Lesson 2====The Letter of James=====James 1:2-12
Last revised: 7/13/04

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The Greek Text
        1:2 Pa'san cara;n hJghvsasqe, ajdelfoiv mou, o&tan peirasmoi'" peripevshte poikivloi", 1:3 ginwvskonte" o&ti to; dokivmion uJmw'n th'" pivstew" katergavzetai uJpomonhvn. 1:4 hJ de; uJpomonh; e[rgon tevleion ejcevtw, i&na h\te tevleioi kai; oJlovklhroi ejn mhdeni; leipovmenoi. 

        1:5 Eij dev ti" uJmw'n leivpetai sofiva", aijteivtw para; tou' didovnto" qeou' pa'sin aJplw'" kai; mh; ojneidivzonto", kai; doqhvsetai aujtw'/. 1:6 aijteivtw de; ejn pivstei mhde;n diakrinovmeno". oJ ga;r diakrinovmeno" e[oiken kluvdwni qalavssh" ajnemizomevnw/ kai; rJipizomevnw/. 1:7 mh; ga;r oijevsqw oJ a[nqrwpo" ejkei'no" o&ti lhvmyetaiv ti para; tou' kurivou, 1:8 ajnh;r divyuco", ajkatavstato" ejn pavsai" tai'" oJdoi'" aujtou'. 

        1:9 Kaucavsqw de; oJ ajdelfo;" oJ tapeino;" ejn tw'/ u&yei aujtou', 1:10 oJ de; plouvsio" ejn th'/ tapeinwvsei aujtou', o&ti wJ" a[nqo" covrtou pareleuvsetai. 1:11 ajnevteilen ga;r oJ h&lio" su;n tw'/ kauvswni kai; ejxhvranen to;n covrton kai; to; a[nqo" aujtou' ejxevpesen kai; hJ eujprevpeia tou' proswvpou aujtou' ajpwvleto: ou&tw" kai; oJ plouvsio" ejn tai'" poreivai" aujtou' maranqhvsetai.

        1:12 Makavrio" ajnh;r o^" uJpomevnei peirasmovn, o&ti dovkimo" genovmeno" lhvmyetai to;n stevfanon th'" zwh'" o^n ejphggeivlato toi'" ajgapw'sin aujtovn. 

Scripture Text Translations:

Form Oriented
Translations:
Mixed Method
Translations:
Content Oriented
Translations:
KJV
        2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;F1 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5 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. 6 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. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.  9 Let the brother of low degree rejoiceF2 in that he is exalted: 10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. 11 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. 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. 
-----------------
Footnotes
F1: temptation: or, trials 
F2: rejoice: or, glory 
RSV
        2 Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, 8 unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord. 9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like the flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. 12 Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him.
NLT
        2 Dear brothers and sisters,F2 whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. 3 For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. 5 If you need wisdom if you want to know what God wants you to do ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 They can't make up their minds. They waver back and forth in everything they do. 9 Christians who areF3 poor should be glad, for God has honored them. 10 And those who are rich should be glad, for God has humbled them. They will fade away like a flower in the field. 11 The hot sun rises and dries up the grass; the flower withers, and its beauty fades away. So also, wealthy people will fade away with all of their achievements. 12 God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 
NKJV
        2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits. 12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 
NRSV
        2 My brothers and sisters,F2 whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; 4 and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. 6 But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; 7 8 for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8F31 9 Let the believer F3 who is lowly boast in being raised up, 10 and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away. 12 Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the LordF4 has promised to those who love him. 
--------------------
Footnotes:
F2: Gk [brothers] 
F3: Gk [brother] 
F4: Gk [he]; other ancient authorities read [God] 
F31: Included with James 1:7 
GNT
        2 My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, R2 3 for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. 4 Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all.R3 6 But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind. 7 If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord. 9 Those Christians who are poor must be glad when God lifts them up, 10 and the rich Christians must be glad when God brings them down. For the rich will pass away like the flower of a wild plant.R4 11 The sun rises with its blazing heat and burns the plant; its flower falls off, and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way the rich will be destroyed while they go about their business. 12 Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him.
---------------
Footnotes:
R2: +21.2 Ws 3.5, 6. 
R3: +21.5 Ws 8.20; Si 51.13, 14. 
R4: 1.10, 11 Is 40.6, 7 (LXX). 
NASB
        2 ConsiderR7 it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter variousR8 trials,F3 3 knowing that theR9 testing of your faithR10 produces endurance.F4 R11 4 And let enduranceF5 R12 have its perfect result,F6 so that you may be perfectF7 R13 and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 But if any of you lacksR14 wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and withoutF8 reproach, and itR15 will be given to him. 6 But he must askR16 in faith withoutR17 any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, drivenR18 and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-mindedF9 R19 man, unstableR20 in all his ways. 9 ButR21 the brotherF10 of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; 10 and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because likeR22 floweringF11 grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with a F12 R23 scorching wind and withersR24 the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. 12 BlessedR25 is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has beenF13 approved, he will receive theR26 crown of life which the Lord hasR27 promised to those who loveR28 Him. 
------------------
Footnotes and References:
F3: Or {temptations} 
F4: Or {steadfastness} 
F5: V 3, note 1 
F6: Lit {work} 
F7: Or {mature} 
F8: Lit {does not reproach} 
F9: Or {doubting, hesitating} 
F10: I.e. church member 
F11: Lit {the flower of the grass} 
F12: Lit {the} 
F13: Or {passed the test} 

