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     TO DO!


                                 Before you begin……
If you do not know for sure about where you will spend eternity, the first issue for you is to place
your faith alone in Christ alone and receive eternal life.

John 6:47 (NKJV) Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.

John 5:24 (NKJV) "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him
who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death
into life.

John 3:36 (NKJV) He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe
the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

To believe is simply this: to be convinced that it is true. To believe in Jesus is to be convinced
that it is true that He alone is the only one who can give you the gift of eternal life. Eternal life,
first and foremost, means that one lives with God forever after this life is ended. Jesus Christ,
who is God come in human flesh, died on the cross as our substitute bearing the penalty for our
sin. When a person knows they cannot qualify for eternal life through the good works of self-
effort or the rituals of any church or religion, and when a person knows that eternal life comes
from believing in Jesus alone for that life, at that moment they receive eternal life absolutely
free. This life can never be lost for any reason.

If you have received the gift of eternal life through faith alone in Christ alone, then before you
begin any Bible study you must be sure you in fellowship with God and filled with the Holy Spirit.
The method for this is to simply follow 1 John 1:9:

1 John 1:9 (NASB) If we confess our [known] sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us
our [known] sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness [any other sins we fail to recognize
as sin or have forgotten about].

Failure to be open and honest in naming and citing our sins means we cannot be transformed by
Bible Doctrine and advance in the faith to spiritual maturity.

John 4:24 (NASB) "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

Romans 12:1-2 (NASB) 1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present
your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of
worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your
mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and

                     Enjoy your time in God’s Word!
                                                                 Chain Chart
                                                                     for the
                                                                 filling of the
                                                                  Holy Spirit

                                                  spiritual maturity

  salvation_                            spirituality (filling)

                                  When spirituality is broken there
is no forward movement in spiritual growth and momentum into maturity

                                 1 John 1:9 (spiritual rebound)
                                maintains the directing influence of the
                                Holy Spirit so that He can carry out His
                                work in applying Bible Doctrine that one
                                has learned and accepted to the details of
                                life (spiritual metabolism) –
                                advancement to spiritual maturity
                                (transformation) is the result.
James 2:17 (NASB) Even so faith, if it has no
works, is dead, being by itself.
The book of James teaches us about a vital, living Christian faith that
wonderfully works in every detail of life. The Holy Spirit through
James teaches us that the stress of life does not have to become
internal distress that will make life miserable; rather, we can go
through all manner of both negative stress and positive stress and be
victorious. This study will teach you how to decompress distress!

James 1:2 (NASB) Consider it all joy, my
brethren, when you encounter various trials,
God desires to take everything in your life and turn it into good for
you here in this life and to give you rewards in the life to come.
James will tell you how this can become a reality for you!

      The Christian Life Works!
     Some of the things we will be learning:

       Why the book of James was written and who wrote it.
       What the difference is between stress and distress.
       The process of learning and growing into spiritual maturity
       The Ten Biblical Strategies to Decompress Distress
       Momentum testing
       The Plan of God includes two different forms of testing
       The cause of mental and emotional instability
       The sin nature, temptation, sin, and the believer
       Psychology and the Bible
       The Bible’s teaching on discrimination and favoritism
       The Royal Family of God
       The Law of Love
       What to do so that your anger and your tongue don’t destroy others
       The three meanings of the word “salvation”
       Law verses grace
       The interaction between works and salvation
       What is “dead faith”?
       Are good works inevitable if one is truly born again?
       What is Lordship Salvation and is it true?
       The two life-changing choices for every believer
       How to avoid destroying interpersonal relationships
       The believer and eternal rewards
       Worldliness verses spiritual-mindedness
       The inner war with external results
       Church and family unity
       The devil and the believer
       God’s will about your job and your finances
       Prosperity is not the answer to everything
       The Second Coming of Christ
       The believer and sickness
       Prayer, faith, and healing
       Loving involvement in the lives of others

The above items are not in any particular order and other topics will be studied. We
have an exciting time in front of us, beloved students!

It will take a strong level of commitment to complete this study. Satan does not want
you to learn what the book of James will teach us. You need to decide NOW to be
consistent in your attendance at Bible Class. You will be glad you did.

Required text for FGBI credit: The Epistle of James, by Zane Hodges
                  GROWING UP IS HARD TO DO
                                 A STUDY OF JAMES
         BY PASTOR-TEACHER DAVID PEARSON For the saints at

Welcome to an exciting study of one of the most important books in the New Testament
for the believer’s steadiness in the faith, advancement to spiritual maturity, and arriving
home in Heaven as a winner believer. If learned and applied these critical lessons will
bring a spiritual strength that will sustain the believer even in the most difficult
challenges in life. Furthermore, the personal advancement that will
come to the individual will overflow into interpersonal unity and
peace. Five times over James will tie his admonitions to the Second
Coming of Christ and the subsequent Judgment Seat of Christ
(1:12; 3;1, 5:7, 8, 9). This reminds us early in our study of this
critical statement:

  “It’s not about here and now, it’s about there and then.”

                           James 1:1-8
As we study the book of James, we will discover much about dealing with the stress of
life. Every person on the face of the earth has external pressure of one kind or the
other. People can respond to stress in various ways, some positive and some negative
from a social and personal point of view. The goal of “stress-relief” or “stress
management” is to achieve a mental state people would call “happiness.”

Believers are not immune from these external pressures and, indeed, they may face a
new level of such pressure as a result of the Angelic Conflict. However, we will learn
that the way one is to handle stress is to be vastly different for a believer in the Lord
Jesus Christ than it is for an unbeliever who follows the world’s system.


                                  In common usage, the word “stress” is used for any
                                  emotional and / or mental strain felt as a result of
                                  external situations experienced as pressure. The
                                  emphasis is on what is felt on the inside of the person as
                                  a response to that which is external to the person.

                                  I like to think of it differently and will use it differently in
                                  this study. Stress is pure and simple anything external
                                  to the individual (including physical issues – the real you
                                  is not your body) that could be called “pressure.” It could
                                  be something past or present, “positive” or “negative.”

                                  James, as we will discover, refers to stress as “testing”

or what we could call “trials.” It is also called temptation.
 Distress is the inner unbiblical reaction or response to external stress-pressure. It is
an inner pressure of the mind that we do to ourselves! Distress happens when we
respond out of our sin nature; distress happens when we respond out of Human
Viewpoint Thinking (HVP); distress is when we let feelings (emotions) dominate our
thinking instead of thinking dominating our feelings (emotions); distress is a result of
looking for “happiness” and solutions to life’s issues in the people, circumstances, things,
or events found in the details of life; distress is choosing to give in to emotional and
thinking sins thus allowing the sin nature to gain control.

Distress is often felt as a negative. However, distress may not always be felt as
negative: we may experience it as a positive. What makes it distress is our unbiblical
response to the stress. Distress affects us emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

For example: I have a need for an increased income. I am offered a promotion in
another place that will seem to solve my financial need. I may feel this as distress-relief
by changing my circumstances. However, there is not a sound doctrinal teaching church
in the new location so the move will affect my spiritual life in a negative manner. I have
a place of learning and service in the church I am now in, the place where the Lord
placed me (1 Corinthians 12:18). Therefore, the move will increase my spiritual distress!
From human viewpoint it is positive and others would applaud your decision to “take
action” and solve the financial problems. But, the job promotion is not an answer to
prayer: it is a Human Viewpoint response and, in reality, an attack of Satan. We are
failing to seriously consider the spiritual issues involved.

James 4:13-15 (NASB) 13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to
such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a
profit." 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor
that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, "If
the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."

This person never thought about the will of God in this situation. They simply saw this
move in purely economic terms and never considered the will of the Lord!

We could apply this thinking to marriage: this person will make me happy and I know
God wants me to be happy! “Of course, the person is not a believer, but I still will marry
them and then I’ll win them to Christ!” (Yea, right. You’re marring them for evangelistic

How about winning the “lotto”: we see it as a positive, yet not only are there the issues
of gambling, but now comes the issue of solving problems through finances. God has
warned us of “the deceitfulness of riches” and “the desire for other things.” (Mark 4:19).
The book of James will also discuss the issues of spiritual testing through prosperity.

Though this study will focus mostly on the negative distressful responses, we will

maintain a balance just as does James.
The inner response of the real you to stress (the pressure external to the real you) can
be either distress or, as the Holy Spirit will show us, total joy! The opposite of joy is
distress. The world’s systems, like psychological counseling and mind-altering drugs, try
to manage distress: this is man’s methods attempt to cope with distress independent of
God. God does not teach us to “cope” or “manage” stress: He solves the problem of
distress. The believer can eliminate distress and instead experience joy, inner peace,
and satisfaction. It is a matter of the application of what the Bible teaches.

Stress is inevitable; distress is a choice. We have to learn the mechanics of making
right decisions in order to experience right responses and these lead to positive
outcomes. Growing up is hard to do! Because of free will and our new life in Christ the
believer can choose either the distress-free response or the distress-loaded response.

       How do you respond right now, before we start this study, to the statement:
       “Stress is inevitable; distress is a choice”?

                                                            Sometimes the distress
                                                            response to stress can make
                                                            you feel like you’re stretched
                                                            to the limit!

                                                            Can I get a witness?

                                                              Distress can result in many
                                                              different responses. Let’s name
                                                              a few: anger, depression,
                                                              bitterness, withdrawal, loss of
                                                              concentration, complaining,
                                                              worry, increased activity
                                                              (busyness – work more hours
                                                              at the job, have the best yard
in the state), irritability, loss of sleep, spending (“When the going gets tough the tough
go shopping”), alcohol abuse, mind-altering drug use (both legal and illegal), suicide,
self-pity (the “poor me” game), verbal attacks, gossip, feelings of victimization, worry,
over-eating (comfort food to the excess!), playing the “blame-game,” marriage, divorce,
refusing to listen to others, disruption in interpersonal relationships, blaming God,
feeling “God just doesn’t love me” or “I guess God is punishing me,” becoming legalistic
and self-righteous, stubbornness, attempts to become “moral,” getting involved in “do-
good-ism” and social crusades, being critical of others, focus on distracting
entertainment and pleasure-seeking, working to win the approval of others, sex outside
of marriage, partying, causing division in the church, missing Bible class, moving from
place to place, changing jobs, lack of trust in God’s promises, extreme self-confidence,
emotional mood-swings, violence, criminal activity, increased attempts to control or

manipulate others, various expressions of emotional turmoil, lying, turning to

psychological counseling and using thinking-effecting drugs, earn more money, etc.
       What are some of the people, circumstances, things, or events (stress) to which
       you have responded (or ARE responding) in distress (see above)?

       What are the ways you tend to choose to respond in distress to stress?

1 Peter 5:8 (NASB) Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil,
prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

A “sober spirit” simply means “to be stable in your thinking,” or “to think clearly about
reality.” It is the opposite of drunken thinking that is emotionally unstable and mentally
fuzzy. Such thinking often results in behavioral bad decisions. “Sober” means to have
one’s life and thinking controlled by the Holy Spirit through His application of the Word
of God to one’s life. Since the Bible defines reality, a person of “sober spirit” learns to
see all the details of life from the Divine Viewpoint or true reality. In other words, we
respond to the pressures of life by the means of Bible Doctrine (the Divine Viewpoint
Thinking) rather than the typical way of responding to pressure that is dominated by
emotional responses and Human Viewpoint Thinking. All of the above “distress
responses” to pressure are from Human Viewpoint. They indicate the believer has not
yet developed a “sober spirit.” The believer is, in the terms of 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, a
man “of flesh” who is operating just as an unbeliever would operate in life. The King
James translation (and NKJV) refers to this believer as “carnal.”

According to the 1 Peter verse, such responses clearly indicate that a believer is being
devoured by “the devil” who is “your adversary.” To use a common American
expression, he is “eating you alive” though the internal distress responses to pressure.
The enemy has lured you into his feeding grounds because you have not applied the
biblically mandated principles for handling life’s many pressures.

John 8:44 (NASB) "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of
your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth
because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own
nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

At the core of Satan’s plan of attack against both believer and unbeliever alike is a
“redefinition of reality” (Robert Dean). The Bible tells us what reality is and the Bible is
Truth (John 17:17). If we think that the above distress responses are inevitable,
unavoidable, and really have nothing to do with spiritual issues, then we are not living in
reality. But remember: Satan is a liar. As we can see from verse eight of our text, a

person living in Satan’s lie is a person living life divorced from reality. He is living in the

sphere of lies not Truth. The result is that he is a person who is unstable in everything.
James 1:8 (NASB) being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

The “doubled-minded” (literally: two-souled”) believer is one who thinks in some ways
biblically but in other ways they think from Human Viewpoint (“doubting”). This is real
mental instability. One could say this is a “bipolar” believer: they swing from the Divine
Viewpoint to the Human Viewpoint. It is a “mind-disorder” of the worst kind for the
spiritual, mental, and emotional life of the believer. They are praising God on Sunday
and depressed on Monday! They “pray about it” and then they “worry about it.” They
say “God is first” and make their job or family first! They are on an emotional

This study is about developing a single-minded “sober spirit”: becoming an emotionally
and mentally stable believer that advances in the faith to spiritual maturity and
experiences the promised rewards in heaven as a result. God desires to take everything
in our life and turn it into good (Romans 8:28) but we have to cooperate with His desire
by in taking and living out Bible Doctrine in order to experience the good.

Only the power of God is more powerful than your enemy, Satan. Only the “mind of
Christ” (Bible Doctrine) is more powerful than the mind of the fallen angel the devil.
Human power or the powers of this world’s systems are not sufficient to sustain the
believer who is designed by God to operate under the power of the Word of God and
the Spirit of God. The believer is made to operate in the sphere of Truth.

       Can you name some specific areas where the learning of the truths of the
       Scriptures, Bible Doctrine, has changed the way you think?

       In what ways has this brought increased stability to your life?

       “God desires to take everything in our life and turn it into good (Romans 8:28)
       but we have to cooperate with His desire in order to experience the good.” What
       does this mean to you?

                         STRESS (PRESSURE) IS CONSTANT

LOW                             MEDIUM                         HIGH              EXTREME

The only people without stress are those who have died and gone to heaven! Those

who die and go to hell live forever in a state of extreme, unending stress and internal

Some people, circumstances, things, or events – the stresses of life – put less pressure
on us to respond in distress. For example, we experience less stress on a slow drive
through the park than we do on a crowded freeway full of aggressive drivers. Even that
puts less pressure on us to respond in distress than a car wreck! A cold is less stress
than cancer.

None the less it is still stress: there is still pressure and how we learn to respond
doctrinally to these details of life will determine our success or failure as believers. It
also will determine whether we are losers or winners at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It
will determine our satisfaction and enjoyment of life.

External                                                      Joy - Rest
Pressure                       Choice                          Apply Doctrine
(Stress)                                                       positive volition to
                                                               the Word
                                                                Human Viewpoint
                                                                Negative volition to
                                                                the Word
By now we should recognize that the “normal” human response to stress is distress. At
the moment we placed our faith alone in Christ alone we received both a new nature
and indwelling of the God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit provides the power to live out
the spiritual life by the application of the Word of God to our moment-by- moment
                            decisions in the details of our lives. Learning how to apply Bible
                            Doctrine to the stress of life is not easy. It takes work and
                            effort. How much truth is really resident in your soul is revealed
                            to when you either pass or fail the tests (the stresses) of life.

                          Growing up is hard to do!
                         None of this is automatic. It takes learning Bible Doctrine, it
                         takes handling the Word correctly, it takes staying in fellowship
                         with the Holy Spirit (1 John 1:9) and it takes time to move into
                         spiritual maturity. Right thinking leads to right decisions and
                         right action. Every positive decision to apply Bible Doctrine
helps a believer to make more right decisions. Obviously the reverse is also true.

We will learn that it is only by testing – overcoming obstacles – that the believer will
experience growth in spiritual strength. Testing comes from God’s love and grace to
you. But you have to remember these to win:
                    Stick and stay and make it pay!

               Anybody can quit but winners always stick!

James is going to tell us to press on to spiritual maturity no matter what happens.
                                 Count it all joy!
The point we are going to learn in James is this: you can count all stress, from the low
to the extreme, as “total joy” – literally “joy to the highest”! You can express a shout
instead of a pout!

We will be learning the methodology of “joy to the highest” through not only what
James teaches us but also through the Ten Problem-solving Devices – or what we will
call “The Ten Strategies to Decompress Distress.” That is, how to be released
from the feelings of pressure and relax even when the people, situations,
things, and events do not change! We will learn how to see hard times as well as
good times with the eye of faith. We will learn that we can see trials as positive and
highly beneficial events that develop strong Christian character.

The problem is this: most people – believer and unbeliever alike – seek to be relieved
from the external pressure as the means by which they can find release from the
internal distress they feel as negative. Change the people, change the situation, change
the things, change the events and then people are positive they will smile a sigh of relief
and say, “All is well!”

While God often will change these, He has a much bigger goal: He wants to change us
and prepare us for blessing. We live in a fallen world that will constantly put pressure on
us until the day we go home. The issue for us is to learn how to live without distress
and in total joy arriving in glory to a reception of the victor receiving the Crown of life!

James 1:12 (NASB) Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has
been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those
who love Him.

Beloved, don’t you want this?


                                Let’s get started!
                                              THE STUDY OF THE BOOK OF
                                               The outline of the book James 1:19

James 1:1-18 forms the introduction to the book

James 1:19 (NASB) This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick
to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger

As we will see, James was writing to believers. The “everyone” here is (1) part of the
beloved brethren and (2) the word refers to the same group of people – believers – that
we see in Colossians 1:28

Colossians 1:28 (NASB) We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching
every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

The goal of James is the same as that of Colossian 1:28: to encourage and train
believers in how to press on to spiritual maturity in spite of obstacles which include
severe trials and persecution.

1:19: This provides the general outline of the book itself. Gene Cunningham gives this:

I.         Be Swift to Hear in Trials (JAM 1:21-27 to JAM 2:1-26)

      A.    Let your hearing lead to doing (JAM 1:21-27)

      B.     Let your hearing be impartial and merciful (JAM 2:1-13)

      C.     Let your hearing lead to faithful action (JAM 2:13-26)

II.        Be Slow to Speak in Trials (JAM 3:1-18)

      A. Because no man can tame the tongue (JAM 3:1-12)
      B. Because there are two kinds of wisdom (JAM 3:13-18)

III.        Be Slow to Wrath in Trials (JAM 4:1-17 to JAM 5:1-6)

      A.   Because   wrath is worldly and divisive (JAM 4:1-5)
      B.   Because   the wrath of man requires repentance (JAM 4:6-10)
      C.   Because   the fruit of wrath is judging (JAM 4:11-12)
      D.   Because   the source of wrath is arrogance (JAM 4:13-17 to JAM 5:1-6)
The Theme Summarized (JAM 5:7-20)

   A. Faithful endurance in trials is rewarded (JAM 5:7-12)
   B. Faithful endurance is gained by effective prayer (JAM 5:13-18)
   C. Faithful endurance may deliver others who are wavering (JAM 5:19-20)

Quick to learn: ready to listen to, learn, and apply Bible Doctrine.

