Psalm 22:16


They pierced my hands and feet. Kari כָּ֝אֲרִ֗י can be K’ari, “like a lion” or the Aramaic Kari, “they have pierced”. which is it? it’s clear from context that the Aramaic makes more sense (“Like a lion my hands and feet” lack the clear sense that “They have pierced” has) – but even if you’re a purist, okay! Let’s look at the Hebrew and ask a simple question – what does that mean? “They did to my hands and feet like a lion did… either claw and rend, or more likely, bite. Tigers shred, lions bite. Lions prefer to jump at you, dig their claws in only to keep you from getting away, then start biting. So, what would that mean, “they did to my hands and feet what a lion would do?”

It would mean… “they have pierced.”

Argument over.

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James 15


“For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” (James 3:7–12, KJV)

The central thought here is, “out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. This ought not to be.”

So, no cursing. By this, we do not mean “don’t use profanity.” See, it’s a contrast – bless/curse.

Bless others, Bless your enemies. don’t wish the worst for them. “I hate so and so. I hope he gets fired.” Yes, and he’ll go through economic hard times doing it.

A major, major theme in the Bible is that God is really concerned with how we treat one another. Bless people. do not curse them.

James 13


If you’ve just tuned in and didn’t know it – yes, this is a Fundamentalist blog!

“For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” (James 3:2–6, KJV)

We had started out chapter three with an ijnunction that not every Christian should desire to be a pastor. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s almost a unique statement in the Bible, BECAUSE for one of the only times I can recall, it is the conditional statement (“because”) that is the dominant thought, and not the originating statement. Things are usually said the OTHER way by God.

Now, we carry on the conditional statement, and we make it clear – this is the tongue we talk about. THe issue of not everyone should be a pastor is now left behind. The original language reads “Gar” – for, because, not “De”, and, but.

Anyone who says a knowledge of Koine Greek is useless is only justifying their not learning it! It’s actually not that hard. Well, not for me, because apparently, I have a gift for learning languages. I easily pick up words and phrases. If you’re interested in learning, I have six months of lessons on my greek and hebrew blog. I still plan on adding to that, by the way, but right now – I’m a little busy. Actually a lot busy.

Around the time that this book was being written, there were two famous Rabbi’s, who were influential. One of them is Hillel, the other Shammai. Rabbi Shammai had a saying that was written down in Pirke Avos that reads, “There is nothing better for a man than silence.”

liberals will say that James was influenced by Shammai. That’s because for theological liberals, the thought that God wrote the Bible is intolerable. Yet, literally, that’s the facts. James may indeed have been influenced by Shammai, or may not. He may not even have cared! We don’t know.

Because God chose the words that James wrote down. Indeed, the very letters! So, whether James was influenced by Shammai or not, it’s irrelevant. James did not choose the words of his epistle – God did.

However, the fact remains… James is saying “curb your tongue.” How many people have been murdered over words? How many wars erupt over words?

Words offend in many ways. Tone of voice here is lumped in here, because often it’s not what we say, but how we say it.

Think before you speak! Is this helpful? Is this hurtful? Does it absolutely need to be said? Are you saying it to help… or to run someone else’s life?

James 12


“My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” (James 3:1–2, KJV)

Here’s an oddity in the flow of thought in the Bible – this is the first time that the conditional statement (vs. 2) is the dominant thought, not the originating statement.

Verse 1 – not everyone should seek to be pastors, because pastors will be judged at much higher standards than regular Christians.

Verse 2 – We offend people in many different ways.

We’re about to start speaking of the tongue. What you say. Trust me, sometimes I wish I’d paid more attention to the Jewish proverb, “There is nothing better for a man than silence.” Surely, there are many times I’ve thought, “If only I could keep my mouth shut!” Between my anger rising up when it is not needed or unjustified (why think first when you can just act first and regret it forever???), and my saying the wrong thing at the wrong time – See, this is why I went years without really saying anything in my 20’s! Good thing.

Why are the two enjoined together? Pastors HAVE to talk. Pastors find themselves having to talk a LOT. Every word you say is literally another chance to offend a Christian.

Teaching has to be done, but those who teach must understand their responsibility, as those who teach will be judged more strictly. A teacher’s condemnation is greater because, having professed to have a clear knowledge of duty, he is all the more bound to obey it.