R7: Matthew 5:12; James 1:12; 5:11 
R8: 1 Peter 1:6 
R9: 1 Peter 1:7
R10: Hebrews 6:12 
R11: Luke 21:19 
R12: Luke 21:19 
R13: Matthew 5:48; Colossians 4:12 
R14: 1 Kings 3:9ff; James 3:17 
R15: Matthew 7:7 
R16: Matthew 21:21 
R17: Mark 11:23; Acts 10:20 
R18: Matthew 14:28-31; Ephesians 4:14 
R19: James 4:8 
R20: 2 Peter 2:14
R21: Luke 14:11
R22: 1 Corinthians 7:31; 1 Peter 1:24 
R23: Matthew 20:12 
R24: Psalms 102:4,11; Isaiah 40:7f 
R25: Luke 6:22; James 5:11; 1 Peter 3:14; 4:14 
R26: 1 Corinthians 9:25 
R27: Exodus 20:6; James 2:5 
R28: 1 Corinthians 2:9; 8:3 

NIV
        2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. 9 The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. 10 But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business. 12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 
BBE
        2 Let it be all joy to you, my brothers, when you undergo tests of every sort; 3 Because you have the knowledge that the testing of your faith gives you the power of going on in hope; 4 But let this power have its full effect, so that you may be made complete, needing nothing. 5 But if any man among you is without wisdom, let him make his request to God, who gives freely to all without an unkind word, and it will be given to him. 6 Let him make his request in faith, doubting nothing; for he who has doubt in his heart is like the waves of the sea, which are troubled by the driving of the wind. 7 Let it not seem to such a man that he will get anything from the Lord; 8 For there is a division in his mind, and he is uncertain in all his ways. 9 But let the brother of low position be glad that he is lifted up; 10 But the man of wealth, that he is made low; because like the flower of the grass he will come to his end.11 For when the sun comes up with its burning heat, the grass gets dry and the grace of its form is gone with the falling flower; so the man of wealth comes to nothing in his ways. 12 There is a blessing on the man who undergoes testing; because, if he has God's approval, he will be given the crown of life, which the Lord has said he will give to those who have love for him.

--Click icon for diagram of Greek text.---Block Diagram---Click icon for diagramming instructions.
(1) 1:2 Consider it pure joy
          my brothers
           whenever you may fall
                           into various trials
    1:3    because you know
                            that the testing...produces endurance
                                        of your faith

    1:4      and
(2)     let endurance have its complete work
           so that you may be complete
                                   and
                              whole,
                              lacking in nothing.

    1:5      Now
           if any of you lacks wisdom,
(3)     let him ask
           from God
                   who gives to all
                          generously
                               and
                          without finding fault,
             and
(4)     it will be given to him.
 

    1:6      But
(5)     let him ask
           in faith,
           doubting nothing,
             for
(6)     the one who doubts is like the wave of the sea
                                          driven
                                               and
                                          tossed
                                              by the wind;
   1:7       for
(7)     let not that man suppose
                                 that he shall receive anything
                                            from the Lord,
   1:8                                 a man
                                            doubled-souled
                                                 and
                                            unstable
                                               in all his ways.

   1:9       Now
(8)     let the brother in humble circumstances take pride
           in his high position,
   1:10      and
(9)     let the rich (brother) take pride
           in being humbled

                           as the flower of the grass
           because...he will vanish.
 

   1:11      For
(10)     the sun rises
                     with its burning heat
             and
(11)     --- --- withers the grass
             and
(12)     its flower falls off
             and
(13)     its lovely appearance perishes;

             so also
(14)     the rich man will fade away
                         in the midst of his pursuits.

