Archive for the ‘James’ Category

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.

James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

I am preaching on this text this coming Lord’s Day (8/31/09). After reading Matt Harmon’s ( Grace Theological Seminary) “ten theses for further discussion” from his talk about the relationship between the kingdom of God and social justice (here and here), I got to thinking some more about these issues and I noticed how much it has in touch with the epistle of James, which I am preaching through right now.

Pastor John Svendson from El Segundo First Baptist Church, who was a mentor to me of sorts in my formative years of theological training, outlined James 1:27 as follows:

“Real Religion”: A Social Dimension (looking outward Jm 1:27a) and A Spiritual Dimension (looking inward Jm 1:27b)

I am going to use this brief concise outline in my own preaching of this text. It sums up well the entire book of James, which is primarily concerned about our outward action as a reflection of inward piety. American Protestantism has usually gravitated towards one end of the spectrum, either being very engaged socially at the expense of orthodoxy or being very engaged to personal sanctification within an orthodox paradigm, albeit disengaged from social action beyond one’s family and local Church community. It is easy to say that we want to live in the middle: to be faithful to Scripture in personal piety and in social engagement, but much more difficult to live out…it requires tension, which most of us don’t like. James hits us on the head when he tells us that our “religion” is pure only when we do BOTH: care for widows and orphans and those who are afflicted AND “to keep oneself unstained from the world”. The challenge is to engage the world and yet remain undefiled by it. Christians love to escape from the world or find themselves all to comfortable in the world. Let us embrace the tension that Scripture gives us.

If you don’t care for those who are “afflicted”, then your orthodoxy means nothing…your religion is worthless.

If you don’t care for Scripture and personal piety, then your social engagement, though noble, proceeds from moral and epistemological bankruptcy. It is deficient.

Let us tend to both (caring for the afflicted and personal piety), knowing that each is at stake in the other!!!