Slow to speak: dealing with sins of the tongue

Slow to anger: mental attitude sins

James 1:1 (NASB) James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the
twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.


James, in English, would be Jacob in the Hebrew, like Jacob in the Old Testament, the
son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham. At the time of Christ it was a very popular name
for boys. That is one reason for there being some confusion as to who this James was
who authored this book. There are four men named James in the New Testament.

   1. James the son of Zebedee and brother of the Apostle John

Mark 1:19 (NKJV) When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the
son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets.

This James was martyred early in the history of the church under Herod Agrippa 1,
grandson of Herod the Great who was the Roman ruler (37 B.C. – 4 A.D.) at the time of
the birth of Christ. Herod the Great is the one who attempted to kill the baby Jesus
(Matthew 2:16). Herod “Agrippa, at least on the surface, was a zealous practitioner of
Jewish rites and a religious patriot” (Ryrie Study Bible).

Acts 12:1-2 (NKJV) 1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to
harass some from the church. 2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the

This was around A.D. 38-40 though some say as late as A.D. 44.

This James was one of the twelve Apostles who served at the foundation of the church.

He was the first of the twelve to be martyred. Most conservative writers agree that this
James did not write the Epistle.
   2. James the son of Alphaeus

He was another one of the Twelve Apostles.

Matthew 10:3 (NKJV) Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax
collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;
Acts 1:13 (NASB) When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room
where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and
Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot,
and Judas the son of James.

This is probably the same person as James the Less mentioned in Matthew 27:56; Mark
15:40; and Luke 24:10. This James is not and was not very well known so he would not
have been the author.

   3. James, the father of Judas the disciple (not Judas Iscariot)

Luke 6:16 (NASB) Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

This Judas was also known as Thaddaeus and Lebbaeus. His father was simply too
obscure to be the obviously well-known writer of the Epistle of James.

   4. James, the oldest half-brother of the Lord Jesus Christ

Matthew 13:55-56 (NASB) 55 "Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother
called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 "And His
sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?"

Joseph and Mary had at least six children beside the Son of Mary conceived by the Holy
Spirit and born while Mary was still a virgin. The four boys are named and “sisters” is in
the plural meaning at least two or more.

James was the half-brother (same mother) as Jesus, and was the brother of Jude, the
writer of the Epistle of Jude. He would have been in the same linage of Jesus and thus a
descendent of King David. This James is evidentially the writer of the Epistle that bears
his name. The writers of the early church agree with this as do conservative scholars

Galatians 1:19 (NASB) But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the

Lord's brother.
Just because it is interesting:

                                                 Because the truth of Scripture so clearly
                                                 contradicts Catholic doctrine, Catholic
                                                 interpreters will insist these are not
                                                 natural born children of Joseph and
                                                 Mary but are cousins, kinsmen, or from
                                                 a supposed earlier marriage of Joseph.
                                                 The Bible proves all these things wrong.
                                                 The Catechism gives this incorrect
                                                 explanation to support the false doctrine
                                                 of the perpetual virginity of Mary: "The
                                                 Church has always understood these
                                                 passages as not referring to other
                                                 children of the Virgin Mary. In fact
                                                 James and Joseph, 'brothers of Jesus,'
                                                 are the sons of another Mary, a disciple
                                                 of Christ..." (Pg. 126 #500)

Even though he was raised in the same home and with the same godly parents as
Jesus, James did not become a believer in his half-brother until after the resurrection of
Jesus Christ. The same is true of the other half-brothers:

John 7:2-5 (NASB) 2 Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. 3
Therefore His brothers said to Him, "Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your
disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. 4 "For no one does anything in
secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show
Yourself to the world." 5 For not even His brothers were believing in Him.

Paul records for us that the resurrected Christ appeared to James personally and he
became a witness to the reality of the resurrection:

1 Corinthians 15:7 (NASB) then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles

James became the first pastor of the church in Jerusalem – Acts 15:13-21; Acts 21:17-
26. At the church council recorded in Acts 15:13-21 James was in the lead and spoke
with great authority; he displayed the discernment that comes with spiritual maturity.
He was respected by the apostles and elders in the church.

Because of the fact that the writer of this Epistle could simply refer to himself as
“James” certainly indicates he was well known and respected not only for his family

relationship to Christ but because of his spiritual wisdom and leadership. He was the
most widely known and most highly respected of all the men with the name “James” in

the New Testament. 1 Corinthians 9:5 tells us he was married.
Also there is a strong church tradition that James was a very dedicated and serious man
of prayer. Arnold Fructenbaum writes of this:

Because he spent a lot of time praying on his knees, he was often referred to as
“Camel-knees.” A camel raises itself on its knees before getting up and gets down on its
knees first before lying down. So, the knees of the camel become broad, bulky, and
bulgy. The tradition is that Jacob/James spent so much time on his knees, their shape
took that of a camel’s knees. (Ariel’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews – James – I & II Peter
– Jude, p.p. 209-210. Hereafter referred to as A.F. James).

The Bible does not record the death of James, but the first-century Jewish historian
Josephus recorded that he died in A.D. 62 as a martyr. A.F. James:

The High Priest at that time was Ananus; the son of Annas; the same Annas that is
found in the gospels; the same Annas involved in the trial of Jesus. The son of Annas
accused Jacob/James of violating the Law and ordered him stoned….Two other sources,
Heggisippus and Eusebius, add more detail concerning the death of Jacob/James. They
noted that in Jerusalem, he was known among unbelieving Jews as Jacob/James the
Just. Furthermore, at the time of Jacob/James arrest, Ananus presenter an option: if he
would stand on the walls of Jerusalem and publically renounce his faith in Jesus, he
would not be stoned to death. Jacob/James agreed. He was then brought to the top of
the wall of Jerusalem. When the Jewish masses gathered, Jacob/James proceeded to
preach the gospel. Ananus became angry and pushed him off the wall. The half-brother
of and believer in the Messiah was stoned to death by those below the wall (p.209).

However, according to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (first edition 1563, second edition and
revision 1570) James was thrown down from the pinnacle of the Temple (about 400 feet
high) as he was praying for his persecutors and then was beaten to death by the ones
at the base of the wall. It is said he was interceding for them as long as he was alive
saying, “they know not what they do.”

James an apostle but not one of the twelve.

Galatians 1:19 (NASB) But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the
Lord's brother.

The word “apostle” means somebody who is commissioned by another to perform a
task. In the New Testament there are two categories of Apostles: first and foremost
were those who had the spiritual gift of Apostle (upper case “A”) and were those who
Christ used in the foundation of the church. There were eleven of these who had been
with Christ, and had been commissioned by Him personally, plus Paul who had also
been personally selected and commissioned by Jesus. There are no Apostles today.

The second category of apostle (lower case “a”) means one sent out from a local church
but not commissioned by the Lord or given the spiritual gift of Apostle. They were

closely associated with the Apostles. James was of this second category. (cf. Robert
               A bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ

James 1:1 (NASB) James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the
twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.

What humility this man expresses right up front! Literally this means “a voluntary slave”;
this from the man who for years had rejected Christ. This should be the attitude that
every Christian has, for it was the attitude of Jesus Christ Himself:

Matthew 20:28 (NASB) just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to
serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

Philippians 2:5-8 (NASB) 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ
Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a
thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and
being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled
Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

James knew that it was not earthly relationships that counted, it was spiritual. He did
not make anything of his physical relationship to Christ: he made everything of the
privileged position of voluntary servanthood. He knew we are all born sinners: we
possess no righteousness (-R) and we must receive the imputed righteousness of Christ
(+R) in order to have a relationship with God the Father (2 Corinthians 5:21).

It is also worthy of note to remember that a person who rejects Jesus Christ as God and
only Savior is not a servant or true worshipper of God no matter what they claim!

The recipients of the Epistle

James 1:1 (NASB) James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the
twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.

The “twelve tribes” refers to the people of the Jewish nation. The Epistle of James is
significantly Jewish in its approach. The words translated “dispersed abroad” is
“Diaspora” or “the Dispersion” which “was a technical Jewish term then, as it is to this
day, to refer to Jews living outside the Land. Therefore, he is writing to Jews living
outside the Land, not to Jews in general” (A.F. James, p.211).

James is not writing to all Jews, however. He is writing to that body of Jewish believers
within the larger body of the Jewish peoples. He is writing to Jewish Christians –
believers in Jesus Christ the Messiah – who have been scattered out of the Land of
Israel for some reason. That reason was persecution.

It seems very likely that James is writing to the Jewish believers who fled Jerusalem

after the intense persecution that happened about the year A.D.35.
 Acts 8:1-4 (NASB) 1 Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on
that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all
scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Some
devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. 3 But Saul began
ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he
would put them in prison. 4 Therefore, those who had been scattered went about
preaching the word.

See also Acts 11:19

Zane Hodges writes:

Some time had passed (a few months?) since then, and these believers had taken
advantage of less stressful times (cf. Acts 9:31) and had settled into various assemblies
of believers throughout Palestine. Yet, continuing pressures were felt by them because
they constituted a Christian minority among their unbelieving Jewish contemporaries.
James writes to them in a pastoral capacity in which his concerns are especially focused
on the on-going problems and trials which they faced (The Epistle of James, pp. 18-19.
Hereafter referred to as Z.H. James).

Gene Cunningham in his lectures on James notes the word Diaspora is from a word
meaning “to scatter as seed.” He goes on to make this excellent observation (this is not
an exact quote but rather from my personal notes):

There are three seeds to be sown for the plan of God to be fulfilled:

   1. Jesus Christ - referring to the cross and His substitutionary death: John 12:24
      (NASB) "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth
      and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
   2. The seed of the gospel that is sown – Mark 4:14 (NASB) "The sower sows the
   3. The believer is also one who is sown into a specific place for the sharing of the
      truth of the Message of Life - Acts 8:4 (NASB) Therefore, those who had been
      scattered went about preaching the word. God is sowing the saints!

God has “sown” you into the place you are in life: your family, your job, your school,
your community, your friends, your neighbors, etc. These are the ones you are to reach
with the message of Life. You are a personal representative of Jesus Christ the Son of
God and you have been tasked with sharing His message.

Write down below the names of five people in your life who need to hear the Message
of Life:

   1.   ______________________________________
   2.   ______________________________________                   These are ones to

   3.   ______________________________________                   whom you need to sow
   4.   ______________________________________                   the Message of Life!

   5.   ______________________________________
Did you notice how these scattered people “went about preaching the Word” even under
persecution? These were just everyday believers, just average Christians. They first
would have shared the Message of Life but then they would have gone on to other Bible
Doctrine, like the doctrines of the spiritual life. James is teaching critical doctrines
related to the spiritual life of believers so that those same believers can share it with

The principles we need to see are these:

       Every believer is to evangelize the lost, that is, to share the Message of Life with

       Every believer is to teach others the Word of God

Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB) 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching
them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the
end of the age."

Hebrews 5:12 (NASB) For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have
need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God,
and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

                               A VERY CRITICAL NOTE:

James was writing to believers not unbelievers. Throughout the Epistle he tells us that
he is writing to believers. The constant use of the word “brethren” or “beloved brethren”
bears this out: these are used at least 19 times!

This book is written to believers to help them advance in the faith and persevere even
through tough times (the stress of daily living as well as open persecution) to spiritual
maturity. It is not written to make these people doubt their eternal life by looking at
their “works.” Whether or not a person has eternal life (salvation phase one) is not the
question anywhere in this Epistle.

The idea that certain kinds or certain levels of “good works” will inevitably accompany
“true salvation” is as false as the year is long. Yet, this is the single most common
interpretation of some critical passages in James. We will discover the error of this
“inevitable results” view of salvation at the appropriate time in our study.

We will also consider another terrible error in the church today; Lordship Salvation.

Another common error (and the Catholic one) is that a person is saved by “faith +
works.’ This false doctrine will also be discussed later.

James 1:1 (NASB) James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the
twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.

The word “greetings’ means “to rejoice’ or “to be glad.” It has the force of a command:
“be rejoicing,” “be glad” (A.F. James, p.212) It was a common Jewish salutation, but it
certainly is appropriate for what James is going to say next!


Just because it is interesting:

James is considered to be the oldest book in the New Testament. Job is the oldest book
in the Old Testament. Isn’t it interesting that both of these “oldest” books address the
issues of the believer’s trials and sufferings?

        Why do you think this is?

James 1:2 (NASB) Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,

James 1:2 (NKJV) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,

James 1:2 (AMP) Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped
in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.

“Consider it all joy” is one of some 54 imperatives (commands) given by the Holy Spirit
through James to believers of all the church age. A command is always given to a
person’s mind (thinking) and volition (will).

KEY: God will never give the believer a command that He does not supply the means by
which the believer can fulfill the command.

The word “consider” or count” is critical to the life of the believer and his or her success
in life as a believer. Success in life as a believer is critical to the believer arriving home in
heaven as a victorious winner believer.

This word “consider” or “count” means to lead or go before, to go first, to lead the way,
to lead out before the mind, to think or to regard in a certain way: “to add up all the
facts and come to the right conclusion.” It is an accounting term where one adds up all

the figures and obtains a correct answer.
It means to make this that he is about to teach a standard part of your
thinking; to let this be the measure of accuracy and truth in your dealing with
stress of all kinds. This teaching is to lead us in our thinking and lead our
emotional responses.

What is the believer to “add up”? The Truth of Bible Doctrine! You take the Bible
Doctrine that you have learned, add it all up and then, based on thinking, come up to
the correct conclusion about the stress (trial). It makes the standard of the Word of God
the measure of the accuracy of our response and because of this thinking leads

Notice the immediate challenge to Human Viewpoint thinking and the “normal” response
of the sin nature. The “normal” expected response to “trials’ is to lead out with one’s
emotions and then to allow the emotions to dominate the thinking.

As Robert Dean points out, the typical emphasis of psychology is to encourage a person
to ask, “How do I feel about this?” This is a subjective response to stress (pressure).

       Subjective: based on feelings (emotions) and personal opinions (HVP) rather
       than facts or evidence

A command is always to a person’s mind and volition. Since the Bible issues commands
in relation to trials (pressure, stress), the Bible is asking the person, “How are you
thinking about this?” This is an objective response to stress (pressure).

       Objective: based on facts and evidence rather than feelings and personal

Subjective looks inward at myself; objective looks outward to the facts.

Subjective responses for the believer look inward at the point of stress and responds
accordingly with emotion and Human Viewpoint Thinking; objective responses for the
believer outward at Bible Doctrine, thinks about it, applies the Divine Viewpoint and
responds accordingly.

This word “consider” or “count” is addressed (in the grammar) to the person and means
it is an action that the person has to perform; it is something you, the believer, must do
yourself and no one else can do it for you (Dean).

This clearly shows us the personal responsibility we are to take for our responses and
actions while experiencing stress! We are not victims!

Since the Word of God and the Spirit of God gives us all the power we need to perform

every biblical command, then we must not buy into the lie that says, “I can’t.”

       What is “victim mentality”?
 Philippians 4:11-13 (NASB) 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be
content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble
means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have
learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and
suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

        Write out verse 13 and memorize it:


How many things? ______ How? Through______________________________________

Not in my own strength: my own thinking and emoting! Whose strength? ________

Where is His strength found? The _________ of God and the __________ of God while
maintaining _________________ with God.

We can say, “I have not learned this yet,” but we cannot be true to the Word and say,
“I can’t respond this way, that’s unrealistic and impossible.”

To say “I can’t” is a sign of spiritual weakness and immaturity. Such a mental attitude
sin denies the power of God and makes the Truth of God into a lie. To say “I can’t
without man’s methods of psychology and pills” is also to deny the power of God.

“Knowing here speaks of the conviction from biblical teaching” (Gene Cunningham, The
Book of James – A Detailed Commentary, p.6. Hereafter referred to as G.C. James)

Notice: the key is not just doctrine learned, it is doctrine believed, doctrine that we are
wiling to act on.

The Bible: learn it, believe it, live it! Your ability to handle the stress of life without
distress depends on it!

Psalms 119:105-106 (NASB) 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my
path. 106 I have sworn and I will confirm it, That I will keep Your righteous ordinances.

James is going to give us the secrets of the learning process. Step one: add up the
doctrine you know – including that which I am about to teach you – and come up with

the right conclusions.
                             The doctrine of the biblical process of
                             learning, growing, and transformation
                     How to be able to consider life in all its aspects from the
                                        Divine Viewpoint

                                          Philippians 4:11 (AMP)
  Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be
content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I

The “I” here is emphatic – that is, he is saying, “I don’t know about you because you may
choose to be discontent. But have chosen the path to satisfaction. I have learned to
apply Bible Doctrine and to live under the power of the Holy Spirit so that I have the
resources to choose to be content (fully satisfied) in any and all situations.” Paul is
thinking and by this keeping his emotions, his feelings, from going in the wrong direction.
He is considering his situation as all and abundant joy – just as James 1:2 states.

Let’s study the process of learning and transformation so that we can arrive at the same
place of satisfaction and joy.

SELF: This is how God made you: Self-conscious + mentality + emotions (responder)
+ volition (will) + conscious (values or a sense of right and wrong)

THE BIBLICAL PROCESS: Volitional decision: be in Bible Class>>volitional decision:
be in fellowship (1 John 1:9) >>P-T >>B.D.>>volitional decision: pay attention>>gnosis
(academics, information)>>volitional decision: act in faith (it is true, agree with it,
believe)>>epignosis>>B.D. becomes the deciding factor in life (operation)>> result: the
mind is re-built from the ground up destroying HVP and building DVP>> Daily volitional
decision: keep on doing the process>>transformation (our spiritual goal is achieved)


                                         Proverbs 24:5 (NASB)
                     A wise man is strong, And a man of knowledge increases power.

                    Wisdom in living is only developed though Bible Doctrine learned and
                    applied. What this proverb means is that when the Wisdom of the Word
is the dominating guide of our lives we will have great spiritual strength for living. Bible
knowledge gives us a greater power than anyone who simply lives by human viewpoint.
Such power means we can live with courage, confidence, and great stability as we apply
doctrine to daily life.

Proverbs 4:7 (NASB) "The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your
                          acquiring, get understanding.

Proverbs 4:7 (AMP) The beginning of Wisdom is: get Wisdom (skillful and godly

Wisdom)! [For skillful and godly Wisdom is the principal thing.] And with all you have
gotten, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation).
Hosea 14:9 (NASB) Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; Whoever is
discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, And the righteous will
walk in them, But transgressors will stumble in them.

                                                            It is possible for a
                                                            believer to never
                                                            advance in the faith at
                                                            all. They refuse to
                                                make a commitment to learn
                                                Bible Doctrine. They are,
                                                unfortunately, in the “No Bible
                                                study” mode. This believer is out
                                                of the will of God and is a loser.

When the believer is ready to start advancing they begin to study the Word and
what it teaches. What it teaches about any given category or subject is Bible

To gather the information through study is step one.

