James 4-5

Sunday Evening Bible Study

February 4, 2001


James has been talking about true wisdom and godless wisdom.  He had ended chapter three by saying that God’s kind of wisdom was found in a life of peace.  Ungodly wisdom is filled with strife and confusion.

And so now, James is going to talk about how to get God’s kind of peace inside you.


Aug.12 --   Moved to our new home in Montana. It is so beautiful here. The mountains are so serene and picturesque. Can hardly wait to see them with a covering of snow. Gods country. I love it here.

Oct.14th-- Montana is the most beautiful place on earth. The leaves are turning all different colors. I love the shades of red and orange. Went for a ride through some beautiful mountains and spotted some deer. They are so graceful, certainly they are the most peaceful animals on earth. This must be paradise.....I love it here.

Nov.11th-- Deer season will start soon. I can't imagine anyone wanting to kill such elegant creatures. The very symbols of peace and tranquillity. Hope it will snow soon. I love it here.

Dec.2nd--It snowed last night. Woke up to find everything blanketed with white. It looks like a postcard. We went out side and cleaned the snow off the steps and shoveled the driveway. We had a snow ball fight (I Won) and when the snow plow came by we had to shovel the driveway again. What a beautiful place. I love Montana.

Dec.12th--More snow last night. I love it . The snow plow did his trick again ( that little rascal ),A winter wonderland . I love it here.

Dec.19th--More snow last night . couldn't get out of the driveway to get to work this time. I'm exhausted shoveling. I need a snow plow.

Dec.22nd--More of the white stuff fell last night. I've got blisters on my hands from shoveling. I think the snow plow hides around the corner and waits until I'm done shoveling the driveway. Chump! They should use more salt to melt the ice on the roads.

Dec.25th--White Christmas Ya right! More darn snow. If I ever get my hands on that person who drives the snow plow, Lord forgive me for thinking that thought. Don't know why they don't use more salt to melt the ice.

Dec.28th--More of that white stuff last night., Been inside since Christmas Day except for shoveling out the driveway after " Snow Plow Harry " comes by every time. Can't go anywhere. Cars buried in a mountain of white. The weather man says to expect another ten inches of  the stuff tonight. Do you know how many shovels full of snow that is.

Jan. 1st--Happy New Year. The weatherman was wrong (again ) . We got 31 inches of  white stuff this time. At this rate it won't melt till the 4th of July. The snow plow got stuck up the road and the driver had the guts to come to my door to borrow a shovel. I told him that I had broken 6 shovels already from shoveling the stuff he's pushed into my driveway. I broke the last one over his head.

Jan4th--Finally got out of my house today. I went to the store to get food and on the way back a deer ran in front of my car and I hit it. Did $3,000.00 damage to the car, those beasts are a menace. Wish the hunters had killed them all last November.

May 3rd--Took the car to the garage in town. Would you believe the thing is rusting out from all the salt they keep dumping all over the road?

June 1st--Packed up and moved to Arizona. I can't imagine why anyone in their right mind would ever want to live in that state of Montana.

James 4

:1-10  Getting right with God

:1  From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

whencepothen – of place: from where, from what condition; of origin or source: from what author or giver

wars polemos – a war; a fight, a battle; a dispute, strife, quarrel

fightings mache – a fight or combat; of those in arms, a battle; of persons at variance, disputants etc., strife, contention; a quarrel.  While polemos means the whole course of fighting, the war, mache means a single battle engagement.

youhumin – you.  Plural.

henceenteuthen – from this place, hence

lusts hedone (“hedonism”) – pleasure; desires for pleasure

that war strateuomai (“strategy”) – to make a military expedition, to lead soldiers to war or to battle, (spoken of a commander); to do military duty, be on active service, be a soldier; to fight

members melos – a member, limb: a member of the human body.  James could be talking about the kinds of “inner conflicts” we might have, but I think he’s mostly aiming at the kinds of disputes that come between people in the church.

:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war,

lust epithumeo – to turn upon a thing; to have a desire for, long for, to desire; to lust after, covet; of those who seek things forbidden

haveecho – to have, i.e. to hold; to have i.e. own, possess

ye kill phoneuo – to kill, slay, murder; to commit murder.

