James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.James 1:1-27
INSTRUCTION CONCERNING TRIALS
“Temptations,” in Jam 1:2, is in the sense of trials (see Revised Version margin). Why should they be received with joy (Jam 1:3)? In what spiritual condition will such a reception and use of trial result (Jam 1:4)? What will effectually aid in that direction (Jam 1:5; Jam 1:8)? Along what lines of trial were they being exercised (Jam 1:9; Jam 1:11)? Notice that the poor man is to find comfort in his truly high estate in Christ, while the rich man is to find comfort in a truly humble spirit before God in view of the facts referred to.
But there are two kinds of testings which come upon believers, those already spoken of as “trials,” whose source is divine, and whose purpose is strengthening and purifying, and those now brought into view as out and out “temptations,” not from God, but from themselves. What reward comes to the disciple who successfully encounters these (Jam 1:12)? What is their immediate source and outcome (Jam 1:13; Jam 1:15)? What three arguments are presented in Jam 1:13; Jam 1:17-18, to show that God is not the author of these temptations? On the ground, then, that we have our good from God, and our evil from ourselves, what lesson is drawn (Jam 1:19-20)? Speaking of our being “swift to hear,” whose words has the writer in mind (Jam 1:21)?
What shows, however, that the “hearing” he has in mind is a very practical experience (Jam 1:22; Jam 1:25)? Speaking of our being “slow to speak,” how does he emphasize its importance (Jam 1:26)? In what does “pure religion” consist other than in mere talk (Jam 1:27)? Remember that James is talking to believers in Christ, to those who supposedly have “religion,” and he is merely instructing them how it should be manifested. Men are not saved by benevolence and kindness to the widowed and the orphaned, or even by strenuous efforts after a pure life, but by Christ, who bore their sins in His own body on the tree; yet they show that they are saved by such works as these spoken of in the text.
1. In what sense is “temptation” (Jam 1:2) to be understood?
2. How are the rich and the poor comforted?
3. How many kinds of testings come on believers?
4. How would you explain Jam 1:27?