Christian Churches of God

No. F059




Commentary on James

(Edition 3.0 20060501-20180203-20230807)



Chapters 1-5




Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA





 (Copyright © 2006, 2018, 2023 Wade Cox)


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Commentary on James



This epistle was written to the twelve tribes scattered abroad, those of the Diaspora, which is Greek for the dispersion (cf. also Jn. 7:35). The number of tribes is complete, with no suggestion of a divided Judah and Israel let alone a divided Judea and Galilee, as it was even then. It looks to the reunification of the nation under Jesus Christ.


Most problems in the Churches of God can be distilled down to the principles enunciated in this Epistle of James to the Churches scattered abroad.



By E.W. Bullinger


. The Epistle of James has been the subject of controversy both as regards the identity of the writer, and as to the time of writing. There is little doubt, however, that the writer was James, "the Lord''s brother" (Galatians 1:19), he who was one of the "pillars" (Galatians 2:9), he who gave the "judgment" of the apostles and elders of the church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:13Acts 15:19).

. The distinctly Jewish character of the teaching marks off the epistle as having been written at an early period of the Acts history, and it is noticeable that the doctrinal tone closely follows the precepts of "the Sermon on the Mount" (Matthew 5:7). The Jews still assembled in synagogues (James 2:2); the "poor" (John 12:8) were heirs of the kingdom (James 2:5); they were reproved according to the law (James 2:8, &c.); they had Abraham to their father (James 2:21), and were, in harmony with Acts 3:19 Acts 3:21, looking for the coming (parousia ) of the Lord which was "at hand" (James 5:7James 5:8). If we distinguish the dispensations, James affords instruction for all believers, but is plainly addressed "to the twelve tribes "which are scattered abroad", lit. "in the dispersion". The dispersion, Gr. diaspora, which is referred to in 1 Peter 1:1 also, and is before our eyes even now. In days not far off the epistle will appeal to Israel when to them the gospel of the Kingdom (see Appdx-140) is once more announced. To the preachers will again be committed the "powers" of Pentecostal days, to be exercised as exemplified in James 5:14

. Some commentators rightly place the time of writing before the Jerusalem Council of about A.D. 45. (According to tradition, James was martyred in 62 or 68.) One well qualified to value fairly the evidence says, "And. careful study of the chronological question has convinced me that they are right who hold the Epistle of James to be perhaps the earliest of the New Testament writings. It belongs to that period of the Pentecostal dispensation when the whole Church was Jewish, and when their meeting-places still bore the Jewish designation of synagogues'' (ch James 2:2)." See Appdx-180. James 1:18 .




James Chs. 1-5 (RSV)


Chapter 1


James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greeting.

Faith and Wisdom

2Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7, 8For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.

Poverty and Riches

9Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10and the rich in his humiliation, because like the flower of the grass he will pass away. 11For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

Trial and Temptation

12Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him. 13Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; 14but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death. 16Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[a] 18Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

Hearing and Doing the Word

19Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, 20for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God. 21Therefore put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror; 24for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing. 26If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain. 27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.


a. James 1:17 Other ancient authorities read variation due to a shadow of turning


Intent of Chapter 1

vv. 1-4 All the trials (rendered temptations) that are before us are there to perfect us. We learn from every mistake we make and every temptation or trial that we undergo. This is the process of testing (dokimion). In that process we learn the patience of the saints.


vv. 5-10 God provides the stability of the faith through wisdom to all who ask. It is given liberally. The faith in the Church is established, both for those who are of low estate and those who are rich. God is not a respecter of persons. The purpose of the wisdom of the faith is to have us all thinking clearly. Holding two thoughts in our mind is cognitive dissonance and induces an unhealthy thought process. That is the sense of being a double-minded person and hence unstable. We are called to dedication, to wisdom, to forbearance and to stability.


v. 11 Earthly wealth is a transient thing that is not to be cherished or sought after in the faith. The comments in the Gospels are clear that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to inherit the kingdom of God. The trappings are such that they inhibit the faith and corrupt those exposed to it.


Trials come from the lusts of the flesh and the weaknesses and temptations of the world around us. Our task is to endure temptation in order that we may receive the crown of life. Temptation does not come from God, but the capacity to endure does come through the Holy Spirit.


vv. 12-17 God gives us the things that are necessary for our welfare and our salvation. Do not look to men for succour but to God. It was through the will of God that we were created, so that we could be the first-fruits of the entire Human race unto God. See the paper Predestination (No. 296).


vv. 18-19 Each of us should be swift to hear a matter and slow to speak. We should be easily entreated and wait on the Church in respect of our elders in the faith. Mark those who cause division and wrath in the faith for that is not of the righteousness of God.


