learns the word of God. He must become something that he was not before. He must become a producer of the truths he has learned. The translation should read, "but BECOME doers," rather than "prove yourselves." The academic knowledge of God's word does not in itself produce change. That word must be accepted as a new standard for living. This is what produces the righteousness of God (reflection of Christ's character) and the sinless consistency that produces the abundant life of peace and joy (Happy in his doing, verse 25).

The word, doer, is poiātās and is explained at verse 25 as one who retains the information in his soul and makes it the standard for his future actions.

3. and not merely hearers: The adjective, monos (only) communicates the reality of failure in growth. Success in growth requires the humility activity of hearing and receiving. Paul calls this, letting the word of Christ "abundantly dwell within," (Col. 3:15). John describes it as letting "that which you heard from the beginning abide in you," (1 John 2:24).

The parable of the sower illustrates this (Mat. 13:23; Luke 8:15) as it explains the functional result of advancing in growth AFTER initially recieving the word of the gospel with joy. (See Parable of the Sower)

4. who delude themselves: This is a present middle participle of paralogidzomai. The verb, logidzomai by itself means to reason, calculate, and conclude. The preposition, para (beside), makes the word mean, to reason BESIDE, or with yourself, so that the idea of rationalization results.

The one who fails to absorb the standards of God's word and make the DVS his authority in life, will be influenced by human viewpoint and rationalization. They will have no spiritual insight and justify everything in life according to their emotions and the subjective standards of human philosophy (personal and organized). According to Isaiah 5:20, these are ones who "call evil good and good evil; who represent darkness as light and light as darkness; who represent bitter as sweet and sweet as bitter."


Verses 23-24, Illustration of self-delusion

The image is very simple. We have a person who takes stock of himself in a mirror, observing his various facial features (natural face). The verb, katanoeo, means to think carefully or scrutinize. The word, noeo (to think) and the preposition, kata (according to a standard, or down), combine to indicate a careful examination. Then when he turns away, after arriving at a comfortable evaluation concerning himself, he immediately forgets the image he left in the mirror. He is no longer comfortable about how he looks and he becomes self-conscious and fearful (trepidatious). This is the believer who fails to make the DVS the image in his soul. Paul tells us that we have not received the spirit of intimidation (cowardice, fear, 2 Tim. 1:7), but this experience is only a reality as we allow God's word to govern our soul.

The believer who does not learn God's word will be characterized by spiritual and moral weakness, an attitude of self-centeredness and self-promotion, and mental instability. On the other hand, the believer who allows the Word to saturate his soul (Col. 3:16; Psalm 119:11) and to dominate his thoughts and actions -- this believer will experience sinless consistency and true peace and joy.


Verse 25, The successful growth process

1. But one who looks intently: The verb is parakupto (aorist active participle) and indicates diligent concentration when hearing (verse 19) the word of God. This word expresses the humility of teachability in that the hearer knows he has a need, knows the source for spiritual truth, and accepts the word of God as having authority over his life.

2. at the perfect law, the {law} of liberty: This term is used to describe the word of God as a whole. That is, all Divine revelation provided in both Testaments as that which provides true freedom in life through victory over the sin nature.

A. Law: the word nomos, refers to the set of standards taught as the standard operating procedure for Christian living. There are two words used to amplify this code of behavior.

B. Perfect: The adjective, teleios, indicates the idea of complete and sufficient. That is, this code is all we need to relate to God, self and to others in a way that is right and proper (righteous) and that promotes true freedom of soul. Peter says that we have "everything that pertains to life and worship through the full knowledge of Him," (2 Pet. 1:3).

