James 5

The last chapter of James, especially verses 7-20, serve as a wrapping-up of themes discussed earlier.

Hard Evidence (James 5:1-6)

James rails at the rich who have fattened themselves at the expense of the poor. He tells them they have only prepared themselves for the coming day of slaughter.

Patience (James 5:7-11)
Black and White (James 5:12)
“Let your ‘Yes’ be yes and your ‘No’ be no.”
Proper Responses (James 5:13-18)
 “Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.”
Cover-Up (James 5:19-20)

James 4

Perfect Mayhem (James 4:1-10)
James 4 begins with a description of the “conflicts and disputes….disputes and conflicts” that are occurring within the church. The only solution, as he outlines it, is a humbling before the Lord.
One and Only (James 4:11-12)
One who sits in judgment against others, also sits in judgment against the law.
Misty (James 4:13-17)
In our eagerness to make more money, it sometimes forgotten that we are but a mist that will soon vanish along with our worldly wealth.

James 3

Two main subjects are covered by James in this short chapter, both dealing with contrasts.

The first twelve verses discuss the role of the almost untameable tongue, which can be used to either bless God or curse our fellow beings. James employs a wealth of imagery to make his point including horses, ships, forest fires, wild animals and fruit trees.

The remainder of the chapter contrasts the “wisdom” from below (which evidences itself in envy and malice) with that from above which yields fruit such as peace, gentleness and mercy toward others.

Out of Control (James 3:1-12)
Up and Down (James 3:13-18)

James 2

The Second Chapter of James’ Epistle introduces his teachings regarding the relationship between faith and works. These verses have been misunderstood from the time of Martin Luther to be in contradiction with the teachings of Paul, especially as found in Galatians. However, even a brief glance at the relative contexts of these two books shows that each author defined his key terminology (faith, works, law) in quite different ways.

Briefly, Paul uses the word “faith” to include an active working out of its implications in our lives; James defines the word as mere intellectual assent.  Similarly, the two utilize the word “works” differently. Thus, Paul defines it as strict keeping of the Old Testament ceremonial laws and customs while for James it is equivalent to the two great commandments to love God and to love your neighbor.

Cross of Gold (James 2:1-7)
Transgressors (James 2:8-13)
Faith is a Verb (James 2:14-26)