Main point summary
Trials reveal where we lack, come up short in our understanding of God. As we endure we will find his supply and that he is our strength and has eternal blessing waiting for us. He is not the source of our failures but the strength to live in victory over them. Therefore, in faith and certain hope in him, intently study the Word and abide by it then your religion will be blessed by God.
A thought on James 1:2-4
Trials attack us where it hurts. They corner us in impossible situations leaving us with questions such as "Now what?" and "Why is he doing this to me?" We think a lot of "If only.." thoughts that solve nothing. James says, "Be happy", actually "Rejoice! A trial seems so pointless and destructive but it is not. We learn here that trials are not destroying life but revealing where our life lacks, comes up short. The trial process will buttress our faith so that nothing will shake it and we will see God more clearly in the process.
1 a James, a b bond-servant of God and c of the Lord Jesus Christ, To d the twelve tribes who are 2 e dispersed abroad: f Greetings.
a James, a servant 1 of God and b of the Lord Jesus Christ, To c the twelve tribes in d the Dispersion: Greetings.
From James, 1 a slave 2 of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes dispersed abroad. 3 Greetings!
Santiago 1 a , siervo de Dios b y del Señor Jesucristo c : A las doce tribus d que están en la dispersión 2 e : Saludos f .
a Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter b various 1 trials , knowing that a the testing of your b faith produces 1 c endurance . And let 1 a endurance have its perfect 2 result, so that you may be 3 b perfect and complete, lacking in nothing .
SUBJECT of the chapter Count trials a joy ...because and how follow through the chapter. The "lacking in nothing" is displayed/explained further in the coming two commands.
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.
My brothers and sisters, 4 consider it nothing but joy 5 when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything.
Tened por sumo gozo a , hermanos míos, el que 1 os halléis en 2 diversas pruebas 3 b , sabiendo que la prueba a de vuestra fe b produce paciencia 1 c , y que la paciencia 1 a tenga su perfecto resultado 2 , para que seáis perfectos 3 b y completos, sin que os falte nada.
But if any of you a lacks wisdom , let him ask of God , who gives to all generously and 1 without reproach , and b it will be given to him. But he must a ask in faith b without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, c driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a 1 a double-minded man, b unstable in all his ways.
This part addresses the challenge of understanding and taking the right action in trials.
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.
But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed around by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a double-minded individual, 6 unstable in all his ways.
Pero si alguno de vosotros se ve falto de sabiduría a , que la pida a Dios, el cual da a todos abundantemente y sin reproche 1 , y le será dada b . Pero que pida con fe a , sin dudar b ; porque el que duda es semejante a la ola del mar, impulsada por el viento y echada de una parte a otra c . No piense, pues, ese hombre, que recibirá cosa alguna del Señor, siendo hombre de doble ánimo 1 a , inestable en todos sus caminos b .
a But the 1 brother of humble circumstances ( who lack s wealth/security in/of this world ) is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because a like 1 flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with 1 a a scorching wind and b withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.
This part addresses the challenge of perceived blessing based on circumstance. The brother of humble means will endure. He, the brother of low circumstance, thinks he is lacking in money, position, which if he had them he would enjoy a life with fewer trials.
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.
Now the believer 7 of humble means 8 should take pride 9 in his high position. 10 But the rich person’s pride should be in his humiliation, because he will pass away like a wildflower in the meadow. 11 For the sun rises with its heat and dries up the meadow; the petal of the flower falls off and its beauty is lost forever. 12 So also the rich person in the midst of his pursuits will wither away.
Pero que el hermano de condición humilde se gloríe en su alta posición a , y el rico en su humillación, pues él pasará como la flor de la hierba a . Porque el sol sale con calor abrasador a y seca la hierba b , y su flor se cae y la hermosura de su apariencia perece; así también se marchitará el rico en medio de sus empresas.
(rejoice because ) Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial ; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
The "Crowning Event" is the Eternal Life for the one who endures. Later Paul would write in Philippians, "I press on for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
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.
Happy is the one 13 who endures testing, because when he has proven to be genuine, he will receive the crown of life that God 14 promised to those who love him.
Bienaventurado el hombre que persevera a bajo la prueba, porque una vez que ha sido aprobado 1 , recibirá la corona de la vida b que el Señor ha prometido c a los que le aman d .
(do not say) Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God” ; for God cannot be tempted 2 by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then a when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when b sin 1 is accomplished, it brings forth death. (GOD DOES NOT TEMPT US)
Only good comes to us from GOD. Temptation (a trial in it's own right) does not come from God!! Don't make an excuse for sin by blaming him for the lust in your own heart.
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.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, 15 and he himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death.