It might not be that church people actually “murder” each other, but some of the things we do to each other might come awfully close.

desire to have zeloo – to burn with zeal; to be heated or to boil with envy, hatred, anger; to desire earnestly

cannotdunamai – to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom; to be able to do something; to be capable, strong and powerful

obtainepitugchano – to light or hit upon any person or thing; to attain to, obtain

fightmachomai – to fight; of armed combatants, or those who engage in a hand to hand struggle; of those who engage in a war of words, to quarrel, wrangle, dispute; of those who contend at law for property and privileges

warpolemeo – to war, carry on war; to fight


Lust leads to conflict

You see this in the world.  War boils down to one thing:  Somebody is lusting for something they can’t have.  Saddam wants Kuwaiti wealth. There have been odd wars through the years:  “The War of the Whiskers”, “The War of the Oaken Bucket”, and “The War of Jenkins’ Ear”.
Sometimes the conflict is in me.  I want something I shouldn’t have.  I fight with myself over the issues.
Sometimes the “lust” is for power and position in the church.  I end up butting heads with other people in the church.  It happened with Jesus’ disciples:
(Mark 9:33-34 KJV)  And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? {34} But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.
disputeddialegomai – to converse, discourse with one, argue, discuss
When you find tension between yourself and another person, or tension inside of you, do you know what kind of “lust” is involved?

The other day I was pulling some weeds and as I grabbed a clump of weeds, I grabbed a stick that had some thorns on it.  One of the thorns broke off after having embedded itself in my thumb.  It was very, very small.  I tried getting it out with a pair of tweezers, but I couldn’t.  Boy did it hurt.  Every time I put pressure on it by picking something up, it really hurt.  As the day went by, my thumb got a little bit swollen and it still hurt.  Finally I had to use an x-acto knife to dig the thing out before my thumb started to heal.

When we have tension and strife, we need to deal with the lust involved.  If you deal with the lust, you’ll find the tension disappear.

:2  yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

ye ask aiteo – to ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require


Learn to ask.

James is saying that one of the reasons we don’t have certain things is simply because we haven’t asked for them.
Some things God gives us unconditionally.  We call that grace.  We didn’t ask.  He just gave.
But some things require a request from us.
Mr. Jones Goes To Heaven
There’s a little fable about a Mr. Jones who dies and goes to heaven. Peter is waiting at the gates to give him a tour. Amid the splendor of golden streets, beautiful mansions, and choirs of angels that Peter shows him, Mr. Jones notices an odd-looking building. He thinks it looks like an enormous warehouse-it has no windows and only one door. But when he asks to see inside, Peter hesitates. “You really don’t want to see what’s in there,” he tells the new arrival. “Why would there be any secrets in heaven?” Jones wonders. “What incredible surprise could be waiting for me in there?” When the official tour is over he’s still wondering, so he asks again to see inside the structure. Finally Peter relents. When the apostle opens the door, Mr. Jones almost knocks him over in his haste to enter. It turns out that the enormous building is filled with row after row of shelves, floor to ceiling, each stacked neatly with white boxes tied in red ribbons. “These boxes all have names on them,” Mr. Jones muses aloud. Then turning to Peter he asks, “Do I have one?” “Yes, you do.” Peter tries to guide Mr. Jones back outside. “Frankly,” Peter says, “if I were you....” But Mr. Jones is already dashing toward the “J” aisle to find his box. Peter follows, shaking his head. He catches up with Mr. Jones just as he is slipping the red ribbon off his box and popping the lid. Looking inside, Jones has a moment of instant recognition and lets out a deep sigh like the ones Peter has heard so many times before. Because there in Mr. Jones’s white box are all the blessings that God wanted to give to him while he was on earth ... but Mr. Jones had never asked.
“Ask,” promised Jesus, “and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7). “You do not have because you do not ask,” said James (James 4:2). Even though there is no limit to God’s goodness, if you didn’t ask Him for a blessing yesterday you didn’t get all that you were supposed to have. That’s the catch-if you don’t ask for His blessing, you forfeit those that come to you only when you ask. In the same way that a father is honored to have a child beg for his blessing, your Father is delighted to respond generously when His blessing is what you covet most.

