Christian Basic Training
James, The Book Of
Chapter 1

Verses from the book of James & the rest of the Bible are in " Maroon "
All words of Jesus Christ are in " Red "
Greek words are in " Purple "
All words in " Bright Blue " are weblinks
My highlighted text is in " Dark Blue "

Last modified:
December 5, 2021

( originally written in 2010 )

Bible Teacher Russ Pickett

Bible Teacher Russ Pickett

Break Line

James a servant [ doulos ] of God and of the Lord [ kuriou ] Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad [ diaspora ], greetings.

         The book of James opens with him identifying himself as the " servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ ".   The greek word used here for " servant " is doulos { doo'-los } which means " a slave, bondservant, one pledged or bound to serve, a devoted servant ".   In this case the word would properly be interpreted as " bondservant ".

         The Hebrews language had a definate meaning to the term or thought for a " bondservant " which comes from the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testatment:

Deuteronomy 15:12-15

[ 12 ] And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years;   then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.   [ 13 ] And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty:   [ 14 ] Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress:  of that wherewith the Lord thy God had blessed thee thou shalt give unto him.   [ 15 ] And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to day.

         Most of the time a Hebrew would sell his labor to another Hebrew to either pay a debt he incurred to someone else or even to the man to whom he was selling his labor.  At that point he became, for all intend and purposes, " a slave or fulltime servant of the man for a specific length of time ".  God noted, however, that this could not be for longer then six years.  " But then we also see this noted in Deuteronomy: "
Deuteronomy 15:16-17

[ 16 ] And it shall be, if he say unto thee, I will not go away from thee;  because he loveth thee and thine house, because he is well with thee;   [ 17 ] Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever.   And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise.

         Now you would think that most slaves, after six years, would be ready to move on ... however there were those who wanted to stay with their new master.   Therefore, a " bondservant " was an individual who had paid his debt off to the Master, however, he enjoyed being a servant of the master and chose to stay on as a servant to the master and his family even though he could leave if he decided to do so.   That is, he was a servant by choice, not by debt !   ( Exodus 21:5-6 )   So here James is saying that he is a " bondservant " of Jesus Christ, that is :

         This opening statement also points out the truth that to be a " bondservant " of the Lord's, a person must first recognize that Jesus Christ is Lord.   The greek word used here for " Lord " is kuriou { koo'-ree-os }, which means " God, Master, or Sovereign ".

         Too many Christians live as though they are the masters, and not the servants that we are called to be.   The Word " servant " doesn't imply that once a person becomes a Christian they become involuntary slaves, but the word conveys the idea of being a " bondservant " or a devoted servant.

The " bondservant " ( doulos ) had five characteristics that were true of his life:

  1. He was " owned ", totally possessed by his master.

  2. He " existed only for his master ", and had rights only as his Master allowed him.

  3. He " served only " his Master.

  4. He had no " will but that of the Master ". ( II Corinthians 10:3-5 )

  5. He had a " title commensurate with the One he served ". Just as Joseph served Pharoah and had his power, and Daniel served the King and shared his power, " true slaves of Jesus share His power " as well as His Kingdom. ( 1 Corinthians 7:22;  Ephesians 6:6;  Colossians 4:12;  2 Timothy 2:24 )

One thought that is not only interesting but beautiful is this:

         James, being the son of Joseph and Mary, grew up with Jesus, as a child he played with Him, and he watched Jesus grow into manhood, and more than likely watched Jesus take over as Head of the family when Joseph died.   Yet James refered to Him as " kuriou christou " which are the greek words that mean " God our Savior ".

In order to have a proper attitude:

         The Apostle James also in this first verse tells us to whom he is writing in this verse.   The words " scattered abroad " comes from the Greek word, diaspora { dee-as-por-ah' } which means " dispersion ", i.e. Jewish residents in Gentile countries, scattered abroad.   Here James is writing to those Jewish Christians that were scattered to the East in Babylon and Mesopotamia.

         Some have claimed that the " twelve tribes " are to be taken metaphorically as the Gentile church scattered around the Roman Empire, but this is not consistent with a literal translation.

My brethren [ adelphos ], count it all joy, when ye fall into divers [ poikilois ] temptations [ peirasmois ];

         James uses the word " brethren " in writing to Christians throughout this book in reference to other Christians be they Jew or Gentile.   Even though James' main focus, as he noted in the address of this epistle, were the " twelve tribes ", i.e. those of the Jewish faith, we as " Gentile Christians " most assuredly can learn from this book as well.   When you get right down to it ... James was writing to " Christians " ... regardless of whether they were Jewish or Gentile.

