THE EPISTLE OF JAMES
About three years ago, I came across a new way of studying that I found to be inspiring, exciting, and very profitable. This teaching is a reflection of that new method of studying. I decided to work not only every scripture, but almost every phrase, and sometimes almost every single word in each scripture. I should mention to you that a Lexicon was invaluable when searching for the literal translation of each and every word of God's matchless Word. Combining this with the extensive background in biblical research which I was so fortunate to receive, the end result, I'm sure, will bless you. I know it is God's heart and surely it is mine to illustrate to you that by digging beneath the surface to find the diamonds of God's Word and by studying in this manner, it will allow you a greater understanding of God's Word and of the importance of working God's Word paying the closest attention to detail.
If you decide to undertake this method of studying, it follows a very simple pattern. First, we will quote the scripture from the King James Version and then we will quote a literal translation according to usage as a result of our detailed study and research. The literal translation of the verse will be placed in a different shade or color than the King James version of the verse. This will be done to help you read the literal translation, if you so choose, without any interruptions. Simply stated, you may want to read through the teaching reading only the literal translation of the verses after you have finished studying the complete teaching. Enjoy the teaching. Let's begin.
First of all, we need a short introduction concerning the book of James. As you remember, we are never to guess at what the Word of God means. In the very first verse of chapter one, God clearly points out to whom the book of JAMES is written. It is written "to the twelve tribes" which are scattered abroad. So now we know that the book of James is written to Israel. And we should know by now that this book is for our learning. It is not written directly to us. However, so much of what is written is not changed in the Church epistles which are written directly to us today -- the Church of the Body Christ. And we know that everything that is written for our learning still applies to us today if it has not been changed in the Church epistles. There is much to be learned from this great book of James and in Chapter One, there are three main topics that are discussed: 1) Wisdom 2) Temptation 3) Doers Vs. Hearers
1. James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
2, 3, 4. 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.
Literal: 2, 3, 4. Be blessed when you are tempted often because the testing of your believing achieves patience and endurance which helps one to become complete and full wanting nothing (perfect) and achieving his intended goals.
5, 6, 7, 8. 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.
Literal: 5, 6, 7, 8. If you don't know what to do at times with the knowledge that God has given you, when it comes to making wise decisions based on the proper application of the Word, ASK GOD WHAT TO DO. He will answer your questions willfully without a second thought. He will answer the need/question/prayer freely, with simplicity and with a readiness of heart. God does not scold or reprove you when you ask Him for wisdom. Word of Wisdom is one of the nine manifestations of the spirit that is available to you. You must believe when you ask, without hesitation, without separation or strife within yourself, without doubt or indecision, without fluctuation or unsteadiness, without trembling, BUT WITH POSITIVE BELIEVING. The man who wavers will not receive anything from God. That man is double-minded (two-souled) separated within himself entirely. He is unsettled, not standing fixed, not steady, and inconstant in all his ways.
9, 10, 11. 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.
Literal: 9, 10, 11 The believer who is humble should rejoice in that he is elevated - he is uplifted, by God, over and above anything that could threaten or defeat him. Rich men should rejoice only if they are made low (become humble). Just as the flower of the grass passes away, the rich man will fade away in his ways.
12. 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.
Literal: 12. Happy and blessed is the man that holds his ground and resists and endures temptation. 'Endure' here means: 1) to remain behind after others have gone 2) a brave bearing up against sufferings. When that believer is examined and tried, he shall receive (lambano) the crown of life which God promised to them that love Him.
13, 14, 15, 16. 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. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.
Literal: 13, 14, 15, 16. No man can say when he is tempted that he is tempted of God. God cannot be tempted and He does not tempt any man. A man is tempted when he is drawn out or away to a certain point, hurried away, by his own lust -- the inward passion of concupiscence in a bad sense. This lust is a sinful desire -- THE OLD MAN. These abnormal mental desires correspond to man's morally corrupt, depraved nature. When a man is tempted or drawn out of his own lust, it can be said that he is caught by a bait or enticed. Be sharp at all times. Watch out for the lure -- the TRAP!
Then when lust has seized, controlled and allowed to dominate one's thinking and decision-making, and finally influencing one's ACTIONS, (i.e. "when lust hath CONCEIVED") it results in SIN. SIN, when it is finished or completed results in DEATH. Do not be led astray, my dearly beloved.
Let's us now summarize verses 1 - 16 concerning the topic of TEMPTATION:
1) Resisting temptation breeds patience and endurance which leads to completion, fullness, and perfection wanting nothing and achieving your intended goals.
2) Giving in to temptation, being enticed, lured or baited as a result of your own lust, your old man, when conceived, brings about broken fellowship or sin whose end result, when finished, is death.
WHICH ROAD DO YOU CHOOSE TO FOLLOW?
Knowing that the true God NEVER tempts you, gives you even more reason to absolutely resist temptation. You don't have an excuse. You know that temptation is from your personal adversary who is out to steal, kill, and destroy your life. His temptations are, most often, very subtle. You can be tempted in the smallest of areas of life that seem unimportant. Don't try to figure everything out because you may not understand everything about walking by the spirit. BUT you are able to recognize temptation if you stay sharp and focused and you are able to resist temptation ALL THE TIME because God says in His Word that in no matter what way you are tempted, HE MAKES A WAY OUT AVAILABLE.
