Luke Timothy Johnson, “The Letter of James,” vol. In this new section (2:14-26), he shows how genuine faith truly works in an individual’s life. King James Version (KJV) Bible Book List. [1] James is describing any kind of work, from works of kindnes… “You see that [Abraham’s] faith was active along with his works,” James says (James 2:22). The second example of faith’s justifying itself and us with and by works is Rahab: Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 1. James 2:14. When discussing work, he invariably uses the plural “works” (Greek erga) rather than the singular “work” (Greek ergon). 2:21): Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? a. James’s focus on work has led to deep controversy about the letter. What doth it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Will you come before God with such empty shows of charity as these? Thus Abraham is regarded as offering up his son, though he did not actually proceed to make a sacrifice of him. The best works, without faith, are dead; they want their root and principle. 2. Home >> Bible Studies >> James Studies >> James 2:14-26 These small group studies of James contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. Amicae scripturarum lites, utinam et nostrae—There is a very happy agreement between one part of scripture and another, notwithstanding seeming differences: it were well if the differences among Christians were as easily reconciled. True Christian faith includes right belief, right I had previously written a paper on this often controversial passage (James 2:14-26), and I was very eager to share. The uselessness of an inoperative faith (James 2:14–17) a. b. James 2:14-20 presents three characteristics of a dead faith: 1) it has a hallow profession (2:14), 2) it has a phony compassion (2:15-17) and 3) it has a superficial conviction (2:18-20). James takes it for granted that be­lieving in Christ (trusting in God) will move you to feel compassion for— and act to help—someone in need. (2.) Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works. Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. Based on the context and purpose, I believe this is the best interpretation of James 2. Thus we see that our persons are justified before God by faith, but our faith is justified before men by works. 16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? However, erga and ergon are simply plural and singular forms of the same word. It may have the appearance of the real thing. 1. If so, sympathize with William the Conqueror a man who lived almost 1,000 years ago. What does Jesus say about faith and works (Matthew 7:26-27)? 2:25. This leads some to suppose that James uses “works” to mean something different from “work.” However, erga and ergon are simply plural and singular forms of the same word. James 2:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓] James 2:26, NIV: "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." For a discussion of how this understanding of faith squares with that of Paul, see Douglas Moo, The Letter of James (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 37-43, 118-44. Now give any evidence of having the faith thou professest without works if thou canst, and I will soon let thee see how my works flow from faith and are the undoubted evidences of its existence.” This is the evidence by which the scriptures all along teach men to judge both of themselves and others. He says bluntly, "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" [3.] We are too apt to rest in a bare profession of faith, and to think that this will save us; it is a cheap and easy religion to say, “We believe the articles of the Christian faith;” but it is a great delusion to imagine that this is enough to bring us to heaven. "Faith without works is dead," isn't contradictory to salvation by grace; it is complimentary to salvation by grace. James 2:14-26 speaks to the major issue that spawned the Reformation, the reformers teaching that man is justified by faith alone whereas the established church taught man is justified by faith plus works. It was a done thing in the mind, and spirit, and resolution of Abraham, and God accepts it as if fully performed and accomplished. The *Scripture calls some of the great people in *Israel’s history slaves or servants of God. Observe here, [1.] 2:23. But to rest here, and take up a good opinion of thyself, or of thy state towards God, merely on account of thy believing in him, this will render thee miserable: The devils also believe, and tremble. Other leaders of the Protestant Reformation did not share this view, but Luther’s objection came to dominate the Protestant reading of James. 3:28), he plainly speaks of another sort of work than James does, but not of another sort of faith. (2.) A large number of the Christians had left *Jerusalem and had goneto live in other countries. 2. