CAF Bible Study - James


#1

NOTICE:
The purpose of this thread is as a Catholic Bible study of the book of James.

This is not a debate thread.

Please keep all posts faithful to the Magesterial teachings of the Catholic Church.

For this thread only, I am placing Church Militant in charge under my direction. I am placing on his shoulder the key of the house of Sacred Scripture - whoever hears him hears me. :stuck_out_tongue: Should there be a problem, he will let me know and I will take appropriate action. If he causes a problem, however, please report his posts and I will take appropriate action.

I wish you all well, and I leave you to your study.

God Bless,
Ferdinand Mary


#2

Thanks FM! I count on him to watch my back.

Although I know that some of you may be fans of the King James Version, I recommend that we stick to Catholic translations. That said, the actual 1611 KJV with the DCs is available online HERE. Personally I like the Douay-Rheims better than the KJV, but will be using RSV-CE for this study.

Everyone is welcome to use any Catholic version that you like. I have found often that insights are gained from comparing translations.

Okay, the best place to begin with any endeavor is at the beginning.

Here is the link to the background on the epistle of St. James on New Advent.

Let’s begin with a prayer.

In the name of the Father,and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Come Holy Spirit and speak to us of all that You have to teach us as individuals as well as members of Your Church. Feed us well from Your word and help us to live faithfully to that which you deliver to us.

Through Him, In Him, and with Him. In the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory is Yours Almighty Father, forever and ever.

In the name of the Father,and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
James Chapter 1 (RSV Text)
1: James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greeting.
2: Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials,
3: for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
4: And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him.
6: But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
7: For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man,
8: unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.
9: Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation,
10: and the rich in his humiliation, because like the flower of the grass he will pass away.
11: For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
12: Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him.
13: Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one;
14: but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
15: Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.
16: Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
17: Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
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.
19: Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,
20: for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.
21: Therefore put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22: But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
23: For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror;
24: for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
25: But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing.
26: If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain.
27: Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.


#3

Did you notice who James addressed this to?

Remember that he was the bishop of the church in Jerusalem and was particularly an apostle to the Jewish believers. Here he is teaching the Jewish converts to the faith.

The merit of suffering:

Verses 2-4 tell us to count it all joy when we encounter various trials. As with so many aspects of our most holy faith…that sounds nuts :whacky: unless one is aware of the spiritual reality here. That when life hits the wall, we can (and should!) rejoice because we know that God wouldn’t allow it if He didn’t plan to bring us through it. (See also Romans 8:31-39 & Hebrews 4:15) Take a look at CCC 2648.

Hey, what child learns to walk without falling down many times along the way?

BTW…am I the only one here who sees a parallel between verse 4 here and a verse that our n-C friends often quite to us in 2nd Timothy 3:16-17? Doesn’t is seem to complicate things if on the one hand “all scripture…” completes us and then here we see that “steadfastness” completes us? :hmmm:

“Ask and you shall receive…”

Verses 5-8 give us good counsel. If we need wisdom, where do we go for it? And here we see that we are promised the wisdom that we need. Although I have no doubt that this might also include some divinely inspired clarity of thought in answer to prayer, what do you suppose is the primary (think sacramentally here…) conduit of this needed wisdom for us? (Hint:1st Timothy 3:15 and Matthew 16:17-19)

And notice that from there James goes on to point out that we have to (again) be steadfast in our prayer and confidence in God’s answer to us, otherwise, (as we’ve all seen ourselves do) we get all confused :confused: sad :frowning: and frustrated :banghead: and mess things up, right? When we ask for God’s help and direction it’s not conditional upon it being in line with what we think is cool or most comfortable for us. Remember Our Lord’s own prayers in the garden of Gethsemane. (Luke 22:42, and statements in John 5:30 & 6:38.) this should always be our prayer as well.
Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.


#4

There are also a lot of parallels in the first two chapters of the Book of Wisdom.


#5

I agree, but we are not studying Wisdom (Sirach) yet.

One step at a time bro…one step at a time.

What else do you see in these verses so far.
I know you have lots you can offer. :thumbsup:
Pax tecum,


#6

Sorry, I didn’t mean to derail this with Wisdom. I just see these verses:“13: Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one;
14: but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
15: Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.” as being directly influenced by these: “Wis 2:23 For God created man incorruptible, and to the image of his own likeness he made him.
Wis 2:24 But by the envy of the devil, death came into the world:
Wis 2:25 And they follow him that are of his side.”


#7

See! I knew you had something good to share! :smiley: :thumbsup:


#8

James 1:12-13 RSV

12 Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one;

God will TEST us, but, as Lak611 has posted, it is the Devil who comes to TEMPT us:

5 Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself;
6 like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.

Wisdom 3:5-6 RSV

The Cross isn’t glamorous. As the Jewish Christians in Asia Minor learned, it can be downright frustratrating as fellow countrymen fired them from their jobs, refused to hire them when they were unemployed and then evicted them from their homes when they didn’t have the money to pay taxes, rent, etc.