INFORMATION – Gk.: gnosis (something learned academically: Gk.: nous or mind):

       Bible Doctrine is learned: the first priority of life is being in Bible Class under the
       Pastor-teacher and mentally focusing on learning Bible Doctrine (concentration)
       Personal daily Bible study is required to learn facts, doctrine, and principles. The
       believer needs to study the Bible on their own using correct resources to guide
       their understanding. This includes repeated review of the correct doctrines taught
       by their Pastor-teacher
       Fellowship with the Holy Spirit must be maintained to advance in understanding

“No substitute will ever be found for the knowledge of the Word of God. That Word alone
deals with things eternal and infinite, and it alone has the power to convert the soul and
to develop a God honoring spiritual life” (Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol.
1, p. vi).

A lot of believers learn basic Bible information but little Bible Doctrine. They know the
stories but they have little categorical understanding. Their information is deficient.

Others learn Bible Doctrine but they never live it out. This ultimately leads to pride and a
person becoming unteachable. This person is in the darkness of unbelief because they
will not believe Doctrine volitionally so as to act on it - especially when it makes

demands on their thought patterns and life-style choices. Change is required: this is the
most challenging and uncomfortable thing of all.
                The second stage is putting the Bible Doctrine we have learned to
                work in our life:

                OPERATION – Gk.: epignosis: this is knowledge lived out, knowledge in
                the kardia [Greek] or heart. This is living out what you know and is what
                the Bible refers to as wisdom:

       Bible Doctrine applied under the filling of the Holy Spirit
       This is a full knowledge or experiential knowledge: it operates (guides and
       directs) in the person’s daily living and daily decisions (wisdom)
       Bible Doctrine becomes the deciding factor in the life
       Bible learning intensifies and commitment to study increases
       One begins to experience a delight in Bible study
       At this stage one usually has to apply great effort to see life from the divine
       In the operational stage Human Viewpoint thinking and false doctrine gets
       flushed out. These are the things that hinder spiritual growth.

Psalms 1:1-3 (NASB) 1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the
wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is
in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He will be like a tree
firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does
not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.

Galatians 5:16 (NASB) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire
of the flesh.

Colossians 1:9-12 (NASB) 9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have
not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His
will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy
of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing
in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might,
for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father,
who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

Romans 8:4-6 (NASB) 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who
do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who are
according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are
according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death,
but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,

3 John 1:3-4 (NASB) 3 For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your
truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. 4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my
children walking in the truth.

                  The Bible refers to this operational knowledge or epignosis as
                  “walking”: this includes every aspect of the person’s life from their

                  thoughts to their actions. This is daily Christian living in fellowship with
                  God and applying Bible Doctrine; it is operating in the sphere of “truth.”

                  It is volitionally setting our minds on the “things of the Spirit” or Bible
                  Doctrine. The potential for this is there for every believer but it must be
activated by their will (volition) – that is, they must be positive toward doctrine and desire
to make it a living reality (experience it). This spiritual walking builds spiritual strength
constructing a protective wall, or “soul-fortress,” that – under the filling of the Holy Spirit -
will protect us from wrong responses and decisions while undergoing the various
pressures of life.

                                 Bible Doctrine

Picture from “Bible Doctrine” added by Pastor David

A person in the operation stage is growing and moving toward spiritual maturity; their
soul-fortress is being built. They understand that not everything they hear from the Bible
is necessarily what they want to hear, but it is what they need. The “flushing” process
may be uncomfortable and even painful as we discover we have to change the way we
think and act. We have to be willing to let the Word of God destroy the way we think
about many things. The “flushing” process is referred to in 2 Corinthians as a
“destroying” process:

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NASB) 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war
according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely
powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every
lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought
captive to the obedience of Christ

Just as there is a spiritual fortress, so there is also the mental fortress of Human
                             Viewpoint and false doctrine that must be torn down. It must

                             be replaced by the soul fortress that God wants to build in us.
                             These two fortresses of the mind are in a constant battle for

Galatians 5:16-17 (NASB) 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the
desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against
the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things
that you please.

                The way to win is to “walk” by the means of the Holy Spirit – staying in
                fellowship and applying Doctrine to the details of life.

                Moving forward….. For operation to become transformation, we have to
                keep moving forward in our study and application of Bible Doctrine. We
                have to go into ever more challenging studies.

TRANSFORMATION – Gk.: metamorphóo: this is the inner process of being changed
from one thing into another – a change into being Christ-like or a mature believer

        Here a person is seeing all of life from the Divine Viewpoint of Bible Doctrine and
        this is done routinely.
        While work is still involved, it is easier to apply Bible Doctrine as we have learned
        to see the spiritual aspects of every thought, word, action and circumstance.
        The believer here becomes mature and is able to go longer periods of time
        remaining in fellowship. There is a desire to continue to advance spiritually.
        He transformed mature believer will be accustomed to more and more advanced

Hebrews 6:1 (NASB) Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us
press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of
faith toward God

Arnold Fructenbaum gives us this observation:

        These are immature, baby believers, not because they have been recently
        saved, but because they failed to mature after being saved for some time. These
        immature believers need to leave the ABC’s of biblical doctrine and go on to
        maturity. The Greek word for leaving means “to abandon,” “to forsake,” “to put
        away,” “to put out.” It means passing from one phase of contemplation to
        another. They must leave behind the ABC’s; these things must be settles in their
        minds once-and-for-all so that they can press forward to the meat (Ariel’s Bible
        Commentary, The Messianic Jewish Epistles, p.72).

“Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ”: it is time to leave the
basics of Bible Doctrine and move forward in your study and take on the more difficult
and challenging doctrines. Use the knowledge you have and press on for more. Babies
have to grow up and this is how they grow up.

“press on”: this is in the Greek passive voice which means “to be carried along” or “to be
borne along.” It means that it is something that happens to you, not something you do.
The believer cannot mature themselves by some act of will; they can do the things

necessary by the ever advancing study of Bible Doctrine under the power of the
Holy Spirit – the Word and the Spirit will bring the believer to maturity.
By the way, this is why the results of spiritual growth are called “the fruit of the Spirit” in
Galatians 5:22-23. The Spirit of God using the Word of God changes us into Christ-
likeness – spiritual maturity.

“on to maturity”: “Maturity” is from the Greek word teleos which means to reach, to attain,
to achieve a goal or to come to completeness. The goal is a spiritual completeness, or
maturity. In other words, the goal for the believer is to be “transformed by the renewing
of the mind” (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23).

All who continue to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter
3:18) will be carried along by the Word and the Spirit to this goal of Spiritual

Hebrews 5:13-14 (NASB) 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk
is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
   But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have
their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Milk is the basics of Bible Doctrine; meat is those deeper and harder
to grasp doctrines, those that challenge the mind to understand and handle correctly.
Mature believers accept and apply the basic doctrines because they are advancing well
in the process of transformation. Because their minds are being transformed they are
applying Bible Doctrine to the details of life in their daily living: “who because of practice
have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” In other words, they are making
decisions dependent on the Word of God; they have “bowed the knee” to the authority of
God and His revealed Word.

When James tells us to “consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various
trials,” he is speaking to those who have been building up a reserve of solid Bible
Doctrine that can be applied; these people have been operating in doctrine, they are
been transformed by doctrine and they have matured (but keep on growing!).

The same principle of building on the solid foundation of the Word of God is presented
by Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Luke:

Luke 6:46-49 (NASB) 46 "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? 47
"Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you
whom he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation
on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could
not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 "But the one who has heard and has not
acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation;
and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house
                                    was great."

                                     "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what
                                     I say?”: this is common for immature believers. There
                                     is little to no application of Doctrine, just information.

                                     In verses 47-48 Jesus is saying that in order for the

                                     “house” of our lives to victoriously stand through the
                                     storms (trials) of life requires that we dig down deep
into the Word of God and lay a foundation for all of our thinking and acting on the
bedrock of the Word. Such digging takes great effort and time. But the results are
marvelous: that person’s life can withstand the storms – even the “torrent” crashing with
great force against us – without being shaken.

Is our life being “well built,” beloved? Are we gaining Doctrine in our souls so that we can
“count it all joy” by coming up with the right conclusion about trials and suffering?
Look at the mental and emotional disaster the other
person has! They also “heard” the doctrine but did
not do the work to move on to operation and
transformation. There was no soul fortress of Bible
Doctrine and the filling of the Holy Spirit. There was
only a fortress of Human Viewpoint. The result is
collapse and ruin.

Many of these people leave doctrinal study and
leave Bible Class. They end up living like
unbelievers – they had no strength to stand in the
day of adversity! They could not “count” correctly! They came up with all the wrong
conclusions about the pressure in their lives. Why? Because they did not have Bible
Doctrine and the filling of the Holy Spirit to guide and protect them.

Once we are being transformed we receive the extra benefit of experiencing God’s
will – His plan – for our lives:

Romans 12:1-2 (NASB) 1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to
present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual
service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the
renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good
and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2 (NLT) 1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your
bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy
sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t
copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new
person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you,
which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Romans 12;1-2 (Wuest) I therefore beg of you, please, brethren, through the
instrumentality of the aforementioned mercies of God, by a once-for-all presentation to
place your bodies at the disposal of God, a sacrifice, a living one, a holy one, well-
pleasing, your rational, sacred service [rational, in that this service is performed by the
exercise of the mind]. And stop assuming an outward expression that does not come
from within you and is not representative of what you are in your inner being but is
patterned after this age; but change your outward expression to one that comes from
within and is representative of your inner being, by the renewing of your mind, resulting
in your putting to the test what is the will of God, the good and well-pleasing and

complete will, and having found that it meets specifications, place your approval upon it.

Think about it…. How much commitment to our personal transformation do we have?

How much effort are we putting in to learn, apply, and be transformed by Bible Doctrine?
Are we developing knowledge and wisdom? Are we letting the Word and the Spirit build
a “soul fortress” inside of us?

If you were to have a sign over your head with a symbol on it that tells the world where
you are in the process, what would be on the sign?

                                 I               O                  T
Which one best describes you? Are you willing to present yourself – your whole being
including your mind - to God and make to the ongoing sacrifice to advance in the faith?

                     What’s your sign?
                       {Kind of gives new meaning to that phrase, doesn’t it?}

This is all a life-long process and negative pressure to stop forward spiritual momentum
will ever be with us. Do not grow weary of learning Bible Doctrine; do not get
discouraged; do not give up and quit; do not revert back and take what seems to be the
easy way out. Run the race to the finish!

                 Hebrews 12:1-3 (NASB) 1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of
                 witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and
                 the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the
                 race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and
                 perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross,
                 despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of
God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so
that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

This can happen to the most committed and mature believer!

Do we now have a better understanding of all the doctrine
that is behind and in that simple little word used by James in
1:2 when he says “count”?

                                       Go on to victory, beloved!

Some suggestions for personal study:
    1. Get an MP3 player and download studies from
    2. Other websites for study download in both MP3s and print:
     Tom Constable (Dallas Seminary) notes on the entire Bible

    3. Your can search out “Grace Notes” by Warren Doud. There are many, many in print
       studies and on-line guided studies

    4. Other helps for personal study:
              Unger’s Bible Dictionary
              Vines Complete Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words
              Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
              The Theological Wordbook – Campbell, Johnston, Walvoord, Witmer
              The Bible Knowledge Commentary – 2 volumes by Walvoord and Zuck
              The Old Testament Explorer – Dyer and Merrill
              The New Testament Explorer – Bailey and Constable
              Unger’s Bible Handbook
              Wilmington’s Bible Handbook
              Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible
              Basic Theology - Charles Ryrie
              New Testament Times – Merrill Tenney
              Baker Bible Atlas

                 Study Bibles
                 The Greek-Hebrew Key Word Study Bible
                 Ryrie Study Bible
                 NKJV Nelson’s Study Bible FIRST EDITION ONLY

                 Spiritual life
                 He That is Spiritual – Lewis S. Chafer
                 The Hungry Inherit – Zane Hodges
                 The Road to Reward – Robert Wilkin
                 The Reign of the Servant Kings – Joseph Dillow

                 Free Grace
                 Absolutely Free – Zane Hodges
                 Grace Under Siege – Zane Hodges
                 Secure and Sure – Robert Wilkin
                 Totally Saved – Tony Evans
                 Romans – Rene Lopez (an expository study of the book of Romans)

    5. Go to and download the free “Instaverse” program. It will
       bring Bible verses up for viewing while you study. You can buy multiple translations for a
       few dollars. There are also many free books available, but be careful what you read – not
       all these are good and very few are free grace.

O.K. I could go on forever, but these will get you started!
James 1:2 (NASB) Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,

James 1:2 (NKJV) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,

James 1:2 (AMP) Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in
or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.

James 1:2 (NET1) My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into
all sorts of trials,

James 1:2 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it
an opportunity for great joy.

“Consider”: (Greek: hēgeomai): add up all the facts, the reality of the doctrine that you
know, and come to the correct spiritual understanding about the matter; draw the correct
divine viewpoint conclusion, interpret it accurately (Gene Cunningham calls this process
“spiritual mathematics”).

                         Actively think Bible Doctrine (the Mind of Christ –
                         Divine Viewpoint) and allow those Truths, under the
                         filling of the Holy Spirit, to maintain the rule over
                         thinking; let these thoughts control emotional
                         reactions. Make this a habit pattern of life.


By the act of your will under the power of the Holy Spirit, allow the doctrinal information
you have to become operational in your life. The result is transformation.

Here then is the Truth: If there is no correct doctrine in the soul, there will be no correct
orientation to reality If there is no fellowship with the Holy Spirit then there will be no
correct conclusions made. The result is that there will be no power to avoid emotional
sins in the times of trial (testing).

The “consider it all joy” grammatically is in the imperative mood which means it is a
command and a command is always directed to one’s volition. Thus it makes this a
personal responsibility for the believer: (1) this is something you must do to be in the will
of God; (2) this is something you must do for yourself and no one else can do it for you;
(3) the faster this is done the faster will be the positive results!

Hodges, p. 19: “Clearly, James is exhorting these believers to view their hard times with
the eye of faith.”

Hebrews 11:1 (NASB) Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of
things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 (AMP) NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of
the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of
their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

“Faith,” in this usage, simply means “taking God at His Word.” It is to know that God’s
Word (the Bible) is true and it is true for me. The action of “count it all joy” is an action of
faith. The Word of God becomes more real to us than anything in my own thinking or the
thinking of anyone else.

REMEMBER: Bible Doctrine reveals the Truth (reality) about any and every pressure we
face. As such it is to have the rule over our thinking and emoting. This is living
objectively (seeing reality) rather than subjectively (to live emotionally with incorrect
thinking and thus to be in unreality). If a person is not living in reality we call them
insane; to live in reality is to be sane. Subjectivity comes from the sin nature and is
basically satanic thinking.

Subjective looks inward at self; objective looks outward to the facts – the facts of Bible
Doctrine - the Truth, the reality. Subjective thinking makes me (my thoughts, my
experience) the standard of truth and reality; Christian objectivity makes the Word of
God the standard of Truth and reality.

R.B. Theime has said in his study of James, “One of the by-products of doctrine is

A sane person operates in objective reality!

Only correct thinking under the dominating influence of the Holy Spirit can bring
emotions under control rather than allowing them to control us! When we choose to go
under the control of the emotions we go into the control of the sin nature and we go into
emotional sin.


Consider these verses (let’s read these out loud together):

John 16:33 (NASB) "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have
peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."

John 16:33 (AMP) I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect]
peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and
frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I
have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered
it for you.]

1 Peter 1:6 (NKJV) In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be,
you have been grieved by various trials,
1 Peter 1:6 (NET1) This brings you great joy, although you may have to suffer for a
short time in various trials.

A biblical example of the application of James 1:2:

Hebrews 10:32-34

We learn from this several things about their trials: (1) the suffering was great – harsh,
terrible, a great and painful struggle, one of hardship and pain; (2) they were insulted
personally and publically – “At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and afflictions”
(NET1), “Sometimes being yourselves a gazingstock, publicly exposed to insults and
abuse and distress” (AMP), “Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were
beaten” (NLT) There is no doubt in my mind that some of these who attacked the
believers were unbelieving family members and friends – this attack was very real,
personal, and painful; (2) They willingly identified (or shared – the word “sympathy”
means “inner agony”) with others who were being so persecuted with the inevitable
result that they brought such abuse on themselves – they stood there ground with fellow
believers, “at other times you came to share with others who were treated in that way”
(NET1), “sometimes claiming fellowship and making common cause with others who
were so treated” (NLT); (3) they lost their personal possessions and, probably, this
includes even the houses in which they lived and the land they owned.

The writer tells us three things about their response to these varied and intense trials: (1)
they thought of others and did not allow their own challenges to dominate their thinking
and acting – they were not self-focused on the trial, (2) the expressed joy even with the
loss of everything they had worked for all their lives, and (3) they did this because they
knew something!

The Hebrews passage demonstrates an application of the principle given in James 1:2
as it related to persecution. How did they accept this trial “joyfully”? They knew
something (ginōskō)! They considered doctrine and applied it to a specific very
unpleasant pressure: the loss of material possessions which were taken from them by
force. This is doctrinal information made operational with the resulting transformation!

Hebrews 10:34 (AMP) For you did sympathize and suffer along with those who were
imprisoned, and you bore cheerfully the plundering of your belongings and the
confiscation of your property, in the knowledge and consciousness that you yourselves
had a better and lasting possession.

What doctrine did they know beloved? At a minimum, the doctrines of:

       The trustworthiness of God and His Word (John 17:17)
       That such pressure was to be expected (John 16:33 – “tribulation” = pressure)
       The attitude under pressure was to be one of joy, confidence, and courage
       (Matthew 5:10-12 and John 16:33)
       The importance of personal faithfulness (endurance) while under pressure
       (Proverbs 24:10; Matthew 25;14-30)

       The doctrines of heaven and the eternal state (see Hebrews 11:13-16)
       The doctrine of rewards and inheritance (“a better possession” see Matthew

       16:24-27; Romans 8:17-18)
       The doctrine of the stability of eternity (“a lasting one” see Matthew 6:19-24)
Because they had correct doctrine in their souls they could come to the correct
conclusion about this high pressure situation with the resulting inner experience of joy!
Doctrine in the soul works! These believers had advanced to spiritual maturity and
therefore could handle the pressure – even intense pressure – when it came. In addition,
they could be of help to others who were also undergoing pressure (see 2 Corinthians

Rejoicing in suffering is also seen in Acts 5:

Acts 5:40-42 (NASB) 40 They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they
flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released
them. 41 So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they
had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And every day, in the
temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the

If they could rejoice under such pressure then so can you and I – if only we will learn to
handle adversity testing correctly! This doctrine of “joy while in pressure” is no “pie-in-
the-sky” kind of unreal teaching. IT WORKS IN THE REAL WORLD!

People often think and say something like this: “I can’t help how I feel about this or that.”

       Based on what you have learned so far, how might you help (encourage) another
       believer in this issue of emotional responses to various “trials”? Refer to one or
       more Scriptures:




       Often when we are under personal pressure (trials, suffering) we are a “chatter-
       box” about our own problems and do not reach out to render aid and comfort to
       others. Usually this is because we feel that our trouble is more intense than
       someone else’s trouble and our conversations are focused on our problems.
       Based on what you have learned so far, what would be your biblical
       encouragement to such a self-focused person? Refer to one or more Scriptures:




What are we to “consider” our various trials? JOY!

