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1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

1:9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: 1:10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.

1:11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.

1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 1:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: James
Book: James
Chapter: 1

How to apply to God under troubles, and how to behave in
prosperous and in adverse circumstances. (1-11) To look upon all
evil as proceeding from ourselves, and all good from God.
(12-18) The duty of watching against a rash temper, and of
receiving the Word of God with Meekness. (19-21) And of living
according thereto. (22-25) The difference between vain pretences
and real religion. (26,27)

1-11 Christianity teaches men to be joyful under troubles: such
exercises are sent from God's Love; and trials in the way of
duty will brighten our graces now, and our Crown at last. Let us
take care, in times of trial, that patience, and not Passion, is
set to work in us: whatever is said or done, let patience have
the saying and doing of it. When the work of patience is
complete, it will furnish all that is necessary for our
Christian race and warfare. We should not pray So much for the
removal of affliction, as for Wisdom to make a right use of it.
And who does not want Wisdom to guide him under trials, both in
regulating his own Spirit, and in managing his affairs? Here is
something in answer to every discouraging turn of the mind, when
we go to God under a sense of our own weakness and folly. If,
after all, any should say, This may be the case with some, but I
fear I shall not succeed, the promise is, To any that asketh, it
shall be given. A mind that has single and prevailing regard to
its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its
purposes for God, will grow Wise By Afflictions, will continue
fervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions. When
our Faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, there
will be unsteadiness in our words and actions. This may not
always expose men to contempt in the world, but such ways cannot
please God. No condition of Life is such as to hinder rejoicing
in God. Those of low degree may rejoice, if they are exalted to
be rich in Faith and heirs of the Kingdom of God; and the rich
may rejoice in humbling providences, that lead to a humble and
lowly disposition of mind. Worldly wealth is a withering thing.
Then, let him that is rich rejoice in the Grace of God, which
makes and keeps him humble; and in the trials and exercises
which teach him to seek happiness in and from God, not from
perishing enjoyments.

12-18 It is not every Man who suffers, that is blessed; but he
who with patience and constancy goes through all difficulties in
the way of duty. Afflictions cannot make us miserable, if it be
not our own fault. The tried Christian shall be a crowned one.
The Crown of Life is promised to all who have the Love of God
reigning in their hearts. Every soul that truly loves God, shall
have its trials in this world fully recompensed in that world
above, where Love is made perfect. The commands of God, and the
dealings of his Providence, try men's hearts, and show the
dispositions which prevail in them. But nothing sinful in the
Heart or conduct can be ascribed to God. He is not the author of
the Dross, though his fiery trial exposes it. Those who lay the
blame of Sin, either upon their constitution, or upon their
condition in the world, or pretend they cannot keep from
sinning, wrong God as if he were the author of Sin. Afflictions,
as sent By God, are designed to draw out our graces, but not our
corruptions. The origin of evil and Temptation is in our own
hearts. Stop the beginnings of Sin, or all the evils that follow
must be wholly charged upon us. God has No pleasure in the Death
of men, as he has No Hand in their Sin; but both Sin and misery
are owing to themselves. As the Sun is the same in nature and
influences, though the Earth and clouds, often coming between,
make it seem to us to vary, So God is unchangeable, and our
changes and shadows are not from any changes or alterations in
him. What the Sun is in nature, God is in Grace, Providence, and
Glory; and infinitely more. As every good Gift is from God, So
particularly our being born again, and all its holy, happy
consequences come from him. A true Christian becomes as
different a person from what he was before the renewing
influences of Divine Grace, as if he were formed over again. We
should devote all our faculties to God's service, that we may be
a kind of First-fruits of his creatures.

19-21 Instead of blaming God under our trials, let us open our
ears and hearts to learn what he teaches By them. And if men
would govern their Tongues, they must govern their passions. The
worst thing we can bring to any dispute, is Anger. Here is an
exhortation to lay apart, and to cast off as a filthy garment,
all sinful practices. This must reach to sins of thought and
Affection, as Well as of speech and practice; to every thing
corrupt and sinful. We must yield ourselves to the Word of God,
with humble and teachable minds. Being willing to hear of our
faults, taking it not only patiently, but thankfully. It is the
design of the Word of God to make us Wise to Salvation; and
those who propose any mean or low ends in attending upon it,
dishonour the Gospel, and disappoint their own souls.

22-25 If we heard a sermon every Day of the Week, and an Angel
from Heaven were the preacher, yet, if we rested in hearing
only, it would never bring us to Heaven. Mere hearers are
self-deceivers; and self-deceit will be found the worst deceit
at last. If we flatter ourselves, it is our own fault; the
Truth, as it is in Jesus, flatters No Man. Let the Word of Truth
be carefully attended to, and it will set before us the
corruption of our nature, the disorders of our hearts and lives;
and it will tell us plainly what we are. Our sins are the spots
the Law discovers: Christ's Blood is the Laver the Gospel shows.
But in vain do we hear God's Word, and look into the Gospel
Glass, if we go away, and forget our spots, instead of Washing
them off; and forget our remedy, instead of applying to it. This
is the case with those who do not hear the Word as they ought.
In hearing the Word, we look into it for counsel and direction,
and when we study it, it turns to our spiritual Life. Those who
keep in the Law and Word of God, are, and shall be, blessed in
all their ways. His gracious recompence hereafter, would be
connected with his present peace and comfort. Every part of
Divine Revelation has its use, in bringing the sinner to Christ
for Salvation, and in directing and encouraging him to walk at
liberty, By the Spirit of Adoption, according to the holy
commands of God. And Mark the distinctness, it is not for his
deeds, that any Man is blessed, but in his deed. It is not
talking, but walking, that will bring us to Heaven. Christ will
become more precious to the believer's soul, which By his Grace
will become more fitted for the inheritance of the saints in

26,27 When men take more pains to seem religious than really to
be So, it is a sign their religion is in vain. The not bridling
the tongue, readiness to speak of the faults of others, or to
lessen their Wisdom and Piety, are signs of a vain religion. The
Man who has a slandering tongue, cannot have a truly humble,
gracious Heart. False religious may be known By their impurity
and uncharitableness. True religion teaches us to do every thing
as in the presence of God. An unspotted Life must go with
unfeigned Love and Charity. Our true religion is equal to the
Measure in which these things have place in our hearts and
conduct. And let us remember, that nothing avails in Christ
Jesus, but Faith that worketh By Love, purifies the Heart,
subdues Carnal lusts, and obeys God's commands.

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