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985. And by this means you come to the true sense of that scripture which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness, Jas. James gives two very practical and challenging marks of genuine faith. This means not only... Every resource on our site was made possible through the financial support of people like you. Rev. James 2:14, ESV: "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?Can that faith save him?" Faith tested by its production of works (2:14–26) A. James is concerned that the outcome of faith be fruit (2:14) so that no one be able to confuse creed with Christianity; Paul in concerned that the object of faith be Christ, unmixed with self-reliance or self-righteousness. Paul speaks of works wrought in obedience to the law of Moses, and before men’s embracing the faith of the gospel; and he had to deal with those who valued themselves so highly upon those works that they rejected the gospel (as Rom. 10:1-21, at the beginning most expressly declares); but James speaks of works done in obedience to the gospel, and as the proper and necessary effects and fruits of sound believing in Christ Jesus. It is not too difficult to visualize how differentlyeach group might present their belief… Such an acting faith will make others, as well as Abraham, friends of God. 4. And now, upon the whole matter, the apostle draws this conclusion, As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also, Jas. 2. This asks who wrote the book, who it was written to. And thus he became the friend of God. Thus the faith of Abraham was a working faith (Jas. 22 To this might be added the thought that James states that the man only “says” he has faith (2:14). James 2:14-26 is not teaching that if a person fails to have good works, then this proves that they do not have eternal life. 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. What Kind of Faith, James? 11:1-40, which shows that the faith both of Abraham and Rahab was such as to produce those good works of which James speaks, and which are not to be separated from faith as justifying and saving. Howpassionate do you suppose their conversation will be? The words translated vain man—anthrope kene, are observed to have the same signification with the word Raca, which must never be used to private persons, or as an effect of anger (Matt. Others read them, As the body without the soul is dead, so faith without works is dead also: and then they show that as the body has no action, nor beauty, but becomes a loathsome carcass, when the soul is gone, so a bare profession without works is useless, yea, loathsome and offensive. James takes up the topic of work in detail in the second part of chapter 2. Based on the context and purpose, I believe this is the best interpretation of James 2. (Nehemiah 1:11-4:23), Perseverance, Wisdom, and Spiritual Growth (James 1:1–5), Listening, Taking Action, and Avoiding Anger (James 1:19–21), Doers of the Word: Working for Those in Need (James 1:22–27), Discriminating Against the Poor and Currying Favor with the Rich (James 2:1–13), Selfish Ambition and Submission to God (James 3:13–4:12), 1 Peter: Serving the World as Resident Alien Priests, Resident Aliens and a Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 1:1–2:12), Suffering under the World’s Authorities (1 Peter 2:13–4:19), Instructions for Leaders and Followers (1 Peter 5), The End of the World and the End of Work? 14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Jas. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being along,” Jas. If you like reading the Theology of Work Bible Commentary free online, you might also enjoy it in print!—What does the Bible say about work? 1. brethren--The equality of all Christians as "brethren," forms the groundwork of the admonition. What doth it profit?--Can faith save him? Her former acquaintance must be discarded, her former course of life entirely abandoned, and she must give signal proof and evidence of this before she can be in a justified state; and even after she is justified, yet her former character must be remembered; not so much to her dishonour as to glorify the rich grace and mercy of God. 4. Can his faith save him? They tremble, not out of reverence, but hatred and opposition to that one God on whom they believe. Paul may be understood as speaking of that justification which is inchoate, James of that which is complete; it is by faith only that we are put into a justified state, but then good works come in for the completing of our justification at the last great day; then, Come you children of my Father—for I was hungry, and you gave me meat, etc. Business, education, law, service industries, medicine, government--wherever you work, in whatever capacity, the Scriptures have something to say about it. Authorship Produced by TOW Project, Theology of Work Project Online Materials, 10 Key Points About Work in the Bible That Every Christian Should Know, Beyond Rank and Power: What Philemon Tells Us About Leadership, Grace and Works Interact in Business (Click to Watch), Our Work Fulfills the Great Commandment (Mark 12:28-34), Jesus’ 10 Principles for Working - an Overview on Faith and Work (Video), Does Trusting God Mean Turning to Prayer, Taking “Practical” Action, or Both? (1.) Some say that the word here rendered harlot was the proper name of Rahab. Luther famously disliked James because he read James 2:24 (“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone”) to be a con­tradiction of Galatians 2:16 (“A person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ”). It asks historical questions like what challenges were they facing and what questions were they asking. The air was so thin that I immediately got dizzy and had a headache and Grace started turning purple. James 2:26, KJV: "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." 