- Bruce Wilkinson, The Prayer of Jabez, pgs. 25-27

:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

askaiteo – to ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require

receivelambano – to take; to receive (what is given), to gain, get, obtain, to get back

amiss kakos – miserable; improperly, wrongly

lusts hedone – pleasure; desires for pleasure

consumedapanao – to incur expense, expend, spend; in a bad sense: to waste, squander, consume


Ask for the right reasons

Another reason we don’t have certain things is because we are asking for the wrong reasons.
One of the keys to learning to pray correctly is learning to check your motives in your request.
Prayer is not about getting our will done in heaven, it’s about getting God’s will done on earth.
I wonder if it isn’t possible to even be praying for something that looks so spiritually correct, but down deep my motives aren’t in the right place.
I think it’s even possible to be praying for a person’s salvation with the wrong motives.  I sometimes a person might be praying, “Oh God, please save my spouse” when the motive for praying that is so I might have an easier life.  I might pray for my spouse to be saved so they are nicer to me.  I might pray for my spouse to be saved so I won’t have to sit alone in church.
Will God hold up in answering that prayer because my motives aren’t right?  I’m not sure.  But in the meanwhile, let God work on your attitude.
I think that sometimes we have a hard time understanding what our motives really are.  Sometimes I think it’s unrealistic to think that our hearts are going to be completely free from impure motives.  That’s where we need to put it all into the Lord’s hands and let Him do what He knows is best.
Sometimes we can tie ourselves up over a question of motives that we never take the step of asking.
So just ask.
I find that sometimes God will use my act of praying to be the very thing that will purify my motives.

Sometimes the answer to the prayer doesn’t come by receiving the thing I’ve asked for, but it’s the purifying of my motives.  I realize that I’ve been asking for the wrong thing and God will use His “no” answer to help me get closer to His heart.

:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

adulterers moichos – an adulterer; metaph. one who is faithless toward God, ungodly

James is talking to the church in spiritual terms.  As believers, we are in a type of marriage with God, a love relationship.  When we get too “friendly” with the ways of the world, it’s like we’re committing spiritual adultery.

adulteressesmoichalis – an adulteress; as the intimate alliance of God with the people of Israel was likened to a marriage, those who relapse into idolatry are said to commit adultery or play the harlot; fig. equiv. to faithless to God, unclean, apostate

friendshipphilia – friendship

worldkosmos – an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government; the world, the universe; the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ

What is the “world”?

(1 John 2:15-16 KJV)  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. {16} For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

John gives us three things that are ingredients in what we call “the world”.

1)  The lust of the flesh
These are the things that our sin nature wants to have.  These are the kinds of things that our own internal sin mechanism just craves to have.  You can tie a person up, blindfold them, and stick them in a sound proof room, and they will still crave things that are wrong.
2)  The lust of the eyes
Whereas the lust of the flesh can simply start in the mind and heart, the lust of the “eyes” are the things that tempt us through our senses.  This is a very great part of the world, presenting temptation to us daily.  It might be on a billboard as you drive by on the freeway, it may be on your television set, it may be on your radio station.
3)  The pride of life
The idea here is “empty bragging about the things that sustain your life”.  We might call it “pride in possessions”.  One of the major concepts of the “world” is “stuff”.  Do I have enough “stuff”?  Do I have good enough “stuff”?  I may be a homeless person who is embarrassed by not having enough “stuff”, but because I crave it so much, I could actually be quite worldly.

enmityechthra – enmity; cause of enmity

will beboulomai – to will deliberately, have a purpose, be minded; of willing as an affection, to desire

friend philos – friend, to be friendly to one, wish him well; a friend; an associate; he who associates familiarly with one, a companion

enemyechthros – hated, odious, hateful; hostile, hating, and opposing another

iskathistemi – to set, place, put; to set down as, constitute, to declare, show to be; to constitute, to render, make, cause to be; to show or exhibit one’s self


Don’t befriend the world

I don’t mean with the people of the world, but the world itself.

:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

thinkdokeo – to be of opinion, think, suppose; to seem, to be accounted, reputed

vainkenos – vainly, in vain

to envyphthonos – envy; for envy, i.e. prompted by envy

lustethepipotheo – to long for, desire; to pursue with love, to long after; to lust, harbour forbidden desire

dwellethkatoikeo – to dwell, settle; metaph. divine powers, influences, etc., are said to dwell in his soul, to pervade, prompt, govern it; to dwell in, inhabit; God is said to dwell in the temple, i.e. to be always present for worshippers

(James 4:5 NLT)  What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the Holy Spirit, whom God has placed within us, jealously longs for us to be faithful?

scripture – James doesn’t mean to quote a particular Scripture here, but is talking about the general idea throughout all of Scripture, that God wants us to be faithful to Him.

:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

(James 4:6 NLT)  He gives us more and more strength to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, "God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble."

moremegas (here in the comparative) – great; splendid, prepared on a grand scale, stately; great things

givethdidomi – to give; to give something to someone

grace charis – grace; that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech; good will, loving-kindness, favour

proud huperephanos – showing one’s self above others, overtopping, conspicuous above others, pre-eminent; with an overweening estimate of one’s means or merits, despising others or even treating them with contempt, haughty

resisteth antitassomai (“against” + “ordain or arrange”) – to range in battle against; to oppose one’s self, resist

humble tapeinos – not rising far from the ground; metaph. as a condition, lowly, of low degree; brought low with grief, depressed; lowly in spirit, humble


Humility brings help

I think that with some people they feel that their “pride” is a necessity.  They are afraid of appearing “weak” or “stupid”.  They work hard at showing everyone how much better they are.  The salesman in them is constantly at work trying to “sell” you on how much you need them.
But the horrible thing is that this person is at the same time cutting himself off from the help of God.

:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

submit hupotasso – to arrange under, to subordinate; to subject, put in subjection; to subject one’s self, obey; to submit to one’s control; to yield to one’s admonition or advice; to obey, be subject; A Greek military term meaning “to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader”. In non-military use, it was “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden”.

Whereas God is “arranged against” (resists) those that are proud, we are to “arrange under” His leadership.

resist anthistemi (“against” + “stand”) – to set one’s self against, to withstand, resist, oppose; to set against

devildiabolos – prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely; a calumniator, false accuser, slanderer, devil

flee pheugo – to flee away, seek safety by flight; to be saved by flight, to escape safely out of danger.

I like this idea.  The devil is in danger if we resist him.  He has to flee for his own safety.


Victory in battle

We are at war with the devil.  He is the general who is orchestrating the world against us.  We will always be at war with him.
Our only hope for victory comes when we have the right relationship with God, lining up under His leadership.

:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.

draw nigh eggizo – to bring near, to join one thing to another; to draw or come near to, to approach.  First occurrence is an aorist imperative.  Second occurrence is a future indicative.  We are commanded to draw close to God.  When we do, God will definitely draw close to us.


Intimacy with God

Intimacy with God grows when we take a step in God’s direction.
How do we draw near to God?  James goes on to explain…

:8  Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

cleansekatharizo – to make clean, cleanse; from physical stains and dirt; in a moral sense; to free from defilement of sin and from faults; to consecrate, dedicate; to pronounce clean in a Levitical sense

handscheir – hand; by the help or agency of any one, by means of any one

sinnershamartolos – devoted to sin, a sinner

purifyhagnizo – ceremonially; to make pure, purify, cleanse; morally

heartskardia – the heart; the vigour and sense of physical life; the centre and seat of spiritual life; the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavours

double mindeddipsuchos – double minded; wavering, uncertain, doubting; divided in interest

This was the word used in:

James 1:8  A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways.

James is talking to the person who has been fighting with God, the person who has been living by their lusts.

One of the steps of drawing near to God involves confessing my sin and asking for His cleansing.

I think it means both inward and outward cleansing.  I cleanse my heart through confession, but I cleanse my hands by changing the things I do with them.

:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

be afflicted talaiporeo (“talent” as in huge weight + “trials” or “testings”) – to toil heavily, to endure labours and hardships; to feel afflicted and miserable.  James is saying that this person needs to feel wretched about their sin.

A related word is found in:

Romans 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Another related word is in:

James 5:1  Go to now, [ye] rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon [you].

mourn pentheo – to mourn; means properly to lament for the dead. It is also applied to passionate lamentation of any kind, so great that it cannot be hid.

I think James is talking about mourning over our sin.  Mourning over the death of our flesh.

weepklaio – to mourn, weep, lament; weeping as the sign of pain and grief for the thing signified (i.e. for the pain and grief)

laughtergelos – laughter

mourningpenthos – mourning

turned tometastrepho – to turn around, turn around

joychara – joy, gladness

heavinesskatepheia – a downcast look expressive of sorrow; shame, dejection, gloom

Drawing near to God happens when I decide to get serious about my sin.  James isn’t talking about the Christian not having any fun or joy.  He’s talking to the person who has been walking in the ways of the world and indulging themselves with ungodly pleasures.  He’s saying that they need to turn around.

:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

humbletapeinoo – to make low, bring low; to level, reduce to a plain; metaph. to bring into a humble condition, reduce to meaner circumstances; to assign a lower rank or place to; to be ranked below others who are honoured or rewarded; to humble or abase myself by humble living; to lower, depress

in the sightenopion – in the presence of, before; of occupied place: in that place which is before, or over against, opposite, any one and towards which another turns his eyes

lift you uphupsoo – to lift up on high, to exalt; metaph. to raise to the very summit of opulence and prosperity; to exalt, to raise to dignity, honour and happiness


Humility leads to intimacy

Everything is summed up with humility.

:11-12  Loving each other

:11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

speak … evilkatalaleo (“against” + “speak”) – to speak against one, to criminate, traduce

judgethkrino – to separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose; to approve, esteem, to prefer; to judge; to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong; of those who act the part of judges or arbiters in matters of common life, or pass judgment on the deeds and words of others



:12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

lawgivernomothetes (“law” + “place”) – a lawgiver

is abledunamai – to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom; to be able to do something; to be capable, strong and powerful

to savesozo – to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction

destroyapollumi – to destroy; to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin; render useless; to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed



:13-17  Planning the future

:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:

go toago – to lead, take with one

to daysemeron – this (very) day); what has happened today

to morrowaurion – tomorrow

we will go intoporeuomai – to lead over, carry over, transfer; to pursue the journey on which one has entered, to continue on one’s journey

buy and sellemporeuomai – to go a trading, to travel for business, to traffic, trade; of a thing, to import for sale; to deal in

get gainkerdaino – to gain, acquire, to get gain



:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

ye knowepistamai – to put one’s attention on, fix one’s thoughts on, to turn one’s self or one’s mind to, put one’s thought upon a thing; to be acquainted with, to understand; to know

for whatpoios – of what sort or nature

lifezoe – life

vapouratmis – vapour

little timeoligos – little, small, few; of time: short

appearethphaino – to bring forth into the light, cause to shine, shed light; to become evident, to be brought forth into the light, come to view, appear; to appear, be seen

vanisheth awayaphanizo (“not” + “shine”) – to snatch out of sight, to put out of view, to make unseen; to cause to vanish away, to destroy, consume


:15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

for thatanti – over against, opposite to, before; for, instead of, in place of (something)

willthelo – to will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish; to love; to like to do a thing, be fond of doing; to take delight in, have pleasure.  Aorist subjunctive.

we shall livezao – to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead); to enjoy real life; to live i.e. pass life, in the manner of the living and acting.  Aorist subjunctive.

Should this be translated, “and if we should live”?

dopoieo – to make; to do. Aorist subjunctive.


:16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

ye rejoicekauchaomai – to glory (whether with reason or without); to glory on account of a thing; to glory in a thing

boastingsalazoneia – empty, braggart talk; an insolent and empty assurance, which trusts in its own power and resources and shamefully despises and violates divine laws and human rights; an impious and empty presumption which trusts in the stability of earthy things

rejoicingkauchesis – the act of glorying

evilponeros – full of labours, annoyances, hardships; bad, of a bad nature or condition; in an ethical sense: evil wicked, bad



:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

knowetheido – to see; to know; to know, i.e. get knowledge of, understand, perceive

goodkalos – beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable

sinhamartia – to miss the mark; to err, be mistaken; to wander from the law of God, violate God’s law, sin; that which is done wrong, sin, an offence, a violation of the divine law in thought or in act



James 5

:1-6  Bad news for the rich

:1  Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

go toago – to lead, take with one.  Same phrase used in 4:13.

rich menplousios – wealthy, abounding in material resources

weepklaio – to mourn, weep, lament; weeping as the sign of pain and grief for the thing signified (i.e. for the pain and grief); of those who mourn for the dead; to weep for, mourn for, bewail, one

howlololuzo – to howl, wail, lament; of a loud cry whether for joy or of grief

miseriestalaiporia – hardship, trouble, calamity, misery

come uponeperchomai – to come to arrive; of time, come on, be at hand, be future; to come upon, overtake, one; of an enemy attacking one


:2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.