         The greek word used for " brethren " is " adelphos " { ad-el-fos' } which means " from the same womb, brother, one of the same nation or nature, of equal rank and dignity, an associate " which is a good description of all true believers because we are all " born again " the same way.
( John 3:3-8;  1 Peter 1:23 )

         Now James addresses the issue of believers being over taken by various temptations and adversities in their lives.  The troubles that James is addressing here are those difficulties designed to prove or strengthen our faith.   Like metal that is tested by heat to bring out its strength and purity.   This is why we can count it all joy in our trials, because God is purifying us, " making us stronger as we face each temptation ".

         The greek word used here for " divers " is " poikilois " { poy-kee'-los } which means " various in character, divers, or diverse ".   The Greek word for "temptations" is peirasmois { pi-ras-mos' } which means "a putting to proof, experience of evil, adversity, temptation".

         The Bible Knowledge Commentary points out that, " It is important to note that James did not say that a believer should be joyous " FOR " the trials but " IN " the trials. "   The believer's joy is based on his relationship with Christ, and it is Christ that will see us through ( 1 Cor.10:13 ).   While the Devil tempts us to bring out the worst in us, God tests us to bring out the best in us.

Knowing this, that the trying [ dokimion ] of your faith worketh [ katergazetai ] patience [ upomonen ].

         First let me note a little Bible lesson here.   You will notice that the word " this " is in italics in the above verse.   Whenever you see a word in italics in the bible, especially the King James Version, it means that this word " was not " in the original manuscripts.   It was added by the translator to make the verse read, in their opinion, a little clearer.

         Many time I believe verses read clearer without the added word and sometimes I even see a little difference in there meaning.   However in this case it reads just as well with it or without it.   But when you see a word in italics in a verse you should always try to read that verse " with " and also " without " the added word.   Your understanding of the verse just might change...

         The Greek word used here for " trying " is " dokimion " { dok-im'-ee-on } which means " a testing; trial, trying ".   James begins this verse by telling us that we need to recognize or understand the value of these various trials that we go through in our lives.   If we cannot discern what God's purpose is for us to go through trials, then how can we ever expect to learn and grow from our experiences ?   Note this:

Break Line

         James tells us here why we have trials in our lives, " the trying of your faith ".   Trials come our way to test our faith.   None of us really grow in faith when things are going smoothly, because it is not difficult to live the Christian life on Sunday from 9:00 till noon.   It's not how we act in church, but how we act in a crisis that tests our faith.   Notice that the book of James emphasized " works ", but it always begins with " faith ".

         The Greek word used here for " worketh " is " katergazetai " {kat-er-gad'-zom-ahee} which means " to work fully, accomplish, fashion, cause, work something out ".   The second reason for trials is that the testing of our faith produces " patience " in the believer.   The Greek word for " patience " is " upomonen " { hoop-om-on-ay' } which means " endurance, patience, perseverance or constancy under suffering in faith and duty, the precept of constancy toward God, waiting ".

         One thing that is important to note here, and since it will come up again is this study, .... is the meaning of " worketh " which in the greek is " katergazetai " { kat-er-gad'-zom-ahee } .... one of its meanings is " to work something out ".   When you " work something out " it can be done either " Physically " or " Mentally ".

         In this verse its used to note working out " patience " .... which in my mind you can't work out " Physically " .... you need to work that out " Mentally " ( at least I do ) .... In the book of James he mentions the word " work " many times ... Its important to note which greek word he is using since sometimes he is talking about " physical work " and sometimes he is talking about " mental ( effort ) work " ....

         In the Greek this word " patience " is stronger than just being patient, but rather it refers to tenacity, a keep on keeping on type of attitude.   James is telling us that trials are not intended to weaken us, but to strengthen us.  Trials build endurance in us not only so we can compete in the race, but that we can run to win the race also ( I Cor. 9:23-27 ).

         Trials are the only way we can " come forth as gold " ( Job 23:10 ) for Jesus Christ, and because of this they should be appreciated when they happen in our lives.

But let patience have her perfect [ teleioi ] work, that ye may be perfect [ teleioi ] and entire [ olokleroi ], wanting nothing [ medeni ].