(15)1:12 Blessed is the man
                           who endures trial,

                                   when he has stood the test 
                   because...he shall receive the crown
                                                     which is life
                                                     which He promised to those loving Him.

Summary:
        The rhetorical structure of this passage reflects a fourfold thought progression, with the boundaries of the periocope determined by the use of the word 'test' in verses 2 and 12.
        The first subpericope, verses 2-4, admonition the developing of a correct posture or stance toward the experience of trials or tests. The second pericope, verses 5-8, address the concern of finding sufficient 'wisdom' to be able to adopt the correct posture. The third pericope, verses 9-11, illustrates (and admonishes again) the correct posture through two economic extremes of experience. Finally, a beatitude (verse 12) invokes divine blessing in eschatological judgment upon the individual who faces the test correctly as set forth in this passage.

Exegetical Issues:
1.  Define the idea of trials.
     In this passage, by noting the context for the word use in verses 2 and 12:
 
 

     In the New Testament:

         Analyze the occurences of the word 'trial' in the New Testament (NRSV translation):
 
 

        Analyze the occurences of the word 'trials' in the New Testament (NRSV translations):
 
 

       Summarize the online definition of the Greek word peirasmov" translated here as trial:
 

Study of 1.2-4:

2. Compare the cycle of trial etc among James, Paul and Peter:

 
James 1:2-4
2 My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; 4 and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.
Romans 5:2b-5
2b and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
1 Peter 1:6-7
6 In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
    Describe how James is both similar to and different from Paul and Peter in their perspectives:
 
 
 

3.  Compare James' perspective in 1:2-4 to that in in Sirach 2:1-6:

 
James 1:2-4
2 My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; 4 and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.
Sirach 2:1-6
1 My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for testing. 2 Set your heart right and be steadfast, and do not be impetuous in time of calamity. 3 Cling to him and do not depart, so that your last days may be prosperous. 4 Accept whatever befalls you, and in times of humiliation be patient. 5 For gold is tested in the fire, and those found acceptable, in the furnace of humiliation. 6 Trust in him, and he will help you; make your ways straight, and hope in him.
     Describe how James is both similar to and different from the Jewish wisdom writer over two centuries before James.
 
 

Study of 1.5-8:

4. Compare James 1:5-8 to James 3:13-18.

 
James 1:5-8
5 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. 6 But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; 7 8 for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 
James 3:13-18
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth.15 Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.
      Compare the two perspectives on wisdom found inside the letter of James.
 
 
 

Study of 1:9-11:

5. From the block diagram of 1:9-11 above, describe the contrastive levels of experience for both the poverty stricken person and the wealthy person. Note carefully the external circumstance compared to the internal spiritual condition.
 
 
 

6. One of the major interpretative issues with this pericope concerns the identity of the rich man. Is he a Christian? Or, is he a non-christian?

Compare the references to the wealthy inside the book of James.

1:9-11 (NRSV). 9 Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, 10 and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away.

2:1-4 (NRSV). 1 My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? 2 For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, 3 and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, "Have a seat here, please," while to the one who is poor you say, "Stand there," or, "Sit at my feet," 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

2:5-7 (NRSV). 5 Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? 7 Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

5:1-6 (NRSV). 1 Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. 2 Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. 4 Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you.

Which understanding do these passages support?
 

What insights are the be gleaned from inside 1:9-11 regarding the identify of the rich man?
 

Describe the possible implications of either understanding for what is say in 1:9-11 about the rich man, especially about his future.
 

Study of 1:12:

7.  James 1:12 is in the literary form of an ancient beatitude. What is a beatitude? See the discussion, The Literary Structure of Beatitudes, for details.

8. Which type of beautitude structure is James 1:12 (check correct one)?
     _______ Third Person Sturcture     _________ Second Person Structure

9. Which type of Jewish form is James 1:12 (check correct one)?
    _______ Wisdom Beatitude            _________ Eschatological/ Apocalyptic Beatitude

10. Copy and paste the appropriate scripture text elements in James 1:12 under the basic elements of the beatitude:
      James 1:12 (NRSV). Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Blessing:
 

Condition:
 

Grounds:
 
 

Application of the Text:

1. How do you approach very difficult times in your own life? What insights do James 1:2-4 and 1:9-11 provide that can help you?
 

2. How wise are you? How do you know? What does Jas. 1:5-8 say?
 
 

3. What encouragement can be gleaned from the beatitude in 1:12?
 
 

For Further Study:

See the Bibliography listing for James under Bibliography, especially Individual Volumes and Articles.
 


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