"The Six Tests of Faith"
based on an outline by D. Edmond Hiebert, found in "The Unifying Theme of the Epistle of James," Bibliotheca Sacra Vol 135, #539

J. Deering,

THE BOOK OF JAMES - "The Six Tests of Faith"
(Outline by D. Edmond Hiebert, The Unifying Theme of the Epistle of James, Bibliotheca Sacra Vol 135 #539)

James 1:1 Opening Salutation

1:1  James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad, greetings.

He is intent on meeting the needs of his readers – They are people who need to have their Faith Tested to certify that "their faith" is a "Genuine faith" which is in Jesus Christ, and founded upon the Word of God.

Testing is not Tempting, God does not Tempt anyone, for tempting is a matter of offering an alternate or easier way than God's Way or it is to offer an idea or thing that is contrary to the character of God in place of an idea or thing that God does offer.

 James 1:2-18 Theme Statement and Discussion – "The Tests of Faith"

1:2-4 "Believers must rightly evaluate their testings"
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials (testings), 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance (imperative: You, do not hinder  endurance… ) have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 

The testing of faith produces endurance
Endurance produces one who is perfect, complete, lacking in nothing.

1:5 "Prayer makes available to believers the needed wisdom to profit from their testings"

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. 

Knowing if you lack wisdom

Asking God for wisdom – He gave you His Word – do you read and study it? 

1:6-8 "Such prayer must be unmixed with doubt or hesitancy"

6 But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man expect (Imperative: You, do let that man expect) that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 


1:9-11 "The testing of faith equalizes believers"
But let the brother of humble circumstances glory in his high position; 10 and let the rich man glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with a scorching wind, and withers the grass; and its flower falls off, and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. 

The person of humble circumstances (poor) should give glory to God for the privilege of his position.
The person of material circumstances (rich) should give glory to God for the privilege of his position.
Both will pass away – but the rich need the reminder. The Rich man thinks he made himself rich, and has not need of God. The poor man knows he is and has nothing, and that everything good comes from God.


1:12 "Successful endurance assures future rewards"
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Reversed: The Lord gives the Crown of Life to those who persevere and are approved through testing. 

1:13-14 "In human experience testing and temptation are often closely related. Temptation has its force in lustful human nature and must not be blamed on God."

13 Let no one say (Imperative: You, let no one say… ) when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 

You, don't let anyone say they are being "Tempted" by God." Correct them. We are "Tempted" when we are enticed and carried away by our own lust. 

1:15-16 "Temptation's nature and results prove that it is not from God"
Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived (Imperative: You, do not be deceived) , my beloved brethren. 

Lust starts as a seed. When that seed is conceived it becomes sin. The penalty for sin is Death. YOU CHRISTIANS – DO NOT BE DECEIVED! God did not make you do it, you did it yourself. 

1:17-18 "It is God who acts beneficently in human experience. God's greatest gift to man is His work of regeneration through His Word"

17 Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow. 18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures. 

17 Good things and perfect things come from God – Never bad, Never tempting, Never lustful, Never evil – No Variation – Always Good!
18 John Chapter 17 "The Lord's Prayer"
          God the Father gave some humans to the Son to have "Eternal Life" (Quality not Quantity, all humans have an eternal existence).
          God the Father gave some humans that they could know Him through the Son of God.
          Jesus said that these are the ones who truly believe that Jesus is come from God.
          Jesus said that these ones would have the Son of God's Joy made full in themselves.
          Jesus said that the Love of God would be in them that they would love each other.

Having identified and discussed his theme, in the remainder of the epistle James develops a series of tests whereby the readers may seek to purify their own faith.

May God have mercy upon us for our poor attempts at works!

TEST NUMBER ONE: James 1:19-27

Since God's Word is the means of regeneration (1:18), a right response to the Word is appropriately presented as the initial test of a vital faith. For the believer to accept regeneration through the Word is one thing; to permit the Word to work spiritual maturity in him is another. 

1:19-20 The necessary response is threefold: eagerness to hear it, restraint on any premature reaction, bridling of any angry rejection
19 This you know (Imperative: You, Know this… ), my beloved brethren. But let everyone (Imperative: You, let everyone…) be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. 

The Anger of man does not achieve the Righteousness of God! 

1:21 Before the Word can have full sway in the believer's life, he must remove all that hinders its operation
21 Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive (Imperative: You, Receive…) the Word implanted, which is able to save your souls. 

Putting off all filthiness
Putting off all wickedness
Humbly receiving Christ (The Word) and the word of Christ (The Scriptures) – This is ABLE to save your souls.

1:22-27 Acceptance of the Word must be followed by persistent obedience to the Word

1:22-25 Hearing must be followed by active obedience; otherwise the hearing is useless
22  But prove yourselves doers (Imperative: You, be a doer…) of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24  for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25  But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does.

1.      Love yourselves DOERS of THE WORD – don't be deceived, hearing is not enough!
2.      The Law of God is like a Mirror – you don't wash yourself with the mirror – you examine yourself with the mirror – and then get clean.
3.      Jews and The Law of Liberty – In Christ, no longer available to the penalty of the Law they are FREE, they are Liberated by the Law – if they keep it because you want to.
4.      Doing the Law – in the Liberty of Jesus Christ.

1:26 But obedience to the Word is more than mere observance of outward forms of "religion" (church attendance, rote prayers, participation in rites of religion) without the development of inner power to control the tongue 

26      If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. 

The man or woman with the loose and deceptive tongue (heart) has a worthless religion. Sitting in judgment of others while saying you are a Christian is just a deception. 

The Results of this Test:
1:27 True obedience to the Word must reveal itself in beneficent social activity and stimulate personal self-control and purity in separation from worldly contamination 

27      This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. 

The outworking of the Law of Liberty: doing what is right and needed, and keeping oneself UNSTAINED by the world (see the Laws given to Moses, not just the 10 commandments).