vv. 20-21 The stewards of the Mysteries of God are given wisdom so that they might better prepare and instruct us in the faith. Does God prepare the faith and leave it with guardians of the faith bereft of wisdom? No, He does not, and in our life in the Church we should show patience, respect and love so that we are not made use of by the adversary. Do not just talk of the faith and the word of God. Do it!


vv. 22-24 Our conduct should be according to the perfect Law of Liberty. Miriam was presumptuous and she suffered for it. She was made leprous and placed outside of the Camp for seven days, according to the Law of God, which is the perfect Law of Liberty. Do not go beyond the responsibilities and authorities that are entrusted to us. Bridle our tongue for what comes out of us is that which defiles us.


vv. 25-27 If we cannot bridle our tongue then our religion is in vain. Satan is the accuser of our brethren. It is a function of the fallen host to accuse us. Our job is to support and love each other. James tells us what our job is in that aspect.


Chapter 2

Warning against Partiality

My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2For if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while you say to the poor man, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” 4have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him? 6But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you, is it not they who drag you into court? 7Is it not they who blaspheme the honorable name which was invoked over you? 8If you really fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well. 9But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. 11For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” said also, “Do not kill.” If you do not commit adultery but do kill, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith without Works Is Dead

14What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 17So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

18But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. 20Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. 24You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.


Intent of Chapter 2

In chapter 2 James then established the concept of faith and works.


v. 1 Respect of persons makes the sequence in chapter 2 of significance because respect of persons is sin. We are all in breach of the law with this sin. A church can be corrupted and ruined by respect of persons in money.


vv. 2-4 God has chosen us who are the weak and the base to confound the mighty. We are to be rich in faith as heirs of the kingdom and show respect one to another regardless of the person. We are not to be ensnared by the trappings of wealth.


vv. 5-7 We are not to oppress one another in judgment. In dealing with each other we should judge in righteousness and not oppress one another nor make false accusations. A false witness will not go unpunished.


vv. 8-10 Respect of persons is sin. Offence of the law in one part is transgression of the law entire.

vv. 11-13 If you keep the law, also speak and act as those that are to be judged under the law of liberty and fail in a part then you are guilty of the whole law. In other words, judgment is to be without mercy to those who have shown no mercy.

vv. 14-17 Faith without works is dead.

v.18 By our works we show our faith.

v. 19 God is one. See Jn. 17:3.

vv. 20-26 The fathers were judged on their works. Faith apart from works is dead.


 Chapter 3

Taming the Tongue

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness. 2For we all make many mistakes, and if any one makes no mistakes in what he says he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also. 3If we put bits into the mouths of horses that they may obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4Look at the ships also; though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5So the tongue is a little member and boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell. 7For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by humankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so. 11Does a spring pour forth from the same opening fresh water and brackish? 12Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

Two Kinds of Wisdom

13Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15This wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity. 18And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.


Intent of Chapter 3

In chapter 3, James develops the concept of the tongue. The tongue is the most vicious and vile instrument of Satan at work in the Church. We have seen rebellion in the Church instituted by gossip and the tongue in false witness. Many people have been destroyed by vile vicious gossip. There has been spite instituted and inflicted on Feast after Feast by the same vile vicious gossip. Such cannot endure and must come to a head.  When God decides to deal with it, people are removed from the Church, sometimes in fair numbers of those affected by it.


We have seen gossip induced in the Church that sees no limits and no restraint. False witness has proceeded from accusing leaders of mental instability on down to respect of persons, accusations of improper judgment of the councils of the Church and misappropriation of funds among people who work for nothing in service of their fellow brethren.


False witness can go from vicious vile gossip behind the scenes trying to establish any case of railing accusation to the end result of rebellion. It is only successful when it is allowed to be successful through the spiritual weakness of the body of the Church. It is not good enough that the Church is destroyed by the tongue. God acts to cleanse the Church by using the effects of its sin in the spiritually weak to remove them. Sometimes those new to the faith are deceived as well. 


James tells us to be loyal to our leaders as disloyalty is a problem in the Church fomented by gossip. In verse 1 he tells us not to have many masters for that carries the greater condemnation.


James then shows just what effect the tongue has on the order and direction of the Church of God.


vv. 1-12 Knowledge in the Church is shown by what a person says in meekness of wisdom.


vv. 13-16 Envy and strife is a field in which Satan ploughs using ambition and envy. The Church has seen the fruit of ambitious men and deceitful women work together to destroy it. Many people have been destroyed by it. It seems that, in pursuit of these goals, no railing accusation is too great. We have also seen respect of persons in failure to deal with matters. We are all guilty of these sins. We have seen churches bought with money and prepared to destroy anybody and anything, and break any law.


vv. 17-18 The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace for they are gentle and easily entreated. Ambition and desire is the thing that brings war and strife and envy. Jealousy merely desires what another has, whereas envy seeks to destroy both the object and the person possessing it.


