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                         "THE EPISTLE OF JAMES"

                              Chapter Five

OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THE CHAPTER

1) To appreciate the need for patience in times of oppression

2) To see the value of prayer and confessing sins in times of sickness

SUMMARY

The final chapter opens with a strong condemnation toward the rich who
were oppressing the poor while living in pleasure and luxury.  Most 
likely these were rich unbelievers such as those mentioned earlier (cf.
2:6-7).  The Lord heard the cries of those defrauded, and judgment was
to come upon the rich who had condemned and murdered the just.  This
passage may be an allusion to the destruction of Jerusalem foretold by
Jesus in Matthew 24 and fulfilled in A.D. 70.  James counsels his
brethren to patiently wait for the coming of the Lord, and to establish
their hearts.  Appealing to the farmer, the prophets, and to Job as
examples of patience, he also warns against grumbling against one
another and swearing rash oaths (1-12).

The last half of the chapter provides a call to prayer and praise.  The
suffering are to pray, the cheerful are to sing praises, and the sick
are to call for the elders of the church.  The elders were to pray over
the sick and anoint with oil in the name of the Lord.  What is 
uncertain is whether the anointing was sacramental or medicinal (I
think the latter, see Review Questions below).  In answer to the prayer
of faith, the Lord will raise the sick and also forgive sins if they
had been committed.  In this context James encourages Christians to
confess their sins to one another and pray for one another that they
may be healed.  He reminds them of the value of fervent prayer by the
righteous, using Elijah as an example of how God answers prayer
providentially.  The epistle then closes with a reminder that turning a
sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover
a multitude of sins (13-20).

OUTLINE

I. TRUE RELIGION DISPLAYS PATIENCE UNDER OPPRESSION (1-12)

   A. GOD'S ANGER AT RICH OPPRESSORS (1-6)
      1. The rich are called to weep and howl for the miseries to come
         upon them
         a. Their riches are corrupted
         b. Their garments are moth-eaten
         c. Their gold and silver are corroded
            1) Which will be a witness against them
            2) Which will eat their flesh like fire
         d. They have heaped up treasure in the last days
      2. The reasons for God's anger against the rich
         a. They have defrauded the laborers who mowed their fields
            1) Keeping back wages owed them
            2) The cries of the reapers have been heard by the Lord of
               Sabaoth (Hosts)
         b. They have lived in pleasure and luxury, fattening their
            hearts in a day of slaughter
         c. They have condemned and murdered the just who does not
            resist them

   B. A CALL FOR PATIENCE UNDER OPPRESSION (7-12)
      1. Be patient until the coming of the Lord
         a. Consider the patience of the farmer
         b. Establish your hears, for the coming of the Lord is at hand
      2. Do not grumble against one another
         a. Lest you be condemned
         b. The Judge is standing at the door
      3. Remember the examples of suffering and patience
         a. Such as the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord and
            are blessed for their endurance
         b. Such as the perseverance of Job, to whom the Lord proved
            very compassionate and merciful at the end
      4. Above all, do not swear (make rash oaths)
         a. Either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath
         b. Let your "Yes" mean "Yes," and your "No" mean "No"
         c. Lest you fall into judgment

II. TRUE RELIGION BLESSED THROUGH PRAYER, SINGING, AND CONCERN FOR THE
    ERRING (13-20)

   A. THE BLESSING OF PRAYER AND SONG (13-18)
      1. If anyone is suffering, let him pray
      2. If anyone is cheerful, let him sing psalms
      3. If anyone is sick, let him call for the elders of the church
         a. Let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name
            of the Lord
         b. The prayer of faith will save (heal) the sick, and the Lord
            will raise him up
         c. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven
         d. Confess your trespasses to one another and pray for one
            another
            1) That you may be healed
            2) For the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man
               avails much
               a) The example of Elijah, a man with a nature like ours
               b) He prayed that it would not rain, and no rain fell
                  for three years
               c) He prayed again, the heaven gave rain, and the earth
                  produced its fruit

   B. THE BLESSING OF LOVE FOR ERRING BRETHREN (19-20)
      1. He who turns back one who wanders from the truth will save a
         soul from death
      2. He who turns a sinner from the error of his way will cover a
         multitude of sins

REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER

1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - True religion displays patience under oppression (1-12)
   - True religion blessed through prayer, singing, and concern for the
     erring (13-20)

2) Who is being condemned in verses 1-6 of this chapter? (1)
   - Those who are rich (probably unbelievers who had been oppressing
     Christians, cf. Jm 2:6-7)

3) What sort of miseries were to come upon them? (1-3)
   - Their riches are to be corrupted, their garments moth-eaten
   - Their gold and silver will be corroded, and serve as a witness
     against them
   - Such corrosion will eat their flesh like fire

4) Why is God so angry at these rich? (3-6)
   - They have heaped up treasure in the last days
   - They have defrauded their workers by keeping back what is owed
     them
   - They have lived in pleasure and luxury, fattening their hearts
   - They have condemned and murdered the just, who does not resist
     them

5) What are the Christians to do in response to such oppression? (7-12)
   - Be patient until the coming of the Lord
   - Establish their hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand
   - Don't grumble against one another, for the Judge is standing at
     the door
   - Do not swear (make rash oaths), but let their "yes" be "yes" and
     their "no" mean "no"

6) What three examples does James provide to encourage patience? (7-11)
   - The farmer who waits patiently for the precious fruit of the earth
   - The prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord
   - The perseverance of Job

7) What does James encourage one to do when suffering?  When cheerful?
   (13)
   - To pray when suffering
   - To sing praises when cheerful

8) What is one who is sick to do? (14)
   - Call for the elders of the church

9) What are they to do? (14)
   - Pray over the sick, anointing with oil in the name of the Lord

10) Is "anointing with oil" sacramental or medicinal?
   - "Some commentators consider this anointing with oil to be a 
     sacramental anointing, but others consider it a medicinal anointing.
     In defense of the medicinal anointing, Burdick wrote the following:
     `There are a number of reasons for understanding this application of
     oil as  medicinal rather than sacramental. The word aleipsantes
     ("anoint") is not the usual word for sacramental or ritualistic 
     anointing. James could have used the verb chrio if that had been what
     he had in mind. The distinction is still observed in modern Greek,
     with aleipho meaning "to daub," "to smear," and chrio meaning "to 
     anoint." Furthermore, it is a well-documented fact that oil was one
     of the most common medicines of biblical times. See Isaiah 1:6 and
     Luke 10:34. Josephus (Antiquities, 17, 172 [vi. 5]) reports that
     during his last illness Herod the Greek was given a bath in oil in
     hopes of effecting a cure. The papyri, Philo, Pliny, and the 
     physician Galen all refer to the medicinal use of oil. Galen 
     described it as "the best of all remedies for paralysis" (Deut 
     Simplicium Medicamentorum Temperamentis, 2.10ff.). It is evident,
     then, that James is prescribing prayer and medicine.'" (New 
     Commentary, James, Fausset, and Brown)

11) What will save (or heal) the sick?  Who will raise him up? (15)
   - The prayer of faith
   - The Lord

12) What if the one who is sick has committed sins? (15)
   - He will be forgiven

13) What are Christians to do?  Why? (16)
   - Confess sins one to another and pray for one another
   - That they may be healed

14) What avails much?  Who is a good illustration of this? (16-18)
   - The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man
   - Elijah

15) What happens when one turns a sinner from the error of his way?
    (19-20)
   - A soul is saved from death
   - A multitude of sins is covered
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