1. James, like them, lived to serve God and the people of God. Scriptures: James 2:14-26. 4:3) that Abraham believed, and it was counted to him for righteousness. This leads some to suppose that James uses works to mean something different from work. James 2:14 is arguably the center­piece of his argument, so we will consider this section before moving on: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works?” James bluntly answers his own question by stating, “So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2:17)—as dead (as he notes in a carefully chosen example) as someone in desperate need of food who receives only empty words of well-wishing from his neighbor (James 2:15–16). His use of the plural shows that he expects Christians’ work to be continual. As we develop this and study and talk to our friends, it is necessary to focus on faith - and especially the response of faith that is … (James 2:26) For just as the body without the spi rit is dead, so faith without works is also dead. Faith and Deeds. James doesn’t command Christians to work for the benefit of others in need instead of placing faith in Christ, or even in addition to placing faith in Christ. 2:17. Observe that the key words in James 2:14-26 is faith (or believe 1. brethren--The equality of all Christians as "brethren," forms the groundwork of the admonition. We must not think that either, without the other, will justify and save us. Often times, the best place to look for answers is righ… Those works which evidence true faith must to works of self-denial, and such as God himself commands (as Abraham’s offering up his son, his only son, was), and not such works as are pleasing to flesh and blood and may serve our interest, or are the mere fruits of our own imagination and devising. 2. James 2:14-26 " 14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? 3. What does it profit, The word “profit” means advantage. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group. Introduction. Feel free to copy, print, or share them. James 2:14-26 speaks to the major issue that spawned the Reformation, the reformers teaching that man is justified by faith alone whereas the established church taught man is justified by faith plus works. All rights reserved. home; the ... What four principles in Ephesians 2:8-10 reinforce James's teaching ... Lord Publishers, 1976), 183. The rest of the letter gives practical applications of the two under­lying principles of trust in God and working to benefit others in need. James 2:26, KJV: "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." It can be as simple as making sure a confused customer finds the right item for their need or noticing that a new co-worker needs help but is afraid to ask. Faith without works is said to be dead, not only as void of all those operations which are the proofs of spiritual life, but as unavailable to eternal life: such believers as rest in a bare profession of faith are dead while they live. "THE EPISTLE OF JAMES" Three Kinds Of Faith (2:14-26) INTRODUCTION 1. How will those be exposed then who boast of that which they cannot evidence, or who go about to evidence their faith by any thing but works of piety and mercy! Show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works, Jas. Brent Kercheville June 6, 2010 On one of our vacations we went up to Pike’s Peak in Colorado, just outside Colorado Springs. (2.) On 2-16-14, James 2:14-26 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson herein is my commentary. What profiteth it? is enlarged on, James 2:15-17; though a man say, James 2:18,19 can that faith save him? To comprehend the full force of this question, let us examine the whole passage verse-by-verse. King James Version Update. Both are concerned to magnify the faith of the gospel, as that which alone could save us and justify us; but Paul magnifies it by showing the insufficiency of any works of the law before faith, or in opposition to the doctrine of justification by Jesus Christ; James magnifies the same faith, by showing what are the genuine and necessary products and operations of it. We are taught that he who boasts of faith without works is to be looked upon at present as a foolish condemned person. The first instance is that of Abraham, the father of the faithful, and the prime example of justification, to whom the Jews had a special regard (Jas. James 2:20. Now besides the explication of this passage and example, as thus illustrating and supporting the argument James is upon, many other useful lessons may be learned by us from what is here said concerning Abraham. Those who argue thus wrong God, and put a cheat upon their own souls; a mock-faith is as hateful as mock-charity, and both show a heart dead to all real godliness. Posted on June 11, 2017 by Jeff August 20, 2017 June 11, 2017 by Jeff August 20, 2017 There is one will and one heart, and there is a mutual complacency. 