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The Letter from James

James the Just (brother of Jesus). Russian Icon. Public Domain.
James the Just (brother of Jesus). Russian Icon. Public Domain.

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Introduction to The Letter from James

Nowadays there is a tendency to regard Christian churches of the early days as ideal institutions, with all members working together in love, peace, and harmony. This makes a beautiful picture, but it is far from being accurate. In point of fact, the New Testament indicates that there were many dissensions and disturbances within the early Christian groups and at a comparatively early date there appeared a very helpful document dealing with this problem. This document is now known as The Epistle of James, and all its five chapters deal with problems arising within Christian groups or churches. The general theme of this Epistle may be stated as: “The practical application of Christian principles,” with the subtitle: “Internal dissensions and disturbances— their cause and cure.” The Epistle of James should, therefore, be studied from this viewpoint, keeping well in mind that many of the problems and solutions set forth have present-day application.

The Author: The writer of this Epistle declares himself to be “James (Heb. Jacob), a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1). This James is usually regarded as James, the brother of Jesus, and was referred to in the early church as “James the Just.” Apparently James did not accept the Christian teaching during the active ministry of Jesus, but was converted at the time of the Resurrection. (See I Cor. 15:7.) Following the Ascension, James became the head, or presiding elder, of the Apostolic Council at Jerusalem, and the New Testament has several references to his activities while occupying this important position. (See Galatians 1:19; Acts 15:4-29; 21:17-19.) This Epistle of James was written, probably, shortly before A.D. 66.

The Readers: In the opening verse of the Epistle of James the “readers” are referred to as “the twelve tribes in the Dispersion” (James 1:1). But since the writer was concerned with Christian converts rather than the tribes of Israel, this must be regarded as a figure of speech. The thought was that just as the Israelites were dispersed throughout various parts of the world, so had the Christian groups extended far beyond the bounds of the Holy Land. The “readers,” therefore, included Christian converts in Syria, Asia Minor, Europe, and possibly North Africa.

The Dissensions and Disturbances: The Epistle of James indicates that the writer was familiar with the functioning of the various church groups, and was also aware of the dissensions and disturbances which, from time to time, arouse therein. He therefore sought to deal with the various situations by pointing out the causes of the troubles, and then indicating the remedies. It will be noted that James, as presiding elder of the Apostolic Council, inserted a note of authority into his Epistle, as he urged the readers to take all necessary action to restore peace and harmony within the Christian groups concerned.

Introduction to The Letter from James by Herbert J. Hunt, former Dean of Bible Studies for the Unity School of Christianity.

The Letter from James is intended to be read in Jewish-Christian communities, written sometime after 75 CE. A quick reading gives the impression that it's a stern admonishment to a life of good works. A closer look will bring to mind many similarities with Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount because, like Jesus, the writer appears to be calling us to a standard of perfection. But the writer also gives us the key to moral perfection, which is the metaphysical concept of wisdom. Read this way, the letter of James becomes much more valuable. How does wisdom lead to perfection?

Metaphysically, wisdom is a spiritual understanding of our inner Truth. More specifically, wisdom provides us the ability to discriminate between what is in our best interest and what is not for us. Similar to the ability of our body to intuitively know that which is nutritionally best to eat, wisdom is an ability of our soul to know intuitively that which is the correct decision. The writer makes three key points about wisdom: wisdom is a gift from God (1:5), it is always rooted in a consciousness of faith (1:6) and it operates, without exception, when we chose to do any act of generosity (1:17). In other words, when we chose, in faith, to live a life of perfect oneness with God and love of our neighbor, wisdom will inexplicably appear. The key is making the decision in faith for oneness and love, and not attempting to figure out ahead of time how such a decision may be implemented – the way will be known.

Introduction to The Letter from James by Mary Salama.

James 1

(Online: ASV WEB)


1:1 James,1 a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are in the Dispersion:2 Greetings.

  1. James. James is the English equivalent of Jacob (the “supplanter”). Metaphysically, the name represents judgment in individual consciousness, or justice and discrimination. In His statement, “For judgment came I into this world, that they that see not may see” Jesus showed that spiritual judgment is a necessary part of man’s development.
  2. twelve tribes which are of the Dispersion. The twelve faculties of man, and the fact that they were dispersed shows that the faculties of the natural man are scattered through want of discipline and understanding.

Faith and Wisdom

1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers[1], when you fall into various temptations, 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 1:4 Let endurance have its perfect work,1 that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom,2 let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him. 1:6 But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed. 1:7 For let that man not think that he will receive anything from the Lord. 1:8 He is a double-minded man,3 unstable in all his ways.