God will give us what we ask if it is done in accordance with the plan and asked in righteousness. All too often we ask incorrectly for things we do not need.


Chapter 4

Friendship with the World

What causes wars, and what causes fightings among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members? 2You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4Unfaithful creatures! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5Or do you suppose it is in vain that the scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us”? 6But he gives more grace; therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind. 9Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to dejection. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.

Warning against Judging Another

11Do not speak evil against one another, brethren. He that speaks evil against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12There is one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you that you judge your neighbor?

Boasting about Tomorrow

13Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and get gain”; 14whereas you do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17Whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.


Intent of Chapter 4

vv. 1-3 All of us have problems in sins. All of us are prone to the desires and lusts of the flesh.

vv. 4-7 This is probably the greatest challenge we all have. Submit to God and resist the adversary.


vv. 8-11 If you speak evil against your brother and you judge your brother do not be surprised if you are handed to a greater judge to correct your false accusations. For in all law there is a greater authority, and an unjust judge is subject to his peers, and his peers then judge him in the church and outside the church. If a man will not hear the judgment of the church, he is to be given to a magistrate and the magistrate will give him to the guards or decide against him and deal with him. He will be beaten with many stripes.


The Church deals with the concept of judgement and law. The Church establishes in its body the process of judgment.


Let us look at Matthew 18-10-35 (RSV).

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.[f] 12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of my[g] Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Footnote f. Matthew 18:10 Other ancient authorities add verse 11, For the Son of man came to save the lost


One of the problems we face is that of the spirit which works envy and accusation amongst the brethren. False doctrine comes into the Church by people with ambition. They cause people to fall away. For instance, when God divided Israel and Judah, and that division was of God, He took the northern tribes away from Judah and the kingship under Jeroboam. Jeroboam set up at Shechem but within weeks they had established the golden calves at Bethel and at Dan. So a false religion was established in a short period of time. In order to prevent the reunification of the Church, Jeroboam set a calendar in motion that relied on the New Moon after the equinox, which was set subsequently at 25th March. That calendar came down to us as the Samaritan Calendar.


There are people in the Church of God that seek to introduce the Samaritan calendar and seek to draw away people with that false doctrine. In the same way, people who seek to introduce the crescent moon would seek to divide the Church.


They observe that sometimes in Australia, when the full moon is on the 15th day it is not yet quite the full moon. That fact does not mean that that day is not the full moon. When the full moon is at the later stage of development it does not reach its absolute maximum until it is in the rotation on the other side of the globe.


People use that fact to try and establish the Hillel calendar to seek to induce division or justification in the Church. All of these things are done to divide the Church and destroy it through false teaching and false doctrine and it has proven successful among the uneducated.


In Matthew verse 15, it goes on to say:

Reproving Another Who Sins

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 


That process has been implemented in the Church on a repeated basis and all too often rejected.


17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.


We have seen people accuse the councils of the Church of respect of persons, of withholding judgment, or wresting judgment in unrighteousness and of being ‘yes men’. These accusations have been made publicly and privately, and to the face of the Church in judgment itself. When the Church has rendered its judgment the disaffected seek to go to law, to arbitrate at law against the judgment of the Church when it suits them. They are to us as heathens and publicans.


18Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”


That is a promise of God, through Christ, to the Church and we are to judge angels. How much more should we judge the affairs of men in the Church.



21Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.


Forgiveness is a requirement on an ongoing basis, for all of us. However, there must be repentance. We forgive in our mind and we get on with the job we have at hand. As we forgive, God forgives us. But for the person to be extended trust there must be fruits of repentance. Forgiveness is required of us; repentance is required of the person who offends.


The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

23“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; 25and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; [j] and seizing him by the throat he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. 31When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; 33and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers,[k] ]till he should pay all his debt. 35So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Footnote j: Matthew 18:24 This talent was more than fifteen years’ wages of a laborer

k: Matthew 18:28 The denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer


We cannot forgive someone and hold a vicious attitude towards them or grieve or hold spite in the things we do. Nor can we make railing accusations against the brethren. Nobody can withstand that in the Spirit. Nobody can live like that in the Church. It will eat at the Church like a cancer.


This concept of submitting ourselves to God is one of peace and humility to God’s will. We are to resist the devil and he will flee from us. We are to draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to us. Cleanse our hands, we miserable sinners; and purify our hearts, and do not be double minded. We are told to be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let our laughter be turned to mourning, and our joy to heaviness. Humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift us up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaks evil of his brother, and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law, and judges the law: but if we judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.


Nobody has appointed anyone as a judge except the court of the Church. That judgment is exercised in justice and righteousness by men of the spirit, converted in the faith and who have exercised the faith for many years. Do not seek to gossip or to gain gossip about one another or seek to pull down one another as has happened. Do not be a judge until appointed a judge in the Church.