1:11). I cannot emphasize enough that James 2 has nothing whatsoever to do with the gaining, keeping, or proving of eternal life. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further. Pike’s Peak is 14,115 feet in altitude. 14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Contributors: Kelly Liebengood James illustrates "the perfect law of liberty" ( James 1:25) in one particular instance of a sin against it, concluding with a reference again to that law ( james 2:12 james 2:13). 2:14-26 Those are wrong who put a mere notional belief of the gospel for the whole of evangelical religion, as many now do. James perhaps is subtly rebuking the partiality that may have developed on the part of Jewish Christians against the Gentile believers starting to come into the church. “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead” (James 2:26). James 2:14-26 is not teaching that if a person fails to have good works, then this proves that they do not have eternal life. You may as soon take pleasure in a dead body, void of soul, or sense, or action, as God take pleasure in a dead faith, where there are no works. Upon this arises a very great question, namely, how to reconcile Paul and James. This lesson is known by some as Show Your Faith by Your Works Paul had to do with those who depended on the merit of their works in the sight of God, and thus he might well make them of no manner of account. 3. James’s words “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24) challenge us to work out our commitment to Christ in our daily activities. But the *apostles and leaders of the church did notgo. There can be no “justification by works” be­cause there can be no good works unless there is already faith (trust) in God. (2 Peter 3:1–18), Honesty and Speaking the Truth in Love (2 John 1-11), The Value of Communicating In Person (2 John 12–13), An Example of Gossip at Work (3 John 1–12), Summary & Conclusion to the General Epistles, Key Verses and Themes in the General Epistles. What does James himself say? 1:3; Titus 3:8; and many other places. We often say that man's problem is sin and God's solution is the gospel of Christ. Designed for 30-minute lunch breaks, the study contains Scripture references, thought-provoking questions and prayers. Bible Commentary The wonderful power of faith in transforming and changing sinners. What does Jesus say about faith and works (Matthew 7:26-27)? below. The members ofanother small group Bible study also meet to discuss personalevangelism. Faith is certainly an essential element in the Christian life: a. [2.] [See for example Abraham (Genesis 26:24), Moses (Joshua 1:1), David (Psalm 36:1).] 21 Hodges suggests that this summary or conclusion to 2:14-26 might be a starting point for understanding the passage. Aug 8, 1999. That faith without works will not profit, and cannot save us. James 2:14-26. You see then (Jas. We are taught that a justifying faith cannot be without works, from two examples, Abraham and Rahab. (1) The principle established. Zane C. Hodges, Dead Faith: What Is It? All transactions between God and the truly believing soul are easy, pleasant, and delightful. A body has no life without a spirit. The insight that Christian faith always leads to practical action is in itself a lesson for the workplace. From a worldly perspective, why is it some important to have deeds along with faith? James 2:14-26, Faith Works. The former instance was of one renowned for his faith all his life long, This is of one noted for sin, whose faith was meaner and of a much lower degree; so that the strongest faith will not do, nor the meanest be allowed to go without works. The justification of which Paul speaks is different from that spoken of by James; the one speaks of our persons being justified before God, the other speaks of our faith being justified before men: “Show me thy faith by thy works,” says James, “let thy faith be justified in the eyes of those that behold thee by thy works;” but Paul speaks of justification in the sight of God, who justifies those only that believe in Jesus, and purely on account of the redemption that is in him. James 2, William Barclay's Daily Study Bible, One of over 110 Bible commentaries freely available, this commentary, as set of 17 volumes on the New Testament, the result of Barclay's dedicated work This lesson is known by some as Show Your Faith by Your Works Though justified, she is called Rahab the harlot. James wrote to help them. I finished just before midnight. Walking the Talk: James 2:14-26. Observe here, (1.) To help you determine the authenticity of your faith, James gives two spiritual litmus tests in James 2:14-26. And, above all other things, we should take care thus to make account