Suffering King

“Is anyone sick? He must call for the elders of the ecclesia and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14). Elders? Why not the physicians? Only two passages in the Old Testament mention elders in connection with anointing, both of them . . . . Continue Reading »


“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God . . . and it will be given to him,” James says in today’s sermon text. James is alluding to the story of Solomon asking for wisdom to judge the vast nation of Israel. According to James, we can all be Solomons. We can all be kings . . . . Continue Reading »

Visiting widows

James says that true religion consists in “visiting widows and orphans in their distress” (James 1:27). We don’t get the point if we think of “visit” in our first sense of “pay a call.” In Christ, God has “visited and redeemed His people” (Luke . . . . Continue Reading »

Murder and oppression

Do we murder the poor when we abuse them? James thinks so. At the beginning of chapter 5, he sharply rebukes the rich, reminding them that they have not paid the laborers who mowed their fields (v. 3). Like Abel’s blood, the laborers “cry out against you, and the outcry of those who did . . . . Continue Reading »

Law and Mirrors

James says that the law is a mirror. We think he means that we read the law, it shows us flaws and blemishes, and we are convicted of sin. That’s not the way the image works in James. The man who looks in a mirror and turns away is not the one who hears the law and ignores his sin. He’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Chiasm of James

Cristina Conti of th Salvation Army Seminary in Buenos Aires offers an interesting chiasm of James (Global Bible Commentary, Abingdon Press). Here is an abbreviated form of the chiasm: A. Joy in trial, 1:2-8 B. Rich fade, 1:9-11 C. Lustfulness, 1:12-15 D. Perfect Gift, 1:16-25 E. Restraining the . . . . Continue Reading »

Exhortation, August 13

When Elijah prayed, James tells us, the Lord shut up the sky for three years and six months. Elijah prayed again, and the heavens poured rain and the land was restored. Elijah clearly prayed according to God’s will. But how did he know? Did Elijah decide to pray for drought after God said, . . . . Continue Reading »