Also do not seek to gain evidence against somebody where there is no charge. Nobody is appointed as a prosecutor except in the court of the Church.


Continuing James vv. 12-17

In other words, if we know there are things we have to do and we don’t do them, it is a sin. We have done what the Lord wanted of us from the beginning. We know what the Lord wants of the Church over the next seven years. We will complete that task. God will support us, and it will not be frustrated.


Chapter 5

Warning to Rich Oppressors

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. 4Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you.

Patience in Suffering

7Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain. 8You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9Do not grumble, brethren, against one another, that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the doors. 10As an example of suffering and patience, brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11Behold, we call those happy who were steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. 12But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath, but let your yes be yes and your no be no, that you may not fall under condemnation.

The Prayer of Faith

13Is any one among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. 17Eli′jah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.19My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, 20let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.


Intent of Chapter 5

vv. 1-15 It is not the job of the gossips of the Church to determine sin amongst the Church and allocate responsibility. God forgives our sins on baptism and at Passover. The prayer of faith is what saves us and keeps us together and determines the Church. We are not plentiful on the planet. Each Feast, three times a year, is a pilgrimage where we have each other only until God chooses to add to this body. It is our job to cultivate this body, and if anyone is lost through offence it is our fault. We should not personalise the fact that people are removed from the faith. God adds to us and God takes away from us.


The danger is that we become blasé about God removing people from us. However, some people are removed in error. They are sucked in by those who seek to destroy us. We should not blame them. Rather blame the accusers of the brethren that attack us.


v. 16 Those of us who are unable to assist physically can pray and achieve much because prayer affects most if not all of our work.


vv. 17-20 That does not mean that anyone is the appointed corrector of false ideas and behaviour of the brethren. All the things we do should be in love and kindness, not in accusation and not seeking to build up cases against our brothers.


It is unfortunate that James only wrote that one epistle because his knowledge was more profound than Paul’s. His capacity was great as head apostle and brother of Christ. In his concepts of the law and the perfect law of liberty he gives us guidance as to how we should perform and behave. We should take on board what James says because it was acting against the Epistle of James that has seen the Church bring itself near to destruction.


Respect of persons is the thing that brings it to division. Respect of persons has been the biggest single sin in the Churches of God (cf. the paper Respect of Persons (No. 221)).


Bullinger’s Notes on James (for KJV)


Chapter 1

Verse 1

God. App-98.

Lord. App-98.

Jesus Christ. App-98. Only here and James 2:1 in this epistle.

twelve. No suggestion of the separate houses of Judah and Israel. Note the complete number.

scattered abroad = in the dispersion (Greek. diaspora. See John 7:35).

greeting. Greek. chairo. Used in this sense in Acts 15:23Acts 23:26. Genitive "rejoice".


Verse 2

fall. Greek. peripipto. See Acts 27:41.

temptations = trials. Compare Luke 22:28Acts 20:191 Peter 1:61 Peter 4:12.


Verse 3

trying = testing. Gr dokimion. Only here and 1 Peter 1:7.

faith. App-150. Read, "your tested faith".

patience. Compare Romans 5:3.


Verse 4

that = in order that. Greek. hina.

entire. Greek. holokleros. Only here and 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

wanting = lacking. Greek. leipo. See James 2:15.

nothing = in (Greek. en) nothing (Greek. medeis).


Verse 5

If = But if. App-118.

lack. Greek. leipo, as James 1:4.

of = from. App-104.

liberally. Greek. haplos. Only here. The noun in 2 Corinthians 9:112 Corinthians 9:13.


Verse 6

nothing. Greek. medeis, as James 1:4.

wavering. App-122. Compare Matthew 7:7Matthew 7:8.

is like. Greek. eoika. Only here and James 1:23. The root (obs.) is eiko; compare eikon, image.

wave. See Luke 8:24.

driven. Greek. anemizomai. Only here.

tossed. Greek. rhipizomai. Only here.


Verse 7

think. Only here and Philippians 1:1Philippians 1:16. See John 21:25.

any thing. Neut. of tis. App-123.

Lord. App-98.


Verse 8

double minded. Greek. dipsuchos. Only here and James 4:8. There is no verb, but "double minded" and "unstable" qualify "that man". Compare Psalms 119:113.

man. App-123.

unstable. Greek. akatastatos. Only here and James 3:8. The noun, Luke 21:9.


Verse 9

the brother, &c. = the lowly (Greek. tapeinos. See Romans 12:16) brother.

rejoice. See Romans 2:17.

that he is exalted = his exaltation. Greek. hupsos. See Luke 1:78.


