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James Chapter 5

1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming on you.

2 Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth-eaten.

3 Your gold and your silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be for a testimony against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up your treasure in the last days.

4 Behold, the wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of those who reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Armies.

5 You have lived in luxury on the earth, and taken your pleasure. You have nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter.

6 You have condemned and you have murdered the righteous one. He doesn't resist you.

7 Be patient therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it receives the early and late rain.

8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

9 Don't grumble, brothers, against one another, so that you won't be judged. Behold, the judge stands at the door.

10 Take, brothers, for an example of suffering and of perseverance, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

11 Behold, we call them blessed who endured. You have heard of the perseverance of Job, and have seen the Lord in the outcome, and how the Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

12 But above all things, my brothers, don't swear- not by heaven, or by the earth, or by any other oath; but let your "yes" be "yes", and your "no", "no", so that you don't fall into hypocrisy.

13 Is any amongst you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praises.

14 Is any amongst you sick? Let him call for the elders of the assembly, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord,

15 and the prayer of faith will heal him who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

16 Confess your offences to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective.

17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it didn't rain on the earth for three years and six months.

18 He prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

19 Brothers, if any amongst you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back,

20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.


Verse 4 (Armies)
Greek: Sabaoth (for Hebrew: Tze'va'ot)
Verse 12 (into hypocrisy)
Textus Receptus reads "under judgement" instead of "into hypocrisy"

Version: World English Bible

James Chapter 5 Guide

Approaching the conclusion of his letter, the writer addressed a terrible indictment and solemn warning to the rich. He showed the failure of possessions, and how they may become the curse of life.

Selfish life which results in oppression of the poor and consequent robbery of God is known by God. The teaching reveals remarkably the divine passion for justice.

To those who suffer, the writer addressed words full of tender comfort. He called them to patience. All that was said at the beginning of the letter concerning the value of trial in the life is taken for granted. Remembering that God is working through all these processes toward bringing the fruit to maturity and ripeness, it is necessary that His people have patience.

The final paragraph of the epistle contains advice and instructions for differing experiences and needs. "Is any ... suffering?" "Is any ... cheerful?" "Is any ... sickly." Those who are in suffering are charged to pray. Those who are in circumstances of good cheer are to express themselves in praise to God. In dealing with sickness it is most important to remember that here sickness is connected with sin; the raising of the sick is united with forgiveness of sin. The particular cases of sickness were those which were evidently the result of wrongdoing.

In such cases the elders were to be called to act. The use of oil is in itself the indication for such necessity. Any other interpretation would make it a matter of superstition. The Christian man, however, will never depend on natural means alone. While recognizing the place and importance of means, the divine action is also recognized as the ultimate in all healing. The value of this exercise of confession and forgiveness is emphasized by the words with which the epistle closes.

From "An Exposition of the Whole Bible" by G. Campbell Morgan.