J. Ronald Blue, “James,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 827.

James 11


“But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:20–26, KJV)

Let’s recall what we’ve learned so far. James is talking to saved Christians.

Where people go wrong in studying this book is to assume that ‘justified’ here means ‘saved’. And so, Messianics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Roman Catholics all insist we have to do works to be saved. However, clearly, the Bible says elsewhere that we are saved by faith and not of works, lest any should boast.

Do we have a contradiction here? Liberals say yes, but this letter is not to them anyway, as they are not saved – and James is talking about “Brethren”, meaning saved Christians.

And that’s the key to James. These people are already saved! So, obviously, if they’re brethren (already saved) THEN… this justification is different from salvation.

“Flimsy faith is dead; so are empty, faithless works. James’ argument is not pro-works/anti-faith or pro-faith/anti-works. He has simply said that genuine faith is accompanied by good works. Spiritual works are the evidence, not the energizer, of sincere faith.

J. Ronald Blue, “James,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 826.

So James begins to offer examples, much the same way Paul did in Hebrews – indeed, the same example as Paul. If we grant that Paul’s writings are inspired by God (remember, this is called Mechanical inspiration), then we must say that James’ writings were inspired by God also, and inerrant.

James and Paul quoted the same passage—Genesis 15:6—to prove their points (cf. Rom. 4:3). Paul said that Abraham was justified by faith, and James said that Abraham was justified by faith evidenced by what he did.

J. Ronald Blue, “James,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 826–827.

One of the key concepts here to walk away with is that if you walked down an aisle or raised your hand at a crusade of some kind and repeated someone’s prayer sixteen years ago – and your life remained exactly the same as prior – um… you’re very probably not saved. Up until the last 100 years, Christianity has always maintained that if you are a Christian, there will be a before/after change in your life. If before/after are exactly the same, except that you somehow think you’re a Christian – um, you’re not.

Now, if you begin to worry about “Does my life please God?” as I’ve said a hundred times, that’s a really good worry. That means you worry about that. That means you’re showing evidence of salvation. It’s not too far from that to reading and studying your Bible. To growing your prayer life. To growing in sanctification.

Amen.

James 10


“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19, KJV)

Belief in God is not sufficient to be saved.

THere’s a huge difference between Oneness Pentecostals, Unitarians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians, most Messianics… and devils.

Devils KNOW God is a Trinity, and those listed above deny it.

Devils have perfect theology! they KNOW, because they were THERE. They UNDERSTAND.

They just rebelled and cast away their first estate. They sinned.

THey cannot be born again.

You can.

Belief in God is not enough. Belief in the Trinity is not enough.

You must be born again. You must repent, call upon the name of the Lord, and be SAVED. There must be a spiritual rebirth. If you were born once, you will die twice. First physical death, then eternal suffering in the lake of fire.

If you are born twice, you will die once. Physical death alone -and for you, it will be temporary. You get your body back, and it will even be glorified!

Believe. Admit. confess. Repent.

Be born again. What have you got to lose?

James 9


“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:14–18, KJV)

James 2:14(KJV) 2:14. Another shift in the argument of the epistle can be seen by James’ use of my brothers. He introduced this paragraph with a rhetorical question, What good is it… if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? The emphasis is not on the true nature of faith but on the false claim of faith. It is the spurious boast of faith that James condemned. Such “faith” does no “good”; there is no “profit” (ophelos, used in the NT only here and in v. 16; 1 Cor. 15:32). It is worthless because it is all talk with no walk. It is only a habitual empty boast (“claims” is in the pres. tense). Can such faith save him? A negative answer is anticipated in the Greek. Merely claiming to have faith is not enough. Genuine faith is evidenced by works.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary, John Walvoord.

David Cloud agrees with this interpretation in his “Things Hard to Be Understood.” This is a book every Christian should own. No kidding. He answers several trouble passages. I’d love to see a volume 2 to this book.

The people James is talking to are already saved. We’ve seen that. David Cloud points out Paul addresses Justification before God in Romans – James here addresses justification before man – how to show one’s salvation, not how to get it!.

There’s nothing here about keeping the law. Or about keeping the sabbath. Or about Baptism. Or about confession, mass, ritualistic prayers, etc.