Home   e-Library       中文 
e-Library Home |  Browse By Category |  Study the Bible    
 (James & 1, 2 Peter)
Lesson 08
TOC | Previous | Next

Lesson 8



Arrogant Boasting about Tomorrow (4:13-17)

Denunciation of Rich Oppressors (5:1-6)

Waiting Patiently for the Coming of the Lord (5:7-12)

Key Words/Phrases

“You do not know what will happen tomorrow,” vapor, if the Lord wills, boast, arrogance, knows…and does not do, rich, weep and howl, last days, fraud, pleasure and luxury, condemned/murdered the just, patient, coming of the Lord, establish your hearts, do not grumble, suffering, Judge/judgment, swear.

General Analysis

1.      The first paragraph has to do with the correct attitude about the immediate future. The second paragraph warns of the judgment in the near future. The last paragraph calls for patience until the coming of the Lord, which is also in the near future.

2.      Whereas the tone of the second paragraph is denunciatory, the tone of the third paragraph is one of encouragement.

3.      Segment Analysis

4.      James is not warning against planning or profit-making, but against arrogance and boasting (16). Such arrogance and boasting come from the presumption that we are in command of our own lives.

5.      Our future is uncertain. Our lives are short.

6.      Behind the words “if the Lord wills” is a heart of dependence on God’s sustenance and respect for His will.

7.      In the preceding verses, James has just explained why arrogant boasting is evil and taught us what is right and good (i.e. to honor God’s sovereign will). In this verse, James extends the teaching on good and evil to include a broader principle—failing to do the good is in itself evil.

8.      God’s law not only forbids us to do evil but also commands us to do good. When we fail to do what is good, we become a transgressor of God’s law. Furthermore, withholding good deeds can become a harm to others (e.g. Lk 6:6-10).

9.      Accumulation of wealth (2,3), withholding wages by fraud (4), living in pleasure and luxury (5), condemning and murdering the just (6).

10.  They have no fear of God and love pleasure rather than God.

11.  They will be in misery because God will soon judge them.

12.  According to verses 2 and 3, the rich keep accumulating wealth that is never put to good use. That is why their valuables were corrupted, garments moth-eaten, and gold and silver corroded. The hoarding of wealth contributes to economic injustice in society. This sin is especially evil because it is done in the last days. In other words, these rich people disregard the impending judgment of God and indulge in wanton living.

13.  The day of slaughter is the time when the owner slaughters his fattened cattle. James uses this language to depict how the rich are satisfying their hearts with pleasure and completely unaware of their impending destruction.

14.  We may infer from this verse that the believers were probably victims of social oppression. Even if they were not suffering from oppression per se, the exhortation may be an encouragement for believers to wait patiently for the Lord’s coming, knowing that God’s judgment will soon take place.

15.  Establishing our hearts means strengthening our faith in the Lord and not letting our conviction be shaken by any circumstance (cf. 1Cor 15:58). This inner strength comes from the sure hope of the Lord’s coming.

16.  “Grumbling,” which literally means “groaning,” refers to words or expressions that show the inner bitterness over the offenses of others. Thus when James admonishes us not to grumble against each other, he is teaching us to stop complaining and bear with one another until the coming of the Judge.

17.  The perseverance of Job. The Lord is very compassionate and merciful (cf. Job 42:10-17).

18.  Perhaps some people used oaths as an expedient way to gain credibility. Therefore, the point of the command is to speak the truth to one another without invoking the name of God or relying on other forms of oath.


PDF Download