Scofield Reference Notes
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
SCOFIELD REFERENCE NOTES (Old Scofield 1917 Edition)
The General Epistle of James
WRITER James See Scofield Note: "Mt 4:21", called "the Just" mentioned by Paul with Cephas and John as "pillars" in the church at Jerusalem Gal 2:9. He seems to have been, as a religious man, austere, legal, ceremonial Acts 21:18-24.
DATE Tradition fixes the martyrdom of James in the year 62, but his Epistle shows no trace of the larger revelations concerning the church and the distinctive doctrines of grace made through the Apostle Paul, nor even of the discussion concerning the relation of Gentile converts to the law of Moses, which culminated in the first council (Ac 15.), over which James presided. This presumes the very early date of James, which may confidently be set down as "the first Epistle to Christians."--Weston.
THEME By "the twelve tribes scattered abroad" we are to understand, not Jews, but Christian Jews of the Dispersion. The church began with such Acts 2:5-11 and James, who seems not to have left Jerusalem, would feel a particular pastoral responsibility for these scattered sheep. They still resorted to the synagogues, or called their own assemblies by that name Jas 2:2, where "assembly" is "synagogue" in the Gr.). It appears from Jas 2:1-8 that they still held the synagogue courts for the trial of causes arising amongst themselves. The Epistle, then, is elementary in the extreme. To suppose that Jas 2:14-26 is a polemic against Paul's doctrine of justification is absurd. Neither Galatians nor Romans was yet written.
James' theme, then, is "religion" (Gr., threskeia, "outward religious service") as the expression and proof of faith. He does not exalt works as against faith, but faith as producing works. His style is that of the Wisdom-books of the O.T.
The divisions are five:
I. The testing of faith 1.1-2.26
II. The reality of faith tested by the tongue, 3.1-18
III. The rebuke of worldliness, 4.1-17
IV. The rich warned
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
mature and complete. See Scofield Note: "Mt 5:48".
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
"Temptation" is used in two senses:
(1) Solicitation to evil (e.g. Gen 3:1-6 Mt 4:1 1Cor 10:13 2Cor 11:3,4 Jas 1:14).
(2) Testing under trial (eg) Gen 22:1 Lk 22:28 Cf Lk 4:2, Cf Mt 6:13 (solicitation to evil) and 1Pet 1:6 (testing under trial).
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Margin sin Sin.
See Scofield Note: "Rom 3:23".
Do not err, my beloved brethren.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Two words are used in the original for "gift," the first meaning the act of giving; the second, the thing given.
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
See Scofield Note: "Rom 3:21".
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
See Scofield Note: "Rom 1:16".
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
Gr. threskos = outwardly religious.
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
"kosmos" = world-system. Jas 4:4 Jn 7:7 See Scofield Note: "Rev 13:8"