James 1:2 (NASB) Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials
“all joy”: wholly joy, total joy, nothing but joy, great joy, supreme joy, pure joy, joy to the
highest, “all conceivable joy – a matter on all hands joyful” (Alford). As Hodges notes,
there is nothing “partial or insufficient” about this joy (p.18). WOW!

A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament: ”’Whole joy,’ ‘unmixed joy,’ as in
Phil.2:29. Not just ‘some joy’ along with much grief” (Vol. vi, p.11).

Wuest: “Unadulterated joy [without any mixture of sorrow]” (his N.T. Translation).

Hodges: “How unnatural this is to the human heart is obvious. We usually greet troubles
with distress and complaining!” (pp. 18-19).

  Or we hit the                                 button!

What is James saying to us? “Put the facts of Bible Doctrine in your soul together with
the facts of the situation and you can conclude it is total joy.” If we have
not yet learned the inner joy of living by doctrine then we will struggle to
operate in it during times of increased pressure. This is absolutely not
“positive thinking,” or any other such mind games that a person can

The only way to have mental and emotional stability in the pressures of
life is to have the facts of doctrine meet the facts of pressure while under the power of
the Holy Spirit! The result is success in the spiritual life; the result is spiritual maturity;
the eternal result is rewards.

It takes such stability for one to think clearly in times of pressure.

The same “count it all joy” principle was spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ:

Matthew 5:10-12 (NASB) 10 "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake
of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when people
insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
   "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they
persecuted the prophets who were before you.

“Blessed” means a fundamental satisfaction that is not based on circumstances; it is an
inner mental and emotional peace based on the Truth (doctrine) that is known and
accepted. It is to be satisfied with God and to be contented with that.

“Rejoice and be glad” He said. WHY??? Because you know something. What do you

know? “for your _____________ in ______________ is ____________”

Compare this back to the Hebrews 10:34 passage above and James 1:12.
What principle can you learn from this about how to handle adversity? Write it out in your
own words:



Do you believe this? Do you accept this as true for you in your situation?

Before we go on, just ponder this verse. What insight can you gain from this verse
in light of our discussion so far?

Nehemiah 8:10 (NASB)… Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."

Nehemiah 8:10 (AMP)… And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is
your strength and stronghold.


James 1:2 (NASB) Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,

“My brethren”: obviously writing to believers, those who have received eternal life.
Believers are not exempt from serious afflictions and challenges in life.

An important note:
Play close attention to the text: it never says, “If you simply have enough faith you will
not have problems, illness, adversity, or poverty.” James writes to believers and tells
them how to go through the various pressures – including these - in active faith.

Beloved, do not be deceived by those who twist the meaning of faith and twist the Bible
to mean that you can have “health and wealth” if you just exercise enough faith or say
the right words (the so-called “word-faith” movement), or that God does not want you to
experience poverty, and illness, or to be in difficult situations with people, circumstances,
things, or events. James 1 – and many, many other Scriptures – demonstrate those
“ministers” to be false teachers and deceivers (2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 2 Peter 2:1).

‘When”: not if; “Whenever.” Troubles will come but you do not know when they will
come. At any moment in time you can unexpectedly and suddenly drop into trouble; it
can be compared to a sudden and unexpected attack. You cannot escape the pressures
of life even those which are related to adversity and suffering.

These trials are under the sovereignty of God and always sent or allowed for His glory
and our good – always.
“Encounter”: “fall,” “to fall around,” “to fall among,”
“to fall into,” “enveloped in,” “to surround.” The idea
is not just like running into a wall, but, rather,
dropping into a hole of water that surrounds or
envelopes you. “It is a picture of being surrounded
(peri) by trials” (A. T. Robertson, p.11).

                     “Various”: “Manifold,” “many colored,” “of many kinds,”
                     “variegated,” “all sorts of,” a great diversity, many different kinds of
                     pressure; pressures that last many different lengths of time.
                     Pressures felt at different levels of intensity. This sums up anything
                     that puts pressure on us and does not refer to specific to any
                     specific type of pressure.

                      “Many colored”: Beloved, have you recognized yet that it is God
that is adding this “color” to you life and that it is good? Do you consider it all joy”? What
is one thing with which you are struggling right now, a place you need to adjust your
thinking to the divine viewpoint? (No discussion)


“Trials”: testing done to determine the quality of something or to prove that it is real; a
test of spiritual staying power (endurance); in this case, a test done by God to give the
believer an opportunity to move from one level of character development to a higher one
(see v.3). Such trials should further develop our faith (trust) in God and His Word. Trials
give opportunity for the greater purification of the believer’s character.

Prove to whom that our biblically-based faith is real?

       Ourselves – it really works when lived out
       Others – we become a witness for the truth of His Word and His faithfulness
       Angels – in the Angelic Conflict we become witnesses for God that He is true
       and that living under His authority in dependence brings the only real satisfaction

Dr Tom Constable, of Dallas Theological Seminary, gives this excellent commentary on
this passage:

       What kinds of trials was James talking about? Did he mean troubles such as
       running out of money, or failing a test in school, or having to stay up all night with
       a sick child: everyday troubles? Yes. The Greek word translated "trials"
       (peirasmois) means a "proving," specifically "the trial of a man's fidelity, integrity,
       virtue, constancy . . . also an enticement to sin, temptation." Various temptations
       to depart from the will of God are in view. The context supports this conclusion.
       Verse 3 restates these trials as "the testing of your faith." James was speaking of
       the different kinds of trials in which we experience temptation to accompany

       sinners rather than remaining faithful to the Savior. He was not distinguishing
       between internal and external temptations. Trials come from both sources (cf. v.

       14). Any trial can constitute a test of our faith, namely, a temptation to cease
       trusting and obeying God.
       "Trials rightly faced are harmless, but wrongly met become temptations to

James 1:3 (NASB) knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

“knowing”: Here is the critical explanation of the word “consider” in the previous verse.
How can you consider trials as “all joy”? Because you know something! What do you
know? Bible Doctrine, especially that in regard to Christian character development and
God’s purposes in such testing. When this information is tested, the information will
become operation (if one lets it happen) and you will know by experience that your faith

“that the testing of your faith”: Hodges (p.19):

       We suggest the meaning, “your quality proven faith,” i.e., “your unalloyed [pure]
       faith.” James is referring to the way trial and testing apply “fire” to our faith, so
       that it can come through the “furnace” of trouble cleansed of any dross or
       impurity from the flesh. Like gold that has been refined, faith can be purified from
       the selfish motives and misguided perceptions that often distort and weaken it.
       God can use trouble to accomplish just that.

It means “testing for the purpose of approval.” It says our “faith” is tested. What “faith” is
being tested for approval? It is that Bible Doctrine the believer has learned and is thus
useable by the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. No doctrine, no passing the test, no
approval! But also one may learn doctrine intellectually but fail to allow the Spirit to make
it operational in life. The result is the same: no passing the test and no approval.

Testing, then, discovers how much information we have and how much this is made
operational in our lives; it demonstrates the quality of our application of knowledge. It
shows us where we need to grow and advance so that we can experience His plan for
our lives. Doctrine has to be useful in our lives before God can use us to accomplish His
purposes in us and through us.

There is a purpose in testing: that of spiritual refinement or development:

Job 23:10 (NASB) "But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come
forth as gold.

Isaiah 48:10 (NASB) "Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in
the furnace of affliction.

1 Peter 1:6-7 (NASB) 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if
necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith,
being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be
found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

“the proof of your faith”: that which demonstrates the genuineness of your faith – that

body of doctrine you have learned and believed. This is the process of the refining our

faith. Such living out of Truth will stand approved at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This
spiritual “gold faith”, Peter says, is more precious than any material gold found in this

Kenneth Wuest gives us this Greek expanded translation of 1 Peter 1:6-7:

       In which last season you are to be constantly rejoicing with a joy that expresses
       itself in a triumphant exuberance, although for a little while at the present time if
       perchance there is a need for it, you have been made sorrowful in the midst of
       your faith, which faith was examined by testing for the purpose of being
       approved, that approval being much more precious than the approval of gold that
       perishes, even though that gold be approved by fire-testing, may be discovered
       after scrutiny to result in praise and glory and honor at the time of the revelation
       of Jesus Christ.”

James 1:3 (NASB) knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

James 1:3 (AMP) Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith
bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.

James 1:3 (NLT) For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a
chance to grow.

James says such testing “produces [or works] endurance.” Theime explains that this is
“something on the inside working out with the result that something is accomplished or
achieved.” What is working out into real life is Bible Doctrine.

G.C. James lectures: “The inner reality becomes greater than the outer reality.”

When one learns doctrine while in Bible class under the right Pastor-teacher (primary)
and on one’s own (secondary), then one has to accept that doctrine is true for life. We
affirm to ourselves that this is true. But now a test will come. As one is tested it confirms
that this doctrine has become a living reality in our soul – what is on the inside is working
out to the externals of daily challenges.

The Greek grammar shows that as the testing occurs it continuously and repeatedly
produces something. Every test keeps moving the believer who responds to it correctly
to ever higher levels of spiritual development. It just keeps on “producing.”

This is what testing “produces”: increasing confidence in the Word of God and the God
of the Word! Or, if you will, “endurance” or “perseverance.” It is sometimes translated

Endurance is the ability to hold up in spiritual strength and remaining faithful while going
through pressure. Endurance is persevering throughout life doing the will of God and not
rejecting faithfulness to God and His Word. Endurance is “active staying power” (A.F.
James, p.219) even when – or especially when – the pressure to give up and give in
tempt us to stop the race.

Endurance does not give in to the temptation to operate independent of God but rather

to maintain faithfulness even under the force of various pressures to go outside the will
of God. Endurance continues to “trust and obey” as the old hymn says.
                             Testing is God’s spiritual strength training program! When
                             the believer is in fellowship with the Holy Spirit and
                             responding correctly then all testing will spiritually advance
                             the believer.

                             Why should a believer care about endurance? Why not just
                             give into the flesh, handle life on our own terms, and express
                             whatever attitude we want? Why not live like an unbeliever
                             who just seeks happiness in the here-and-now? Why not
                             gripe and complain about all the “troubles I’ve seen”?

One must have endurance or perseverance to (1) be a fully developed and mature
believer who will be (2) rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ. First, the mature
Christian aspect:

James 1:4 (NASB) And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect
and complete, lacking in nothing.

“and let”: once again this is a direct command addressed to the person’s volition. The
believer must keep on allowing this process of spiritual development to go on and do not
get impatient. In other words: submit to the will of God in this matter of trials!

I like what Gene Cunningham states: “How amazing it is that the God of the universe
stands by waiting for us to give Him permission to work in our lives. It is worth pointing
out that Isa. 30:18 comes before Isa. 40:31! God waits to bless us until we wait on Him.”

Z.H., James (pp. 19-20)

       When James urges his readers to allow “endurance” (patience, NKJV) to have its
       perfect work, he means that we should allow the Lord to accomplish a compete
       work of endurance within them. Too often we are so eager to escape our
       difficulties that we seek mere relief from the trial, rather than to gain every
       possible spiritual benefit from it. If we say, “I cannot endure any more of this,”
       then God’s work of endurance within us is not perfect (Greek: telios, “complete”).
       We can always endure what God allows (1 Cor. 10:13).

God has a goal for our lives. And trials are His means to the goal. The Greek word telios
                            refers to a goal being accomplished or completed. To “carry
                            on the work to the end or completion” (A. T. Robertson). But
                            it is up to us to choose to cooperate with God so that He can
                            accomplish His goal in our lives!

                             God has a specific goal, an end result, or target that He
                             wants you to know about, a knowledge that will allow you to
                             see the purpose of the trial and thus to experience the joy.

                             The words “so that” point to the goal, the purpose of the trial,
the “perfect result” God seeks. God’s desire for you and I, beloved, is to be a spiritually

mature believer who has no spiritual lack: “so that you may be perfect and complete,

lacking in nothing.” He desires for us to have nothing less than a Christ-like character.
Z.H. James, p.20: “God is seeking the fully developed Christian person who (in the
popular phrase) ‘really has it together.’ Such a man or woman is prepared to cope with
life’s adversities in deep reliance upon the sufficiency and grace of God.”

“perfect”: a spiritually mature believer or a Christ-like believer. It does not mean
“sinless perfection.” It would mean one who is learning (information) and applying
(operation) Bible Doctrine so that he or she is well down the road to transformation. This
person has doctrinal stability as well as mental and emotional stability.

“complete”: “complete in all the parts” (A.T. Robertson) “whole, having all its parts,
sound, perfect” (Zodhiates) - one who is fully developed in all aspects of Christian
character; one who has all the spiritual equipment needed to be useful to the Lord in the
work of His service in this life.

Ephesians 4:11-15 (NASB) 11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets,
and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the
saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain
to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature [telios]
man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result,
we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by
every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but
speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head,
even Christ,

“lacking in nothing”: not missing anything that one needs to (1) be both useful and
used by the Lord in His service, and (2) ready to be rewarded at the Judgment Seat of
Christ including the right to rule and reign with Him.

Endurance results in reward and inheritance:

James 1:12 (NASB) Blessed is a man who perseveres [endures] under trial; for once
he has been approved [passed the test], he will receive the crown of life which the Lord
has promised to those who love Him.

2 Timothy 2:12 (NASB) If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He
also will deny us;

Revelation 3:21 (NASB) 'He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on
My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

Beloved, are you letting God “hit His target” in your life? How are you coming in the
development of endurance?

What is your area of weakness in the development of endurance? Where do you need to
gain spiritual strength?

Hebrews 12:12-13 (NASB) 12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the
knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is

lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.
God desires to bring healing in every area of weakness in our lives. Pray about your

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NASB) 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has
passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One
who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw
near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find
grace to help in time of need.

                                   A strong warning:

Hebrews 10:35-39 (NASB) 35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has
a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will
of God, you may receive what was promised. 37 For yet in a very little while, He who is
coming will come, and will not delay. 38 But my righteous one shall live by faith; And if he
shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of those who shrink back
to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

Arnold Fructenbaum says about “do not throw away your confidence”: “The Greek is
even stronger: ‘Do not therefore fling away, as though if had no value, the boldness you
once made your own.’”

Nelson Study Bible: “To cast away one’s confidence is to lose conviction about the value
of one’s Christian commitment. For the recipients of Hebrews to return to the safety of
Judaism would mean a loss of eternal reward at the judgment seat of Christ.”

What confidence or boldness? The confidence these people had at one time expressed
while under severe pressure (see above, Hebrews 10:32-34) that their commitment to
Christ was worth all costs. If they did not run with endurance, if they buckled under to the
pressure, and moved out of the will of the Lord they would lose their great rewards –
their abundantly generous and rich recompense for faithfulness - at the Judgment Seat
of Christ! This is receiving “what is promised” in verse 36 and it requires doing “the will of
God” with endurance – that is, staying faithful “over the long haul” of life. This receiving
the promised rewards requires the spiritual maturity that comes with endurance.

v.39: “shrinking back to destruction” refers not to a loss of eternal salvation but rather to
divine discipline in time with the resulting loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ. “The
‘preserving of the soul’ is a common term for the maintaining of physical life (it never
means ‘go to heaven when you die’). Instead of experiencing ‘destruction,’ they will live”
(Joseph Dillow, The Reign of the Servant Kings, p,337).

I believe that this “destruction” must be tied also to Matthew 25:14-30. The one who fails
the Lord will experience divine discipline in time and terrible loss of reward in eternity –
including the disinheritance of being denied the right to rule and reign with the Lord.

2 Timothy 2:12 (NASB) If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He

also will deny us;
A shorthand way of remembering the information about handling the pressures in
life from James 1:2-12:

   1. Proclamation: (command) James 1:2 (NASB) Consider it all joy, my brethren,
      when you encounter various trials,
   2. Principle: (what to know: trials have goal in time) James 1:3 (NASB) knowing that
      the testing of your faith produces endurance.
   3. Process: (God using trials / testing to accomplish a purpose: this requires our
      cooperation) James 1:4a (NASB) And let endurance have its perfect result
   4. Purpose: (spiritual maturity) James 1:4b (NASB) …so that you may be perfect
      and complete, lacking in nothing.
   5. Promise in time: (wisdom with mental and emotional stability) James 1:5-8
      (NASB) 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all
      generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in
      faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea,
      driven 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-minded man, unstable in all his
   6. Promise in eternity: (rewards) James 1:12 (NASB) Blessed is a man who
      perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown
      of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

(we have yet to cover points 5 and 6)

IN SUMMARY, KNOW THIS: God intends for the believer who goes into any trail
(pressure – stress) to come out spiritually stronger and more mature in the faith. He
intends that their understanding of doctrine as something that works effectively in their
life will be increased. The result? Personal transformation into spiritual maturity or

The method God often uses to accomplish His goal: trials, testing, pressure

The goal of God in our lives: transformation into Christlikeness

The result of such transformation in time: total joy

The result of such transformation in eternity: rewards, increased joy, reigning with Christ
in the Millennium, and special privileges throughout eternity.

Do you desire this outcome in time and eternity? Be honest because things may have to
change and it will be costly. Yes ____ no _____ not sure (which really is a no) ____

What are some things that need to change in your thinking and acting in order for God to
fully accomplish His goal in your life?



James 1:5-8: Trials bring discovery and opportunity

“If any of you lacks wisdom”: in the context, the wisdom to handle the stress correctly
so that it does not become distress; remember: distress is always out of God’s will for
you! Distress is the human viewpoint response to a trial. Distress interrupts the
development of endurance.

Wisdom is how to respond correctly to the pressure. It is how to apply Bible Doctrine that
has been learned to a specific detail in life, that is, a specific point of stress (pressure –
positive or negative); wisdom is how to make the right decisions in time in order to
endure and thus to maximize spiritual advancement; wisdom is needed to endure and
pass the test!

The request for wisdom could or would include such requests as these:

          What doctrine applies to this situation?
          What is the Divine Viewpoint on this pressure?
          What promises from Scripture can I remember and rely on?
          What does God desire me to learn about Him though this?
          What does God want me to learn about myself from this (both strengths and
           weaknesses; the trends of our sin nature)?
          How would trust in the Lord be best demonstrated to myself and others?
          Beginning with my thinking, what needs to be changed in me?

Thus is it can be seen that every trial (pressure, stress) is a time of discovery. What are
we discovering?

In what way can these same times be seen as spiritual opportunities?


Philippians 4:6-7 – How does the passage in James help us to understand these
verses in Philippians? It seems that most people these words from Philippians, “prayer
and supplication,” and “requests”” to mean we should be asking God to “fix our
circumstances.” When such circumstances do not improve or, perhaps, even seem to
get worse, people get discouraged in prayer and often feel God is not listening.

Look at Hebrews 4:14-16. The emphases here are on finding grace and help with our
weaknesses and need. Using these three scriptures how might you help someone who
says, “God is not answering my prayers?” (While this is not the complete answer to the
question, it is an excellent place to begin a discussion. Jot down a few ideas from these
passages that you could use to guide you):


How do you tend to respond when perceived negative pressure is on? _____________

Write down a “prayer for wisdom” about this issue: _____________________________



Has this teaching from Scripture changed you understanding about prayer especially in
times of trial? ________ If yes, in what way?