         In verse four, James gives a third reason why we face trials.   Believers have trials so that they can grow spiritually.   Twice in the verse, James uses the term " perfect ".   The Greek words used here for " perfect " is " teleioi " { tel'-i-os } which means " complete, completeness, of full age, perfect, mature ".   The Greek word used here for " entire " is " olokleroi " { hol-ok'-lay-ros } which means " complete in every part, perfectly sound in body, entire, whole, used as getting cargo out of a ship undamaged ".

         So here these two words carry the idea of making something complete in every part or in its entirety.  In other words, trials cause us to mature and be complete.   Rev. Warren W. Wiersbe ( a christian bible teacher ) once made this statement :

         We must keep in mind when going through various trials in our lives, that God, like a loving parent, is working a labor of love in us to help us to grow up into mature and useful spiritual adults.   G. Coleman Luck says:

     " The goal of this patient endurance in testing is that all the rough edges of our character may be made smooth and that we may be complete in all the graces God wants us to have. "

         James also tells us that God is doing his work in us so that we will be " wanting nothing. "   The Greek word used here for " nothing " is " medeni " { may-dice' } which means " not even one ( man, woman, thing ), anything, none, not to have anything left behind ".   This literally means, " not to have anything left behind, not to fall short or to be inferior. "

         These should be words of comfort to all of us who are experiencing trials, knowing that we have a heavenly Father who wants to give us everything that we need to grow, not wanting to hold one thing back.   " We must remember two things : "


         We must also remember the old phrase, " no pain, no gain. "   Our trials may be painful, but they will get us to the point of where God wants us, lacking nothing.

Break Line

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask [ aiteito ] of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not [ oneidizontos ], and it shall be given him.

Proverbs 8:11

For wisdom is better than rubies;  and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

         Verse 5, is the only prayer promise in the Bible that has a " 100% guarantee " to be answered positively;  the giving of wisdom.  James tells us that we are to pray for wisdom when going through trials.   The Greek word used here for " ask " is " aiteito " { ahee-teh'-o } which means " to ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require ".

Pastor Tommy Higle defined Divine Wisdom as:

     " The ability to take our intelligence and use it to apply our knowledge to our problems.   Divine wisdom helps us to endure our problems and thus not waste God given opportunities for maturity. "

J. Vernon McGee defined Biblical Wisdom as:

     " Wisdom is to know how to act under certain circumstances of testing, of trial, or when problems or questions arise.  Life is filled with these, and you and I need wisdom from God. "

William MacDonald defined Spiritual Wisdom as:

     " Spiritual wisdom is the practical application of our Lord's teachings to everyday situations. "

         We must not confuse " wisdom " with " knowledge ".   We live in the " Information Age " and it has been said that " knowledge is power. "   There's a lot of people today who are knowledgeable, but do not have wisdom.   The Christians' wisdom comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit who leads and guides us unto all understanding ( John 14:26;  Rom.8:14 ).   Biblical wisdom allows us to apply biblical truth to our own lives and circumstances so that we can grow spiritually.

         God's giving nature is also revealed in this verse ( contrast this with man's giving nature ! ).  James tells us that God gives wisdom " liberally or bountifully ".

         Since God's purpose is to help us to grow spiritually through our trials, then why wouldn't He freely give us the wisdom to cope with our circumstances ?   God holds nothing back when we ask for wisdom in dealing with our problems.   In fact, if most Christians would just study their Bibles they would find the answers to many of their problems before they would ever have to ask !

         But James' point here is that we have a God who wants us to grow spiritually, and is willing to help by giving us all the divine wisdom we need to make it through our trials.   We have God's promise in this verse that we will never hear God scold us for asking.   The Greek word used here for " upbraideth not " is " oneidizontos " { on-i-did'-zo } which means " God will not scold you for asking, to defame, rail at, chide, taunt, revile ".

But let him ask [ aiteito ] in faith [ pistis ], nothing wavering [ diakrinomenos ].  For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with wind and tossed.

         The Greek word used here for " ask " is " aiteito " { ahee-teh'-o }, as noted in verse 5 above, which means " to ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require ".   The Greek word for " faith " above is " pistis " { pis'-tis } which literally means a " persuasion, assurance, or of clutching God ".   When we pray and ask God for " wisdom ", we need to be fully persuaded that God will answer us without any hesitation or doubt.

