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Geneva Study Notes
James Chapter 1

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

    (a) That is, written to no one man, city, or country, but to
        all the Jews generally, being now dispersed.
    (b) To all the believing Jews, whatever tribe they are
        from, dispersed throughout the whole world.

James 1:2
1:2 {1} My brethren, {c} count it all joy {2} when ye fall into
    divers temptations;

 (1) The first place or part concerning comfort in afflictions,
     in which we should not be cast down and be faint hearted,
     but rather rejoice and be glad.
     (c) Seeing their condition was miserable because of the
         scattering abroad, he does well to begin as he does.
 (2) The first argument, because our faith is tried through
     afflictions: which ought to be most pure, for so it suits us.

James 1:3
1:3 {3} Knowing [this], that the {d} trying of your faith
    worketh patience.

 (3) The second, because patience, a surpassing and most
     excellent virtue, is brought about in us by this means.
     (d) That by this your faith is tried, that is, those
         various temptations.

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

 (4) The third argument, proposed in manner of an exhortation,
     that true and lasting patience may be discerned from false
     and temporary.  Affliction is the instrument God uses to
     polish and refine us.  Therefore through the work and
     effect of afflictions, we are perfected in Christ.

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

 (5) An answer to a private objection; It is easily said, but
     not so easily done.  He answers that we need, in this case,
     a different type of wisdom than the wisdom of man, to
     determine those things that are best for us, since they are
     disagreeable to the flesh: but we shall easily obtain this
     gift of wisdom, if we ask correctly, that is, with a sure
     confidence in God, who is entirely bountiful and liberal.
     (e) By wisdom he means the knowledge of that doctrine
         previously mentioned, that is, why we are afflicted by
         God, and the fruit we reap from affliction.

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

    (f) Why then, what need is there of another mediator or priest?
 (6) A digression or going aside from his matter, as compared to
     prayers which are conceived with a doubting mind, but we
     have a trustworthy promise from God, and this is the second
     part of the epistle.

James 1:8
1:8 A double minded man [is] unstable in {g} all his ways.

    (g) In all his thoughts and his deeds.

James 1:9
1:9 {7} Let the brother of {h} low degree rejoice in that he is
    exalted:

 (7) He returns to his purpose repeating the proposition, which
     is, that we must rejoice in affliction, for it does not
     oppress us, but exalt us.
     (h) Who is afflicted with poverty, or contempt, or with any
         kind of calamity.

James 1:10
1:10 {8} But the {i} rich, in that he is made low: {9} because
     as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.

 (8) Before he concludes, he gives a doctrine contrasted to the
     former: that is, how we ought to use prosperity, that is,
     the abundance of all things: that is, so that no man
     pleases himself, but rather be humble.
     (i) Who has all things at his will.
 (9) An argument taken from the very nature of the things
     themselves, for that they are empty and unreliable.

James 1:11
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 {k} ways.

 (k) Whatever he purposes in his mind or does.

James 1:12
1:12 {10} Blessed [is] the man that endureth {l} temptation: for
     when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which
     the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

 (10) The conclusion: Therefore we must patiently bear the
      affliction: and he adds a fourth argument, which
      comprehends the sum of all the former, that is, we gain
      the crown of life in this way, yet by grace according to
      the promise.
      (l) Affliction, by which the Lord tries him.

James 1:13
1:13 {11} Let no man say when he is {m} tempted, I am tempted of
     God: {12} for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither
     tempteth he any man:

 (11) The third part of this epistle, in which he descends from
      outward temptations, that is, from afflictions by which
      God tries us: to inward, that is, to those lusts by which
      we are stirred up to do evil.  The sum is this: Every man
      is the author of these temptations by himself, and not
      God: for we carry in our bodies that wicked corruption,
      which seeks opportunity forever, to stir up evil in us,
      from which eventually proceeds wicked behaviour, and in
      conclusion follows death, the just reward of them.
      (m) When he is provoked to do evil.
 (12) Here a reason is shown, why God cannot be the author of
      evil behaviour in us, since he does not desire evil
      behaviour.

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

     (n) By sin, in this place, he means actual sin.

James 1:16
1:16 {13} Do not err, my beloved brethren.

 (13) Another reason taken from opposites: God is the author of
      all goodness, and so, since he is always like himself; how
      then can he be thought to be the author of evil?

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

     (o) From him who is the fountain and author of all
         goodness.
     (p) He goes on in the metaphor: for the sun by his many and
         various kinds of turning, makes hours, days, months,
         years, light and darkness.

James 1:18
1:18 {14} Of his own {q} will begat he us with the word of truth,
     that we should be a kind of {r} firstfruits of his
     creatures.

 (14) The fourth part concerning the excellency and fruit of the
      word of God, The sum is this: we must listen to the word
      of God most carefully and diligently, seeing it is the
      seed, through which God by his free favour and love has
      begotten us to himself, picking us out of the number of
      his creatures.  The apostle condemns two faults, which
      greatly trouble us in this matter. For we so please
      ourselves, that we would rather speak ourselves, than hear
      God speaking. Indeed, we are angry when we are reproached
      and ignore it. Opposed to these faults, he sets a
      peaceable and quiet mind, and such as desires purity.
      (q) This is what Paul calls gracious favour, an good will,
          which is the fountain of our salvation.
      (r) As it were an holy type of offering, taken out of the
          remnant of men.

James 1:20
1:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the {s} righteousness of
     God.

     (s) That which God appoints.

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

     (t) By meekness he means modesty, and anything that is
         contrary to a haughty and proud spirit.

James 1:22
1:22 {15} But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only,
     {16} deceiving your own selves.

 (15) Another admonition: therefore God's word is heard, that we
      may model our lives according to the laws it contains.
 {16} He adds reasons, and those most weighty: first, because
      they that do otherwise seriously harm themselves.

James 1:23
1:23 {17} For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he
     is like unto a man beholding his {u} natural face in a
     glass:

 (17) Secondly: because they lose the most important use of
      God's word, if they do not use it to correct the faults
      that they know.
     (u) He alludes to that natural stain, which is contrary to
         the purity that we are born again into, the living
         image which we see in the law.

James 1:25
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 {x}
     deed.

     (x) Behaviour: for works show faith.

James 1:26
1:26 {18} If any man among you seem to be religious, and
     bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his {y} own heart,
     this man's religion [is] vain.

 {18} The third admonition: the word of God lays down a rule to
      not only do well, but also to speak well.
     (y) The fountain of all babbling, cursed speaking, and
         impudence is this, that men do not know themselves.

James 1:27
1:27 {19} Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father
     is this, To {z} visit the fatherless and widows in their
     affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.

 (19) The fourth: the true service of God exists in charity
      towards our neighbours, especially those who need the help
      of others (fatherless and widows), and purity of life.
     (z) To care for them and to help them as much as we can.



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