  1. Let endurance (patience, ASV) have its perfect work. He who withstands temptation gains patience through using his faith as a bulwark against tests. The Spartans not only welcomed the customary trials that come to the natural man, but invented additional hardships with which to wrestle, in the belief that, in surmounting obstacles, man develops nobler character.
  2. Wisdom. Wisdom is essential to the exercise of good judgment, as well as to the gaining of patience. The wise man does not give way to impatience.
  3. a doubleminded man. Spiritual discrimination causes a man to affirm his true estate under divine law, regardless of appearances. The affirmation “Ye are gods” is understood by the metaphysician to be true of each man in the ideal sense.

Poverty and Riches

1:9 But let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his high position; 1:10 and the rich, in that he is made humble, because like the flower in the grass, he will pass away. 1:11 For the sun arises with the scorching wind, and withers the grass, and the flower in it falls, and the beauty of its appearance perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in his pursuits.

Trial and Temptation

1:12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation,1 for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love him. 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God," for God can't be tempted by evil,2 and he himself tempts no one. 1:14 But each one is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. 1:15 Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. 1:16 Don't be deceived, my beloved brothers.

1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights,3 with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow.4 1:18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.5

  1. Blessed is the man who endures temptation. Temptation affords man an opportunity to learn concentration, since he must marshal his forces each time in order to withstand the temptation.
  2. God can't be tempted by evil. Evil is not one of the realities; it is the natural man’s reaction to life. Man has free will.
  3. Father of lights. God as universal principle, which is as unvarying in its application as any mathematical principle that is derived from it.
  4. turning shadow. A shadow falls on the side of an object that is removed from the light, therefore, in order to enjoy wisdom, intelligence, and understanding, man faces the light (the Father). He constantly contemplates Divine Mind and himself as its expression.
  5. firstfruits of his creatures. In the perfect manifestation, ideal man is the first fruit to ripen, being the largest and finest on the tree.

Hearing and Doing the Word (Meekness)

1:19 So, then, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger;1 1:20 for the anger of man doesn't produce the righteousness of God. 1:21 Therefore, putting away all filthiness2 and overflowing of wickedness, receive with humility the implanted word,3 which is able to save your souls[2].

1:22 But be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deluding your own selves.4 1:23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror; 1:24 for he sees himself,5 and goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 1:25 But he who looks into the perfect law6 of freedom, and continues, not being a hearer who forgets, but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in what he does.

1:26 If anyone among you thinks himself to be religious while he doesn't bridle his tongue, but deceives his heart, this man's religion is worthless.7 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

  1. slow to anger. As long as he gives way to anger, man cannot enter into the consciousness of universal life and develop towards the perfection of spiritual unity. Anger limits him to a narrow personal standard.
  2. putting away all filthiness. After we have emptied our minds of material thoughts, through denial, and have affirmed the truth of our being, we then have put the law of Divine Mind into action in our consciousness, we feel an inner urge to do something for the development of our souls and for the good of our fellow man; then, to fulfill the law, we perform the outer act.
  3. implanted word. The word of Truth that is spoken into the ideal creation by the voice of God. Truth is therefore innate in man, and its manifestation waits only upon his recognition of its presence and his active cooperation with God in all his ways. It is the Logos, whose office in man is explained in the book of John. It is the word of God planted as a seed in the mind of man. We become conscious of the implanted word by cleansing our thoughts of impurity and wickedness, and by making ourselves meek and obedient and receptive to the Spirit of truth.
  4. deluding your own selves. The hearer who is not a doer is self-deluded because man does not develop according to his passive thinking and understanding, but according to what he applies to both. To hear and understand Truth without trying to apply it practically is to shun spiritual reality and become withered fruit on the tree of life.
  5. for he sees himself. Many people delude themselves by filling their minds with knowledge for the mere pleasure of learning. There is much running to and fro, reading books, listening to lectures, and many other ways of storing up wisdom, which is not used. People are hungering for Truth, and they often gorge their intellects with more than they can digest. We accomplish nothing of enduring spiritual value. Whatever we accomplish without divine guidance is of no more permanence than the reflection of ourselves that we see in a mirror, which lasts only while we stand before it.
  6. But he that looks into the perfect law. How James pictures the outworking of the law.
  7. this man's religion is worthless. Many people accept Jesus’ definition, “God is Spirit,” but their descriptions of God are material, showing that they do not have true understanding of the character of God. “God is Spirit,” and all his creations are spiritual. Man, his image and likeness, is spiritual. The manifest or Adam man is not the direct creation of God, but the formed expression of the image and likeness, that is Jehovah God. In thinking of ourselves, we should always remember that our real ego is Spirit and that personality represents a degree of evolution of this spiritual idea or word implanted in us from the beginning.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks

World English Bible Footnotes:

  • [1] v1:2. The word for "brothers" here and where context allows may also be correctly translated "brothers and sisters" or "siblings."
  • [2] v1:21. or, preserve your life.

