James Chapter 1

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This chapter seems to comprise two general classes of subjects; the statement in regard to the first of which is complete, but the second is only commenced in this chapter, and is continued in the second. The first is the general subject of temptation and trial, (Jam 1:1ff;) the second is the nature of true religion: -- the statement that all true religion has its origin in God, the source of purity and truth, and that it requires us to be docile and meek; to be doers of the word; to bridle the tongue, and to be the friends of the fatherless and the widow, Jam 1:16ff.

I. The general subject of temptation or trial, Jam 1:1ff. It is evident that those to whom the epistle was directed were, at that time, suffering in some form, or that they were called to pass through temptations, and that they needed counsel and support. They were in danger of sinking in despondency; of murmuring and complaining, and of charging God as the author of temptation and of sin. This part of the chapter comprises the following topics:

(1.) The salutation, Jam 1:1.

(2.) The subject of temptations or trials. They were to regard it, not as a subject of sorrow, but of gladness and joy, that they were called to pass through trials; for, if borne in a proper manner, they would produce the grace of patience -- and this was to be regarded as an object worth being secured, even by much suffering, Jam 1:2ff.

(3.) If in their trials they felt that they had lacked the wisdom which they needed to enable them to bear them in a proper manner, they had the privilege of looking to God, and seeking it at his hand. This was a privilege conceded to all; and if it were asked in faith, without any wavering, it would certainly be granted, Jam 1:5ff.

(4.) The importance and value of stability, especially in trials; of being firm in principle, and of having one single great aim in life. A man who wavered in his faith would waver in everything, Jam 1:8.

(5.) An encouragement to those who, in the trials which they experienced, passed through rapid changes of circumstances. Whatever those changes were, they were to rejoice in them as ordered by the Lord. They were to remember the essential instability of all earthly things. The rich especially, who were most disposed to murmur and complain when their circumstances were changed, were to remember how the burning heat blasts the beauty of the flower, and that in like manner all worldly splendour must fade away, Jam 1:9ff.

(6.) Every man is blessed who endures trials in a proper manner, for such an endurance of trial will be connected with a rich reward -- the crown of life, Jam 1:12.

(7.) In their trials, however; in the allurements to sin which might be set before them; in the temptations to apostatize, or to do anything wrong, which might be connected with their suffering condition, they were to be careful never to charge temptation, as such, on God. They were never to allow their minds to feel for a moment that he allured them to sin, or placed an inducement of any kind before them to do wrong. Everything of that kind, every disposition to commit sin, originated in their own hearts, and they should never allow themselves to charge it on God, Jam 1:13ff.

II. The nature of true religion, Jam 1:16ff.

(1.) It has its origin in God, the source of every good gift, the Father of lights, who has of his own will begotten us again, that he might raise us to an exalted rank among his creatures. God, there- fore, should be regarded not as the author of sin, but as the source of all the good that is in us, Jam 1:16ff.

(2.) Religion requires us to be meek and docile; to lay aside all disposition to dictate or prescribe, all irritability against the truth, and all corruption of heart, and to receive meekly the ingrafted word, Jam 1:19ff.

(3.) Religion requires us to be doers of the word, and not hearers only, Jam 1:23ff.

(4.) Religion requires us to bridle the tongue, to set a special guard on our words, Jam 1:26.

(5.) Religion requires us to be the friends of the fatherless and the widow, and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world, Jam 1:27.


1: James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. edit

2: My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; edit

3: Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. edit

4: But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. edit

5: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. edit

6: But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. edit

7: For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. edit

8: A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. edit

9: Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: edit

10: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. edit

11: For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. edit

12: Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. edit

13: Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: edit

14: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. edit

15: Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. edit

16: Do not err, my beloved brethren. edit

17: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. edit

18: Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. edit

19: Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: edit

20: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. edit

21: Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. edit

22: But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. edit

23: For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: edit

24: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. edit

25: But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. edit

26: If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. edit

27: Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. edit

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