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Bible Commentaries

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

James 1

Verse 2

Temptations ; trials suited to develop their character, and if rightly borne, to make them better. God does not afflict or expose his children to temptation because he takes pleasure in their distresses or exposures, but for their benefit, that they may be made wiser and better; and although no trials or exposures in themselves are joyous, but grievous, yet as they are the means when rightly improved of increasing holiness and usefulness, they should be received not only with submission, but with gratitude.

Verse 3

The trying of your faith ; that is, when the trial is rightly endured.

Patience ; in its usual scriptural sense of steadfast endurance.

Verse 4

Have her perfect work ; produce its full and appropriate effects, through your enduring to the end all the trials which God appoints to you. Matthew 24:13 .

Perfect and entire ; complete in all parts of the Christian character.

Verse 5

Lack wisdom ; to feel and act rightly under all circumstances, especially in trials.

To all ; who ask according to God’s directions. All who have the Bible may be made wise to salvation, and be guided aright in all their concerns. If they are not, it is because they do not aright seek wisdom from the Lord, or knowing his will, do not obey it.

Verse 6

In faith ; in confidence that God will do as he has declared, and give to those who thus ask him the wisdom which they need.

Nothing wavering ; not doubting the truth of his declarations.

Like a wave ; not fixed or settled in purposes, plans, or efforts.

Verse 8

Double - minded ; one who halts between faith and unbelief.

Verse 9

Of low degree ; afflicted and depressed in his circumstances.

Exalted ; spiritually, by being made a partaker of the heavenly inheritance.

Verse 10

The rich ; in worldly possessions.

Made low ; spiritually, by being brought into a lowly and humble state of mind. The apostle exhibits, in this and the preceding verse, the two sides of Christian character which are appropriate to the two conditions of rich and poor.

Verse 11

Fade away ; earthly glory is transient; and a man may well rejoice in what leads him to feel this, and secure the glory which is abiding. Thus will the poor be kept from envying the rich, and the rich from glorying in their wealth and despising the poor.

Verse 12

Endureth temptation ; bears his trials with a right spirit.

Verse 13

When he is tempted ; to commit sin.

Neither tempteth he any man ; to commit sin: that is not God’s design in sending trials, or in any thing he does: what he does is designed to promote holiness and happiness. If men commit sin, or grow worse under any of his dealings, they pervert and abuse them; the fault is theirs, not his. There is that in men which may account for the evil they commit, without ascribing it to God; and as he never tempts any one to commit sin, no one, when so tempted, or if he does comply with it, should attempt to cast any of the blame on God.

Verse 14

Of his own lust ; his desire to obtain something which he cannot without doing wrong.

Verse 15

Lust ; the inward desire of the soul after forbidden objects, here considered as the parent of sinful deeds.

Sin ; in the life.

Is finished ; in its consequences.

Death ; eternal death, which is, to all who continue in sin, its proper result.

Verse 16

Do not err ; in the matter now under consideration, by thinking of God as if he could tempt to sin.

Verse 17

Every good gift-is from above ; God is the author of every thing in men which is good, and they are the authors of every thing in them which is evil.

Verse 18

Begat he us ; by the regeneration of our souls, and thus made us his spiritual children.

With the word of truth ; which is the instrument of his Spirit.

A kind of first - fruits ; the gospel was first preached to the Jews, and the primitive believers were, like the first sheaf offered at the sanctuary, the earnest of the ingathering of all nations to Christ. See Leviticus 23:9-14 . As every thing good in men comes from God, and every thing evil from themselves, they should renounce self-dependence, and give God the glory of whatever good they enjoy.

Verse 19

Wherefore ; in consistency with your new character as God’s children.

Swift to hear ; the instructions which God gives him.

Slow to speak ; either by way of usurping the office of a teacher, chap James 3:1 , or of censure, chap James 3:9-10 . Both these faults proceed from pride, and are allied to sinful anger, which the apostle next forbids.

Verse 21

All filthiness ; of flesh and spirit, 2 Corinthians 7:1 .

Superfluity of naughtiness ; malice in the heart flowing out in the life.

The engrafted word ; the word of divine truth engrafted-or, as some render, implanted-into your hearts, as a heavenly stock which is to bear fruits of righteousness. It is not engrafted in such a way that our freedom and responsibility in admitting or rejecting it are set aside: hence we are exhorted to receive it with meekness. Divine truth received in love and obeyed is efficacious in the salvation of men.

Verse 24

He beholdeth ; the gospel shows a man himself.

Forgetteth ; if a man does not obey the gospel, its impressions on him will be short.

Verse 25

Looketh into ; looketh closely into. The apostle means a practical looking, that is, connected with obedience.

The perfect law of liberty ; the gospel, which gives true freedom to the soul, and is a perfect rule of action. That it delivers the soul from the bondage of the Mosaic law is also true, but that is a view not discussed in the present epistle.

Verse 26

Bridleth not his tongue ; does not regulate it by the revealed will of God.

Deceiveth his own heart ; by thinking that he is pious, when he continues to cherish and indulge a slanderous spirit.

Verse 27

Pure religion ; he described religion by its fruits, and that on two sides: first, that of love and mercy; secondly, that of purity from worldly defilements.

Fatherless and widows ; these represent all objects of Christian compassion and kindness.

From the world ; from all the enticements to sin which the world offers. That religion which does not govern the tongue and make men beneficent and holy, is not the religion of Christ, and will not secure salvation.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on James 1". "Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.