James 2

(Online: ASV WEB)

Warning against Partiality

2:1 My brothers, don't hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality. 2:2 For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your synagogue[3], and a poor man in filthy clothing also comes in; 2:3 and you pay special attention to him who wears the fine clothing, and say, "Sit here in a good place;" and you tell the poor man, "Stand there," or "Sit by my footstool;" 2:4 haven't you shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 2:5 Listen, my beloved brothers. Didn't God choose those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him? 2:6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Don't the rich oppress you, and personally drag you before the courts? 2:7 Don't they blaspheme the honorable name by which you are called?

2:8 However, if you fulfill the royal law, according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself,"[4] you do well. 2:9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors. 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 2:11 For he who said, "Do not commit adultery,"[5] also said, "Do not commit murder."[6] Now if you do not commit adultery, but murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 2:12 So speak, and so do, as men who are to be judged by a law of freedom. 2:13 For judgment is without mercy to him who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith without Works Is Dead

2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him? 2:15 And if a brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food, 2:16 and one of you tells them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled;" and yet you didn't give them the things the body needs, what good is it? 2:17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead1 in itself.

2:18 Yes, a man will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 2:19 You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder. 2:20 But do you want to know, vain man, that faith apart from works is dead? 2:21 Wasn't Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 2:22 You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected;2 2:23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness;"[7] and he was called the friend of God. 2:24 You see then that by works, a man is justified, and not only by faith. 2:25 In like manner wasn't Rahab the prostitute also justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? 2:26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.

  1. faith, if it has no works, is dead. The question of the relation between faith and works has never been settled. Some theologians contend that a man can be saved by faith alone, while others are sure that it takes works to complete the salvation. But there is diversity of opinion as to the character of the works. [TruthUnity note: Metaphysical Christianity provides an elegant answer to this fundamental controversy in Christian thought. For Paul, Luther and most of Protestantism, works is a work of the law, like circumcision. For James, works is a work of charity, like feeding the poor. For Charles Fillmore, works is an expression in the outer of the inner work of faith. The law of mind action is active here: Faith, if it is founded on true spiritual understanding, always expresses itself in works.]
  2. by works faith was perfected. There are two kinds of faith; one is founded on intellectual perception of spiritual things and the other on true spiritual Understanding. The first is not naturally followed by works, while the second, by virtue of the law under which it exists, completes itself in works. Paul describes this true faith in Heb. 11, and in all the examples given, works resulted. There was no question whatever of the absence of works. Whoever has this spiritual faith must manifest it in some way. This faith is Substance and brings forth fruit, as naturally as a rich soil produces a crop. But let no man say what the character of works from spiritual faith shall be. Those who perceive from the intellect claim that the evidence of faith is in such outer works as clothing and feeding the bodies of men, while the spiritually wise see a much greater need in clothing their naked souls.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks

World English Bible Footnotes:

James 3

(Online: ASV WEB)

Taming the Tongue

3:1 Let not many of you be teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive heavier judgment. 3:2 For in many things we all stumble. If anyone doesn't stumble in word, the same is a perfect man,1 able to bridle the whole body also.2 3:3 Indeed, we put bits into the horses' mouths so that they may obey us, and we guide their whole body. 3:4 Behold, the ships also, though they are so big and are driven by fierce winds, are yet guided by a very small rudder, wherever the pilot desires. 3:5 So the tongue is also a little member, and boasts great things.

See how a small fire can spread to a large forest! 3:6 And the tongue is a fire. The world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire by Gehenna.[8] 3:7 For every kind of animal, bird, creeping thing, and thing in the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by mankind. 3:8 But nobody can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 3:9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the image of God. 3:10 Out of the same mouth comes forth blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 3:11 Does a spring send out from the same opening fresh and bitter water? 3:12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, yield olives, or a vine figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh water.