Just to remind yourself of the doctrine learned so far, fill in the blank below:

What is God’s goal for my life in time based on James 1:4? _______________________


Based on James 1:12, what is God’s goal for me in eternity? _____________________

How might this help me to understand Philippians 4:7?


                                      “Let him ask of God”: this is in the imperative –
                                      that is, it is a command. It is not a matter of
                                      option, although we can express our free will and
                                      refuse to obey. If we are not asking for God’s
                                      wisdom in all the pressure points of life, then two
                                      things become apparent:

                                         1. We are disobeying God’s direct command
                                            to us His children
                                         2. We are acting in arrogance and self-

                                      Where does this place us spiritually? Are we in
                                      fellowship (spiritual) or out of fellowship carnal)?
                                      ____________ What is the first thing we need to
                                      do even before we ask for wisdom?

“who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to
him”: Our God is a giving God. This freely giving to us is also called “grace.”

The question we need to answer is how does God give us His wisdom? Is it some
“lightening bolt from the sky”? Is it some vision? Do we hear some voice where we can

say, “God spoke to me”? Is it some feeling of inner “peace” about a decision?
Let’s consider the following verses:

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own
understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

“Trust in the Lord”: To know that it is true that God is absolutely trustworthy; we can be
confident in Him. The comparison is with the word “lean.” Which one will we be
confident in – God (His character) and His thoughts (His Word, the Bible) or ourselves
and our thoughts? “Heart” refers primarily to ones thinking, the mind. What are we
focused on – the Scriptures and the God of the Scriptures or our thoughts and feelings?

Be honest, which is guiding you?

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths”: “acknowledge
Him” means “to know Him.” Such knowing is based on the revealed Word of God – He is
Who He says He is and we can fully rely on Him. It requires a submission to His being
our Lord and not to doubt Him or His Word (as we will see James says). In other words,
it is a knowledge that makes a difference in the way we think and act.

The note in the NET Bible says this:

       16 tn Heb “know him.” The verb      (yadah, “to know”) includes mental
       awareness of who God is and the consequential submission to his lordship. To
       know him is to obey him. The sage is calling for a life of trust and obedience in
       which the disciple sees the LORD in every event and relies on him. To
       acknowledge the LORD in every event means trusting and obeying him for
       guidance in right conduct.
       NET Bible.

In the case of trials to “acknowledge Him” is to put into practice what He has revealed
about the nature and purpose of trials and our response of “joy.” The result is the
direction of our paths: this is spiritual wisdom.

Let’s use an example. Suppose there is too much month left at the end of the money.
What is a practical way we can “acknowledge Him” in this situation?



What would it look like to “lean on our own understanding”?



Ephesians 5:18 – filled does not mean “get more of the Holy Spirit.” We are to be filled

by the means of the Holy Spirit. First and foremost this means we must be in fellowship
(1 John 1:9) which puts us back under the authority of, or the dominating influence of,
the Holy Spirit. But what is the content of the filling?

Notice the results of the filling in verses 19-21. Now turn to the following similar passage:

Colossians 3:16 – The content of the filling is the Bible Doctrine here we are filled by
the means of the Word of Christ (which occurs only here in the Scriptures and can only
refer to the Bible) which we are to let (by our will) “dwell” in us “richly.” This is nothing
more or less than the steady learning and application of Bible Doctrine which the Holy
Spirit uses to build spiritual maturity in us along with the necessary endurance.

The dwelling of His Word in us is that His Word has a permanent and settles place in our
thinking and living. To “richly dwell” then would mean that an abundance of Bible
Doctrine is in your soul and guiding your daily life in all the details of life.

So then how is wisdom given to us by God?

    1. We have do the lifetime work of learning Bible Doctrine
    2. We have to maintain fellowship
    3. We have to seek God’s wisdom through prayer in the application of Bible
    4. We have to think Bible Doctrine
    5. We have to maintain our confidence in God and His Word, learning endurance

James 1:6 (NASB) But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who
doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.

“Ask”: keep on asking; make it a regular pattern of life.

“in faith without any doubting”: faith is to be convinced that something is true
(believe). This is simply taking God at His Word in reference to the trial that God will give
wisdom if we seek it. Will we believe the promise about wisdom that God has just made
which is “Who gives to all men generously and without reproach”?

“without doubting”: Zane Hodges on page 21 of our text says, “When one doubts he is
not believing. When one believes he is not doubting.”

Doubt questions the Truth of God as well as the God of Truth. Doubt does not trust.

“for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.”
Doubting creates mental instability in both thinking and in emotions. This spills over into
all aspects of life. Such instability will make a mess of everything in life but especially the
spiritual aspects. A lack of such stability also means we become susceptible to a false
understanding of Bible Doctrine because we will look for teachings that will support or
own thinking or experience rather than teach us the Truth of the Word.

Ephesians 4:11-15 (NASB) 11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets,
and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the
saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain

to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the
measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no

longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind
of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking
the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,

Paul emphasizes the mental and emotional stability that comes when doctrine is learned
(“the unity of the faith”) and lived out (“knowledge of the Son of God” means a knowing
by experience that doctrine works and through it learning of the rich personal
relationship we have with our Lord Jesus Christ).

God has promised every believer that you can learn His Word and be transformed by the
complete renovation of your mind from Human Viewpoint to Divine Viewpoint. Bible
Doctrine – learned and believed under the ministry of the Holy Spirit – will stabilize your
life in every aspect. God’s Word can bring anyone to the stability found in spiritual
maturity no matter what your past or what you may think your limitations are (such as
education, I.Q., or learning ability.

Do you believe this? Do you want this stability?

Why might a person NOT want this stability in life? _____________________________


Children are unstable in all their life because they have not matured. Children also
believe everything that is taught them because they do not know any better. So the
immature Christian is unstable in all aspects of their life including being vulnerable to
false teaching of every kind.

Experience-based Christianity thrives on individuals who are doctrinal children
and are, like children, seeking a various emotional (read: “spiritual”) experiences
rather than to do the hard work of learning Bible Doctrine. Experience-based
Christianity will always produce various forms and manifestations of instability in
the persons involved.

Paul, like James, emphasizes the fact that believes must press forward to spiritual
maturity no matter what may happen to us or how challenging is the journey to maturity.

James 1:7 – A spiritually immature man is “unstable in all his ways.”

“unstable”: unsettled, unsteady.

H.A. Ironside says this:

       A double-minded man is never sure of anything. He goes from one calling to
       another and from one line of service to another, like a bee or butterfly flitting from
       flower to flower, but is ever unsettled and fancies some other course might be
       better than the one he has taken. “The meek will He guide in judgment; the meek
       will he teach His ways” (Ps.25:9) Changeableness is an evidence of an
       unsubdued will and generally, too, of an inflated ego, which leads one to be

       occupied unduly with the importance of his own affairs. (James, p.15)
I have called these “bi-polar Christians.” “I believe God, I don’t believe God. I believe
God, I don’t believe God.” “I believe His Word, I don’t believe His Word.” This is the
most common of all: “His Word is true but doesn’t apply to this circumstance.”

“I’ll go to this church for a while and see if I like it; if not, I’ll just go somewhere else.”
Or perhaps when we feel stress we respond like a child who doesn’t get his or her own
way and think something to the effect of, “God, You just don’t love me” while at the same
time they would affirm the love of God for the world (e.g. John 3:16). They are unstable
and unsettled in their thinking.

The learning and application of Bible Doctrine brings stability to every aspect of one’s life
if the person desires it. But the person has to be willing to hold up (endure) the learning
and application of correct (sound, healthy) Bible Doctrine.

2 Timothy 4:1-4 (NASB) 1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ
Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with
great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound
doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves
teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth
and will turn aside to myths.

2 Timothy 4:1-4 (AMP) 1 I CHARGE [you] in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by (in the light of) His coming and His
kingdom: 2 Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at
hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable.
[Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as
preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And
convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them,
being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming
when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having
ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one
teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to
foster the errors they hold, 4 And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into
myths and man-made fictions.

These people are the perfect demonstration of the unstable believer: instead of getting
steady under the regular teaching of Bible Doctrine they simply turn away “from the
truth” and “turn aside to myths.” That is, they are actively rejecting biblical Truth because
it does not please them or fit their thinking (HVP) and instead they turn themselves out of
the path or course of Truth, avoiding the Truth, and accept “myths” or “fables.” These are
ideas formed by Human Viewpoint; ideas or teachings created by the mind of man (and
under demonic influence, directly or indirectly through the cosmic system).

While there may be a lot of human logic and philosophical reasoning, since it does not
submit itself to the Truth it is a falsehood or lie. By turning from Truth people end up
being deceived and made unstable. But the amazing thing is that this is what pleases

them! But it does not please God.

Only Truth – the wisdom of God - brings stability when it is believed and applied.
To better grasp the fullness of our not doubting God’s Word, we should take a short
journey into 1 Corinthians 1 and 2 to look at the wisdom of God compared to the wisdom
of man.

                      God's View of the Wisdom of Man

                                1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16

Divine viewpoint (DVP) is the thinking of God on any particular subject. Divine viewpoint
is also called Bible Doctrine which is the teaching of the Word of God on any particular
subject. It is the responsibility of every believer to advance in their understanding and
acceptance of Bible Doctrine in his or her thinking so that their viewpoint agrees with
God's viewpoint on every subject and situation. Human viewpoint (HVP) thinking is thus
eliminated. This is exactly what it means to be transformed (Romans 12:2; Ephesians

The Bible is the “mind of Christ,” the way God thinks on every subject (1 Corinthians
2:16). As we will see, God's wisdom – as seen in the Bible – exceeds all human thinking.

1 Corinthians 1:18 (NASB) For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are
perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18 (NET1) For the message about the cross is foolishness to those
who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18 (AMP) For the story and message of the cross is sheer absurdity
and folly to those who are perishing and on their way to perdition, but to us who are
being saved it is the [manifestation of] the power of God.

“Word” (logos) is the normal term used in Greek to refer to a spoken message. Paul
says that his focus is on the message of the cross, giving the exact meaning of the
words and the doctrine, in spite of the human viewpoint response. Alford writes: “that the
plainness and simplicity of Paul's speech had been one cause among the Corinthians of
alienation from him” (New Testament for English Readers). Isn't that amazing?

The carnal and baby believers (1 Corinthians 3:1-3) were excited about the human style
of various speakers (see 1:12 and 3:4) rather than the content of the message; like so
many today they found themselves attracted to the messenger rather than the message
(teaching) of doctrine. In this manner they were acting just like an unbeliever (“those who
are perishing” meaning “those in the path to destruction” - see A. T. Robertson, Word
Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. IV, p.77). They were not “being saved” (salvation,
phase two) from the domination of HVP thinking and acting; their minds were not being
renewed. As a result there was no real spiritual power, the power that God possesses
and shares with the believer who is positive toward doctrine.

What is the mental attitude toward the simple message of the cross, the message of

life,(and indeed all Bible Doctrine) to unbelievers in general?

“Foolishness” is their response; yet, in God's estimation, the wisdom of the world (HVP)
is foolishness (1:20; 3:18-19).
“Foolishness” (moria): folly, nonsense, absurd – this is the unbeliever's estimate of the
message of the cross. It goes contrary to the arrogance of human viewpoint which is
always very impressed with itself and its own ability to deserve eternal life rather than to
admit we must to have a substitute die for us so that by faith alone through grace alone
we can receive the free gift of eternal life.

The Corinthians wanted Paul to be a great and entertaining speaker; they wanted him to
use rationalism and logic in ways that would impress them. They wanted him to maybe
debate the teaching so that maybe they could come to some consensus of the truth
rather than Paul speaking with authority and simply declaring the Truth. In addition, the
people in the church at Corinth were also involved in the mysticism connected with the
Greek religion. They enjoyed the “feel-good” experiences that made them think they
were “spiritual” rather than to do the hard work of learning and applying Bible Doctrine.

1 Corinthians 1:19 (NASB) For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise , And
the cleverness of the clever I will set aside."

Though God's Word (the Wisdom of God) destroys human viewpoint thinking (“the
wisdom of the wise” - wise in their own estimation) now, this is a prophetic statement
about the coming day when the whole world will be filled with the knowledge of God –
His absolute Truth – and with that He will destroy all human systems of “knowledge” or
“wisdom” as they see it from human viewpoint (see Habakkuk 2:14).

1 Corinthians 1:20-21 (NASB) 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where
is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For
since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God,
God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those
who believe.

“Wise man”: the Greek professional philosophers, the ones considered so smart

“Scribe”: or scholar: a Jewish expert in the Law of Moses; also considered so smart.

'Debater”: one who speaks with great skill using human rationalism (so-called logic) to
show he is smart.

All these would proclaim, “I have the truth!” Yet, they did not have God's Truth, they did
not know Him. In the divine viewpoint such human viewpoint was and is “foolishness.”

God's viewpoint is the fundamental basis for all reality in the created universe. By asking
“where is...?” three times over Paul emphasizes that all human viewpoint is an illusion –
it is not reality. The real issues of life are spiritual issues which can only be learned by
believers who are filled with the spirit and advancing in their understanding and
application of Bible Doctrine.

This also points out that any and every believer is an equal-opportunity learner! The

Spirit of God using the Word of God can make the content clear to every believer
regardless of education, I.Q., or social background. Every believer can be wise with the
wisdom of God – just as James has said!

1 Corinthians 1:22-25 (NASB) 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for
wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles
foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power
of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men,
and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

“foolishness of God,” “weakness of God”: this is a anthropomorphism. Dean gives this
helpful definition: it is “expressing things in human form” it is done “to communicate
principles about God in human form to accommodate man's limited frame of reference”
(James lesson #011

By the way, an anthropopathism is an expression about God's emotions expressed in
human terms (like God feeling sorry in Genesis 6:6). By thinking of God in these kinds of
terms it helps us to understand Him more. God is not foolish in any manner nor is He
weak; but Paul is saying that if He did have aspects of humanity about Him it would far
outstrip anything in wisdom and strength that man could create.

Real wisdom is only found in God; we discover it in His Word.

1 Corinthians 1:26-28 (NASB) 26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not
many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has
chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak
things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the
world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify
the things that are,

Why is this? Because arrogant people, those wise in their own estimation, put their
confidence in themselves, in their mind and / or experiences. This is the very heart of the
attitude of Satan and the angelic conflict; this is the very heart of man's first rebellion. To
be self-sufficient is the expression of the arrogance of Satan, demons, and rebellious
man alike.

“Base things”: insignificant or inferior in the thinking of the world around the believer.

The believer in Jesus Christ may be seen by the world's way of thinking to be foolish and
weak. But it is this very believer is the one through whom God uses to bring to nothing
man's arrogant “wisdom.” Why is this so?

1 Corinthians 1:29-31 (NASB) 29 so that no man may boast before God. 30 But by His
doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness
and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, "Let him who boasts ,
boast in the Lord."

Divine viewpoint puts all the sufficiency we need in the Lord Jesus Christ not ourselves.

This applies to both phase one salvation and phase two salvation. Where do we

discover that sufficient Truth? In the Word of God, the Bible.
1 Corinthians 2:1-2 (NASB) 1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with
superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I
determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

Paul practiced the proper method of simply explaining the Scriptures with authority,
proclaiming the Truth of the Word. He did not get involved in various things that would
distract him from this straight forward teaching methodology.

1 Corinthians 2:3-5 (NASB) 3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much
trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of
wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not
rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

Why did not Paul use the great “wisdom” of the Greeks and speak with eloquence in
their rhetorical style and flourish? It is what they wanted – so why not use it? Wouldn't he
have better acceptance and, as a result, better attendance? “Don't you want to increase
your following, Paul, and 'reach' more people?” “If people find the message to be a
stumbling block and foolishness, why not just accommodate the message to them so
that it is not perceived this way?”

Many have followed this path in today's world of the “church,” so-called. In the church-
growth movement we are told that we have to be “seeker-sensitive,” and “purpose-
driven,” and “emergent” to reach people. But reach them for what? What message is
being delivered?

v.5 “so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God”
note the purpose clause; it gives us the reason for this approach of Paul.

Paul knew this: The more one works to make the message attractive to unbelievers, the
more the saving Truth of the Message of Life will be lost. Paul wanted people to rest
their confidence in Christ alone for aspects of their salvation. Like Paul, here at this
church “we preach Christ crucified” with no apologies!

1 Corinthians 2:6 (NASB) Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a
wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away;

the “wisdom” here is, of course, the divine viewpoint of Bible Doctrine. Notice it is the
mature (and maturing) believer who appreciates true wisdom; they are the ones who
desire it. The goal of our church is always to speak (teach) the Word of God alone, for
that is the wisdom of God. A person who rejects that demonstrates by their rejection that
they are immature and carnal.

1 Corinthians 2:7 (NASB) but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom
which God predestined before the ages to our glory;

“mystery”: a New Testament truth not revealed in the Old Testament. It is not a human

discovery but, rather, it is from divine revelation. What is this wisdom?
1 Corinthians 2:8 (NASB) the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has
understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;

In this case, the wisdom is the truth about Who Jesus is and What He did on the cross.
They failed to understand God's plan about the Messiah so they crucified Him. They
failed because they relied on human wisdom rather than receiving the wisdom of God
about Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (NASB) 9 but just as it is written, "Things which eye has not seen
and ear has not heard , And which have not entered the heart of man , All that God has
prepared for those who love Him." 10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for
the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

“The depths of God” is everything in the mind of God that He wants us to know – this is
all found in the Word of God and is never beyond the Word of God. The teaching of the
Word, Bible Doctrine, is the “mind of Christ” (2:16) (See Romans 11:33). This is the
depth of the wisdom of God that exceeds anything man can think in human viewpoint.

1 Corinthians 2:11-16 (NASB) 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man
except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows
except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the
Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13
which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught
by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. 14 But a natural man does
not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot
understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual
appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For Who has known the
mind of the Lord , that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

v.11: just as the human spirit in a man knows the man's thought processes so the Holy
Spirit reveals the mind of Christ (see v.16).

v.12-13: the “spirit (Gk.: pneuma) of the world” is the thought and attitude of the Satanic
Cosmic System in which we live. “So that” (purpose clause): we have received the Holy
Spirit and He has been given to teach us the Word of God. As we do the work of study
and learning and maintain fellowship, the Holy Spirit gives us both understanding of the
text (making it clear) and how it is to be applied in the various details of life; the more
you study the more you will learn and know. Part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit to us is
His teaching ministry to us.

v.14: the “natural man” is the unbeliever. He has no human spirit because he has not
received eternal life: he is still spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1). Spiritually dead people
cannot understand the Scriptures. “They are spiritually appraised” simply means that the
things from the Spirit (Bible Doctrine) must be evaluated spiritually by those who are

v.15-16; the believer has a human spirit and if that believer in is fellowship though the

application of 1 John 1:9, then he is “spiritual.” The “mind of Christ” is the Bible.
James 1:9-11

James is now going to give a brief example of what he has taught so far. In reality,
everything else in the book of James is an exposition of James 1:2 – it tells us how to
keep this command in the details of daily life.

