A Brother’s Wisdom 73

The sin of presumption, the sin of thinking our future is in our hands and within our grasp, irks James. Here are the words of James 4:13-17 again:  Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, [Read More…]

A Brother’s Wisdom 72

We turn now to a new section in James, to James 4:13–5:6. There are two paragraphs: 4:13-17 and 5:1-6. Each addresses a slightly different audience, the first one rich merchants and the second one rich farmers. The first is guilty of presumption, the second of oppression. Here is the text from the first paragraph: Now [Read More…]

A Brother’s Wisdom 71

Preachers and teachers (and writers and bloggers) need this reminder from James 4:12: There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you–who are you to judge your neighbor? Several things come to mind: First, teachers use words; words of judgment and discernment; sometimes the teacher’s word [Read More…]

A Brother’s Wisdom 70

James says something in James 4:11 that can be confusing: Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. It does not follow that judging another [Read More…]

A Brother’s Wisdom 69

James at times narrows his focus on the teachers, the tongue of a teacher, and the need for teachers to be conscious and intentional about what the say and how they say it. I believe James 3:1 all the way to 4:12 is focused on teachers. Yes, at times it is not as clear as [Read More…]

A Brother’s Wisdom 66

The following words, however clear they might be in an English translation like the TNIV, are much disputed: Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:    “God opposes the proud       but gives grace [Read More…]

A Brother’s Wisdom 65

James finds evidence of a problem in the messianic community, especially among the teachers, and he finds the source of the problem to be the yearning, desiring, and craving for power. He must tell them so (James 4:1-3). Next he connects the self-originating issues in a connection with the world (4:4-6): You adulterous people, don’t [Read More…]

A Brother’s Wisdom 64

I don’t think prayer is mechanical. That is, I don’t think if we “do” things right — as the right way, use the right formulae, etc — that we will get what we want. But James makes a mechanical point about prayer that we need to think about. Notice these words from James 4:1-3: What [Read More…]

A Brother’s Wisdom 63

What is it that leads Christians — those who say they are following Jesus — to go at one another, to being at one another’s throats, to schism and division? Here are the words of James: What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want [Read More…]

A Brother’s Wisdom 62

We need now to turn to the sadness of how the church appears to many, and to how the messianic community connected to James was behaving (James 4:1-3): What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and [Read More…]