         The Greek word used here for " wavering " is " diakrinomenos " { dee-ak-ree'-no } which means " to separate thoroughly, to withdraw from or oppose, hesitate, doubt, stagger, waver ".   James says that those who do waver are like the waves on the sea, one moment they are up and then the next they are down.   This is speaking about those believers who say they will trust God to answer their prayers, " but then turn around and rely on themselves ".

James is telling us here that when we pray and ask God for wisdom we must do it with faith because:

         This prayer of asking for " wisdom " ( verse 5 above ), of all the prayers we send to God, is probably the second most important one of all our prayers to God !   The first being, of course, asking for Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior.  But it is through " wisdom " that we gain so many other things such as :

   Knowledge of who God is .....

   Knowledge of why God does what He does in our lives and that of others .....

   Knowledge of understanding the bible .....

   Knowledge of why some of our prayers seem to go unanswered .....

   Knowledge and understand of how the Holy Spirit works in our lives .....

   Assurance of our salvation through Jesus Christ .....

   And the list goes on and on .....

         So many things that we struggle with in our daily walk with Christ can be answered with " wisdom ".  Part of our everyday prayer life to our Lord God should be:

For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord

        James tells us in verse 7, that the prayers of one who could be called a " flip-flopping Christians " are faithless prayers, and God will not honor them.   In fact, they shouldn't even expect God to answer them.   James tells them ( he uses the imperative volitional command of " think " ) not to even think that God will answer them !

J. Vernon McGee once said:

        Many Christians today think that God is " some how under an obligation " to give them whatever they ask ..... but James puts this false concept to rest in the next verse.

        If any one reading here thinks that just maybe they are a " flip-flopping Christians " they need to note a few verse from the Apostle Paul that are basically a warning to " flip-flopping Christians " :

I Timothy 4:1:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

II Thessalonians 2:1-3:

[ 1 ]  Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,   [ 2 ]  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.   [ 3 ]  Let no man deceive you by any means:  for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first  [ apostasia ], and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

         As a note the greek word used for " falling away first " is " apostasia " which is where we get the english word " Apostasy " !   Apostasy literally means, " to defect, or to forsake the faith ".

A double minded [ dipsuchos ] man is unstable in all his ways.

        Not only should the believer who wavers expect nothing, James tells us that they are " double minded ".   The Greek word used here for " double minded " is " dipsuchos " { dip'-soo-khos } which means " two-spirited, vacillating ( in opinion or purpose ), double minded ".   So a believer who is double minded is literally, " two-spirited " or " vacillating ".

        In other words " their hearts, minds, and loyalties are divided between God and the world ".   A " double minded " christian will not fully commit himself or herself to God.   And we know that Jesus said concerning this:

Luke 16:13

No servant can serve two masters:  for either he will hate the one, and love the other;  or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

        Christians that are " double minded " have a divided hearts, and as a result they are " unstable in all their ways. "   In other words, they are inconsistent in their Christian walk because they cannot seem to make their mind up whom they will trust or follow.   There is a continual battle within them over this issue.   Believers need to make up their minds like Joshua:

Joshua 24:15    ...choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

        Remember the Greek word for bond-servant "doulos" we studied in verse 1 above?  How can we be a "doulos" to Jesus Christ and yet at the same time be a "doulos" to something else?

Break Line

Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted [ upsei ].

        James now tells us that the Christian needs to rejoice " not because of their earthly circumstances or their poor economic situation, but because of their spiritual position. "   The " brother of low degree " is speaking about those who find themselves " hitting rock bottom ".

        James says that when we find a Christian brother " hitting rock bottom " we can rejoice because God can " exalt " them.   The Greek word used here for " exalted " is " upsei " { hoop'-sos } which means " dignity, be exalted, height, on high, to put up on the mountain ".   This carries the idea of lifting someone up to put them up high on the top of the mountain.   " How do you get up to the top of the mountain ? "   By being humble and letting God lift you up.   God sometimes has to allow the proud heart to be broken before He can use it.   Proverbs 11:2 says:

Proverbs 11:2  When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.

When trials come your way, rejoice!

Because God is getting ready to lift you up and place you where He wants you.

[ 10 ]   But the rich, in that he is made low [ tapeinosei ]:  because as the flower of grass he shall pass away.     [ 11 ]  For the sun is no sooner risen with burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and its flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion [ prosopou ] of it perisheth [ apoleto ]:  so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways [ poreiais ].