Here, and at verse 2:12, it is called the law of freedom. At verse 2:8, it is called the royal (basilikos) law; a law that reflects the DIVINE ROYALTY that has been conferred upon the one who has trusted in Christ as Savior. Thus, according to 1 Peter 2:9, the "church" is designated as "a royal (basileios, adjective) priesthood." But with that "royalty" comes also the "royal" code of behavior that enables us to reflect God's standard of righteousness (that which is right and proper for His creation). The royal law is explained in context as being the law of love; the law which seeks that which is beneficial for others according to the standards of God's righteousness (what is RIGHT and PROPER for all of His creation).

C. Freedom: The word eleutheria, refers to the believer's functional freedom after salvation. It does not refer to the freedom from sin's penalty which is realized at the very moment of salvation (Rom. 6:23; 8:1-3; Gal. 5:1), but to the life of freedom that becomes a reality by learning God's word - the truth.

John 8:31-32

In the previous verses, Jesus has been proclaiming the details of the gospel and exhorting the people to believe in Him as was His custom (Mark 1:16). As a result, "many believed in Him," (John 8:30).

Jesus then redirects His message specifically to "those Jews who had believed in Him," (verse 32) and gives them the principle for functional freedom here on earth as members of God's spiritual, "royal" priesthood -- "And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."

This refers to a functional freedom that is experienced AFTER salvation based on how much of God's word (the truth) the believer learns and uses in his life.

This functional freedom involves:

Freedom from the influence of human viewpoint.
Freedom from the controlling influence of the sin nature.
Freedom from old character flaws and habits.
Freedom from religious slavery; the bondage placed upon man by the human traditions and restrictions of either man-made religions or a misuse of God's law given to Moses and/or the apostles.
Freedom from fear. In the sphere of the law of love, there is no fear (1 John 4:18). Only the law of love provides true freedom from the self-centeredness of the sin nature and the lusts that cause hatred and strife (James 4:1-3).

At James chapter two, James relates the royal law (the law of love) to the attitudes and actions of seeking what is best for others. That idea of "best" however, must be determined by God's viewpoint and plan rather than man's. James further relates the law of love to consistency in obeying the moral law as outlined in the ten commandments. He is right in doing this because as Paul teaches, "love is the fulfillment of the law," (Rom. 13:8-10).

See Topic: LOVE: Beneficent love

4. and abides by it: This amplifies the need to "let the word of Christ abundantly abide within you," (Col. 3:16). If the word abundantly abides, that means that it has not only been "heard," but it has also become a part of the soul so that the standards of the DVS have now become the believer's standards for relating to and making decisions in every area of life. The word, abides, is an aorist active participle of parameno, and indicates the immediate acceptance of what is taught so that it becomes a functional standard for living the Christian life.

5. not having become: This is ginomai as an aorist middle participle and indicates the change that takes place when truth enters the soul. The verb, means to become something that you were not before, and in this case with the negative, it indicates avoidance of failure in the growth process (forgetful hearer) and instead success (doer) in converting "the implanted word" into production that accomplishes (reflects) the righteousness of God (verse 20).

6. a forgetful hearer: Literally, a hearer of forgetfulness. The word, hearer (akroatās), indicates one who has entered into the perception aspect of spiritual growth, but "forgetfulness" (epilāsmonā) indicates his failure to truly perceive the spiritual value represented and to accept it.

7. but an effectual doer: The word, doer, is poiātās and indicates recognition of value and acceptance of the word that is taught which results in production of "a work." The word, work (ergos), refers to some expression of divine righteousness that results from using the standards of the DVS learned from God's word.

8. this man shall be blessed in what he does: The word, makarios, should always be translated as "happy." It does not mean "blessed" as it is so often rendered. The word, "blessed" is too weak a translation for this word that expresses true happiness through learning and following God's word. This is saying the same thing that we find at Psalm 119:1, "How happy are those . . . who walk in the law of Yahweh." The Hebrew word there is asheray, and just like makarios, should always be rendered "happy." In fact, in the LXX translation, makarios is used to translate asheray.

True happiness results only from knowing and using the standards of Divine truth in every situation in life, just as we have previously seen at verse 2 and through the study of the doctrine of happiness.


