Saturday, October 23, 2010

Reading James Chapter Four

James chapter four can be broken into two (2) sections or divisions. The first division or section is verses one through twelve. The second division or section begins in verse thirteen and ends in verse seventeen

In the first section, James describes and rebukes the divisive and destructive behavior by those in the body who have been exhibiting the characteristics prohibited in chapter three and verse fourteen. James writes in what we call a rhetorical format by asking his readers’ questions and then answering them. James rebukes those who are destroying the peace of the various churches that received this letter by condemning their bitterness, jealousies, and selfish ambition.

In the second section James denounces and rebukes the divisive and destructive behavior in the body by those who are wealthy business men. James condemns the sins of the arrogant and wealthy believers.

The Description (4:1-12)

In verses one through three James describes the condition of these Christian communities by asking questions that actually serve to expose the source of the problems. He opens with a diagnostic question, what has caused the fights and quarrels that you are experiencing.  James also asks a hard hitting question to establish or pin-point the exact source of the trouble; from within these believers themselves. These problems are not coming from outside the church but they have risen up due to their own selfish desires.

In verses four through six James denounces the condition of these Christian Communities by administering a sharp rebuke. James’ rebuke covers three (3) major areas. First, the friendship that these believers have adopted with the world makes them spiritual adulterers. These believers have become spiritual idolaters. Second, their flawed view of the authority of the Scriptures. James is probing their attitude toward the bible.  Thirdly, James demonstrates Gold’s response to these individuals is in relation to their inner attitude. 

In verses seven through ten James makes an appeal for these believers to repent of their sin and return to fellowship with God. In this section there are ten imperatives, or commands forming an urgent call by James to correct their attitudes and actions. These commands demand decisive action.

In verses eleven and twelve James makes a plea for these believers to stop their censorship and denunciation of one another. There is no connecting particle between verse ten and verse eleven so some think this is a new section. The context lends itself to seeing verses eleven and twelve continuing the instructions James began in verses seven. As these believers fix their relationship with God, it will then enable them to turn to their fellows believers and fix those relationships which had been broken.

The Denunciation (4:13-17)

In verses thirteen through seventeen James speaks to “businessman” as he demonstrates the sovereignty of God. The sovereignty of God James states prohibits both arrogance and presumption in their decision making process. James rebukes these believers for acting independently from God and who have become self-willed. James demonstrates the proper attitude of a believer as one who plans and prepares, yet is submitted to the Lord.


Seams Inspired said...

Another great post full of insight, Gregg! There's definitely a lot of admonishing going on in this chapter. I just love that James minces no words. He gives it to us straight out with no opportunity to mistake what he's saying to us. Here's what stood out to me:

Verse 1 Right off the bat, James sounds like a parent talking to a child. Stop fighting! You're only fighting because you want. Want, want, want! You have nothing because you ask God for nothing.

Verse 10 Simple actions will give great reward, right? I wonder sometimes why it is so hard for some to be humble before God.

Verse 17 Ouch. How many times have I been in this place? I'm glad I can refer back to verse 10 when I've been living at Verse 17. :o)

Thanks again, Gregg! I'm enjoying this Spiritual Exercise. Happy Saturday! :o)

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Hi Gregg owing to this weeks hiatus I am way behind on my reading, Hope you are ok and have a good week-end,


Lloyd said...

Thank you Gregg for this study. God's blessings too you. Lloyd


I love the way the God's Word is shaper than a two edged sword and cuts right to my heart (James 4:1-4) But I love even more the way His Word always allows me a way of escape when my evil thoughts and actions are exposed (1 John 1:9 and 1 Corinthians 10:13) Now that's good news! :-)

BTW, sorry about yesterday's comment. That's what I get for "not" being fully awake before I read blogs and comment :-)