One more thing, James wrote the Epistle around 44-45 A.D., right before the Council of Jerusalem that decided to not to force Gentiles to become circumcised. St. Paul took some donations to the Brothers in Judea, Samaria, Syria and surrounding regions when he attended the Council.

Those persecuting those communities really had them “on the ropes”, & St. James was doing all he could to get them through it. The donations St. Paul brought turned that situation around - You want to know why the religious leaders who had been persecuting those communities tried to kill St. Paul?

Your Brother in Christ, Michael


#9

Good morning All! :wave:

Picking up where I left off.

9: Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation,
10: and the rich in his humiliation, because like the flower of the grass he will pass away.
11: For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

This reiterates something that Our Lord Himself drove home forcefully during His public ministry. That God is not swayed by status or wealth, or lack thereof. Most folks will readily admit that Jesus ran with a bad crowd, as the pharisees were pretty quick to point out. He didn’t care, & neither should we. Compare this with Matthew 25:31-46.


#10

What is this wisdom that we will receive (1:5) if we ask? I’ve met Mormons who think this means you can ask God a question about if the book of Mormon is true or not, and He will answer you. I think they are wrong. Later in the epistle, James talks about the “wisdom from above”. I think that wisdom is more likely to be intended (3:17). Or perhaps what wisdom we can have for the asking is the wisdom learned by trial, by suffering.

Another point that I wonder about is that God will give us this wisdom, but we must ask in faith, not doubting. If we are “double-minded” we must not expect anything. What is this “double-minded”? I wonder, especially in the context of the whole letter, which truly emphasizes that faith without works is useless. Is the faith that we ask with supposed to be a faith with works? Is being double-minded the same as being someone who says they have faith, but doesn’t help their brother? Is it the same thing as looking at yourself in the mirror, but walking away, forgetting what you look like? The double-minded are exhorted to be pure of heart in 4:8. Is it that they still partly follow the world that makes them double-minded?

Also, about that asking in faith thing, it reminds me of a passage in Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”


#11

Pug:

The Greek in that passage (StudyLight Strongs #1374 &182 & Side by Side) would seem to be talking about someone who isn’t commited to the Lord or who still isn’t submitted to him or is trying to do things his own ways. If you look later on in the Epistle of James, I think you’ll see them and their prayers described:

James 4:2-8 RSV

*You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

Unfaithful creatures! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is in vain that the scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace; therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind. *

Your Brother in Christ, Michael


#12

Church Militant:

Both verses 10 & 11 remind me of when the young rich man approached our Lord asking what he had to do to inherit eternal life. After some questions where the man was able to justify himself, Jesus pointed to the real problem, his wealth, which he had placed in God’s placed. When Jesus said to get rid of it (so God can have His place back), the man was absolutely crestfallen.

Matthew 19:16-30
Mark 10:17-31
Luke 18:18-30

Your Brother in Christ, Michael


#13

There are two schools of thought about this letter – one is that it was very early, prior to the destruction of temple. (James was stoned to death in 62 AD.) The other is that it was composed by followers of James in the early 2nd Century.

The subject matter and generally Jewish nature of the letter seem to me to argue for the first theory, and place the date of composition in the late '50s.


#14

Y’know, I was just thinking about that very thing. :thumbsup:


#15

I agree.


#16

first off, thanks Cm for choosing James, it is one of my favorites, now onward
BTW…am I the only one here who sees a parallel between verse 4 here and a verse that our n-C friends often quite to us in 2nd Timothy 3:16-17? Doesn’t is seem to complicate things if on the one hand “all scripture…” completes us and then here we see that “steadfastness” completes us? :hmmm:
Great point, aren’t we all “working” towards perfection. I know I’ve found in my own life that it is the trials that have made me seek, and thus given more faith in my life.


#17

I posted this question a couple of years ago on this forum. It still perplexes me:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=69468
I struggle with doubts, and pray for an increase in faith. The following passage troubles me, because it makes me feel I am stuck in a Catch-22.

James 1:6-8
"But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways."

If you are lacking in faith to begin with, and you pray for faith, you will not receive any because of your lack in faith???

Regarding the above, “if He didn’t plan to bring us through it.”…why, then are there so many suicides and drug addicted people in this world? I find it sooo hard to count it all joy.


#18

There is a difference between being plagued by doubts and actually entertaining those doubts. Just because doubts pop into your mind does not mean you do not have faith. In fact, the more you are attacked by doubts and refuse to entertain them, the stronger your faith is.

Okay now. First of all, faith is a gift. That means you don’t give it to yourself; you get it from God. So it makes sense to ask God for the gift of faith. “And immediately the father of the boy crying out, with tears said: I do believe, Lord: help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:23) And Jesus healed the boy after that prayer. See, it works.

I can PM you with more. I really need to stay off this thread since I’m a notorious debater and will be sure to get myself entangled in another debate if I’m not careful! :o

Maria


#19

23: For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror;
24: for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
26: If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain.

Hello,

May I join in? :slight_smile:
The above clearly states about faith and works. Faith without works is dead.


#20

:slight_smile:
The above clearly states about faith and works. Faith without works is dead.Certainly! :slight_smile:


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