Verses 1:26-27 PURE RELIGION

Verse 26, The Exposure of Empty Religion

1. If: This is a first class condition of assumption that recognizes the reality of inconsistency in a religious system that is based on human dynamics rather than divine righteousness. Because of the presence of the sin nature, human dynamics cannot produce a spiritually vital religious expression. Only control of the sin nature through the word of God that resides in the soul, and the filling control of the Holy Spirit can produce a religious expression that reflects God's righteousness.

2. anyone thinks: the verb dokeo (present active indicative) is the word used for thinking and concluding based on emotional perceptions. Those perceptions may be accompanied by objective perceptions from the absolutes of divine viewpoint and thus be right and accurate (Example at 1 Cor. 4:9 and 7:40), but without the standards of the DVS to guide the emotions, dokeo becomes subjective thinking based on the emotions of how someone "feels" rather than the concrete standards of God's truth. For dokeo thinking to be "right" it always needs to be attended with the process of comparing and evaluating all factors involved based on the standards of divine viewpoint. This is seen at verse 2 where we have the verb, hāgeomai to indicate this process. The person here perceives his religious vitality based on human good production and what "feels good" without any consideration for the presence and effects of the sin nature.

3. himself to be religious: This is the adjective thrāskos and only occurs here in the New Testament (the noun occurs only 4 times). It refers to someone who expresses a fear or respect for a higher being. In the ancient world, the dominating force in religion was the fear of a god or gods. This fear produced all manner of obeisonce to that god or gods so that "its" anger would not come upon the worshippers. This word for the most part was used of the cultic and idolatrous religions of the day, but came to designate anyone who expressed his devotion to some god, through his overt activity. James uses it to emphasize the visible side of Christianity; that which is done overtly and is therefore evidence of the inner dynamics and vitality of Christianity.

4. and yet does not bridle his tongue: This is a present active participle plus the negative to indicate an action concurrent with the person's personal perception that he has a spiritually vital and dynamic religious experience. Literally, "while not bridling his tongue."

This is talking about the verbal sins that express arrogance and self-centeredness; indifference and insensitivity; anger and hatred.

At verse 3:9, James sums it up by calling it, "cursing men." The very is kataraomai and means to speak down toward or against someone. It is therefore, negative type speech that not only fails to edify and express grace to others, but quite the opposite, directly attacks or abuses someone. See Topic: VERBAL SINS.

5. but: The conjunction alla, provides us with a strong contrast between "supposed" spiritual behavior and the reality which is carnality. Paul contrasts spiritual and carnal at 1 Cor. 3:1-3 where jealousy and strife associated with human celebrity-ship are a "dead-give-away" to the personal deception of thinking that someone can be pleasing to God while any kind of sinful expression is present in the life, whether it be mental or verbal.

6. deceives his {own} heart: The verb is apatao and indicates that the subjective supposition of being "religious" is based on ignorance or rejection of spiritual truth. It occurs as a present active participle and functions concurrently with the previous participle (bridling not), to further emphasize the incongruity of the claim and the demonstrated character.

It says that he deceives his own heart. The word kardia is used consistently to refer to the mentality of th soul, where knowledge is stored and character is formed. The heart as the mentality of the soul is thus, the "proper" controller of the soul from the perspective of God's design

See Topic: The HEART

But that "design" can be undermined by one or two developments which will determine how the soul functions.

A. The heart can receive false information which, on the one hand, distorts the moral format that God placed there; and on the other hand, provides inaccurate standards for relating to both man and God.

B. The heart can lose its "mental" control of the soul by allowing the emotions to control and dominate all areas of perception and expression based on how things "feel" rather than on the absolutes of divine viewpoint.

In either situation, the heart is deceived and distracted from functioning in a way that pleases God. Even though the person may be performing "religious" activities, he is out of fellowship with God and living under the influence of the sin nature. This, as James will clarify, is the real issue in Christian virtue and function; living above the worldly viewpoint that attacks the soul through the lusts of the sin nature.

