Friday 10 February 2017

Bible Book:

“Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord.” (v. 7)

James 5:7-12 Friday 10 February 2017

Psalm: Psalm 104:1-23

The Methodist Church's Bible Month this year focuses on theletter of James. It takes place in June, although churches andcircuits may choose a different time if that is more convenient.For more information (including training and resources), goto


In the light of the suffering Christians face in this age, Jamescalls Christians to be patient as they wait for the coming of theLord. Just like a farmer waits for his crop, Christians should waitfor the coming of their Lord. While the wait might be long, thecoming is certain - a theme found elsewhere in the New Testament(1Thessalonians 4:13 - 5:11; 2Peter 3:1-13), as well as in the Apostle's Creed. James encourages believers tostrengthen their hearts as they consider Jesus' coming (verse 8).To strengthen the heart is to resolve to stay faithful, even whencircumstances make it difficult.

James also warns Christians against grumbling against oneanother and that the judge is "standing at the doors" (v. 9). Inlight of the immediate context, it seems likely that James refershere to Jesus' second coming, though some interpreters argue thatthis speaks of other ways in which God judges the Church.

Given the reality of suffering in this age, James points to theprophets as examples of "suffering and patience" (v. 10). Thefigure of Job is one of the best examples, and the story of hissuffering also reveals God's compassion and mercy (verse 11).

Verse 12 is a little difficult to fit within the context. Itprobably comes from the teaching of Jesus (Matthew 5:34-37) and may sit here as afree-floating saying. It also, however, fits the theme of patience,since swearing by an oath can be an example of impatience, orwishing to assure others that you can be trusted. For Jesus andJames, however, Christians should always speak truthfully, and sothe prohibition on oaths is a further example of speaking withwisdom (cf James 3:1-12).

To Ponder

  • Two thousand years after Jesus' death and resurrection, how canChristians today cultivate the sense that the "coming of the Lordis near"?
  • How can you/we encourage and comfort Christians who aresuffering?
  • How might James' teaching on oaths apply today? 
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