  1. If anyone doesn't stumble in word, the same is a perfect man. It is everyone's responsibility to control one's own life, harmonize one's will with the divine will, and exercise dominion over oneself, one's environment, and one's circumstances. One of the distinctive marks of such a person is poise, which results from one's being in complete command of one's thoughts and words.
  2. able to bridle the whole body also. Words are able to bridle the whole body because every word has back of it an idea, and the power of the word is primarily in that idea. Added power is given by the speaker according to his realization of oneness with the idea and the force of his thought. Words are made active in the body by being received by the mind and carried into the body through the subconscious by thought. Constructive words that renew the body are made part of the body consciousness by prayer and meditation.

Two Kinds of Wisdom

3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good conduct that his deeds are done in gentleness of wisdom. 3:14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, don't boast and don't lie against the truth. 3:15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition are, there is confusion and every evil deed. 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above1 is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 3:18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace2 by those who make peace.

  1. the wisdom that is from above By invoking the “wisdom that is from above” before speaking, we can learn to speak only words that express purity, peace, gentleness, reason, mercy, goodness, steadfastness, and singleness of mind. This places depth of meaning into life through our words.
  2. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace Harmony is indispensable if we are to influence others to follow the true way of life in unity of spirit.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks

World English Bible Footnotes:

James 4

(Online: ASV WEB)

Friendship with the World

4:1 Where do wars and fightings among you come from? Don't they come from your pleasures that war in your members? 4:2 You lust, and don't have. You kill, covet, and can't obtain. You fight and make war. You don't have, because you don't ask. 4:3 You ask, and don't receive, because you ask with wrong motives,1 so that you may spend it for your pleasures.2 4:4 You adulterers and adulteresses, don't you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 4:5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously"?

4:6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."3[9]

4:7 Be subject therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you.4 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 4:9 Lament, mourn, and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to gloom. 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will exalt you.

  1. You ask, and don't receive, because you ask with wrong motives. But Jesus says, "You ask and you receive not because you ask amiss" (ASV). In other words, you ask in a begging attitude, you're pleading and supplicating for something, something which is already the reality of your being. You see, interestingly enough, if you look up the word, "Ask," in both the Hebrew and the Latin or the Greek root words as they are translated from the scriptures, you find that the strongest connotation is to claim or demand. Not to beg, but to claim. You ask for electricity when you walk into a room by claiming it, by turning on the switch. The power is already there, but you claim it. The Old Testament says, "Concerning the work of my hands, command ye me." Now this is a vital realization of truth, you see. You ask for light by getting out into the sun, or by raising the shades. You ask for air by lifting up the window. You ask for health and for life by accepting it, by claiming it, by demanding it. You don't have to beg God to hear you because God, as far as you're concerned, is the healing principle that is ever present and has nothing whatever to do except to be perfect life and health within you. — Eric Butterworth, Practical Metaphysics, Prayer.
  2. so that you may spend it for your pleasures. Nor will crying and beseeching bring spiritual understanding. Hundreds of people have tried this method, and have not received that for which they earnestly but ignorantly sought. They have not received, because they did not know how to take that which God freely offered. Others have sought with selfish motives this spiritual understanding, or the power it would give them. "Ye ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that ye may spend it in your pleasures" (or to serve selfish ends) — Emilie Cady, Lessons in Truth, Spiritual Understanding.
  3. gives grace to the humble. This grace is realized by those who are small in their own eyes, in so far as the lesser self is concerned. cf I Pet. 5:5.
  4. resist the devil, and he will flee from you. "The devil" is a state of consciousness built by man when he has no explanation for the negative experiences in his life, and when he feels that there must be something outside of himself that caused them. In such a state of consciousness we are apt to view "the world" and "the flesh" as part of the outside forces that are causing us unhappiness. "The devil" in our life is the will faculty being used in the wrong direction, resulting in adverse states of consciousness that in turn produce inharmonies in our manifest life. Jesus' command was to "resist not evil" (Matt. 5:39 A.V.), but we also read in James 4:7, "resist the devil, and he will flee from you." If we attempt to fight conditions that are not good, we only succeed in binding them closer to us. On the other hand, if we do not do positive mental work to handle the adverse states of consciousness ("the devil") we will find ourself letting them rule our life. The "resistance" referred to in the quotation from James is the firm stand that we take in refusing to allow wrong beliefs to become our master. Through denial of them we prepare the way for the Truth in the same way that Jesus said, "Get thee hence, Satan [our adverse thought] ... Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve" (Matt. 4:10). Overcoming "the devil" is only possible through understanding that the only presence and power in our life is God. "To this end was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil" (I John 3:8). Only as we show forth (manifest) our Son-of-God self, the Christ, are we able to remove the error conditions that have been set up by our own adverse states of consciousness ("the devil"). — Unity Correspondence Lesson series 2, lesson 5, annotation 12

Warning against Judging Another

4:11 Don't speak against one another, brothers. He who speaks against a brother and judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge. 4:12 Only one is the lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge another?