7. this man's religion: Here we find the noun form, thrāskeia, which simply indicates the observance of various activities that a person or society deem to be theocentric. But since the overt observances are tainted by a consistent character deficiency, they are empty deeds with no spiritual value or impact.

8. is worthless: This translates the adjective, mataios, which communicates the idea of a void or vacuum that has no worthwhile substance of any kind. It thus expresses the idea that, even though there might be an abundance of "good works," if the spiritual function of controlling the sin nature (the passion of the flesh, Col. 2:23) is not a reality, then none of it pleases God.

Paul discusses this at Col. 2:16-23. He focuses on the inordinate occupation with overt rituals -- some of which were proper under the Mosaic law, and others which were manmade from various idolatrous or occultic philosophies -- both of which, presently have no spiritual value and never had any value for controlling the sin nature.

Col. 2:23 (BFT),

"These are things which, while having wisdom in the the sphere of self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, are of no value against the passion of the flesh."

The only thing that will control the sin nature is the Divine Value System managed by the filling/control of the Holy Spirit. The DVS embraces two main areas of truth that enable the believer to understand the kingdom of light and to make decisions that conform to that kingdom.

First: truth about the angelic conflict; the conflict between light and darkness, which is using the earth and the human race as the battleground. As we understand more completely the "what" and the "why" of the universe in which we live, we will have motivation and capacity to make decisions that promote light.


Second: Truth about character as is represented by the 15 virtues of love (1 Cor. 13:4-7). As we learn and embrace the righteous standards of God for relating to Him and members of the human race, our soul is actually transformed into conformity to Christ's character (2 Cor. 3:18) and is strengthened to resist the self-centeredness of the sin nature. This of course, has been discussed before and can be summed up by the principle found at Psalm 119:11. "Your word I have stockpiled in my heart so that I might not sin against you."

At Gal. 5:16, Paul relates this principle to the filling control of the Spirit. "Walk in the Spirit and you will not bring to completion the lust of the flesh."

Religious observances or claims of religious devotion have no character dynamics to deal with temptation. If a person claims Christian faithfulness by virtue of his religious observances and has no character consistency to "back it up," that person's religious activity is worthless. Such ritual for purposes of worship are designed as expressions of spiritual reality within the soul based on character transformation from spiritual growth--they are not virtuous in and of themselves.

This is the same thing that John writes about at 1 John 1:6.

"If we claim that we have fellowship with Him and are walking in darkness, we lie and are not doing the truth."

Again, it is the "claim" of faithfulness and fellowship with God, but there is no reflection of light standards in the life to evidence it.


Verse 27

The primary issue in expressing religious devotion to God is application of the law of love. HOW one's devotion to God interacts with the earthly realm is what determines it to be genuine or hypocritical.



1. This is pure: The adjective, katharos, refers to that which has been cleansed from dirt and pollution. The focus is on "past" pollution and the cleansing from human and Satanic viewpoint. The emphasis is on present fellowship reality with God based on the proper attitude and action toward sin.

2. and undefiled: The adjective, amiantos, refers to any "new" infiltration of darkness viewpoint into the soul and life. The emphasis is on the possession and influence of the right kind of knowledge content in the soul.

A. Pure heart: 1 Tim. 1:5; 2 Tim. 2:22; 1 Pet. 1:22
B. Pure conscience: 1 Tim. 3:9; 2 Tim. 1:3
C. Clean through the word: John 15:3
D. Pure vs. miaino: Titus 1:14-15

E. The FAITH (v. 13) is compromised (defiled) by Jewish myths and commandments of men (Jewish distortions of the Old Testament and superstitious mysticism).

F. The word group miaino/amiantos indicates a condition where that compromise is absent.

1. 2 Pet. 2:20, escaped the miasma (pollution, defilement) of the world by the abundant (epi) knowledge (gnosis) of the truth.

2. 2 Peter 2:10, the flesh (sin nature) in the sphere of its polluted (miasmos) desires (epithumia).

3. religion: Again, the noun, threskeia, indicates the visible side of Christianity; that which is done overtly and is therefore evidence of the inner dynamics and vitality of Christianity.

4. in the sight of {our} God and Father: This refers to a conformity with God's standards rather than being something "seen" by God. God's viewpoint and policy determine what is pure and undefiled. It is man who calls light darkness and darkness light (Isaiah 5:20, NASB).

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"

Thus we are exhorted to recognize that God's thoughts and ways are different from ours, and we must conform our soul to them (Isaiah 55:7-9).

5. The life style that properly reflects light will have balance between good works and character. The overt activity of one's life does not "always" reflect a pure and undefiled religious devotion. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for emphasizing overt ritual and works; obedience to the Mosaic law, but having no character (Mat. 23:23, 25-28; Luke 11:42) and He certainly has Micah 6:8 in mind as He teaches them.

Micah 6:8 (NASB),

"He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?"

Jesus further taught that a person could participate in various religious expressions, even the performance of miracles, and not even have a spiritual relationship with God (Mat. 7:22).

Pure and undefiled then, indicates the reality of both fellowship consistency and doctrinal accuracy that is consistently put into practice.

6. to visit orphans and widows in their distress: This has always been a primary concern among God's people. Historically it has always been the weak and helpless of a society that get overlooked, misused and abused. And it is Christian love which has likewise, always tried to minimize their pain and discomfort.

There is not any specific biblical instruction for either attitude or action concerning this issue prior to the law of Moses. But Moses does get specific concerning widows, orphans and the poor in general. However, his focus is only on the people of Israel and those who have identified with that nation and live within its borders. There is no instruction that would give the attitudes and actions a worldwide focus rather than just a national focus.

Likewise, when we get to the New Testament, I suggest that the instruction for the church concerning helping the widows, orphans and the poor, is kept within the context of the Christian society and does not extend as a mandate to a worldwide or even a national society. This is not to say that the Christian should not be "unmoved" and inactive concerning the material needs of unbelievers in general, but that there is no mandate or even hint that this is a "mission" of the Christian church.



A. Acts 2:44-47, This almost "communal" activity of the local church is very clearly limited to those who were of the Christian society and not extended to unbelievers.

B. Acts 4:32-35, The exact same focus as seen in Acts 2:44-47.

C. Acts 6:1-6, The early church organized to manage the need for material assistance among its "Christian" membership.

D. Acts 11:28-30, Christians in Antioch organize to send material assistance to the saints in Judea who would be hard-pressed by a famine.

E. Acts 20:34-35, Paul's exhortation to "help the weak" certainly applies to their material needs, but again, I suggest that his focus is on the needy of the church assembly, both local and worldwide--but not the unbelievers.

F. Rom. 12:13, in a description of the nature of benevolent love, the last two factors deal with material assistance.

1. contributing (or fellowshipping) to the needs of the saints.
2. pursuing hospitality.
3. In both cases, the focus appears to be just on the Christian community.

G. Rom. 15:25-26, reference to the saints of Macedonia and Achaia, who have arranged to offer material assistance to the saints at Jerusalem.

H. Rom. 16:1-2, it is not necessary that this "assistance" refer to material aid, however, it certainly would not be excluded and concerns helping fellow Christians.

I. 1 Cor. 16:1-2, this refers to the organized collection of provisions for the Christians in Jerusalem.

J. 2 Cor. 8:1-4; 9:1, 12-13 - Reference to the Christians of Macedonia and Corinth, sending material assistance to the Christians (saints) of Jerusalem.

K. 1 Tim. 5:10, we see that a woman should be characterized by "good works" in general, which are then specified as including various expressions of material assistance. Although there is no restriction to Christians only in this context, I suggest that this indeed the focus as it is so emphasized elsewhere.

