James 1
James 1
Only God's character can support such a counterintuitive command as this: Rejoice in trial.
Published February 7th, 2022; Updated March 15th, 2022
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Main point summary
Main point summary
Main point summary
Rejoice in trials and let the fortitude gained grow you up, because it is God's intention to bless us through trial. Thus be intentional to obey God's Word in all sincerity and action no matter what.
If I see this arc at all the right way, then I am really blessed to see the heart of the chapter in the Double Ground of 12-18. It is not that it is the main point, but that upon which the main points rest. And thus, at the heart of being enabled to rejoice in and obey during trial, is the promised blessing from God due to the character of God. There are a number of places where the character of God provides the Ground for something in this chapter, but none as central as this promise, that everything good thing comes from God, and his intentions are pure, and there is no variation in his character or will, nor is there any circumstance that could prevent Him from doing good things. Thus, at the core of the trial is God's intention to bless us. Only the character of God's benevolent Fatherly will can be the support for a command as counterintuitive as the one found in verse 2. It alone can move you, not only to hear, but obey with eagerness, in the midst of handicapping trials. God is good.
Main point summary
Rejoice in trials and let the fortitude gained grow you up, because it is God's intention to bless us through trial. Thus be intentional to obey God's Word with action no matter what.
James 1:1-27
a James, a servant 1 of God and b of the Lord Jesus Christ, To c the twelve tribes in d the Dispersion: Greetings.
e Count it all joy , my brothers, 1 when you meet trials f of various kinds, for you know that g the testing of your faith h produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be i perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Rejoice in trials and let the fortitude gained grow you up.
j If any of you lacks wisdom, k let him ask God , l who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But m let him ask in faith, n with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like o a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; p he is a double-minded man, q unstable in all his ways.
God will certainly give wisdom in response to a faith-filled request.
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and r the rich in his humiliation , because s like a flower of the grass 1 he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and t withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
Let the poor brother exalt, but the rich of the world will be ashamed.
u Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial , for when he has stood the test he will receive v the crown of life, w which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire x when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and y sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
God promises happiness to the man who continues with fortitude through a trial.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. z Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from a the Father of lights b with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 1 c Of his own will he d brought us forth by the word of truth, e that we should be a kind of f firstfruits of his creatures.
[Because] only perfectly calculated and well intentioned gifts come from our Father's never altering good will.
g Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person h be quick to hear , i slow to speak, j slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore k put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with l meekness the implanted word, m which is able to save your souls.
(NKJV "so then") Know that you must be an eager listener to God.
But be n doers of the word, and not hearers only , deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, o the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, p he will be blessed in his doing.
Yet don't just listen, do what the liberating Word commands!
If anyone thinks he is religious q and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s r religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God , the Father, is this: s to visit t orphans and widows in their affliction, and u to keep oneself v unstained from the world.
Religion that God treasures is to show compassion and purity.
Concerning two commands (to rejoice and to let the maturity intended take place), they must be the principle commands of this passage. Cause everything else seems to keep coming back to the hows and the whys and the explanations of this giant statement.
This seems to me to be the means by which we are enabled to rejoice in trials and have the perspective that God commands us to have about them (2-4). The means is GOd's gift of wisdom. Through his gift of wisdom, we are enabled to rejoice in trial.
I think this idea here is that 9-11 answer the question "in what manner" or "to what degree" can we count it all joy. Answer: You can exalt in your poorest and most shameful trial due to the future promised. Do it brazenly, do it in the face of the rich in the world who boast in their fading riches. What a resource to utilize against the temptations of envy of the heart when one is found in an impoverished state.
This seems to be a good Ground for 2-4. It would read "because the man is blessed who remains steadfastly in trial, therefore count it all joy."
The truth of the blessing in 12-15 is predicated upon the character of God expressed in 16-18.
So where does this really fit in? The heart of 19-27 is "do what God says." Trials are not mentioned specifically in this portion of the passage, but, considering the context, I think "doing what God says" in trials is the idea. How would this relate, then, to what comes before? I think it must be an inference of something, since it seems that there is an implicit conclusion in the command. "Because of these truths, be a doer of the word." Do I think it is an independent conclusion of "blessed is the man who remains steadfast in trial," or does it relate more directly to 2-11? I think two independent conclusions are inferred from verse 12. The heart of the passage is the truth that the man of God who endures trials is blessed of God. The conclusions then are the commands "count it all joy and let it grow you up" and "keep doing what the word says."
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.