        James tells us in verses 10 and 11 that the rich man cannot buy his way out of his trials either.   Like the poor man who has to be humbled so God can lift him up, the rich man cannot rely upon the earthly things to see him through his trials.   Trials help the rich to see the vanity of riches, because in spite of having wealth he is still made low.

        The Greek word used for " low " here is tapeinosei { tap-i'-no-sis } which means " depression ( in rank or feeling ), humiliation, to be made low, or of a low estate. "

        The Greek word used for " fashion " here is prosopou { pros'-o-pon } which means " the countenance, appearance, surface, presence ".

        The Greek word used here for " perisheth " is apoleto { ap-ol'-loo-mee } which means " to destroy fully, to perish, lose, destroy, die. "

        And finally, the Greek word used here for " ways " is poreiais { por-i'-ah } which means " travel, proceedings, career, journey, ways. "

        James also points out the fact that all the wealth that this world can provide is still only temporary in light of eternity.   Therefore " a rich man should rejoice when he is made low so that God can elevate him also ".

Remember what the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 19:23-24 about a Rich Man ?

Matthew 19:23-24

Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.  And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

        In today's society we many time envy the rich and famous of this world.  We envy movie stars, singers, performers, or even pastors with mega churches.   However, as the Lord explains, " It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. "   Now Jesus was not saying that it was impossible for a rich man to go to heaven.   Let me explain:

        There are many stories about what Jesus meant here.   The one false story that has really seemed to take hold is that there was some kind of gate in the wall of Jerusalem that was small and called the " eye of the needle ".   As the story goes after hours merchants could use this gate since the main gate was closed for the night and for a camel to get through this gate the merchants would have to unload them and then the camel would have to crawl throught the gate since it was so low.   Even though this story sounds good, there is no truth to this story and there was never such a gate.

        Then what was Jesus saying here ?   I can clear that up easily ... Jesus meant exactly what he said, a camel cannot go through the eye of a needle.   He was using what is refered to as a " hyperbole ".   A " hyperbole " is a deliberate and obvious exaggeration.   Jesus had used other hyperboles in his ministry as well.   What Jesus is saying here is that a rich man cannot buy his way into heaven.   His riches mean nothing in the Kingdom of God.   See my below article for more on this ...

Again, what Paul is telling us here
is that a "Rich Man" cannot buy his way out of trials
anymore than he can buy his way into heaven.

Break Line

Blessed [ makarios ] is a man that endureth [ upomenei ] temptation [ peirasmos ]:  for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

        James ends " Section I. Problems And Believers " with a " beatitude ", or God's definition of contentment.   " Blessed " which is the Greek word makarios { mak-ar'-ee-os } which basically means " supremely blest, fortunate, well off, blessed, happy ".

        The Greek word used here for " endureth " is upomenei { hoop-om-en'-o } which literally means " one who stands up alone when they are tested. "   And the Greek for " temptation " is peirasmos { pi-ras-mos' } which means " trial, proving ".   So when we endure trials we are " happy, fortunate, " or " supremely blest. "

        Happiness doesn't come from never having trials, but in having victory over our trials.  There is also a reward for those who are able to continue to " endureth ".   In other words:

        As a Christian I have, of course, faced many trials in life as has every one else.   When I, with the Lord's help, don't give into a trial I'm more than happy ... " I'm overjoyed !"   Remember that God uses adverse circumstances in our lives to mature us, and knowing this should cause us to rejoice.

        We rejoice when we overcome the trials and we " really rejoice " because we know that the Father loves us so much that he gives us trials in this life.   That is ... we know that when trials come that God the Father " knows " we are here and that He is dealing with us on a personal level !   It lets me know that the almighty God ... creator of heaven and earth ... is dealing with me, Russ Pickett, personally !   If that thought, applied to yourself, doesn't blow you away ... " Nothing Will " !

        Another reason why a believer can find happiness in trials is that they will receive a reward for their faithfulness from the Lord.   The " Crown of Life " isn't speaking about eternal life, but refers to a reward.   This pictures a victorious Greek runner who is rewarded with a wreath or crown being placed on his head.

There are five rewards referred to as crowns in the New Testament;

  1. The incorruptible crown ( I Cor. 9:25 )

  2. The crown of rejoicing ( I Thess. 2:19-20 )

  3. The crown of righteousness ( II Tim. 4:6-8 )

  4. The crown of glory ( I Peter 5:2-4 )

  5. The crown of life spoken of here in this passage.

Break Line

Let no man say when he is tempted [ peirazomenos ], I am tempted [ peirazomenos ] of God: for God cannot be tempted [ peirazomenos ] with evil, neither tempteth he any man.