Verse 10

that he is made low = his humbling (Greek. tapeinosis. See Acts 8:33).

flower. Greek. anthos. Only here; James 1:111 Peter 1:24.


Verse 11

is no sooner risen. Literally rose.

a = the.

burning heat. Greek. kauson. Only here; Matthew 20:12Luke 12:55.

but, &c. = and withered.

falleth = fell. Same word in Romans 9:6.

fashion. Literally presence or face (James 1:23).

perisheth = perished. Greek. apollumi. See Romans 14:15.

also shall, &c. = shall the rich man also.

fade away. Greek. maraino. Only here.

ways. Greek. poreia. Only here and Luke 13:22. Not the same word as in James 1:8.


Verse 12

Blessed. Greek. makarios, as in Matthew 5:3, &c.

is = hath become.

tried = tested. Greek. dokimos. Elsewhere translated "approved". See Romans 14:18.

love. App-135. Compare Hebrews 12:5Hebrews 12:6.


Verse 13

no man = no one. Greek. medeis.

cannot be, &c. = is incapable of being tempted. Greek. apeirastos. Only here.

neither tempteth he any man = and He Himself tempteth no one (Greek. oudeis).


Verse 14

every man = each one.

when, &c. = being drawn away. Greek. exelkomai. Only here.

lust. See John 8:44, and compare Romans 7:7.

enticed. Greek. deleazo. Only here and 2 Peter 2:142 Peter 2:18.


Verse 15

when lust, &c. = lust, having conceived.

finished = completely finished. Greek. apoteleo. Only here.

bringeth forth. Greek. apokueo. Only here and James 1:18.

death. See Romans 6:21.


Verse 16

Do not err = Be not deceived.

beloved. App-135.


Verse 17

gift. Greek. dosis. Only here and Philippians 1:4Philippians 1:15.

gift. Greek. dorema. Only here and Romans 5:16.

from above. Greek. anothen. See John 3:3.

and cometh = coming.

is no. Literally there is not (App-105) present (Greek. eneimi).

variableness. Greek. parallage. Only here.

shadow. Greek. aposkiasma. Only here.

of. i.e. cast by, or due to.

turning. Greek. trope. Only here.


Verse 18

Of His own will = Having willed. App-102.

begat. Greek. apokueo. See James 1:15.

word. App-121. Compare 1 Peter 1:23.

that = to the end that. Greek. eis. App-104.

a kind of firstfruits = a certain (Greek. tis) firstfruit (Greek. aparche). See Romans 8:23. Compare Romans 11:16.

creatures. See 1 Timothy 4:4.


Verse 19

swift. Greek. tachus. Only here, but the adverb occurs frequently.


Verse 21

filthiness. Greek. rhuparia. Only here. Compare James 2:21 Peter 3:21.

superfluity = abundance. Greek. perisseia. See Romans 5:17.

naughtiness. App-128. "Naughty" and "naughtiness" had a much more forcible meaning in King James"s day than now. Compare Proverbs 6:12Proverbs 11:6Proverbs 17:4Jeremiah 24:2.

meekness. Greek. prautes. Only here; James 3:131 Peter 3:15. Compare App-127.

engrafted = implanted. Greek. emphutos. Only here. Not the word in Romans 11:17-24.


Verse 22

be = become.

hearers. Greek. akroates. Only here, verses: James 1:23James 1:25Romans 2:13.

deceiving. Greek. paralogizomai, to deceive by false reasoning. Only here and Colossians 2:4.


Verse 23

beholding. Greek. katanoeo. Genitive rendered "consider. "App-133.

his natural face. Literally the face (James 1:11) of his birth (Greek. genesis. Only here, James 3:6, and Matthew 1:1).

glass = mirror. Greek. esoptron. Only here and 1 Corinthians 13:12


Verse 24

beholdeth = beheld. See James 1:23.

goeth, &c. = departed.


Verse 25

Whoso = he that.

looketh. Literally stooped down (to look). Greek. parakupto. App-133. See John 20:5.

the perfect, &c. = the perfect law, that of liberty.

perfect. App-125.

continueth = continued. Greek. parameno. See 1 Corinthians 16:6.

he. The texts omit.

forgetful hearer = hearer of forgetfulness. App-17.

forgetful. Greek. epilesmone. Only here.

the. Omit.

deed = doing. Greek. poiesis. Only here.


Verse 26

among you. The texts omit.

seem = thinks himself. Compare James 4:5.

religious. Greek. threskos. Only here in N.T., and nowhere found in Classical Greek. It means a careful follower of the observances connected with his belief.

bridleth. Greek. chalinagogeo. Only here and James 3:2.

deceiveth. Greek. apatao. See Ephesians 5:6.

religion. Greek. threskeia. See Acts 26:5.

vain. Greek. mataios. See Acts 14:15.