L. 1 Tim. 6:18, Christians who are rich are instructed to be generous with their material resources.

M. Titus 3:14, again, good deeds include meeting the "pressing needs" of others.

N. Heb. 13:1-3, Once again, this amplifies benevolent love by focusing on providing various kinds of material assistance.

1. Hospitality which is probably best taken as referring to fellow Christians who visit your local assembly.

2. Aiding the prisoners: This is referring to Christians who have been imprisoned for their faith. This is not mandating that Christians should visit criminals. It is referring to ones with whom the Christian could identify, "as though in prison with them."

O. Heb. 13:16, the word, sharing (koinonia) indicates a fellowship with someone and in this case certainly stresses the idea of sharing material resources.

P. James 1:27, the widows and orphans are the widows and orphans of the Christian assembly. This does not mandate either a worldwide, national or municipal ministry to aid the unbelieving poor.

Q. James 2:14-17, a visible manifestation of one's faith is seen through providing material assistance to one's fellow Christians. The focus here is very clearly on meeting the genuine material needs of another Christian.

R. 1 Peter 4:8-9, Once again, hospitality is associated with the expression of benevolent love. But the focus is toward "one another," which in context seems to indicate fellow Christians.

S. 1 John 3:17-18, Again related to benevolent love and again, very clearly, focused on one's "brother" as in, fellow Christian.

See Topic: Christian Welfare

7. The second issue for a functional and dynamic religion, is consistent victory over the darkness influence of the world value system. This second factor is not introduced with an "and," as in most translations, but simply with a second infinitive. What this does is to place equal value or merit on the two issues mentioned. True Christianity, although certainly revolving around the exposure, rebuke and rejection of darkness viewpoint, if that is not accompanied by a consistent application of the law of love, demonstrated overtly to those fellow Christians in need, the darkness viewpoint is not truly rejected, but instead, is embraced and reflected through insensitivity and self-centeredness.

8. to keep oneself: This is a present active infinitive of tereo, which means to guard or preserve. The reflexive pronoun, oneself, communicates the volitional responsibility that each believer has, to guard his soul from the influence of the darkness viewpoint that fuels the world system.

9. unstained: the adjective, aspilos, corresponds with "pure and undefiled" in that it indicates no compromise with the value system of darkness.

10. by the world: the word, kosmos, refers to the world value system which is outlined at 1 John 2:15-17.

The World Value System 1 John 2:15-17

V. 15

1. Do not be loving: the verb is agapao as a present active imperative. It means to place such value on something that you revolve your life around catering to it and/or seeking what is best for it.

2. The world: kosmos expresses the idea of an organized system of viewpoint and influence. It is used consistently to refer to the value system that is based on darkness standards; standards that are opposite to and in fact, antagonistic to the standards of the Divine value system as represented by God's written revelation found in the Bible.

3. Nor the THINGS of the world: The things of the world refer to the THREE items mentioned at v. 16. These are the 3 kosmic (worldly) philosophies that have affinity with the sin nature and assist it in deceiving the soul (the deceitfulness of THE sin, Heb. 3:13)

A. The lust of the flesh: This refers to sensuality. Sensuality is the desire to fulfill the 5 physical senses of the body in order to experience pleasure, and through that pleasure experience a delusion of fulfillment in life.

See Topic: Sensuality

B. The lust of the eyes: This refers to covetousness, which is the desire and endeavor to possess everything that one perceives as attractive and in that possession, perceive it to be the means for true fulfillment in life.

See Topic: Covetousness

C. The arrogant pride of life: This refers to the attitude and action of self-accomplishment and self-promotion, which is perceived as bringing true fulfillment in life. See Topic: Pride

4. These correspond with the 3 areas of temptation that were directed to the woman (Ishah) in the garden of Eden, as recorded at Gen. 3:6.