James has told us of the value of seeking the Divine Viewpoint – God's wisdom. We took
a short journey into 1 Corinthians 1 and 2 to see how valueless is human viewpoint. In
these verses James looks at two aspects of the many details of life – the issue of
material poverty and material abundance. Money is only one of the many issues in life
but, since it people make it such a critical part of life, the use of money as an example is
easy to understand.

However, the topic could be almost any issue. While money – or the lack of it – can be
something that distracts us from the spiritual issues of life, it could be anything. What
ever distracts us from seeing the world through the divine viewpoint is destructive to our
spiritual life which is the only thing that really matters in life.

                         Whatever distracts us destroys us!
                               Stress is inevitable.
                               Distress is optional!

                        Adversity testing and prosperity testing

James has just talked about the danger of not operating in Divine Viewpoint (wisdom): it
leads one to instability in mental, emotion, and spiritual life (verses 6-8). A doubter is one
who is not trusting in God's Word or who tries to apply human viewpoint along with
Divine Viewpoint. It is never the Bible (Doctrine) + human viewpoint. That is a doubter!

Now he is going to point out that both adversity testing and prosperity testing can used
by God in our lives to develop us spiritually. Both can and do put “pressure” (stress) on
our thinking and acting; how we respond is the issue. So James is going to give a
warning: do not get distracted from the real issues in life! He is going to show us what
can create double-mindedness (v.8). Let's read the verse in the translation of the Greek
scholar Kenneth Wuest to help clarify the meaning:

James 1:9 (WuestNT) Moreover, let the brother who is in lowly circumstances be
glorying in his exalted position. But the one who is wealthy, let him be glorying in his
humiliation, because as the flower of the grass he shall come to an end; for the sun
arises with its scorching heat and the grass withers and its flower falls off and the beauty
of its appearance is destroyed. So shall also the wealthy person fade away together with
his undertakings.

First, notice once again he is writing to a “brother.” (adelphos 80). The word indicates a

member of the church, one in the true body of Christ, a fellow believer, a fellow member
of the family of God, a born-again believer who has received the free gift of eternal life.

{Any questions as to who this is??????}
Do not forget that believers can and do become double-minded! Just because a person
has received eternal life and is indwelt by the Holy Spirit does not mean in any way a
change in the old sin nature; nor does it automatically limit it in any manner. The power
of the sin nature is in no way reduced in the believer; the believer can act just like an
unbeliever in every aspect including how they handle the stress that is found in the
details of life.

Because people are afraid of grace they either go toward so-called”lordship salvation” or
“front-loading” the Gospel (which is no salvation at all being a false gospel). In this idea
one has to make Jesus “Lord of all” in order to be “really saved.”

Some teach “inevitable results” which is simply a modified lordship salvation that is
brought in after a person believes. This has been referred to as “back-loading” the

The one who believes in inevitable results may present the Message of Life clearly:
eternal life is received by faith alone. However, they confuse the issue by saying, in
effect, “But if you're really saved you will not do some things and you will do other
things.” If a person is honest – especially about mental attitude sins – then this approach
destroys eternal security and it destroys our understanding of both the sin nature and
God's grace.

The main issue with both of these approaches to the gospel is that they end up with
some variation of works oriented “look-to-myself-to-see-if-I'm-saved” salvation. Do not
ever confuse the issues of phase one salvation with those of phase two – the spiritual
life! I know I have eternal life because Jesus promised gave it to me when I believed in
Him for that life. Issue closed.

Galatians 5:16-17

Notice it does not say that “if you are really saved the Holy Spirit will automatically
control or restrict your sin nature (the lust, or powerful desires) of the flesh.” Nor does it
say the lifestyle results are guaranteed. The requirement of verse 16 is that the believer
choose to live out his or her life by the means of the Holy Spirit. But the reality is that
there is the opportunity for contrary choice! As a matter of fact, the contrary choice is to
attempt to live the Christian life according to the “rules” or the law of verse 8:

Galatians 5:18

These verses strike at the heart of the “inevitable results” crowd. Living by the rules is
exactly what these teachers promote as evidence of phase one salvation. This must
remind us once again that James is writing to believers. He is writing to help believer
learn to handle the details of life properly. The issue in the book of James never is phase
one salvation. Over and over he refers to the ones to whom he is writing as brothers in
Christ without ever doubting that they are such born-again people. This includes the
“dead faith” faith believer of 2:17 and 26, by the way!
Back to our text in James 1:9-11 Notice also the words “But let”: carrying the force of a
command to the person's will – he has a choice to make: “Will I or will I not obey this?”

In our text Zane Hodges reminds us (p.22): “James now returns to the leading theme of
his prologue, namely, the proper attitude toward various trials (vv. 2-3). The proper
attitude is joy, since God uses trials to bring about our spiritual maturity....the leading
idea of the passage (is) 'accept trials in the proper way.'”

The first person James mentions is “the brother of humble circumstances.” “Humble” is
the Greek word is tapeinos (5011): humility, lowly position “in outward condition” (A.T.
Robertson), “ poor and afflicted, as contrasted with rich” (Vincent). A social lowliness
(Dean). “Face in the dust” (Cunningham). “By lowly brother James probably means a
'poor brother,' since he is contrasted with 'the rich' [brother] in v.10” (Hodges).

Robertson adds: “Already the rich and the poor in the churches had their occasions for
jealousies” (A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol, VI, p.15).

What is this economically poor person of low social standing to do about this long and
perhaps lifetime trial? He is to apply James 1:2! He is to “glory” (NASB) in his situation,

The word translated “glory” is the Greek word kauchaomai (2744) meaning “boast, take
pride in, glory, or rejoice. The Greek grammar form is the present active imperative:
present “start doing something and keep doing it in the future,” active “you are the one
who must do this,” imperative, “do it!” a command.

The best handling of the word “glory” is to understand it as “rejoice” thus fulfilling the
command of v.2; but the rejoicing has a focus about which the brother should experience
a real sense of spiritual “pride.” That is, the brother is to know and accept the reality of
something as the means to handle the stress so that it does not become distress and sin
but instead produces rejoicing (joy: inner peace, satisfaction, stability)


       Does not a Christian of low estate in life have enough problems just by virtue of
       his status? How can such a brother calmly, indeed joyfully, accept the additional
       trials which often befall him, especially those arising from the very fact of his
       being a Christian? Jame's solution is simple: That brother should consider his
       trials a form of exaltation!

Exaltation is the Greek word hupsos (5311): It means, “high, aloft, height, elevation.”
(Zodhiates). As a figure of speech it can mean to be exalted or lifted up to a high place

Exaltation in what? Hodges gives us this as the beginning of our understanding:

       Two reasons are suggested from the immediate context. First, God is paying

       attention to the lowly brother by using trials to make him a better person (vv.3-4).
       There is no higher honor that to be the object of God's gracious and loving
       concern. Equally, God is preparing to bestow on this brother the crown of life
       which comes to those who endure testing (v.12...). That too is an exaltation. Thus
       the lowly brother's exaltation is both present (in the trial itself) and prospective (in
       the trial's outcome). This, then, should be the poor person's perspective on

Is this not exactly Paul's perspective on his painful “thorn in the flesh”?:

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

The thorn in the flesh was most likely a serious and irritating physical ailment of some
kind (eye problems? See Galatians 4:15). Pay particular attention to verses 9-10. Here is
the same kind of “boasting” (it is the same Greek word) to which James refers: a spiritual
sense of honor that God is working in me this way – He is paying close attention to me.

It is as if Paul is saying, “My physical illness, with all its irritations and limitations, is
evidence of God's love and care for me; through this I am experiencing Christ's
strength!” And look at the inner mental satisfaction and emotional stability that comes
with accepting this Truth: “I am well content”! Paul knew exactly what it meant to “count it
all joy” and to “glory” or rejoice “in his high position” (James 1:9) in Christ.

We see this settled conviction of Paul in another letter: Philippians 4:10-13

Just let this truth sink in: the same God that loved and developed Paul is the same God
who loves and desires to develop you. Whether or not God achieves His purpose in time
depends on your response to the various trials!

Remember what we said back on page 11 of this study?

                              Growing up is hard to do!

None of this is automatic. It takes learning Bible Doctrine, it takes handling the Word
correctly, it takes staying in fellowship with the Holy Spirit (1 John 1:9) and it takes time
to move into spiritual maturity. Right thinking leads to right decisions and right action.
Every positive decision to apply Bible Doctrine helps a believer to make more right
decisions. Obviously the reverse is also true.

We will learn that it is only by testing – overcoming obstacles – that the believer will
experience growth in spiritual strength. Testing comes from God’s love and grace to
you. But you have to remember these to win:

                               Stick and stay and make it pay!

                         Anybody can quit but winners always stick!

Back to the man in James 1:9: even though this man has little in the details of life he
can rejoice in this because it demonstrates God's activity in his life.
We can further consider who we are in Christ from three other passages that show a
little more of our wealth and high standing in Christ as a believer:

Galatians 4:5-7: we are the adopted adult sons of God with all the rights and
responsibilities attached to this position; we have the Son of God and the Holy Spirit
indwelling us and praying with us and for us (Romans 8:15-16); as children of God we
are in a Royal Family – we are spiritual aristocracy; we are heirs of God with all the
promises for both time and eternity though faith alone in Christ alone - our salvation
phase one .

Romans 8:16-17: again, we are in the Royal Family of God and adopted sons; the Holy
Spirit guarantees our eternal life by testifying with our human spirit to God the father that
we are His children; and we have the potential to be in the high position of “joint-heirs
with Christ” if we are “led by the Spirit” (v.14) who leads us into spiritual maturity through
application of Bible Doctrine. Such advancing people who are being transformed into
being like Christ will suffer in various ways.

The brother in James 1 is suffering with a positive orientation to Bible Doctrine and as a
result can experience the very joy the Lord desires for us to experience in time and,
eventually, in eternity with a rewarded life.

1 Peter 2:9 we are a Royal Priesthood – this is part of who we are positionally in Christ;
this is part of our new identity. We will function in this capacity, as part of our ruling with
him, if we develop spiritually as God desires.

How about this for an exalted position:

Ephesians 2:4-7 We have already been spiritually exalted and seated with Christ in
heaven. What a position!

How do you rejoice in your exaltation during trials? Know who you are in Christ and all
the wealth He has given us spiritually, and that He is working even now – in this and
every situation – to prepare you for the abundance He has planned for your future!

Do you know this? How can you tell if you know this? How do you respond to trials –
especially adversity testing? Has all this become a settled conviction in your life? Has
this knowledge become a part of your soul so that it is changing the way you think about

Here is part of a poem in the book James by Lehman Strauss (p.25):
                          A tent or a cottage, why should I care?
                       They're building a palace for me over there
                        Tho' exiled from home, yet, still I may sing
                          All glory to God, I'm a child of the King

                                    I'm a child of the King,

                                       A child of the King
                                    With Jesus my Savior

                                     I'm a child of the King
James 1:10

The “rich” person referred to here is also a brother in Christ. This is simply a believer
who has much in the material aspects of life.

The Bible does not exalt poverty as being a more spiritual thing than riches; it neither
praises poverty nor degrades wealth. However, it does warn of the great challenge a
rich person faces spiritually because they tend to trust in themselves: their abilities which
accumulated the riches and the riches themselves as things upon which they rely to
handle times of trial.

This sort of thinking fails to glorify God in life and it creates failure at the Judgment Seat
of Christ. Self-reliance and material-reliance are dangerous to the spiritual life because
they both come from human viewpoint. By now we should recognize that human
viewpoint is nothing in the eyes of the Lord and it will ruin our lives as believers.

But also, we have to remember this formula: doctrine + human viewpoint = nothing! This
is by far the greatest danger for a believer. We try to be “syncretistic”: that is, we try to
blend Divine Viewpoint with human viewpoint and that is still a big fat zero in the eyes of
God. That still is operating from human arrogance! It takes abundant Bible Doctrine in
the soul to eliminate the waste of human viewpoint (arrogance).

Failure to trust in God’s Word alone makes a person a doubter which is a mental attitude
sin and it means one is operating in human arrogance.

Zane Hodges (p.23):

        The wealthy Christian brother should glory (also implied from v9) in his personal
        trials as a form of humiliation. Like all people with abundant material wealth, the
        wealthy Christian can easily forget that as a flower of the field he will pass away.

The more one has accumulated the more a person tends to rely on money and not a
faith-rest in the Lord and His Word. This misplaced trust is nothing more than human
viewpoint arrogance; this is the way the world thinks! The vast majority of people,
operating in human viewpoint, would say that most all problems are solved by:

    1. Human ingenuity and hard work, and
    2. More money

The money issue is simply one of the things in the manifold details of life that can
distract us from the real spiritual issues in life of learning and living Bible Doctrine.

Remember that the person writing this book of James is the half-brother of our Lord
Jesus Christ. Jesus and James grew up in a home that experienced great poverty. In
another book by Zane Hodges entitled The Hungry Inherit (pp.105-106), he writes about
James and brings us into his world:

        In later years, after he came to believe in Jesus, James had often pondered the
        astounding reality that the Son of God had left the undimmed splendor of heaven

        to live in a home like that. How well He might have chosen some richer dwelling
        – a royal palace, had He so desired – but instead he had chosen James’ home
       with all its material lacks and needs, and there He had been content to grow up.
       What a comment that was, James could not help but think, upon the low esteem
       in which God held the wealth of earth. How clearly it suggested that whatever
       might be truly riches in the eyes of the heavenly Father, they were not the riches
       of this age.

Matthew 6:19-21

What is the point in this passage? “A man lives for what is truly valuable to him”
(Hodges, The Hungry Inherit, p.106). He goes on to state (p.106-107):

       If, therefore, the things he valued most were those he could store up in this life,
       he lived for them. But if his most treasured hopes were such as could only be
       realized only in an age to come, he would fix his heart on that unseen world and
       live for it. But it took faith to reject the former kind of riches and to prefer the
       latter. For the riches of earth were visible, tangible, and accessible in the here
       and now, while those of heaven were presently unseen and unexperienced.
       From the very first, therefore, James had sensed that to become a man of wealth
       in the kingdom of God required much faith, for it required the capacity to grasp
       the realities of a future world and to set one’s heart on them unswervingly.

       This, of course, was much more than the faith by which men appropriated God’s
       gift of life eternal. For that, a single moment of simple, childlike trust was all that
       God required….But far more than a moment of faith was required if one were
       determined to lay up treasures in heaven, while rejecting the allurements of the
       treasures of earth. To make a choice like that, and to maintain that choice to the
       end of life, clearly required a faith that was both robust and very abundant. Thus,
       as James came eventually to perceive, the wealth of that future age would
       surely belong to those who possessed a wealth of faith right here and now.

What is truly valuable to you? What are you living for? What are the things and issues in
the details of your life that tend to distract you from learning and living Bible Doctrine?
What keeps you from Bible class, service in the church, or giving? The issue is not just
money: it may be a job, social status, entertainment and relaxation, laziness, physical
busyness, family, etc.


The key thing to remember from verses 9-10 is this: if you are in the category of “poor,”
do not focus on what you do not have, all your troubles, and victimization: focus on who
you are in Christ. If you are in the category of “rich,” do not focus on your abilities, busy
activities, or abundance: focus on who you are in Christ.

And if you are like most of us somewhere in between: do not focus in any way on the
details of life – focus on who you are in Christ and keep learning Bible Doctrine!

The person whose focus is on who they are in Christ will be the person who will know
that being a disciple is more important than anything else in life.

Luke 9:23-26
This passage does not describe phase one salvation; instead, it presents what it means
to be a disciple. Verse 23 describes the decision that must be made by each and every
believer: “Do I desire to be a disciple of Christ?” A disciple is one who is a true learning
of Jesus Christ, one who will be transformed into Christlikeness, one who will be
rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

This requires a sacrificial denial of his own plans and priorities and makes God’s plans
and priorities his own.

Verse 23a describes the person who lives a life focused on accomplishing what they
want and desire out of life, a self-focused life – he saves it for himself.

23b describes the mental attitude decision of the disciple: he makes the mental attitude
adjustment to focus on the world to come as his top priority in life and to revolve his
whole life around that expectation.

24 tells us that if our life now is our primary focus we will be losers in the kingdom to
come. However, if the focus of one’s life is on being a faithful disciple no matter what it
may cost in this life, then we will discover the riches and the abundant life as a rewarded
believer – a winner - in the world to come.

25 puts it all in perspective! If the material focus gave you the riches of the entire world
but you lose out on the riches of the world to come – which lasts for eternity – of what
good is it?

Luke 12:26-21 Riches toward God requires an entity-focused pattern of living.

How “rich toward God” are we?

He who dies with the most toys is not the winner!

Again, Zane Hodges: “Moreover, James now also knew that the distinction between the
‘rich’ and the ‘not-rich’ in the kingdom of God described precisely the difference in
destiny between the disciple and the nondisciple” (as above, p.107).

Back to James 1:10

So the conclusion is this: the rich person should rejoice because his loving God is
focused on him in the area of his greatest danger and need: to stay humbly trusting in
the Lord and nothing else. He must “consider it all joy” when he faces trials – including
the trial of riches – because like us all the heavenly Father is working to bring him to
spiritual maturity and the place of reward in eternity.

James 1:11

Adversity testing can have a positive effect on everybody, but it can be especially
valuable to the rich man. Why? Because it reminds him of his humanity and that life is
transitory; it helps him get his mental focus right. The “scorching wind” is adversity

testing. Adversity can “wither” the everyday goodness of life, it can cause the beauty of

life – the flower – to fall off and be destroyed.
When one loses everything, and that is the idea here, then life can become a real
challenge to anyone, but especially to the one who has ‘had it all’ and now finds
themselves with nothing. The temptation is to focus on the loss and to see it in nothing
but negative terms. James says, “Rethink how you are responding. Change your focus.”
The danger for us all, but especially the one who has lost their riches, is to do exactly
what Job’s wife counseled him to do:

Job 2:9

Is it possible for a believer to act this way? Of course. That is why James is issuing the
command on how the rich man is to think, what his mental attitude is to be while
undergoing either prosperity or adversity testing. If he fails the test and thinks like Job’s
wife thinks 9or something similar) he will be a loser at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

He is to have true humility: he is to see himself as God sees him. And how is this? As a
man whom He loves and desires to be fully rewarded in the life to come! He is to see
himself as a man who needs the adversity testing so that he maintains a proper attitude.

Hodges, James, p.24: “In other words, in his various trials, the wealthy believer should
say to God, ‘Thanks, I needed that!’”

This is exactly what Paul expressed in 1 Corinthians 12:7!

James 1:12

What is the end result of learning and living out the principles we have seen this far?
What is the real outcome of being joyful in trials because of the right application of Bible
Doctrine? In a word: reward.

The believer who passes the tests of life will develop into a spiritually mature individual
whose character as a Christ-like believer will be commended by his Lord at the
Judgment Seat of Christ. But, as Zane Hodges points out, the meaning of this may
indeed include a richness of experience in this life also.

Never forget the double meaning of eternal life as it is used in the Scriptures:

Earl Radmacher and Gary Derickson write in of this in The Disciple Maker

       We need to be reminded again of the breadth of John’s concept of “eternal life.”
       For him the term is far more than regeneration truth (initial salvation). Just as
       salvation in the Scripture is much broader than justification, even so eternal life is
       much broader than the reception of life with initial faith. It is a comprehensive
       concept involving both this life and the life to come. Jesus came to enable men to
       enjoy their present salvation, through sanctification, in anticipation of their future
       salvation, even glorification. Though there are times when the term is used in the
       sense of future eternal life, it most often includes the experience of God’s life as
       an integral part of its meaning.

