My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; – James 1:12
Verses 2-18. – THE SUBJECT OF TEMPTATION. This section may be subdivided as follows: –
(1) The value of temptation (vers. 2-4).
(2) Digression suggested by the thought ‘of perfection (vers. 5-11).
(3) Return to the subject of temptation (vers. 12-18). Verses 2-4. – The value of temptation. Considered as an opportunity, it is a cause for joy. Verse 2. – My brethren. A favorite expression with St. James, occurring no less than fifteen times in the compass of this short Epistle. Count it all joy, etc.; cf. 1 Peter 1:6, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, ye have been put to grief in manifold temptations, that the proof of your faith (τὸδοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως)… might be found unto praise,” etc. The coincidence is too close to be accidental, although the shade of meaning given to δοκίμιον is slightly different, if indeed it has any right in the text in St. Peter (see Herr, vol. it. p. 102). Here it has its proper force, and signifies that by which the faith is tried, i.e. the instrument of trial rather than the process of trial. