Main point summary
James writes to suffering Christians to respond joyfully to their trials and ask God for wisdom to endure them, for blessing comes when we endure trials by receiving and obeying his Word.
a James, a servant 1 of God and b of the Lord Jesus Christ, To c the twelve tribes in d the Dispersion: Greetings.
I, James, the servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, greet you and write these things to you, the scattered Christian communities across the world.
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.
Respond joyfully, brothers, to the trials in your life because you know that God uses them to produce endurance in you and fill in that which is lacking in your life.
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.
And, if you don't know what to do in those trials, ask God for wisdom, who gives it generously to those who ask in faith; but know that God will not bless doubters.
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
Consider the brevity of this life and keep eternity in view. If you don't have much on earth, rejoice in the exaltation you'll receive in heaven. If you do have much on this earth, consider how fleeting and meaningless those earthly treasures are in light of eternity and the judgment.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 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 when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Because the one who remains steadfast in these trials and doesn't give in to temptation will be blessed with life, but the end result of temptation is sin and death.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift 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. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Now don't be deceived by thinking that God is tempting you to sin with this trial . Our Father only gives good gifts, the best of which is eternal life.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
And know that your response to trials must be marked by more listening than speaking and certainly without anger, for that does not produce God's righteousness in you. The proper response to trials is to put sin away from you and to humbly hear and receive God's Word , which saves.
But be 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, the law of liberty, and perseveres , being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
But don't just hear the Word; you must also do what it says, because hearing but not doing is self-deception, but hearing and persevering in doing brings blessing.
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
If your religion is worth anything or is of any value, then you'll practice these things , because pure religion is focused both inwardly and outwardly; it is both spiritual and practical. It cares about oneself and about others, especially those in need. (Anything other than this is self-deceiving and worthless.)
the beginning of v12 bookends with the end of v25: blessing by persevering in trial
Respond joyfully to trials and ask God for wisdom to know what to do in them and how to endure them.
God's blessing comes when we endure trials by putting away sin and receiving and obeying his Word.
Worthwhile religion will practice these things; worthless religion will not.
Many of the natural responses to a trial are dangerously wrong. James 1 provides the problems with wrong responses to trials. 1. God is not using your trial to tempt you. He only gives good gifts and uses trials to build us up. (2-4, 16=18) 2. The temptation to sin during a test comes from within each of us, but yielding to it leads to death. (12-15) 3. In the middle of a trial, there is a specific danger of sinning with the tongue. Resist this by guarding what you say. (19-21, 26-27) 4. When we don't know why bad things are happening to us, it is easy to become angry. We can get angry with God, friends, family, coworkers, etc. We say things we'll regret later and can do a lot of damage to ourselves and others. (19-21) Thoughts on how to endure a trial: 1. Ask God for wisdom (5-8) 2. Keep eternity in view (9-11) 3. Continue in the Word (19-21, 22-25) 4. Guard your tongue (19-21) 5. Help others in need (26-27)