       Eternal life is something that Jesus offers people to experience now, as well as

       later. Thus His purpose of offering “abundant life” in John 10:10 relates to
       experiencing a quality of life in this life, with more to come in the future (p.30).
John 10:10 (NASB) "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they
may have life, and have it abundantly.

Life = phase one salvation, eternal life.

Abundant life = first and foremost our experience in time as well as in eternity offering
much more than just “get to heaven.”

The word “blessed,” in James 1:12, is the Greek word markarios and refers to an inner
satisfaction that comes from God that is more than just an emotional state. It is a mental
and emotional tranquility, stability, inner peace and calmness that stays relaxed. It is a
state of being spiritually rich. Wuest gives us this translation:

James 1:12 (WuestNT) Spiritually prosperous is the man who remains steadfast under
trial, because after he has met the test and has been approved, he shall receive the
crown, namely, that crown which has to do with the life, which He promised to those who
love Him.

The Greek scholar Spiros Zodhiates notes the word means:

       “Possessing the favor of God, the state of being marked by fullness from
       God…The believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit because of Christ and as a result
       should be fully satisfied no matter the circumstances. Markarios differs from the
       word “happy” in that a person is happy who has good luck (from the root hap
       meaning luck as favorable circumstance). (The Complete Word Study Dictionary)

This state of being is exactly what a believer can experience in time – even with all the
pressures in the details of life. This is what it means to not have distress in the face of
stress (pressure). This is living in the current experience of eternal life here and now, an
enjoyment of our present salvation – the abundant life.

“Blessedness” happens when we live our lives according to biblical Truth and it may or
may not include a “happy” feeling. Blessing is not a reward, but it describes a life lived
within the plan of God. This is spiritual success and prosperity.

Joshua 1:8 (NASB) "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you
shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that
is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have

Joshua 1:8 (NET1) This law scroll must not leave your lips! You must memorize it day
and night so you can carefully obey all that is written in it. Then you will prosper and be

Joshua 1:8 (NLT) Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night
so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and
succeed in all you do.

Colossians 3:16 (NASB) Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom

teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Wisdom, singing, and thankfulness cannot occupy the same mind with mental attitude

Once again the living out the spiritual life is tied to what we know and apply. So many
people just want some sort of spiritual “fairly dust” (or maybe “angel dust”) sprinkled on
their head and “poof” they are in some sort of mystical joyful experience. God does not
work that way, beloved! God works in us to bring us to spiritual blessedness as we learn
and apply doctrine to the details of life including the stresses (pressures, trials).

We must be reminded that James has informed us that we can experience joy in the
midst of trial because we know Bible Doctrine (1:3). As Robert Dean states
“Blessedness is always related to doctrine” (James #17 audio). Blessedness does not
panic, worry, or express any other human viewpoint to the circumstance because the
mind of the blessed one is filled with doctrine which, under the ministry of the Holy Spirit,
they are applying to the specific stress.

Psalm 1:1-3

In verse one the Psalmist gives us the negative side required to experience being
blessed. The believer cannot live in spiritual carnality, living out their life in the thought
systems (“counsel”) of the unbelieving world (“the wicked”). They cannot settle down and
be comfortable with the ways of this world’s system.

But instead, the blessed believer, and the one who is spiritually productive in life, is the
one “whose delight is in the law of the Lord.” The “law of the Lord” refers to the entire
Word of God. To “meditate day and night” is to first make Bible class a top priority in life
and Bible study is what the person concentrates on more than anything.

Is the Bible precious and delightful for us? Do we look to it for our counsel or to the
“wicked” which is human viewpoint? The Idea of “day and night’ means to keep the mind
focused on learning and applying Bible Doctrine.

The result is that even when the circumstances get “dry” and hard this believer “does not
wither” and he is still spiritually productive.

This is a perfect illustration for what the New Testament, including James, means when
it speaks of “endurance” – one who “perseveres under trial.”

Back to James 1:12

The word “perseveres” is hupomeno meaning to endure, literally: “to remain under” - To
remain under, or bear up under even if it is a load of misery, difficulty, and suffering. To
persevere means one is applying doctrine on a moment-by-moment basis while
experiencing the trail.

Verse 3 tells us that trials, properly handled, produce this very character of endurance or
perseverance. What a value God puts on this character quality! To persevere under a

trial is much more than simply surviving it; biblical endurance or perseverance means
that the believer is applying doctrine and advancing in the faith under the filling ministry

of the Holy Spirit with the result being joy (v.2).
To do this requires staying in fellowship with the Holy Spirit so that one has access to
the divine power necessary to respond in a correct manner to the stress.

                                        Perseverance keeps stress from turning into
                                       distress, worry, panic or other mental and
                                       emotional responses – all of which are mental
                                       attitude sins. Mental attitude sins will rob the
                                       believer of stability, joy, and satisfaction that God
                                       intends for us to have.

                                          Some believers apply human viewpoint and think
that thoughts cannot be controlled. The result is that they will self-justify their human
viewpoint thinking and resulting behavior. This is nothing more than a defeatist attitude
that denies the reality of biblical teaching.

The believer never has to push the panic button! The Bible everywhere tells us that
thoughts can and must be controlled through the Word of God and the Spirit of God.

The word translated “approved” (dokimos) refers back to the development of Christian
character strength he mentioned in verses 2-4. When this type of character is being
developed we will be “approved.” “The divinely desired result of our troubles is approved
character. The man whose endurance through the trial has cooperated to produce this
outcome is indeed blessed of God” (Hodges, p.25).

The word means to evaluate and to test for the purpose of approval. Testing is a means
of evaluating the doctrine which the believer has in their soul, the doctrine they can
apply, the doctrine that makes a difference in how they think about and respond to the
various situations they face in the details of life.

God uses the trials of life to evaluate our advancement; not that He needs to know but to
reveal the truth to us about ourselves.

The evaluation is just this: How much Bible Doctrine do you know, can you stay in
fellowship with the Holy Spirit, and can you apply what you know? Or do you revert back
to the thought systems of human viewpoint; do you give into the sin nature? There are
only two alternatives: apply divine viewpoint (Bible Doctrine) or human viewpoint which
is sin. The test will show the one with which you operate; it reveals your standard
operating system.

“When he has been approved” is better understood when we word it this way: “When the
believer has passed the evaluation of God.”

“When he is approved” can be understood to apply to both now and at the Judgment
Seat of Christ.

As we are approved now we experience present benefit – the abundant life. If we
receive this approval here and now we will also receive it at the coming Judgment Seat

of Christ.
Zane Hodges believes that the reference to the “crown of life” refers to “ones present
experience of life” (p. 25). This is certainly a possibility and we have already discussed
this aspect of the believer’s life in the present. However, this verse seems to point
forward to future blessing, the end result of passing the tests in this life; that is, it refers
to the Judgment Seat of Christ. The reason for this is the mention of the word “crown.”

                              The word translated here “crown” is the Greek word
                              stephanos. In the Greek culture this was not the crown of a
                              king (that word is diadem, a royal crown); rather, it is the
                              crown or wreath of the victor in the various athletic games. It
                              was also used as recognition of civic worth, to honor military
                              valor on the battlefield, and a few other uses.

                              1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NASB) 24 Do you not know that those
                              who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?
Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises
self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an
imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way,
as not beating the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I
have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NASB) 1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses
surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily
entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our
eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured
the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
  For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that
you will not grow weary and lose heart.

The reference here is for the believer being victorious in the “race” of the Christian life
(while in the angelic conflict) – it is the victor’s crown which Paul says in imperishable.
Such crowns were given at the end of the race and after the battle, not during. So it
seems to me the reference must be pointing the believer to the end result that is
experienced in eternity.

James has pointed out that God is working in us to bring us to spiritual maturity or
adulthood with all the accompanying blessings. Now he reminds us that it is not only
about here and now but it is about there and then. One thing that helps us to experience
being “blessed” now is that we know that at the end of the road is reward – including
crowns - if we go through the tests of life successfully.

Beloved, have we grasped the fact yet that everything we do here and now as believers
will impact our eternity? Have we realized yet that there will be different experiences of a
fullness of our lives in eternity based on what we do here and now?

James has truly laid out a case for how to see the trials and difficulties of life. So let’s
take a study through the main aspects of the spiritual life to remind us of the critical

importance of living out who we are in Christ to both time and eternity.
                              POSITIONAL TRUTH
           The moment of faith alone in Christ – justification Romans 4:5; 5:1

                      “In Christ” – Romans 6:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17
                Baptism by the means of the Holy Spirit – Romans 6:3-4
                 Indwelled by the Holy Spirit – Romans 8:9; John 14:17
                         Dominion of sin is broken – Romans 6:6
                             Under (in) grace – Romans 6:14
                          Slave of righteousness – Romans 6:18

                           PRACTICAL TRUTH (EXPERIENTIAL)
   The potential for advancing in the spiritual life and for experiencing the abundant
 Christian life is available to every believer. But in order for that potentiality to become
reality in our daily life demands that we follow the spiritual life mandates as given in the

                       Potential >>>>Change>>>>Reality
              The most important mandate: Ephesians 4:1 – how?
           “That you be renewed (made new again) in the spirit of your mind”
                                   Ephesians 4:23
                    “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind”
                                    Romans 12:2

                                     Know this:
                  Minute by minute there is real choice – Romans 6:13

                                  THERE ARE:
                         TWO CHOICES (TWO “PRESENTS)
                         TWO EXPERIENCES IN THIS LIFE
                          TWO OUTCOMES IN ETERNITY

                          KEY: There is no middle ground
              Romans 6:13,16; 1 John 1:6; Matthew 6:24; Romans 13:14

                                      WILL IT WORK?
 Faith: accepting the testimony of God as true (1 John 5:9-12). We begin the Christian
                        life by faith so we must continue by faith!
            Colossians 2:6; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 11:6

                    CHOICE: PRESENT TO FLESH (SIN)
                             Romans 6:13
                Unnatural (Not who we really are) 2 Corinthians 5:17
                             Carnal – 1 Corinthians 3:1
 “Conformed to this world” – Human Viewpoint Thinking (HVP) – Romans 12:2
Fulfilling our strong desires in a way that is not in accordance with who we are –
               Romans 6:13; “Deeds of the flesh” – Galatians 5:19-21
                         Denial of Christ – 2 Timothy 2:12

CARNAL: Very little concerned with doctrine. Not actively presenting yourself to
       God through Bible class, studying, and applying the Scripture

                        FRUIT, EXPERIENCE – WAGE
                  Spiritual immaturity – 1 Corinthians 3:1-3
        Bondage to the dominion of sin (“let sin reign”) – Romans 6:12
        “Death” – Romans 6:23; Romans 8:6 “Dead faith” James 2:26
             “Darkness” – no fellowship with God – 1 John 1:6
            “Discipline” – Divine correction – Hebrews 12:4-13
                 “Fruit” – shame in this life – Romans 6:21

                            HEAVENLY OUTCOME
    Loss of reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ – 1 Corinthians 3:10-15;
                               2 Corinthians 5:10
       Denial of “reigning” with Jesus – 2 Timothy 2:12; Luke 19:11-26
      “Wicked and lazy servant” (unprofitable to Christ) – Matthew 25:26
        Ashamed before Him (“shrink away”) – 1 John 2:28; Mark 8:38
                 “Disqualified” as a loser – 1 Corinthians 9:27

 All these show a lessor degree of the enjoyment of heaven that these have in
contrast to those who are faithful. Although heaven is wonderful for all, it will be
even better for some. After death you cannot go back and do it over! Do it now!
                       ROMANS 6:13
        Natural (who we really are) – 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20;
                   Ephesians 4:24; 1 John 3:9; Romans 7:17
                          “Spiritual” – 1 Corinthians 3:1
                  Abiding in Christ – John 15:1-11; 1 John 2:28
     Walking by the means of the Holy Spirit – Galatians 5:16; Romans 8:13
                        Walking worthy – Ephesians 4:1
 “Transformed”: renewed mind - Divine Viewpoint Thinking (DVP) Romans 12:2
                      Ephesians 4:23; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
                     Endurance for Christ – 2 Timothy 2:12

                         FRUIT, EXPERIENCE – GIFT
  Spiritual maturity – 1 Corinthians 3:1; Hebrews 6:1; James 1:4; Romans 8:14
               Freedom from the dominion of sin – Romans 6:14a
              “Life”: “Eternal life” (a quality of life) – Romans 6:22;
                              “Abundant life” John 10:10
                    “Light” – Fellowship with God – 1 John 1:7
                     “Love” – Spiritual intimacy – John 14:21
 “Fruit” – Sanctification (Set apart for God’s use; Christlikeness) – Romans 6:22
                       “Fruit of the Spirit” – Galatians 5:22-23
                               See also 1 Peter 3:10-12

                             HEAVENLY OUTCOME
   Reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ – 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; James 1:12
                                      2 Corinthians 5:10
         Reign with Christ – 2 Timothy 2:12; Romans 8:17; Luke 19:12-27;
                                        Revelation 3:21
                       Christ’s Companions – Hebrews 1:9; 3;1, 14
               “Good and faithful servant” (profitable) – Matthew 25:26
                         Confident at his appearing – 1 John 2:28
                     “Qualified” as a winner – 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
    Do you not know that those who run in a race [or, stadium] all run, but only one
  receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win [or, obtain it]. And everyone
  who competes in the games exercises self-control [or, agonizes. NIV “goes into strict
training”] in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable
                   [Dillow: “Crown of Mastery”] 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

 Jesus, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with me, to give to every
                     one according to His work Revelation 22:12

     Hodges: “God gives us our salvation, but He pays for our good works.”

                     POSITIONAL TRUTH
            Faith alone in Christ alone – Justification

      Dominion of sin is broken – there is now real choice
                   Minute by minute choice

Unnatural – not who we really are       Natural – who we really
Carnal                                  Spiritual
Conformed to this world                 Abiding in Christ
Human Viewpoint Thinking                Walking by the Holy Spirit
                                         Divine Viewpoint Thinking

Spiritual immaturity                     Spiritual maturity
 Bondage to the dominion of sin          Freedom from dominion of sin
 “Death”                                  “Life”
 “Darkness”                              “Light”
 “Discipline”                             Love” (intimacy with God)
 Fruit = shame in this life              Fruit = sanctification and
                                         Fruit of the Spirit

 Loss of reward                           Reward
 Denial of reigning with Christ           Reign with Christ
 Wicked and lazy servant                  Good and faithful servant
 Ashamed before Him                       Confident at His appearing
 Disqualified as a loser                  Qualified as a winner
Page   74
1:12-18: the second section of the introduction

The main theme of James is “endurance in trials.” Endurance is the ability to continually
apply Bible Doctrine while maintain the filling of the Holy Spirit.

In the first section of the introduction, 2-12, the main lesson is to have a proper attitude
toward trials. In this next section the lesson is maintaining the right attitude toward God
while in trials. In other words, getting through the going through is all about one’s

James uses the same word for trial and temptations (peirasmos). By so doing James
points to a simple fact: in any pressure situation (stress) our faith is tested while also the
sin nature is tempted to respond by resisting God’s will as revealed in His Word – that is,
going into distress.

There is one word with two concepts. God will test our faith giving us an opportunity to
respond with positive volition to His Word. This “test” is seen in Genesis 2:16-17. But the
“temptation” is in Genesis 3:1-6 which is to act independent from God’s will in negative
volition. A test is an opportunity to apply Doctrine and obey; a temptation is an inner
attraction to do that which is wrong.

Remember; stress happens to you; distress is what you do to yourself.

v.12: when the believer has been approved (passed the test) by not going into sin, then
that believer is “blessed” (makarios). “Blessed, possessing the favor of God, that state of
 being marked by fullness from God” (Zodhiates). This word is not the same as the word
“happy” for happy (Greek root hap) relates to circumstances. The blessed believer is one
who is fully satisfied with God no matter the circumstance. The blessed believer will be
especially satisfied at the coming time of accountability before the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:10 (NASB) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he
has done, whether good or bad.

The “crown of life” referred to here is part of the doctrine of rewards to be given at the
Judgment Seat of Christ. Faithful endurance now, through all the stress of life, results in
commendation from our Lord. There is another way of considering this passage.

In your text by Zane Hodges, he argues that the “crown of life” here is a reference to a
fullness of life experience here and now:

       It seems more likely, however, that James has in mind the way God enriches our
       present experience of life, when testing has been successfully endured. This
       interpretation takes a high probability when we recall James’s later statement in
       5:11: Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the
       perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the lord – that the lord is very
       compassionate and merciful. Obviously this statement picks up the themes of

       1:3-12, including the reference to being blessed (1:12) in the words
       “count…blessed” (5:11). Every Jewish believer would know how God had

       crowned Job’s life with blessings after his trials were over. Therefore, it seems
       quite likely that it is the enrichment of our temporal experience of life (spiritually
       always, materially sometimes) that James has in mind in the expression the
       crown of life. Life will be richer, deeper, fuller for his Christian readers if they are
       among those who, like Job, reach the end of their trials victoriously. (pp.25-26)

Zane is making the connection with the double use of “everlasting life” found in
Scripture. The one is the instant reception of life when one believes; the other is the
quality of life experience found when one applies Bible Doctrine, maintains the filling of
the Holy Spirit, and grows to spiritual maturity. It is an enjoyment of our present

While it may indeed be possible that the “crown of life” is a reference to the second
aspect of eternal life, it seems to me that we should consider the only other use in
Scripture of the phrase “crown of life” in Revelation 2:10. The phrase is found in the
letter to the church at Smyrna, the church tested by persecution and suffering. I find this
connection especially relevant because the use in James also is in the context of testing.

The Greek word for crown, stephanos, is used in both references. Wrting of this, Joseph
Dillow observes,

       The word for crown, stephanos, was used of the victor’s wreath, something
       earned and merited by effort in the games [the Greek sports competitions]. This
       crown speaks of a special degree of enjoyment of eternal life. After all, eternal life
       is a quality more than a duration, and the degree of its experience is dependent
       upon or faithfulness to him. It means to know Him, and a personal relationship is
       developed and enhanced by faithful perseverance….

       What is the “crown of life?” Since it is a reward for an accomplishment
       subsequent to initial faith, it is probable that it refers to a higher quality of life in
       the kingdom. It would be the same as the eternal life merited by faithful service
       on the field of battle (pp. 555, 557).

To me it is significant that in the Revelation passage Jesus says, “Be faithful even to the
point of death” indicating that faithfulness under pressure, even under the pressure
(stress) of giving up one’s life for the sake of Christ, is required to earn this crown. And
all of the crowns and rewards offered in Revelation to the overcomers will be given out at
the Judgment Seat of Christ.

So while I understand the point Zane Hodges makes, I am convinced it is a reference to
the believer staying faithful under stress, passing the tests of life, and being rewarded for
faithful endurance at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This becomes a serious motivation for
the believer to learn how to apply Bible Doctrine even under severe pressure.
Remember: rewards are earned for good works!