Verse 27

undefiled. Greek. amiantos. See Hebrews 7:26.

before. App-104.

visit. App-133. Compare Matthew 26:36Matthew 26:43. Personal interest and sympathy are enjoined. Compare Micah 6:8.

fatherless. Greek. orphanos. Only here and John 14:18.

affliction. See Acts 7:10.

unspotted. Greek. aspilos. See 1 Timothy 6:14.


Chapter 2

Verse 1

Lord. App-98.

Jesus Christ. App-98. XI

glory. Compare 1 Corinthians 2:8. Seep. 1511.

respect of persons. Greek. prosopolepsia. See Romans 2:11.


Verse 2

assembly = synagogue. Greek. sunagoge. App-120.

man. App-123.

with a gold ring. Literally gold-ringed. Greek. chrusodaktulios, Only here.

goodly = bright, or shining. Greek. lampros. Here, James 2:3 (gay). Luke 23:11Acts 10:30Revelation 15:6Revelation 18:14Revelation 19:8Revelation 22:1Revelation 22:16.

apparel. Greek. esthes. In this and in the next verse translated by three different words, "apparel", "raiment", "clothing". Compare Luke 23:11Acts 1:10Acts 10:30Acts 12:21.

also, &c. = a poor man also.

poor. App-127.

vile. Greek. rhuparos. Only here. Compare James 1:21.


Verse 3

have respect. App-133.

in a good place. Literally well. Greek. kalos.


Verse 4

Are . . . partial. App-122.

of. Genitive of quality or character. App-17.

evil. App-128.

thoughts = reasonings. See Matthew 15:19.


Verse 5

beloved. App-135.

Hath . . . chosen = Did . . . choose.

God. App-98.

this = the.

kingdom. See App-112, App-113, App-114.

hath. Omit.



Verse 6

have. Omit.

despised = shamed. Greek. atimazo. See Acts 5:41.

poor. Singular, as James 2:2.

oppress. See Acts 10:38.

draw = themselves drag. Greek. helko. See Acts 21:30.

judgment seats. App-177.


Verse 7

that = the.

worthy = honourable. Greek. kalos. See Romans 12:17.

name. See Acts 2:38Acts 15:26.

by the which, &c. = which is called upon (App-104.) you. called. See Acts 2:21.


Verse 8

royal. Greek. basilikos. See John 4:46.

according to. App-104.

Scripture. Greek. graphe. The quotation is from Leviticus 19:18.


Verse 9

have respect, &c. Greek. prosopolepteo. Only here. Compare James 2:1 and Acts 10:34. See Leviticus 19:15.

and are, &c. = being convicted. Greek. elencho. See 1 Corinthians 14:24 (convince).

transgressors. App-128.


Verse 10

offend = stumble. Greek. ptaio. See Romans 11:11.

is = has been.

guilty. See Deuteronomy 27:26Matthew 26:66Galatians 1:3Galatians 1:10.


Verse 11

said also, &c. See Exodus 20:14Exodus 20:13.

no = not, James 2:4.


Verse 12

shall = are about to.

judged. App-122.

by. App-104. James 2:1.

liberty. Compare James 1:25.


Verse 13

he . . . judgment = (there shall be) judgment to him.

judgment. App-177.

without mercy. Greek. anileos. Only here.

no = not, as James 2:1.

rejoiceth against = boasteth over. Greek. katakauchaomai. See James 3:14 and Romans 11:18.


Verse 14

What doth, &c. = What is the profit (Greek. ophelos)? See 1 Corinthians 15:32.

though = if, as in James 2:2.

a man = one. App-123.

works. Compare Matthew 5:16.

can, &c. Question preceded by me, assuming a negative answer.


Verse 15

be. Greek. huparcho. See Luke 9:48.

destitute = lacking. Greek. leipo, as in James 1:4James 1:5.

daily. Greek. ephemeros. Only here.


Verse 16

one. App-123., as in James 2:1James 2:4James 2:5.

needful. Greek. epitedeios. Only here.


Verse 17

dead. Greek. nekros. Compare App-139.

alone = by (App-104.) itself.


Verse 18

without = apart from. Greek. choris.


Verse 19

believest. App-150.

devils = demons. See App-101.

tremble = shudder. Greek. phrisso. Only here.


Verse 20

wilt. App-102.

know. App-132.

dead. In the Textus Receptus the same as James 2:17, but the texts read argos, idle or barren. See Matthew 12:36 and 2 Peter 1:8.


Verse 22

Seest. App-133.

wrought with. Greek. sunergeo. See Romans 8:28.

made perfect. App-125.


