Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
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Picture Study Bible with Maps and Background Information

James 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

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James 1:5 >

      5. English Version omits "But," which the Greek has, and which is important. "But (as this perfect entireness wanting nothing is no easy attainment) if any," &c.
      lack--rather, as the Greek word is repeated after James's manner, from Jas 1:4, "wanting nothing," translate, "If any of you want wisdom," namely, the wisdom whereby ye may "count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations," and "let patience have her perfect work." This "wisdom" is shown in its effects in detail, Jas 3:7. The highest wisdom, which governs patience alike in poverty and riches, is described in Jas 1:9, 10.
      ask-- (Jas 4:2).
      liberally--So the Greek is rendered by English Version. It is rendered with simplicity, Ro 12:8. God gives without adding aught which may take off from the graciousness of the gift [ALFORD]. God requires the same "simplicity" in His children ("eye . . . single," Mt 6:22, literally, "simple").
      upbraideth not--an illustration of God's giving simply. He gives to the humble suppliant without upbraiding him with his past sin and ingratitude, or his future abuse of God's goodness. The Jews pray, "Let me not have need of the gifts of men, whose gifts are few, but their upbraidings manifold; but give me out of Thy large and full hand." Compare Solomon's prayer for "wisdom," and God's gift above what he asked, though God foresaw his future abuse of His goodness would deserve very differently. James has before his eye the Sermon on the Mount (see my Introduction). God hears every true prayer and grants either the thing asked, or else something better than it; as a good physician consults for his patient's good better by denying something which the latter asks not for his good, than by conceding a temporary gratification to his hurt.

JFB.


Questions Related to this Verse

Where in Scripture does it mention that God is good?

Where In Scripture Does It Talk About Ignorance?

Where In Scripture does it say to pray for God's wisdom?

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James Images and Notes

The Book of James

James 1:22-25 - But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

James 4:17 - Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin.

James in The New Testament - A Brief Overview

Icon of St. James the Just
Icon of St. James the Just

Introduction to The Book of James

Brief Summary. The epistle of James has a clear focus on the necessity of Christian works, and this is in contrast but not in conflict with the doctrine of justification by faith set forth by the apostle Paul. The heart of the book of James takes one back to the time of Abraham, who believed first before any works, and he was justified before God. This is because God knew his heart and saw him through his omniscient eyes. Since man cannot see into of other men's hearts, he can only see the true faith of an individual by his works. To James Christian works do not make a man saved, but is the true test that a genuine Christian has already received salvation. Some of the points that James brings up is hearing the word of God and not doing the word of God, loving worldly possessions more than giving, not restraining the tongue, not trusting in God's providence, partiality toward the rich and contempt for the poor, and other attitudes and actions which would not be in harmony with a "pure and undefiled religion."

Summary of The Book of James

Author. The author of this epistle identifies himself as "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ." Most scholars agree that the book of James was written by James the Just, brother of our Lord (Matt. 13:55; Gal. 1:9), and leader of the mother Church at Jerusalem (Gal. 2:9). He is the same James to whom Jesus appeared, according to the words of Paul, and who made the speech at the Jerusalem council admitting Gentiles into the Church. James acted as president of the conference on circumcision (Acts 15:18; Acts 12:17; 21:18). Paul called him one of the "pillars of the Church." Josephus spoke of James as a man of "preeminent justice."

Date. There is no doubt that the book of James was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, but there is no way to be certain exactly when the book of James was written. The Epistle was written from Jerusalem, probably about 61 AD.

Audience. James addresses his book, "to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad," which indicates that he was writing from Jerusalem to the Jews of the "dispersion" and  "my brethren," indicates that these were Jewish Christians living away from Jerusalem.

Outline of the Book of James

Faith Tested by Trials - Chapter 1
Faith Shown by Works - Chapter 2
Faith Proven by Conduct - Chapters 3-4
With Faith Comes Persecution - Chapter 5

 

Jesus written in Hebrew
The Name Jesus In Ancient Hebrew Text
"Yeshua" in First Century Hebrew Text. This is how the name "Jesus" would have been written in ancient Hebrew documents. The four letters or consonants from right to left are Yod, Shin, Vav, Ayin (Y, SH, OO, A). Jesus is the Greek name for the Hebrew name Joshua or Y'shua which means "The LORD or Yahweh is Salvation".

James Maps and Resources

Map of the Roman Empire (14 A.D.) - This map reveals the Roman Empire during the time shortly after the birth of Jesus, in 14 AD at the time of the death of Augustus. The order which prevailed in this extensive empire, the good military roads, and the use of Koine Greek as the general language of culture throughout the area were among the factors which multiplied the rapid spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's First Missionary Journey (48 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia Minor where Paul visited in his first missionary journey. Around 48 AD, in the springtime, Paul and his companions Barnabas and Mark were sent on a mission from the church in Antioch. This would be the first of Paul's Missionary Journey's. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's Second Missionary Journey (51 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia and Greece where Paul visited in his second missionary journey. Paul re-visits a couple cities in Asia, one of which was Lystra where he was stoned and left for dead a few years earlier. He later has a vision that leads him over to Greece and Paul and his companions travel and minister in various cities in Greece (Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens and Corinth. Later Paul returns to Ephesus and finally to Caesarea and Antioch. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's Third Missionary Journey (54 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia and Greece where Paul visited in his third missionary journey. On Paul's third missionary journey he returned to the cities he had first visited on his first missionary journey. During this time he decided to remain in Ephesus for about 3 years, and this city was the main focus of his activities and an important Christian community (Acts 19). (Color Map)

Map of the New Testament World - This map reveals the "Nations" within the ancient world during the first century A.D., the time of the New Testament. The map includes the areas of Israel, Asia, Greece, and Italy. (Color Map)

Map of New Testament Greece This map reveals the cities within Greece in the ancient world during the first century A.D.,The map includes the principal cities of Greece like: Athens, Corinth, and Thessalonica, and provinces like Macedonia and Achaia. (Color Map)

Map of New Testament Asia - This map shows the cities within Asia Minor during the first century A.D., the time of the New Testament. The map includes the principal cities of Asia including Tarsus, Ephesus, and Colossae, and provinces like Galatia and Pamphilia. (Color Map)