Que nadie diga cuando es tentado: Soy tentado por 1 Dios a ; porque Dios no puede ser tentado por el mal 2 y El mismo no tienta a nadie. Sino que cada uno es tentado cuando es llevado y seducido por su propia pasión 1 . Después, cuando la pasión 1 ha concebido a , da a luz el pecado; y cuando el pecado es consumado b , engendra la muerte.
a Do not be 1 deceived, b my beloved brethren. WHEREAS Every good thing given and every perfect gift is a from above, coming down from b the Father of lights , c with whom there is no variation or 1 shifting shadow. In the exercise of a His will He b brought us forth by c the word of truth , SO THAT we would be 1 a kind of d first fruits 2 among His creatures .
but God has exercised his will to give us birth in Christ, (and with the preceding explanation of God's work in our trials to strengthen our faith) we are to act in that new birth as follows.
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.
Do not be led astray, my dear brothers and sisters. 16 All generous giving and every perfect gift 17 is from above, coming down 18 from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change. 19 By his sovereign plan he gave us birth 20 through the message of truth, that we would be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
Amados hermanos míos a , no os engañéis b . Toda buena dádiva y todo don perfecto viene 1 de lo alto a , desciende del Padre de las luces b , con el cual no hay cambio c ni sombra de variación. En el ejercicio de su voluntad a , El nos hizo nacer b por la palabra de verdad c , para que fuéramos las 1 primicias de sus criaturas d .
1 This a you know, b my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear , c slow to speak and d slow to anger; for a the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, a putting aside all filthiness and all 1 that remains of wickedness , in 2 humility receive b the word implanted , which is able to save your souls.
19-21a is a process of Mortification of Sin. James now turns that which happens to us to that which we, having the foundation of God's help in our need and eternal reward, to that which we do in response to God.
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. 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.
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! 21 Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. For human 22 anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. 23 So put away all filth and evil excess and humbly 24 welcome the message implanted within you, which is able to save your souls. But be sure you live out the message and do not merely listen to it and so deceive yourselves. For if someone merely listens to the message and does not live it out, he is like someone 25 who gazes at his own face 26 in a mirror. For he gazes at himself and then goes out and immediately forgets 27 what sort of person he was. But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, 28 and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out - he 29 will be blessed in what he does. 30
Esto sabéis 1 a , mis amados hermanos b . Pero que cada uno sea pronto para oír, tardo para hablar c , tardo para la ira d ; pues la ira del hombre no obra la justicia de Dios a . Por lo cual, desechando toda inmundicia a y todo resto de malicia 1 , recibid con humildad 2 la palabra implantada b , que es poderosa para salvar vuestras almas. Sed hacedores de la palabra a y no solamente oidores que se engañan a sí mismos. Porque si alguno es oidor de la palabra, y no hacedor, es semejante a un hombre que mira su rostro natural 1 en un espejo a ; pues después de mirarse a sí mismo e irse, inmediatamente 1 se olvida de qué clase de persona es. Pero el que mira atentamente 1 a la ley perfecta, la ley de la libertad a , y permanece en ella, no habiéndose vuelto un oidor olvidadizo sino un hacedor eficaz 2 , éste será bienaventurado en lo que hace 3 b .
a But prove yourselves doers of the word , and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his 1 natural face a in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, 1 he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law , a the law of liberty , and abides by it , not having become a forgetful hearer but 1 an effectual doer, this man will be b blessed in 2 what he does .
verse 22 takes up the idea of the "implanted word" and expands on it.
If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not 1 a bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion a in the sight of our God and Father is this: to b visit c orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained 1 by d the world.
this connects to "will be blessed in what he does..." which is based on looking intently in to the law of liberty and abiding by it.
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.
If someone thinks he is religious yet does not bridle his tongue, and so deceives his heart, his religion is futile. Pure and undefiled religion before 31 God the Father 32 is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Si alguno se cree religioso, pero no refrena su lengua a , sino que engaña a su propio corazón, la religión del tal es vana. La religión pura y sin mácula delante de nuestro Dios y Padre a es ésta: visitar b a los huérfanos c y a las viudas en sus aflicciones 1 , y guardarse sin mancha del mundo d .
Scripture receive it, study it, live by it
Verse 12 is consistently placed at the commencement of the next paragraph and not as a benediction to the previous paragraph as I have place it. I believe it is the opposite bookend of verses 2-4 where rejoicing in trials now to buttresses our faith here is then met on the other bookend with the crown of life. With these two bookends the struggles in trials between them become controlled in the work of God on for us.
Having removed the excuse of failure under the hardship of trial in the first part of the argument James now moves to a new level of excuse for sin, "It is God tempting me to sin!" It might be claimed that therefore it is His fault that I have failed. "He made me this way and then tempts me to fail?!" With a quick "one-two punch" James destroys this excuse and turns the argument to what we should be doing.
In 19-21 James calls on the brethren to act. Put off the excuses, they have been dealt with, and now humbly receive the word implanted in us. In 22-25 he give us the foundation for doing which is the looking intently at the word and then abiding by it. In 26-27 ,with the idea of looking & abiding in the word in mind he gives examples of true religion in action.