Notice that Ishah perceived 3 things about the forbidden fruit.

A. It was good for food: This is a bona fide observation and attraction. Mankind must eat. However, to make the food attraction superior to the divine viewpoint of God's mandate is practicing the philosophy of sensuality, thinking that the pleasing of the physical senses is one of the keys to true fulfillment in life.

B. It was a delight to the eyes: This likewise, is simple human perception that recognizes a bona fide factor concerning the tree. There is nothing wrong with beauty and enjoying that beauty as it is perceived through the eye gate. However, when beauty becomes a standard for evaluating good and bad to the denial of God's mandate, then it is covetousness that seeks to find fulfillment in life by what one empirically perceives as having value.

C. It was able to make one wise: This is a false perception based on hearing and accepting the lie from the tempter. This is not something that can be determined by simply LOOKING at the tree. This is something that had to be suggested by a third party and accepted as true. It introduces the "arrogance of life" philosophy to Eve and suggests that she can be as good as or better than God.

5. The statement that these things are in the process of passing away, describes the fact that the world system and its 3 philosophical sub-systems are under the influence of two effects.

A. The effect of its own nature: God is allowing the world system to run its "natural" course and by so doing, demonstrate itself to be totally inadequate and non-beneficial to God's creatures.

B. The effect of God's justice: God has placed the world system under the judgment of His righteousness so that in His own timing and in His own way, the entire system will be removed from being a factor for God's creatures.

6. To escape the judgment that is to come upon the world system, one must "do the will of God." Doing the will of God is represented from two perspectives in the bible.

A. The initial decision to trust in the Messiah as Savior so that one is removed out of the kingdom of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of light.
Mat. 7:21; John 6:29; 12:36; Acts 26:18; Col. 1:12-13;

It is this that frees one from the judgment associated with the world system.

B. The continued function of faith through using the word of God and depending on the filling/control of the Holy Spirit.

Col. 2:6; Gal. 5:16-25

It is this that frees one from the experiential effects of the world system, but has nothing to do with the status of salvation that is accomplished by initial trust in the Messiah.

11. Paul describes "pure and undefiled" with the term "not conformed" at Romans 12:2. The verb there, is suschāmatidzo and indicates an acceptance and adherence to the world value system so that one's entire character and life are governed by its darkness standards in one or more of the three philosophical categories described at 1 John 2:15-17.

According to Paul, the believer keeps himself unspotted by the world by "renewing the mind." This displaces the old human viewpoint standards in the soul with the new divine viewpoint standards revealed to us in the bible. It also protects us from the infiltration of additional human viewpoint standards to which we are exposed on a daily basis.

This is what James wrote about at verse 21:

"receive the implanted word which is able to DELIVER your souls."


1. The real issue is the negative influence from the darkness viewpoint of the world.
John 17:15-17; Rom. 12:2

2. Our conflict is a spiritual conflict. Eph. 6:11-12; 2 Cor. 10:3-6

3. Two opposing spheres of authority and influence.

A. Light vs. darkness: Acts 26:18; Col. 1:13; 1 Pet. 2:9; Eph. 5:8; 4:17
B. Col. 2:8 with verse 3

4. Leaven: 1 Cor. 5:6

A. Mat. 16:6-12; Luke 12:1-2
B. Gal. 5:1-9
C. 1 Cor. 5:7-8
D. Mark 8:15 (Herod)

5. Separation from unbelievers: 1 Cor. 5:9-10; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1

6. Separation from believers: 1 Cor. 5:11-13; 2 Thes. 3:6, 14-15; Rom. 16:17-18

7. Viewpoint separation: James 4:4; Rom. 12:2; 1 John 2:15

8. Value of separation: 1Cor. 15:33-34; Pr. 13:20; 15:31; 2Pet. 3:17-18

9. Impact: Philip. 2:12-16; Col. 4:5-6; Eph. 5:7-17
Testimony - 1 Thes. 4:1-12



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