James 1:5-11

CPRC Men’s Bible Study


James 1:5-8

Obtaining Wisdom

  1. “Lacking nothing” refers to patient endurance and perseverance under trial and temptation which is to grow, the implication being there is always need for more and “if you lack” wisdom concerns a different subject or grace.

2. Wisdom is the moral application of the truths and teaching of Scripture. One needs to know God’s commands and standards to be able to obey them. Knowledge without wisdom is seen in the lives of liberal and spiritually dead theologians and hypocritical churchmen. We did not think you could have wisdom without Biblical knowledge. There is also a devilish wisdom characteristic of wicked men (James 3:14-15). In God wisdom is, “God’s determination to attain the highest goal for himself, namely, the glory of his name. Further wisdom is the knowledge that God has the best means of attaining that goal. The best means of attaining that goal is to reveal himself in Jesus Christ…and through Christ to save a people who can live with him in covenantal fellowship.” (Faith Made Perfect by Herman Hanko p21).

3. We may lack wisdom not knowing Biblical truth or forgetting the means of grace or concerning many choices in life e.g. our future, whom to marry, problems we face, best course of action regarding witness, our children, relationships, backsliders, heretics, and our finances.

4. The solution to lack of wisdom is simple-ask God for it!

5. God understands that as fallible and sinful creatures we need wisdom and he does not find fault with us if we acknowledge this.

6. We are to ask in faith expecting his positive answer and guidance c.f. Phil.4:6-7 and example of Solomon (I Kings 3:11-12).

7. If we waver God will not respond.

8. A double-minded man is unstable, serving two masters e.g. God and mammon, self and Christ, wanting the best of both worlds, though truly he only serves sin. We must be single-minded like Christ (setting his face to go to Jerusalem) Paul (this one thing I do…) and God himself. God is of one mind and unchangeable. See prayer of Psalm 86:11.

9. One who is unstable is easily knocked over and unable to stand any attack (c.f. Eph.6:13-14). He is like the chaff of Psalm 1 and the man who build his house on sand. There is a definite connection between the maturity of verse 4 and being able to stand single-mindedly in contrast to the man in verse 8.

James 1:9-11

Rejoicing in Poverty and Wealth

  1. It is worth noting the context of the book i.e. problem in the churches regarding respect of persons (chapter 2). Hence James could have referred to both rich and poor as brothers but singles out the poor perhaps to emphasis his standing (c.f. Onesimus in Philemon 16). It is to be assumed James and we acknowledge the rich as brothers too.

2. Riches are morally neutral. Many in Scripture were rich and used their riches to the glory of God e.g. Abraham, Job, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, Lydia. But it is hard for rich people to enter the kingdom because their trust may be in riches and they have the wrong priorities and goals (I Tim.6:9-10, 17-19).

3. The brother of low degree may not have much of this world’s good but in Christ he is spiritually rich (II Cor.8:9). He ought to be uninhibited in his fellowship and service in the church remembering all are gifted. Remember the little boy’s contribution to the feeding of the 5,000). Rom.10:12, I Cor.4:8, II Cor.6:10, James 2:5.4.

4. The rich man can rejoice being made low because he recognises all he has is temporary and that as a human being he has a short lifespan. He is also dependent on God and can and should manifest poverty of spirit.

5. The analogy is of grass that withers in the sun and flowers that fall, just like ageing!

6. The rich recognise that none of their confidence, standing or trust must be in their riches but in the living God. Jer.9:23-24, I Tim.6:17-18, James 5:1-3. Luke 12:20-21, 18:23. I Tim.6:9, Rev.3:17, Psalm 39:6 and much in Ecclesiastes.

Next study DV Sat. April 2nd on James 1:12-18


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