Verse 23

fulfilled. App-125.

believed. App-150.

imputed = reckoned. Greek. logizomai. See Romans 2:3 (thinkest).

righteousness. App-191. Quoted from Genesis 15:6, but it received a further fulfilment after James 22:10, which obtained the testimony of verses: James 2:15-18.

friend of God. See 2 Chronicles 20:7Isaiah 41:8.


Verse 25

also. Should follow "harlot".

another. App-124.


Verse 26

the. Omit.

spirit. App-101. See Authorized Version m., and compare Genesis 2:7.

so, &c. = so faith also.


Chapter 3

Verse 1

masters = teachers. App-98. James 3:4.

knowing. App-132.

condemnation. App-177.


Verse 2

offend all = all stumble. See James 2:10.

any man = any one. App-123.

perfect. App-125.

man. App-123.

also. Should come after "body".

bridle. See James 1:26.


Verse 3

Behold. App-133.; but the texts read ei (App-118. a) de, "But if".

bits. Greek. chalinos. Here and Revelation 14:20.

that = to the end that (App-104.), but the texts read eis (vi).

obey. App-150.

turn about. Greek. metago. Only here and James 3:4.


Verse 4

also the ships = the ships also.

fierce. Greek. skleros. Elsewhere translated "hard".

with. Same as "of".

helm. Greek. pedalion. Only here and Acts 27:40.

the governor lusteth = the impulse (Greek. horme) Only here and Acts 14:5) of the governor wishes (App-102.)

governor = helmsman, the one who directs, or makes straight (Greek. euthuno). Only here and John 1:23.


Verse 5

boasteth. Greek. aucheo. Only here.

great, &c. = much wood. Greek. hule. Only here.

a little = how little a.

kindleth. See Acts 28:2.


Verse 6

a = the.

world. App-129. Used here in the sense of aggregate.

iniquity. App-128.

is = is constituted or takes its place. Greek. kathistemi, as in James 4:4.

among. App-104.

that it defileth = the one defiling. Greek. spiloo. Only here and Jude 1:23.

and setteth, &c. = setting on fire. Greek. phlogizo. Only in this verse. Compare 2 Thessalonians 1:8.

course. Greek. troches. Only here.

nature. Greek. genesis. See James 1:23.

it is = being.

hell. App-131.


Verse 7

kind = nature. Greek. phusis. See Romans 1:26.

beasts = wild beasts.

things in the sea. Greek. enalios. Only here.

tamed. Greek. damazo. Only here, James 3:8, and Mark 5:4.

of = by. No preposition. Dative case.

mankind = human (Greek. anthropinos. See Romans 6:19) nature (Greek. phusis, above).


Verse 8

no man = no one (Greek. oudeis) of men (App-123.)

unruly. Greek. akataschetos. Only here, but the texts read akatastatos, unstable, restless, as in James 1:8.

evil. App-128.

deadly. Greek. thanatephoros. Only here.

poison. Greek. ios. See Romans 3:13.


Verse 9

There with = With (App-104.) it.

God. App-98., but the texts read "the Lord" (App-98. b).

Father . App-98.

after. App-104.

similitude. Greek. homoiosis. Only here. In the Septuagint in Genesis 1:26Ezekiel 1:10Daniel 10:16; &c.


Verse 10

Out of. App-104.

these things, &c. = it is not fitting (Greek. chre. Only here) that these things should so be.


Verse 11

send forth. Greek. bruo. Only here.

at = out of. App-104.

place = hole. Greek. ope. See Hebrews 11:38 (caves).

bitter. Greek. pikros. Only here and James 3:14.


Verse 12

Can, &c. Question preceded by me.

olive berries = olives.

so, &c. The texts read "neither (Greek. oute) can salt water bring forth, or produce, sweet".


Verse 13

endued with knowledge. Greek. epistemon. Only here. Compare App-132. See Deuteronomy 1:13Deuteronomy 1:15Deuteronomy 4:6Isaiah 5:21; where the same word is used in the Septuagint

a = his.

conversation = behaviour. See Galatians 1:1Galatians 1:13.

with. App-104. as in James 3:9.

meekness. See James 1:21.


Verse 14

if. App-118.

envying. Greek. zelos. See Acts 5:17.

strife. Greek. eritheia. See Romans 2:8.

glory = boast. Greek. katakauchaomai. See Romans 11:18.

not. Does not appear in Greek text.


Verse 15

descendeth = is coming down.

from above. Greek. anothen. See James 1:17. Compare James 1:5.

earthly. Greek. epigeios. See 1 Corinthians 15:40.

sensual. Greek. psuchikos. See 1 Corinthians 2:14.

devilish = demoniacal. Greek. daimoniodes. Only here.


Verse 16

confusion = commotion, or unrest. Greek. akatastasia. See Luke 21:9. Compare James 3:8.

evil. Greek. phaulos. See John 3:20.


