James 1:1-4

CPRC Men’s Bible Study


James 1:1


1,2. James calls himself a slave (as Peter does in II Peter 1:1) because in his relationship to the triune God he has the characteristics of a slave which are first, that he has been bought with a price (the blood of Christ) and hence is valuable, second he is to serve his master who owns him, without question, and thirdly his master is responsible for his care, protection and bodily provision. He looks to his master for orders (Psalm 123:2) and serves for no reward (Luke 17:10).

  1. We think James emphasises this relationship with the triune God to make a clear distinction from his being Christ’s half-brother in the flesh. He serves the divine Father and Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.

4. The twelve tribes must mean the scattered elect church of Jew and Gentile in his day (and also ours). The twelve tribes are in many places in the NT symbolic of God’s people (Gal.6:16, Rev.7:4). As the Jews in his day were not identifiable by their tribes and were so scattered it cannot just mean the Jews.

5. Greeting has the connotation of joy (Greek CHAIRO), same root as the word joy in verse 2 (see also Acts 15:23) because all communication between God’s people, whether face to face or by letter (or today phone, email or Facebook) should be, and is, joyful because it is fellowship in Christ. Those who have been to BRF conferences can testify to the great joy experienced at that particular gathering of catholic saints! Fellowship brings gladness!

James 1:2-4

Trials and Temptations

  1. Compare and contrast trial and temptation (same Greek word).
Trials/testing Temptation
Author or source God Satan/our own lust (God superintending)
Purpose Purify, expose, prove genuine Cause to sin, doubt, be destroyed.
Motive Positive, make stronger Negative, make fall, our destruction (I Peter 5:8)

2. Verse 3 should be translated “trial” rather than temptation because the testing of our faith, not temptation, produces patience. Temptation when we fall into it causes misery.

3. There are three similarities between trials and temptation. First both are under God’s sovereign control, both test how genuine our faith is, and third, both, when we respond wrongly to them, lead us to deny Christ and sin. All temptation tests our obedience and consecration.

4. Diverse or various temptations cover, among other things, but mentioned specifically in this epistle, indulging any lust, swelling of pride, respect of persons, lack of care for a needy brother, cursing, envy, strife, speaking evil, planning without God, wavering.

5. “Fall into” does not imply a spiritual fall but rather a divinely appointed unexpected “hole in the ground” that we do not see and fall into. Biblical examples would be Peter’s denial of Christ, the storm on the sea etc.            We are to examine ourselves before the Lord’s Supper and confess all known sin.

Christ was tempted in three major ways: In the wilderness by Satan, continually by the Pharisees and in Gethsemane.

6. Trials and joy are not contradictions when we acknowledge their source is God who is using them to our profit to test, refine and sanctify us (I Peter 1:6-7).

7. The patience (perseverance) of verses 3 and 4 is the constancy of trusting God in the furnace of affliction and keeping faith with him which when it grows and matures is like that of Christ who endured to the uttermost (resisted unto blood, Heb.12:4).

8. Continuing in patience (perseverance) is a process and a perfecting work that makes us more mature disciples. The word complete (TELEIOS Greek) is also used in Eph.4:13, Col.1:28, Heb.5:14. We become approved (Acts 2:22, James 1:12, I Cor.11:19) ─ found worthy, for noble use or to be entrusted with suffering (Acts 5:41).

9. This perfection means being further on in a process of being made like Christ so that we respond in all circumstances as he would, facing trials with thankfulness, trusting God’s relevant promises. We remembered I Cor.10:13 where God states that there is a way to respond to every temptation without sin, so if we fall it is our own fault!

Next study (DV) March 12th 8pm to page 14 (James 1:5-11)



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