richesploutos – riches, wealth

are corruptedsepo – to make corrupt, to destroy; to become corrupt, corrupted, rotten.  Perfect indicative, action happen in the past with results continuing on into the present.

garmentshimation – a garment (of any sort)

motheatensetobrotos – moth eaten



:3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

cankeredkatioo – to rust over, cover with rust

rustios – poison (of animals); rust

eatphago – to eat; metaph. to devour, consume

heaped treasure togetherthesaurizo – to gather and lay up, to heap up, store up; to accumulate riches; to keep in store, store up, reserve

lasteschatos – extreme; last in time or in place; the last



:4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

hiremisthos – dues paid for work; wages, hire

labourersergates – a workman, a labourer; usually one who works for hire esp. an agricultural worker; one who does, a worker, perpetrator

reaped downamao – to reap, mow down

fieldschora – the space lying between two places or limits; a region or country i.e. a tract of land; land which is ploughed or cultivated, ground

kept back by fraudapostereo – to defraud, rob, despoil

criethkrazo – to croak; of the cry of a raven; to cry or pray for vengeance; to cry; cry out aloud, speak with a loud voice

criesboe – a cry

them which have reapedtherizo – to reap, harvest; proverbial expression for sowing and reaping

sabaothsabaoth – from the Hebrew word tsaba’ – that which goes forth, army, war, warfare, host

Don’t confuse this word with “sabbath”, meaning the seventh day.  Here the idea is that God is the Commander in Chief of the armies of heaven.


:5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.

lived in pleasuretruphao – to live delicately, live luxuriously, be given to soft and luxurious life; from truphe – softness, effeminate, luxurious living

been wantonspatalao – to live luxuriously, lead a voluptuous life, (give one’s self to pleasure); from spatale – luxury

nourishedtrepho – to nourish, support; feed; to give suck, to fatten; to bring up, nurture

slaughtersphage – slaughter; of sheep destined for slaughter; of day of destruction


It sounds like James is saying that these rich people have fattened themselves up like animals so God can slaughter them.


:6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

condemnedkatadikazo – to give judgment against (one), to pronounce guilty; to condemn

killedphoneuo – to kill, slay, murder; to commit murder

justdikaios – righteous, observing divine laws; in a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God

resistantitassomai – to range in battle against; to oppose one’s self, resist



:7-11  Patience to the end

:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

be patientmakrothumeo – to be of a long spirit, not to lose heart; to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles; to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others; to be mild and slow in avenging; to be longsuffering, slow to anger, slow to punish. 

the comingparousia – presence; the coming, arrival, advent; the future visible return from heaven of Jesus, to raise the dead, hold the last judgment, and set up formally and gloriously the kingdom of God

Hold on until Jesus comes back!

husbandmangeorgos – a husbandman, tiller of the soil, a vine dresser

waiteth forekdechomai – to receive, accept; to look for, expect, wait for, await

precioustimios – as of great price, precious; held in honour, esteemed, especially dear

hath long patiencemakrothumeo – to be of a long spirit, not to lose heart; to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles; to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others; to be mild and slow in avenging; to be longsuffering, slow to anger, slow to punish

rainhuetos – rain

earlyproimos – early; of the early rain which fell from October on

latteropsimos – late, later; of the time of subsidence of the waters of the Nile; the latter or vernal rain, which falls chiefly in the months of March and April just before the harvest

Easton’s Dictionary:

There are three Hebrew words used to denote the rains of different seasons,
1. Yoreh #Ho 6:3 or moreh #Joe 2:23 denoting the former or the early rain.
2. Melqosh, the "latter rain" #Pr 16:15
3. Geshem, the winter rain, "the rains." The heavy winter rain is mentioned in #Ezr 10:9 So 2:11
The "early" or "former" rains commence in autumn in the latter part of October or beginning of November #De 11:14 Joe 2:23 comp. #Jer 3:3 and continue to fall heavily for two months. Then the heavy "winter rains" fall from the middle of December to March. There is no prolonged fair weather in Palestine between October and March.  The "latter" or spring rains fall in March and April, and serve to swell the grain then coming to maturity #De 11:14 Ho 6:3 After this there is ordinarily no rain, the sky being bright and cloudless till October or November. Rain is referred to symbolically in #De 32:2 Ps 72:6 #Isa 44:3,4 Ho 10:12

:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

be ye … patientmakrothumeo – to be of a long spirit, not to lose heart; to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles; to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others; to be mild and slow in avenging; to be longsuffering, slow to anger, slow to punish

stablishsterizo – to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix; to strengthen, make firm; to render constant, confirm, one’s mind

comingparousia – presence; the coming, arrival, advent; the future visible return from heaven of Jesus, to raise the dead, hold the last judgment, and set up formally and gloriously the kingdom of God

draweth nigheggizo – to bring near, to join one thing to another; to draw or come near to, to approach


Hold on until Jesus comes

The farmer is able to be patient with his fields and wait all the way until the latter rains come in March and April because he is looking forward to seeing the precious fruit of his crops.
We ought to be patient in our tough times because we are looking forward to seeing the precious fruit of meeting Jesus face to face.

:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

grudgestenazo – a sigh, to groan

condemnedkatakrino – to give judgment against, to judge worthy of punishment; to condemn

the judgekrites – one who passes or arrogates to himself, judgment on anything

beforepro – before

doorthura – a door; the vestibule; used of any opening like a door, an entrance, way or passage into

standethhistemi – to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set; to stand; to stand by or near


It is thought that this is one of the things that the Jewish leaders disliked about James.


From Jamieson, Fassett, and Brown –

HEGESIPPUS (quoted in EUSEBIUS [Ecclesiastical History,  2.23]) narrates that he was set on a pinnacle of the temple by the scribes and Pharisees, who begged him to restrain the people who were in large numbers embracing Christianity. “Tell us, “ said they in the presence of the people gathered at the feast, “which is the door of Jesus?” James replied with a loud voice, “Why ask ye me concerning Jesus the Son of man? He sitteth at the right hand of power, and will come again on the clouds of heaven.” Many thereupon cried, Hosanna to the Son of David. But James was cast down headlong by the Pharisees; and praying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do, “ he was stoned and beaten to death with a fuller’s club.

…Their taunting question, “Which is the door of Jesus?” (that is, by what door will He come when He returns?), alludes to his prophecy, “the coming of the Lord draweth nigh ... behold the Judge standeth before the door”.


:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

an examplehupodeigma (“under” + “expose”) – a sign suggestive of anything, delineation of a thing, representation, figure, copy; an example: for imitation; of the thing to be imitated

suffering afflictionkakopatheia – the suffering of evil, i.e. trouble, distress, afflicted

patiencemakrothumia – patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance; patience, forbearance, longsuffering, slowness in avenging wrongs


:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

count them happymakarizo – to pronounce blessed

endurehupomeno – to remain; to remain i.e. abide, not recede or flee; to preserve: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ; to endure, bear bravely and calmly: ill treatments

patiencehupomone – steadfastness, constancy, endurance; in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings; patiently, and steadfastly; a patient, steadfast waiting for; a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance

endtelos – end; termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be (always of the end of some act or state, but not of the end of a period of time)

lordkurios – he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord

James is talking about Jesus, how He went to the cross.  That was the “end of the Lord”.

very pitifulpolusplagchnos (“much” + “bowels”, “compassion”) – full of pity, very kind

tender mercyoiktirmon – merciful; from oikteiro – to pity, have compassion on



:12  Oaths

:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

swearomnuo – to swear; to affirm, promise, threaten, with an oath; in swearing to call a person or thing as witness, to invoke, swear by

oathhorkos – that which has been pledged or promised with an oath

yesnai – yea, verily, truly, assuredly, even so

noou – no, not; in direct questions expecting an affirmative answer

condemnation hupokrisis – an answering; an answer; the acting of a stage player; dissimulation, hypocrisy



:13-18  Prayer for the sick

:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

afflictedkakopatheo – to suffer (endure) evils (hardships, troubles); to be afflicted

prayproseuchomai – to offer prayers, to pray

merryeuthumeo – to put in good spirits, gladden, make cheerful; to be of good spirits, to be cheerful; to be joyful, be of good cheer, of good courage

sing psalmspsallo – to pluck off, pull out; to cause to vibrate by touching, to twang; to touch or strike the chord, to twang the strings of a musical instrument so that they gently vibrate; to play on a stringed instrument, to play, the harp, etc.; to sing to the music of the harp; in the NT to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song