I Corinthians 10: 13 -- There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make away to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
You can be tempted to lie, tempted by distractions -- there is probably an endless amount of temptations in this world. You can be tempted to speak when you know you should be quiet. This is your free will -- to give in to temptation or not. God will help if you make the effort. JUST REMEMBER, WHENEVER YOU ARE TEMPTED, IT IS WRONG.
17, 18, 19. 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. 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:
Literal: 17, 18, 19. Every perfect and good act of giving comes down from the God of lights of whom there is no change or alteration -- no shifting circumstances and no shadow of turning arising from the turning of any body - no variableness. God, of His own Will, brought us forth with His Word that we should be the first products or result of His activity, His creation. On account of this, let every man be:
1) Quick to hear 2) Slow to speak 3) Slow to wrath. **
* * ( wrath = anger together with the desire for revenge )
20. For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
Literal: 20. Because this wrath of man DOES NOT ACHIEVE the righteousness of God, the doing or being what is just or right, the wrath of man and his desire for revenge always contradicts the righteousness of God. So then the wrath of man is a trick, a trap, a temptation appealing to the lust of the old man, which results in sin, which when finished, results in death. NEVER SEEK REVENGE! It contradicts the righteousness of God! It is off the Word. Be swift to hear and slow to speak and slow to wrath. Never let your personal adversary provoke you to wrath and entice you with the temptation to do so. You must tell yourself:
Philippians 4: 13 -- I can do all things through Christ which [who] strenghtheneth me.
You may have the thoughts but don't ever take action. Eventually the thoughts will weaken and go away as you resist and keep resisting the devil. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.
21. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
Literal: 21. Wherefore put off from one's self; lay aside all dirt or filth of the worst sense (filth = gross moral corruption) and overabundance of vice and malice, the intent to harm others, -- PUT OFF THE EVIL HABIT OF IT -- and receive with humbleness the embedded and firmly fixed Word of God into the innermost part of your mind -- into your heart. It is only this Word of God which is able to save your soul from judgement (the penalty of death and destruction) but presents as a gift, everlasting life as the result of the resurrection. It is the purpose of God's Word to bring in all positive blessings to replace condemnation.
22. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Literal: 22. But in contrast to filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, BE YE A DOER of the Word MAKING the Word WORK IN YOUR LIFE and in the lives of others who choose to believe. Being a DOER means that you make something work! And we are not to be hearers only (hitchhikers) deceiving our own selves by drawing false conclusions. This can lead to cheating or deceiving others as a result of sharing your false conclusions. This is all the result of you being a hearer and not a doer of the Word of God.
23, 24, 25. 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.
Literal: 23, 24, 25. For if you are a hearer of the Word and not a doer, you become like a man observing or beholding his natural face in a mirror. For he sees himself and goes his way and immediately forgets what kind or sort of man he was!! He can't remember anything about his countenance -- his appearance. HE FORGOT WHAT HE LOOKED LIKE! BUT whoso stoops down and bends forward to look at the Word of God more closely -- the one who studies diligently and CONTINUES to persevere at it, this man is not a forgetful hearer, BUT A DOER OF THE WORK. He does not forget like the man who forgot what he looked like, but he remembers the Word because he made it his own. And when he needs it, it is there because it is embedded in the fleshly tables of that man's heart. This man accomplishes the objectives of his study. He makes things happen with God working with him. The man who stoops down and bends forward to look at the Word more closely WILL BE HAPPY AND BLESSED in whatever he does. THUS SAITH THE LORD!!! You will be blessed in your deed. In whatever you do, God will bless the outcome -- the end result. So hunt down those treasures. There is nothing better to do. Study all day if God works in your heart to do so. Keep God first and tell everything else to go to the opposite of heaven. The world has nothing for you. Don't let the lure fool you. Inside there is an empty shell. You need to search out the 900 treasures. How many do you know? Stoop down, bend forward, look closely. Work the Word. That's what you should be doing. God will take care of everything else. God will bless your work and your efforts right now.
26. 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.
Literal: 26. If any man among you gives the appearance of being a zealous and diligent performer of the outward service of God (religious in a bad sense) and does not curb or control his tongue, but deceives with false statements, false promises and misleading ideas, his own heart, this man's religion is foolish, idle, useless, and empty. That is the result of this man's religion.
27. 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.
Literal: 27. The worship of God that is pure, unstained, and unsoiled is this:
1) To visit, with the purpose of helping, the ones who have been deprived or robbed of their hope or happiness such as the orphans and widows in their time of suffering and pain.
2) TO KEEP YOURSELF WITHOUT ANY FLAW OR DEFECT OR SHORTCOMING FROM THE WORLD. How is this accomplished?
a) By being a DOER of the Word and not a hearer only.
b) By resisting temptation which results in patience. Resisting breeds patience.
c) By resisting the Devil and not giving him any place in your life.
d) By studying the Word on a daily basis stooping down and bending forward taking a closer look.
e) By helping people who are afflicted. Speak the Word with agape - the love of God.
f) By praying every day with your understanding and in the spirit.
g) BY KEEPING GOD FIRST IN YOUR LIFE.