While there is no doubt that if one is faithfully enduring and passing the various tests
there will be a quality of life experience that one will have in time, the reference to this
being a “crown” moves the reference to the time before the Lord Jesus Christ.

Briefly, there are five crowns that can be earned:

   1. The crown of joy - the reward of evangelism and soul-winning,1 Thes. 2:19; Phil.
   2. The crown of righteousness - the reward of faithfulness in testimony and the
      application of Bible Doctrine, 2 Tim. 4:8.

    3. The crown of life - the reward of faithfulness under trial, Jas. 1:12; Rev. 2:10.

    4. The crown of glory - the reward of faithfulness for those who care for and disciple
       other believers, 1 Pet. 5:1-4. (This may be only for Pastor-teachers)

    5. The incorruptible crown (crown of mastery) - the reward given to those who
       discipline themselves to master the domination of the sin nature, 1 Cor. 9:24-25.

James is now going to distinguish between the trial itself and our sinful response to the
trial. The temptation James refers to here is the inner attraction to do that which is wrong
which has its ultimate source in our sin nature.

v.13: this is an imperative – a command addressed to your will.

Far too often the response of a believer in adversity is to blame God that because He
put us in this situation we sinned – therefore it’s God’s fault. This is exactly what Adam
and Eve did in Genesis 3:12-13. This is blame-shifting and avoidance of responsibility.

A similar scene is in Job 2:9.

God will never solicit us to sin – that comes from three sources – two external and one

       1. Satan or the demons – Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5.

       2. The cosmic system (the world) – 1 John 2:15-16

       These first two are external to us. The third is internal;

       3. The sin nature – the “traitor within” as some have referred to it.

The internal sin nature is the target of the two external sources. When under pressure
the sin nature will always try to take the path of least resistance (or should I say the path
of least persistence!). Positive volition to the Word of God and maintaining fellowship is
far more challenging and difficult. The path of responding to the externals out of our sin
nature is a well-worn and, surprisingly, comfortable path.

This is true because we have been down this path many times and it has a certain
comfortable feeling because it is familiar. Like the ruts of a dirt road, we tend to be a
“caught-in-the-rut-nut” even as believers. Some pressure comes and down we go on the
familiar rut of the sin nature response; we have negative volition to Bible Doctrine and
operate as if it does not apply. We go into distress even if it does not feel negative!

To stop and think doctrine while under pressure (stress) is, at the very least, challenging.

Never forget, beloved, there will always be a struggle with the sin nature as the sin
nature is never improved or changed in any way. It is just as capable of doing any sin as

a believer as it was while you were an unbeliever.
1 Corinthians 10:13 – God always gives us a way out of ever temptation to sin. This is
not some mystical thing as if God is going to reach down and remove the temptation. If
your roaming the streets looking for drugs He is not going to pick you up and set you in
the church! The way out is (1) the application of Bible Doctrine, and (2) the power of the
Holy Spirit. With these you can victoriously endure any test and temptation to sin.

Galatians 5:16-17 (NASB) 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the
desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against
the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things
that you please.

The fact that there will be mental attitude sins is not the issue; that does not mean that
we are unable to control how we think or act. Some believers suppose that it is
impossible to control what you think, therefore they can begin to operate in arrogance
and excuse their negative attitudes and behavior.

Any test is an opportunity to apply Bible Doctrine. If we do not apply doctrine we will
begin operating in the three arrogance skills of the sin nature - see chart above on p.74.
The three arrogances skill are progressive:

    1. Self-justification: “It’s not my fault” – they are convinced of their own lack of
       responsibility for their thinking and actions. Remember Adam and Eve?

    2. Self-deception: increasingly subjective in every area of life and unwilling to
       change. The person is losing touch with reality because Bible Doctrine defines
       reality. They do not receive the teaching of Scripture and they refuse to see the
       spiritual issues involved (spiritual blindness). Often they live in anger, misery,
       complaining, grumpiness, and frustration while becoming increasingly unstable in
       both life and emotions.

    3. Self-absorption: self (you) are the center of your world. “It is all about me” if not
       said is still the functioning reality. You are preoccupied with yourself, your
       situation, your problems, etc. This is pure selfishness and it makes everything
       that happens to be about you. There is jealousy of others and bitterness directed
       toward God and others. Instead of focusing on the doctrine we know we focus on
       ourselves. The self-absorbed person is happy only when circumstances are
       favorable to them – and they’ll usually take credit for it!

James 1:13

God is not able to be tempted to do any evil; He is perfect righteousness and justice –
He is holy.

Evil is includes sin but is greater than sin. Sin includes all human good and He abhors
human good as much as sin:

Isaiah 64:6 (NASB) For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our

righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our
iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

                           The process of temptation and sin

James 1:14

“Each one”: all men and women are included. Every believer is able to be tempted
because of their inner sin nature. Only arrogant, self-deceived people think themselves
above temptation and sin. Each one also indicates the uniqueness of temptation to the
individual believer; this will be discussed under the “lust patterns” of the sin nature, but
notice James says, “his own lusts.”

“Carried away”: (#1828 exelko) to drag away, to draw or to drag out, to be pulled away,
to be lured by the bait: this is used only here in the New Testament. “Drawn away, as
beasts are enticed from a safe covert into a place beset with snares” (Vincent’s Word
Studies). Dean says it was used of an animal dragging a cart. It is also important to note
the Greek grammar here that James uses. It is a “present passive” indicating that this is
a continuous or repeated action (being drawn away – introducing the progress of
temptation) but it is something being done to you (passive). This does not mean a lack of
responsibility or that somehow one is a victim for it is also written in what is called the
“middle voice” which means “the subject is acting in some way upon himself or
concerning himself” (Zodhiates). In other words, the sin nature is within you and it wants
to respond to the temptation.

It is critical to point out that the external temptation appeals to our sin nature in its
various lust patterns which we will discuss. But the believer is never said to be simply a
passive victim of temptation and the sin nature. As we will see, the Word of God and the
Spirit of God give us all the resources we need to be an overcomer.

“Enticed”: this is used of setting a trap, of baiting a hook, to be ensnared by the hook, or
of hunting with a snare. The word is also a “present participle” indicating a continuous or
repeated action. There is a never-ending activity of temptation to operate independent of
God and His Word being presented to us.

Arnold Fruchtenbaum writes of this in his commentary on The Messianic Jewish

       Jacob/James uses the present participle to teach that luring into sin is a continual
       problem. The fact that victory is gained at one point does not indicate victory will
       be gained at another. Fleeing from lust one day does not automatically result in
       the ability to quickly escape another day. That is why believers must continually
       be on guard. It is a continuous problem (Ariel’s Bible Commentary, p.225).

Often we think in terms of temptation being only about the “big ones” but temptation to
sin is far more subtle than that. There is a constant a continuous enticing going on that
never stops; the moment-by-moment “little” things, the seemingly small decisions of

disobedience or neglect – these are the most dangerous because temptation is
progressive with the “little” things leading up to the “big” things.
The little decisions to skip Bible study and Bible class; the little decisions to complain;
the little decisions to worry; the little decisions to express anger; the little decisions to
look at TV programs, movies, magazines with scantily clad people (“It’s just Sports
Illustrated”); “I know I’m married, but I can have friends of the opposite sex”; the
decisions to use language that is unbecoming to anyone, much less a believer; “It’s only
marijuana and that’s no big deal; etc., etc., etc. These all add up and make us
susceptible to the “bigger” issues.

Temptation is like a fisherman who uses the bait to attract the fish, but hides the hook.
The fish sees the bait, maybe even tastes the bait, but a skillful fisherman waits until the
fish had taken the hook before setting it and bring in the fish. This is the idea behind
temptation being progressive.

“own lust”: (lust = strong desire or longing) Just as the fisherman changes bait to attract
the fish he wants, so temptation is unique to our own desire patterns (lust patterns). We
will consider this more later, but the things that tempt us and the exact way that they
tempt us are a reflection of our own unique sin nature. What attracts one may not at all
attract another.

James 1:15

James changes the analogy to that of giving birth and gives us the process of temptation
becoming sin.

“When (the) lust has conceived”: for some reason translators leave out the article “the.”
James refers to it as “the lust,” that is, one’s own particular and unique strong desires
(lust pattern), the trends of our sin nature. “The lust” refers back to the “own lust” of the
previous verse.

The process starts with an external temptation – an enticement -from either the cosmic
system (the most normal) or from an emissary of Satan. NOTE: rarely would Satan pay
particular attention to an “every-day” believer. Never forget: Satan is a created being and
can only be at one place at one time. He does, however, control a vast horde of demons
that will do his bidding, more-or-less. These can present temptation to the believer.

For a temptation to be a real temptation it must appeal to our sin unique lust pattern.
There has to be an internal attraction to the temptation.

“When lust has conceived”: there comes a point when we consider the temptation.
(Please note that this may all happen in a matter of seconds, but the process remains.)
We think about it, we respond to it favorably, we want to do it.

Please understand this, beloved: the external temptation is not sin; the inner desire to
respond positively to the temptation is not sin. We have to engage our volition to sin: we
choose to exercise positive volition to the temptation.

The reason why an external temptation attracts us is the unique inner desires of our sin

nature. But there is no sin until our will chooses to respond positively. It is very wrong to
say that if a particular something is attractive to us then we are already sinning; it is

wrong to say that because something attracts us we “need help” as if some lust patterns
were worse than others. That is simply untrue. Lust patterns are what they are; the
choice to act on them is where sin comes in to existence.

An honest believer will say, “I want to do that,” whatever the “that” is. It is good when a
believer has matured enough to admit this because now they are recognizing their own
danger points.

If the believer says, “I want to do this – but I won’t,” now they are making spiritual
progress. This believer can now apply Bible Doctrine and find the power in the fellowship
of the Holy Spirit so that they will not give in to the strong desires as we have seen.
There is no need to get frustrated at ourselves when we keep desiring to sin as the
desire is always with us. And if one aspect of our sin nature loses its power to entice,
another will take its place!

There has to be a pregnancy before there is a birth! There has to be a volitionally
positive response before sin occurs.

“It gives birth to sin”: But if we choose to say, “I want to do this – and I am,” now sin is
born. Like a mother, our lust patterns have brought sin into our life. I cannot
overemphasize the volitional aspect of this: we are not victims of our environment or our
sin nature! We choose to sin. That is why the solution to all sin, to all “addictions,” to all
repeated patterns of behavior is our spiritual advancement. We will consider the “Ten
Devices to Decompress Distress” at a later time, but God has given us everything we
need as believers to live out our life successfully.

Enticement to evil comes from within us and, remembering verse 13, it is not from God.
Temptation + lust + my will = sin

“When sin is accomplished”: better, when it is full grown or fully developed. When the
believer chooses to give in and follow the desires of the sin nature, then the sin nature
will take control and bring the believer under its dominating influence. The believer is
now out of fellowship and in carnality. This is stress becoming distress! Unless that sin is
terminated it will continue to grow and take control.

How do we terminate the sin? By confession – 1 John 1:9. How do we not keep giving in
to temptation and sinning? By spiritual growth into maturity. Spiritual maturity would
include in its definition the ability to maintain fellowship for longer periods of time. When
the maturing believer sins they quickly rebound and continue advancing.

“It brings forth death”: this includes two aspects of death: first there is carnal or temporal
death. Immediately upon sinning the believer is separated from fellowship with God (in
time not eternity).

Romans 8:6, 13 – as in James 1:15, these first refer to carnal or temporal death. The
death that is immediate upon sinning. See also 1 Timothy 5:6. Remember: a believer is
always either spiritual (in fellowship) or carnal (out of fellowship). It is an absolute state –
one cannot be a little in fellowship and a little out of fellowship!

The second aspect of this death is “operational death.” This is the deadly outcome of a

believer not operating under 1 John 1:9, of not walking by the means of the Holy Spirit in
Galatians 5:16 – they are not rebounding. Operational death is the separation of our
spiritual inner new life from the practice of that life. We are operating in the sphere of our
sin nature. This is the death mentioned in James 2:26. It is our faith having no positive
impact on our life as a believer. See also Ephesians 5:14 and 1 John 1:5-6.

The believer in operational death can also be referred to as being in “reversionism.”
They have reverted back to living like an unbeliever and are increasingly impacted by
the evil of the cosmic system.

R. B. Thieme writes:

       Every believer sins (1 John 1:8, 10), but not every believer is a reversionist or
       under the influence of evil. Only when his failure to rebound becomes a pattern
       and the intake of doctrine is neglected, does the negative volition of the believer
       culminate in reversionism and conform to Satan’s policies (booklet,
       “Reversionism” pp. 17-18).

                                 In union with
                                 Christ forever

                              Rom. 8:38-39
                              Eternal security

                                Filled with the                  1 Cor. 3:3
                                Holy Spirit
                               Temporal                                        carnal
                                   Eph. 5:18
                                   Spirituality                  Rebound
                               James - Flowchart spritual life
                                                                 1 John 1:9             1

The way out of operational death is rebound and a change in attitude towards the intake
and application of Bible Doctrine. No matter how advanced a believer has become, they
can not only become carnal, but they can also experience operational death or
reversionism. But remember: it is a process and does not happen quickly.

In summarizing James 1:15, Fruchtenbaum notes: “In this sequence Jacob/James points
out three generations: lust, or the sin nature, is the grandmother; sin, or the act of sin, is
the mother; and death, the result of sin, is the daughter” (ibid. p.227).

Though this has been covered in the past, we will take at look at the essence of the sin
nature of man. The following chart is from Tod Kennedy at

The sin nature was acquired at the fall of Adam and has been passed on to each and
every human being born since.


       The Sin Nature resides in our physical body (the flesh)
       The Sin Nature is the source of spiritual death. Rom. 5:12; Eph. 2:1,5.

       The Sin Nature is perpetuated in human beings through physical birth.
As we noted before, our individual sin nature is absolutely unique to us; however, the
same basic structure can be seen. Our unique sin nature makes us neither better nor
worse than anyone else. This applies whether a person is a believer or an unbeliever.
Every sin nature has areas of weakness, areas of strength, certain lust patterns, and


The area of the sin nature that tempts the believer to sin is his area of weakness. Every
believer has an area of weakness that continually tempts him. However, temptation
becomes sin only when the believer’s volition acquiesces to the temptation.

The "area" of weakness directs the production of all personal sin: Hebrews 12:1;
Galatians 5:19-21. Three types of personal sin are produced here: mental attitude sins,
sins of the tongue, and open overt sinful behavior.

The area of strength is that part of the old sin nature that generates human good or dead
works. Every member of the human race possesses an area of strength, yet God forbids
its function in the believer.
Warren Doud writes:
       The Sin Nature has an "area" of strengths in which human good is produced, that
       is, those good deeds and thoughts which are acceptable to man but which are
       unacceptable to God for purposes of salvation or spiritual growth. Isaiah 64:6
       Romans 8:8. In the Bible, human good is contrasted with divine good which is
       the work produced by the Spirit of God in the life of a believer who is walking in
       daily fellowship with the Lord under the control of the Holy Spirit.

The Sin Nature has patterns of lusts, or strong desires, the basic motivators of all the
activities of human life. The basic drives include the desire for power, approbation
(approval), ego satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, material satisfaction, money, chemical,
pleasure, laziness, inordinate ambition and competition, revenge, prestige, and so forth.
While everyone has these lust patterns, the particular combination within any specific
person is totally unique.

The Sin Nature has a system of trends, or inclinations, which vary among individuals.
Some people have an inclination toward immorality, lasciviousness, and antinomianism

– without strong moral guidelines (Rom. 7:14-23; Mark 7:21-23). This pattern leads to
immoral degeneracy, that is, a person lives with few or no moral absolutes, or rules of

right conduct, in reference to their own behavior.
 Others have trends toward morality or asceticism. This is the area of the production of
human good. Colossians 2:20-23. “Human good is evil disguised as goodness
produced by a believer under the control of the sin nature and residing in the cosmic
system” (Thieme, ibid. p.17).

Human vs. Divine Good

                                HUMAN GOOD                          DIVINE GOOD

      Produced by . . .     Believers and Unbelievers               Believers Only

   Believers Status . . .            Carnal                            Spiritual

        Motivation . . .    Emotion or Self-Promotion                Love for God

         Standards . . .              S-R                                 +R

             Credit . . .            Man's                               God's

           Purpose . . .          Glorify Man                         Glorify God

             Origin . . .          Ignorance                        Spiritual Growth

             Result . . .      Condemned to Fire
Writing of the, Gene Cunningham in The Basics states,
       In the areas of our strengths, each is drawn toward particular kinds of human
       good. We are tempted to rely on the positive human character traits that
       dominate our personalities. These are strengths of character that dominate our
       personalities. These strengths of character are not bad in themselves, but they
       can become entanglements if we rely on them rather than on the power of the
       Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Apart from the control of the Holy Spirit our
       strengths can produce nothing acceptable to God because “good” without God –
       “good” which does not recognize its need for God – is evil (p.121).

This trend results in moral degeneracy, that is, self-righteousness and legalism. Such
people will often appear as very “spiritual” and as excellent Christians: For example, see
2 Corinthians 11:13.
Jesus spoke of the Pharisees as being very “good” on the outside but impure and dirty
on the inside – Matthew 23:25-28. In legalism man gets the credit for doing or being
Either trend is a product of Sin Nature activity. In every person one or the other trend will
dominate the individual’s thinking and behavior while the other will be subordinate.

Again Gene Cunningham from The Basics,
       An infinite variety of mixes and manifestations can come from these four. For
       example, an ascetic with a weakness for mental sins is likely to judge the lawless
       person who falls into overt sins. The lawless man may see the ascetic’s self-
       righteousness and mat himself fall into mental sins by despising what he sees as
       a hypocrite. A person who lusts for power and has a weakness for sins of the
       tongue may try to lift himself up by tearing down others through criticism and
       maligning. Another person with the same lust but with a weakness for mental
       attitude sins may never say a bitter word and so may seem to be a better person.
       But to God – who alone sees the hearts of men – both are equally guilty.

Verses 16-18 is about the goodness of God
James 2:16

“Do not be deceived”: do not think for one minute that this temptation to sin is from God.
The source is from within our own selves. It is a deception to fail to properly identify the
source of sin. The same "Do not be deceived" expression occurs in 1 Corinthians 6:9;
15:33; Galatians 6:7; and 1 John 3:7. Do not doubt God’s purpose, His plan, or His
method – it is always good!
However, it is also a deception to excuse or approve of sin by saying, “That’s just the

way I am,” or “I was born that way.” Some people will say this about their expressions of

anger or worry. It also is popular today to say that homosexuality is alright because we
are “born that way.” Some even go so far as to say, “God made me this way” and so
they claim that practicing homosexuality is acceptable. God is not the source of sin or of
the temptation to sin. Even if our sin nature might have a trend toward this expression of
sexual lust, that does not make it either acceptable or right. Homosexuality is
condemned in Scripture (Romans 1:26-27, for example) and therefore it is not from God.
Just because we have certain trends does not make the expressing of those trends right.
As the next verse declares, God is a giver but only of those things that are good
according to His perfect standard of righteousness, and never evil.
James 2:17


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