I am finally starting a new book study! yay! It is going to be on the book of the Bible called, James. It is in the New Testament, and it is a letter from James, who was one of the apostles, one of Jesus' followers.
We are going to cover verses one-four today.
1. James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
2. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Verse one is James' introduction, and greeting to his readers, he says that he is a "servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ". Which is what Paul and Peter also do in their letters. Why do they say that? I think that they say it, simply, because it's true! They know that God and Jesus are higher and a whole lot more powerful than they, so they humble themselves before their God, and set this example for us to follow.
So, who is James writing to? He is writing to "the twelve tribes", which are the Jews. But James also says that they are "scattered abroad". If they live all over the place, how can James possibly believe that his letter will be able to get passed around over hundreds or thousands of miles?
In those days, letters from the apostles were teaching letters, not a "hey! what's up?" kinda thing. So these letters were important to them, so they were passed from family to family to family, and thus traveled over a long distance.
Verses 2-18 talk about temptation, so that section will take a few days. :)
In verse two, James makes a radical statement that most people would raise their eyebrows at...
He says to consider temptations pure joy! Be happy that you are being tempted and tested! Why??? Well, we'll have to go to verse three to find out!
Verse three. Because through being tested we are becoming more patient. He says, "...that the trying of your faith worketh patience".
Romans 5:3 says, "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience".
What do the three T's mean?
Tribulation - grievous trouble; severe trial or suffering...affliction, trouble, etc.
And the Greek word for tribulation means: "pressure (literal or figurative) :- afflicted (-tion), anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble."
Temptation - the act of tempting; enticement or allurement.
And the Greek word for temptation means: "a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication adversity."
Trials - the act of trying, testing, or putting to the proof. (Dictionary.com)
The word "trial" is not in Scripture.
In verse four James writes, "But let patience have her perfect work". What in the world is that supposed to mean? Well, I think, that it means that you need to let the patience that you get from going through trials shine through your thoughts, actions, speech, and attitude. And, through that, you will let Christ shine through you!
Now think about this for a second...Who is the most patient person you know? How do they act? How do they speak? What is their overall attitude?
Okay, now think about the most impatient person you know. How do they act? How do they speak? What is their overall attitude?
Now compare the two. See the difference? The first is probably a person who is kind and gentle, obeys their authority, and wear a smile daily. The second probably gets angry easily, and speaks before they act, and has a quick temper. Why?
Because by being patient, you eliminate a chance to get angry fast, you speak before you act, and you think before you speak. You are happier because you make other people happy by the way you act. And where does that "fruit" come from? God. He gives us patience through the Holy Spirit; when we go through trials and rely on God through them, instead of breaking down and giving up, we become patient through the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was sent to guide and help us.
The last part of verse four says, "...that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing". What does that mean? I wasn't really sure, so I looked in Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary; it says this: "When the work of patience is complete, it will furnish all that is necessary for our Christian race and warfare." Now, that makes sense!
So, once patience has done it's work through us, we will have everything we need for our "Christian race and warfare". Just think about those who are tortured because they will not recant, or deny Christ. They have the patience to go through those things, and through Christ, they have everything they need. No man except a Christian man can endure such things to the death, because they do not have what we have in our lives. We have Christ, working in us, and through us!
I hope you enjoyed reading this, and got something out of it. :) Please come back. I think this will be a great study! So let's do it together. If you want, do the same study on your blog, and we can compare what we have found, and discuss it. :) Or, if you do not have a blog, keep a journal or notebook, or write in the margins of your Bible if you have room.
Also, I think it would be best, for you to read the scripture before you read what I wrote. :)
God bless! Leave a comment, please!