        James now addresses a different type of problem that Christians may face, " " temptations. "   In the previous verses James dealt with trials that come from outside sources, but now he focuses on temptations which sometimes can be harder to handle because it often concerns our thoughts and desires.

        While both of the words " trials " and " temptations " use the same root Greek word, peirazo { pi-rad'-zo }, the actual word here is " peirazomenos " which changes the meaning in this passage ( often it is the context which assigns the meaning to a word ).

        The Greek word " peirazomenos " used here means " to test, enticement to sin, to solicit to sin, to tempt ".   So here it carries the idea of being tempted or enticed by evil.

        Think of it this way, a " test " comes from God for our strength ( spiritual growth ), and a " temptation " is normally either self generated or generated by someone else ( often deals with moral issues ).   James also states here and in the next verse that " everyone is tempted " ( no one is exempt ).   So it's not a matter of " IF " you will be tempted, but a matter of " WHEN " you will be tempted.   This is important because temptations are something that all believers will be faced with as long as they are in this world.

        James' point is clear, while temptation may be associated with the trials sent to us from God, we are not to think of temptation in the sense of solicitation to evil as coming from God.   God's purpose for trials is to help us grow spiritually and away from sin, not toward it.

Stated more clearly :

        We know this to be true, because James plainly states that God cannot be tempted with evil, nor does He tempt with evil.   Often Christians will blame God for evil things that come their way, but they are wrong to do so according to this verse.   Lets put the blame where it belongs and not where it doesn't.   According to Genesis 3:1-8, we are shown who the real tempter is, and we see it again in Matthew 4:3, " And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. "

Break Line

But every man is tempted [ peirazomenos ], when he is drawn away [ exelkomenos ] of his own [ idias ] lust [ epithumias ], and enticed [ exelkomenos ].

        In the last verse we saw that Satan is the one who tempts us to sin and not God, but in this verse we will see that " we are responsible for the act of sin, not Satan. "

     The Greek word used here for " tempted " is the same word we saw in verse 13.   The Greek word used for " drawn away ", is exelkomenos which is actually a fishing term that means " to drag forth ( as with fishing nets: to drag the net in tow ) ".   This is the only place in the bible that this word, normally a fishing term, is used.

        The Greek word for " own " is idias { id'-ee-os } which means " one's own, when they were alone, apart, home, private ".   And the Greek word used here for " lust " is epithumias { ep-ee-thoo-mee'-ah } which means " a personalized self-longing ( espec. desire for what is forbidden ), desire, to lust after ".   So James here is saying that when we are alone we must watch for the desire to do the forbidden or wrong things.

        The Greek word that James uses here for " enticed " is deleazomenos { del-eh-ad'-zo } which means " to entrap, take or catch with bait, delude, allure, entice ".   This word is another fishing term used by James.   During fishing we but bait on a hook ... then we put it into the water to grab the attention of a fish.   The fish, not knowing that there is a hook under the bait, snaps at the bait before they are aware that there is a hook buried underneath it.

        So what is James telling us here ?   Here he is giving us all a very important lesson on our daily walk with our Lord Jesus Christ.   Basically James is telling us this:

     " All of us are enticed to sin when we are drawn away by our own lusts, the lusts we allow in our hearts and our minds.   When we are alone, without anyone around to catch us, that is when satan will hit us the hardest with temptations.   It is then that he will use our personal self-longing and desire for what is forbidden.   And unless we are very careful we, like a fish biting a baited hook, will be allured to sin. "

        Now understand this my dear brothers and sisters in Christ.   As people we want to blame someone else when we succumb to the various temptations that are dangled in front of us.   But James is clear on this issue, " it's not the tempter who is responsible for your actions, but you ! "

Pastor David Buffaloe noted this concerning this verse:

     " Like that old fish who sits there looking at that worm, and the longer he looks at it the bigger and juicer it gets.   And before long, he can't stand it any longer and he takes the bait.   Why, because his own desires got the best of him.   Not only are Christians like sheep, we are like fish too.   The Bible gives us many examples of this;   Adam and Eve in the garden, and David and Bathsheba are just a couple of examples of people who succumbed to there own selfish desires that led to sin. "

May God Bless You


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Last modified: Sunday, December 5, 2021

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