Summary of passage: James addresses the rich saying their misery is coming in the form or rotted wealth and clothes and corroded silver and gold because they have cheated workmen out of wages, lived in luxury and self-indulgence, fattened themselves while others starved, and condemned and murdered innocent men.
Be patient like the farmer is for his crops for the Lord’s coming and stand firm. Don’t grumble against each other or you will be judged. Have patience when suffering like the prophets did and persevere. Wait for what the Lord will bring about. Do not swear oaths. Your word is enough.
Pray when in trouble or happy. Have others pray for you when you are sick. A prayer offered in faith will make you well and you will be forgiven. Confess your sins and pray for each other. Prayer is powerful and effective like Elijah’s prayer. Those who turn sinners who have wandered from the truth back will be blessed.
14a) The wages they failed to pay the workmen, lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence, fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter, condemned and murdered innocent men.
b) Yes because James is speaking to them and writing to them in this letter. In Chapter 1, he opens with, “to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations” so they are at the very least Jews (God’s chosen people) and I would say they are new Christians.
c) Human nature has not changed since Adam and man is inherently selfish and greedy. This includes Christians. Men cheat others who work for them and pay them sub-par wages for the work they do. People live in luxury and self-indulgence and extravagance. We over-indulge (look at the obesity rates in this country). Christians condemn and murder innocent men (or in some form such as slander that we talked about yesterday–severely hobbling people to the point they cannot support themselves, etc).
Despite our best intentions, the devil can still cause us to choose him instead of God. I do not see this ever changing in the future for we are human.
15) Stand firm, don’t grumble against each other, persevere, and do not swear
16a) We should pray when we are in trouble, happy, or sick. Prayer in faith will result in healing, forgiveness for sin, and be powerful and effective. If you pray earnestly, your prayer will be answered. Have others pray for us especially when sick. Confess our sins to others and pray for each other so we may be healed.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Probably every facet of my life. I’m trying to pray more and more and I think if I do, I will see more prayers answered.
c) We are saved from death and our sins if we turn towards the truth (i.e. God).
Conclusions: I like how James tells us not to be grumblers or complainers, a habit we all battle at points in our lives. I like how James tells us not to swear oaths. Our word should be enough.
I love the prayer part. As you know, prayer has been a theme for me throughout the second half of Acts and this is just another great passage on the power of prayer.
I believe we can’t pray enough. I think of the monks who devoted their lives to Christ and spent most of the day in prayer. Obviously, most of us are not called to such a life but we do need to follow their example and pray in everything as much as possible.