Verse 17

pure. Greek. hagnos. See 2 Corinthians 7:11.

peaceable. Greek. eirenikos. Only here and Hebrews 12:11. Peace must not be sought at the expense of truth.

gentle. Greek. epieikes. See Philippians 1:4Philippians 1:5.

easy, &c. Greek. eupeithes. Only here.

without partiality. Greek. adiakritos. Only here. Compare App-122.

without hypocrisy. Greek. anupokritos. See Romans 12:9). Compare App-122.


Verse 18

righteousness. App-191.

of = by, or for. No preposition. Dative case.


Chapter 4

Verse 1

wars. Greek. polemos. See Matthew 24:6.

and. The texts add "whence".

fightings. Greek. mache. See 2 Corinthians 7:5.

among. App-104.

lusts = pleasures. Greek. hedone. See Titus 3:3.

war. Greek. strateuomai. See 1 Corinthians 9:7.


Verse 2

desire to have = covet earnestly. Greek. zeloo. See Acts 7:9.

cannot = are not (App-105) able to.

obtain. See Romans 11:7.

fight. Greek. machomai. See Acts 7:26.

war. Greek. polemeo. Only here and Revelation 2:16Revelation 12:7Revelation 13:4Revelation 17:14Revelation 19:11. Note the different words for war in these two verses.

because, &c. = on account of (App-104. James 4:2) your not asking.


Verse 3

amiss = with evil intent. Greek. kakos. Compare App-128.

that = in order that. Greek. hina.

consume = spend. See Luke 15:14.

upon = in (gratifying). App-104.


Verse 4

Ye adulterers and. The texts omit.

adulteresses. Compare Matthew 12:39Jeremiah 3:9. Eze 16; Eze 23. Hos 2; &c.

friendship. Greek. philia. Only here.

enmity. Greek. echthra. See Romans 8:7.

God. App-98.

is = is constituted, or constitutes himself, as in James 3:6.


Verse 5

Do ye = ye.

in vain. Greek. kenos. Only here. The adjective occurs frequently.

spirit. App-101.

to. App-104. This can only refer to the general testimony of Scripture that the natural man is prone to selfish desires, leading to envy of others who possess the things desired Compare Genesis 6:5Genesis 8:21.


Verse 6

grace. App-184. This has reference to the now nature. Compare 1 Corinthians 2:12.

resisteth. Greek. antitassomai. See Acts 18:6.

proud. See Romans 1:30.

humble = lowly. Compare James 1:9Matthew 11:29. Quoted from Proverbs 3:34.


Verse 8

purify. Greek. hagnizo. See Acts 21:24. Used of Levitical purifying four times. Used here, 1 Peter 1:221 John 3:3, in a spiritual sense.

double minded. See James 1:8.


Verse 9

Be afflicted. Greek. talaiporeo. Only here. Compare James 5:1Romans 7:24.

laughter. Greek. gelos. Only here.

be turned. See Acts 2:20.

heaviness. Greek. katepheia. Only here. It means casting down the eyes. Compare Luke 18:13.


Verse 10

Humble yourselves. Greek. tapeinoo. See 2 Corinthians 11:7.

LORD. App-98. A (B according to texts).

lift . . . up. Greek. hupsoo. See John 12:32.


Verse 11

Speak . . . evil = Speak against, or backbite. Greek. katalaleo. Only here and 1 Peter 2:121 Peter 3:16. Compare Romans 1:302 Corinthians 12:20.

one of another = one another.

if. Greek. ei. App-118.

Verse 12

Lawgiver. Greek. nomothetes. Only here. Compare Romans 9:4Hebrews 7:11.

destroy. Compare James 1:11 (perish).

another = the other. App-124. The texts read "neighbour", as in James 2:8.


Verse 13

Go to = Come. Greek. age. Imperative mood of ago, used as an adverb. Here and James 5:1.

such a = this.

and. Note the Fig, Polysyndeton. App-6.

continue. Literally make, or do. Compare Acts 20:3. Figure of speech Synecdoche. App-6.

buy and sell = trade. Greek. emporeuomai. Only here and 2 Peter 2:3. Compare Matthew 22:5John 2:16. This eagerness to travel for trade purposes is a prominent characteristic of the Jew of to-day.


Verse 14

Whereas ye = Such as ye are.

know. App-132.

It is even = For it is. The texts read "For ye are".

vapour. Greek. atmis. See Acts 2:19.

appeareth. App-106.

vanisheth away. See Acts 13:41.


Verse 15

For that, &c. = Instead of (App-104. ) your saying.


Verse 16

rejoice = boast. Greek. kauchaomai. See Romans 2:17Romans 5:2.

boastings. Greek. alazoneia. Only here and 1 John 2:16. Compare Romans 1:30.

rejoicing = boasting. Greek. kauchesis. See Romans 3:27.