of faith, as that which does not profit, if it do not save, but will aggravate our condemnation and destruction at last. Further Reading. Good works are not necessary to keep us from going to hell. This is the meaning of James 2:14-26. The last line of Nehemiah 1 identifies him as “cupbearer to the king” (Neh. This is the meaning of James 2:14-26. c. James does not contradict Paul, who insisted that we are saved not of works (Ephesians 2:9). As we develop this and study and talk to our friends, it is necessary to focus on faith - and especially the response of faith that is … [5.] Though I was the sixth preacher, time had already gotten away from us. On another occasion St. James himself pleaded the cause of faith, Acts 15:13-21; and St. Paul himself strenuously pleads for works, particularly in his latter epistles. However they are necessary to keep us from falling under God"s disciplinary punishment that may even result in premature physical death. January 21, 2011. Theology of Work Project. 5. On 2-16-14, James 2:14-26 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson herein is my commentary. In the closing portion of chapter two, James continues with his attack on empty religion. Given our assessment of James 2:14–26, we will proceed with the per­spective that these applications are outworkings of faith in Christ, valid in James’s day and instructive in ours. Without faith, it is impossible to please God - He 11:6 b. A dead faith can exist in the Christian life but it will produce nothing. James 2:14-26. 2:22), it wrought with his works, and by works was made perfect. Thus Christ says to his disciples, I have called you friends, John 15:15. Here are some key observations in James 2:14-26. James 2:26, ESV: "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead." Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. In this study of James 2:14-26; James insistently teaches believers that, after someone is saved by grace through faith in Christ, there will consequentially be evidence seen from the fruit of obedience. 2:20. James 2:14, ESV: "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?Can that faith save him?" The Christian is saved by faith - Ep 2:8 c. The Christian is to walk (live) by faith - 2Co 5:7 d. A. Partiality and discrimination in the family of God. James 2, William Barclay's Daily Study Bible, One of over 110 Bible commentaries freely available, this commentary, as set of 17 volumes on the New Testament, the result of Barclay's dedicated work Having thus cleared this part of scripture from every thing of a contradiction to other parts of it, let us see what is more particularly to be learnt from this excellent passage of James; we are taught. 5:22), but may be used as here, to denote a just detestation of such a sort of men as are empty of good works, and yet boasters of their faith. What Kind of Faith, James? James 2:26, ESV: "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead." This is physical death. Apparently, old William apparently got so fat he had trouble staying on his horse! This edition is a one-volume hardcover version. Based on a work at www.theologyofwork.org. James 2:14-26. James 2:14-26 " 14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Introduction. The actings of faith make it grow perfect, as the truth of faith makes it act. Illustration: Ever tried a diet that didn't work? ... Moo, Douglas J. James: An Introduction and Commentary. That instance of faith which the apostle here chooses to mention is the first principle of all religion. follow the verse- by-verse . Illustration: Ever tried a diet that didn't work? (14-26) FAITH AND WORKS.—We now enter on the most debatable ground of the Epistle; a battle-field strewn with the bones and weapons of countless adversaries. James 2:14-26 ~ Faith and Deeds ~ Discussion Questions 1. 3. James 2:14-26 ~ Faith and Deeds ~ Discussion Questions 1. Font Size. This is physical death. They are actually doing evangelism, not justtalking about it. And his answer is a resounding. A dead faith can exist in the Christian life but it will produce nothing. 20:12. James is concerned that the outcome of faith be fruit (2:14) so that no one be able to confuse creed with Christianity; Paul in concerned that the object of faith be Christ, unmixed with self-reliance or self-righteousness. We are taught that, as love or charity is an operative principle, so is faith, and that neither of them would otherwise be good for any thing; and, by trying how it looks for a person to pretend he is very charitable who yet never does any works of charity, you may judge what sense there is in pretending to have faith without the proper and necessary fruits of it: “If a brother or a sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be you warmed and filled, notwithstanding you give them not those things which are needful to the body, what doth it profit? Mention is the Version I cite ) we are studying James 2:14-26 for Sunday, 16! 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Please God - he 11:6 b 7:26-27 ), if a man who lived almost 1,000 years ago faith!