:14 Is any sick among you? 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:

sickastheneo – to be weak, feeble, to be without strength, powerless; to be weak in means, needy, poor; to be feeble, sick

call forproskaleomai – to call to; to call to one’s self; to bid to come to one’s self

elderspresbuteros – elder, of age,; a term of rank or office; among the Christians, those who presided over the assemblies (or churches) The NT uses the term bishop, elders, and presbyters interchangeably

let them prayproseuchomai – to offer prayers, to pray.  Aorist imperative.

overepi – upon, on, at, by, before; of position, on, at, by, over, against

anointingaleipho – to anoint; from lipos – grease.  This is the word used of ordinary, non-religious kind of anointing, like putting ointment or perfume on a person.  This is not chrio, which is used for religious, sacred kinds of anointing.

oilelaion – olive oil; from elaia – an olive tree



:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

prayereuche – a prayer to God; a vow

faithpistis – conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it

shall savesozo – to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction; to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health; to save in the technical biblical sense.  Future active indicative.

the sickkamno – to grow weary, be weary; to be sick

raise him upegeiro – to arouse, cause to rise; to arouse from sleep, to awake; to cause to rise from a seat or bed etc.  Future active indicative.

committedpoieo – to make; to do

forgivenaphiemi – to send away; to let go, give up a debt, forgive, to remit.  Future passive indicative.


:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

confessexomologeo – to confess; to profess; acknowledge openly and joyfully; to one’s honour: to celebrate, give praise to; to profess that one will do something, to promise, agree, engage

one to anotherallelon – one another, reciprocally, mutually

faultsparaptoma – to fall beside or near something; a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness; a sin, misdeed

prayeuchomai – to pray to God; to wish, to pray, to pray for

healediaomai – to cure, heal; to make whole; to free from errors and sins, to bring about (one’s) salvation

muchpolus – many, much, large

availethischuo – to be strong; to be strong in body, to be robust, to be in sound health; to have power; to have power as shown by extraordinary deeds; to exert, wield power, to have strength to overcome; to be a force, avail; to be serviceable; to be able, can

prayerdeesis – need, indigence, want, privation, penury; a seeking, asking, entreating, entreaty to God or to man

righteous mandikaios – righteous, observing divine laws; in a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God; innocent, faultless, guiltless

effectual ferventenergeo – to be operative, be at work, put forth power; to work for one, aid one; to effect; to display one’s activity, show one’s self operative

“much power is in the working prayer of the righteous man”


:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.

Elias – Elijah

subject to like passionshomoiopathes (“similar” + “passions”) – suffering the like with another, of like feelings or affections

he prayedproseuche – prayer addressed to God

he prayed earnestlyproseuchomai – to offer prayers, to pray

he prayed prayers

rainbrecho – to moisten, wet, water; to water with rain, to cause to rain, to pour the rain, to send down like rain



:18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

he prayedproseuchomai – to offer prayers, to pray

brought forthblastano – to sprout, bud, put forth new leaves; to produce


:19-20  Reaching out

:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;

errplanao – to cause to stray, to lead astray, lead aside from the right way; to go astray, wander, roam about; metaph. to lead away from the truth, to lead into error, to deceive; to be led into error

truthaletheia – objectively; what is true in any matter under consideration; the truth as taught in the Christian religion

convert epistrepho – transitively; to turn to; to the worship of the true God; to cause to return, to bring back; to the love and obedience of God

:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

convertethepistrepho – transitively; to turn to; to the worship of the true God; to cause to return, to bring back; to the love and obedience of God

sinnerhamartolos – devoted to sin, a sinner

errorplane – a wandering, a straying about; metaph. mental straying; error, wrong opinion relative to morals or religion; error which shows itself in action, a wrong mode of acting; error, that which leads into error, deceit or fraud

wayhodos – a way; metaph. a course of conduct; a way (i.e. manner) of thinking, feeling, deciding

shall savesozo – to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction; to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue; to save in the technical biblical sense

soulpsuche – breath; the soul

shall hidekalupto – to hide, veil; to hinder the knowledge of a thing

multitudeplethos – a multitude


Reach out

Rescue the perishing.
It might be that James is talking about reaching out to those who have never known the Lord.  It might be that James is also talking about reaching out to those who used to walk with the Lord but have gone astray.  Either way, the idea is the same.  Reach out.
When we turn people from their sins and help them turn to the Lord, they will find forgiveness and eternal life.  God will hide their multitudes of sins under the blood of Jesus Christ.