Boasting about Tomorrow

4:13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow let's go into this city, and spend a year there, trade, and make a profit." 4:14 Whereas you don't know what your life will be like tomorrow. For what is your life? For you are a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. 4:15 For you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will both live, and do this or that." 4:16 But now you glory in your boasting. All such boasting is evil. 4:17 To him therefore who knows to do good, and doesn't do it, to him it is sin.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks

World English Bible Footnotes:

James 5

(Online: ASV WEB)

Warning to Rich Oppressors

5:1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming on you.1 5:2 Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth-eaten. 5:3 Your gold and your silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be for a testimony against you, and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up your treasure in the last days.2 5:4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of those who reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Armies[10]. 5:5 You have lived delicately on the earth, and taken your pleasure. You have nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter. 5:6 You have condemned, you have murdered the righteous one. He doesn't resist you.

  1. your miseries that are coming upon you. How does injustice affect the doer of injustice? It hardens his spirit, making him impervious to the needs of his fellows. It narrows his vision, giving him no insight into the mind and heart of another, and leaving him marooned in his own selfishness. He lays up his treasure "in the last days," since his opportunities to practice justice and righteousness are continually diminished, until he becomes incapable of fellow feeling.
  2. laid up your treasure in the last days. What is the proper care of money? Since money is a medium of exchange, it should be kept in circulation where it can do most good. Used aright, with vision and originality, money produces material wealth and often produces immaterial wealth, such as good will, at the same time.

Patience in Suffering

5:7 Be patient therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it receives the early and late rain. 5:8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

5:9 Don't grumble, brothers, against one another, so that you won't be judged. Behold, the judge stands at the door. 5:10 Take, brothers, for an example of suffering1 and of patience, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 5:11 Behold, we call them blessed who endured. You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the Lord in the outcome, and how the Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

5:12 But above all things, my brothers, don't swear, neither by heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other oath; but let your "yes" be "yes," and your "no," "no;" so that you don't fall into hypocrisy.[11]

  1. for an example of suffering. Why do we invoke divine power in suffering? Because suffering quickly exhausts our human resources, so that we awaken to the need of a higher help than our own. Because we need divine power more urgently, we look to God more often in suffering than in joy.

The Prayer of Faith

5:13 Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praises. 5:14 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the assembly, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, 5:15 and the prayer of faith1 will heal him who is sick,2 and the Lord will raise him up.3 If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 5:16 Confess your offenses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective. 5:17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it didn't rain on the earth for three years and six months. 5:18 He prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.

5:19 Brothers, if any among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 5:20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.

  1. and the prayer of faith. The act of mentally taking that which is desired. Jesus said, "All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24). "We believe that the prayer of faith will save the sick, resurrect the body from "trespasses and sins," and finally overcome the last enemy, death."—Statement of Faith #13.
  2. will heal him who is sick. This is a very definite and wonderful promise. According to the record, it was undoubtedly acted upon by the disciples and proved to be very effective for hundreds of years. That this mighty promise still stands is proved by unnumbered thousands of Jesus' followers today. Faith healing through prayer has become a practice founded on principles that never fail when rightly applied. Those who seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness are having all things added, as promised. When we "take with us words" (Hos. 14:2) and attempt to go into God's presence, our faith in Him is the power that swings wide open the gate that leads into the inner kingdom. —Charles and Cora Fillmore, Teach Us To Pray, Healing Through The Prayer of Faith
  3. and the Lord will raise him up. It is found by those who have faith in the power of God that the prayer for health is the most quickly answered. The reason for this is that the natural laws that create and sustain the body are really divine laws, and when man silently asks for the intervention of God in restoring health, he is calling into action the natural forces of his being. Doctors agree that the object of using their remedies is to quicken the natural functions of the body. But medicine does not appeal to the intelligent principle that directs all the activities of the organism, hence it fails to give permanent healing.—Charles Fillmore, Jesus Christ Heals, The Omnipotence of Prayer.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks

World English Bible Footnotes:

  • [10] v5:4. Greek: Sabaoth (for Hebrew: Tze'va'ot)
  • [11] v5:12. TR reads "under judgment" instead of "into hypocrisy"

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