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ch 2

James 2 Commentary

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James 2:1-4 meaning

James rebukes his audience for showing favoritism toward the wealthy believers in their midst, while mistreating the poor brethren. Playing favorites is sinful.

James 2:5-7 meaning

God does not value earthly wealth and status. He has called the least important people (by the world's standards) to become heirs of His kingdom, for those who love Him. It is not loving to treat one another based on how much money one has. Among James's audience, some of the wealthy members have sued the poor members; James describes this as blaspheming Jesus's name and asks his readers why they would honor someone who exploited them.

James 2:8-13 meaning

James points to the main principle of God's word to us for how we should treat one another: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." If we show partiality, we are not loving one another. Obeying in some areas of life while sinning in others makes us guilty of all sin. Rather than picking and choosing, we should obey God in all things. One key way of obeying God is by showing mercy and love to one another.

James 2:14-17 meaning

Faith Without Works is Unhelpful: James illustrates how it is not useful to have faith but to fail to take action. If someone is suffering, and a believer merely wishes them well, rather than helping, what good is that? If we do not add action to our faith, our faith grows cold and inert.

James 2:18-20 meaning

The Objector Argues Against Adding Works to Faith: James anticipates someone will argue with him, saying that faith and works have no connection to one another. James counters this belief as foolish; to have faith but not act on it is not beneficial.

James 2:21-26 meaning

Obedience Puts Life into Our Faith: James shows that works born of faith bring life and purpose to faith. He uses Abraham as an example of someone who had faith, and then did right by obeying God. His works worked together with his faith to create benefit and blessing. Rahab also had faith, and acted on that faith, so her works showed she was obedient to God. This obedient action-taking puts life into our faith just as a spirit puts life into a body, and its result is our maturation.