James 5:12 Belongs to James 5:7-11

Posted: November 12, 2009 by Rick Hogaboam in Biblical Studies, Chiasmus, James
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In my sermon preparation for this coming Lord’s Day, I am working on James 5:12 and was seeking where this verse belongs in James literary structure. Some place it with the discourse on prayer that follows, while most place it with the previous unit on patience, speech, and judgment. Some see it as an isolated insertion with little to no connection with the surrounding units. Suffice it to say, i found Motyer’s outline below to be the most convincing argument for it to be connected with James 5:7-11, thus comprising a unit of James 5:7-12 as a whole:





7–8 Patience


9 The tongue (mutual recriminations)


10–11 Patience/steadfastness


12 The tongue (using oaths)


We can open up this pattern in further detail:

7–8 The coming Lord

The farmer’s patience is related to God’s programme of the seasons and issues in precious fruit.

Patience will bear precious fruit for the coming Lord.


… 9 The coming Judge

Sins of speech will bring us under condemnation.

The Lord who is near (8) is also the Judge who is at the doors (9).


10–11 The coming end


… 12 The coming judgment




[1] Motyer, J. A. (1985). The message of James : The tests of faith. The Bible speaks today (174). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., U.S.A.: Inter-Varsity Press.


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