James 5

This reading is James 5.

The opening passage should challenge almost anyone living in the U.S. Even if you don’t consider yourself “rich,” you are probably in the top 1-2% of the wealthiest people on the planet, and certainly in the top 1-2% of people who ever lived. Just glance back out how touch life was 100 years ago for most Americans. This isn’t to say that money is all bad. The thrust of the passage is about justice and fairness. While saving for retirement, emergencies and such is prudent, have we hoarded wealth, or shared it?

As an aside, note how Job is referred to in verse 11. I find it interesting that many people assume that Adam & Eve, Noah, Job, Jonah and other Old Testament figures were fictional, but when they are referred to by Jesus, James and others it is always in the context of them being real people.

Verse 16 commands us to confess our sins to each other and to pray for each other. Note that we don’t necessarily have to confess to a priest, but we are to confess to others in addition to God. There is something spiritually healing about it.

I thought the closing of James was interesting. No long good-byes, just an encouragement to point people to the truth:

My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Thanks for reading along with the study of James!

The next reading is the book of Ruth. It is a short book – only 4 chapters. I recommend reading the whole book in one sitting, then going back through in a little more detail. I think I’ll break this into three lessons – an overview, chapters 1-2 and chapters 3-4. Ruth is a great love story with a lot of lessons for us all.

I’m not sure where we’ll go after Ruth, but I’m open to suggestions. My family started doing a weekly study a couple months ago and I have been following what we’ve been reading together.

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5 Responses

  1. I love James, excellent book. Keep up the good teachings

  2. Brother Luther was not fond of James, but I think that there are practical passages. 5:13 “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.” 5:15 “And the prayer offered in FAITH will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.” 5:16 “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

  3. We are about to do a bible study in Sunday School this upcoming Sunday on the topic of “Once Saved Always Saved.” My wife and I are on the fence, and verses like 5:20 seem to indicate otherwise. What are your thoughts on this? FYI, some translations have “save his soul from death” instead of just “save him from death”

  4. Hi Chance,

    I’ve read verses supporting both views. I am probably oversimplifying this and am perhaps being a Bad Methodist by saying this, but my view is “once really saved, always really saved.”

    I insert “really” to note distinguish authentic conversions from mere professed belief.

    I think the verses, in context, support this view and the opposite view just seems irrational to me. If it were true then in theory we could get saved and unsaved over and over, thus turning the whole thing back into a works-based program.

    What are your thoughts?

  5. I tend to favor the OSAS view. But I do wonder if it is possible to genuinely have faith, but then lose that faith.

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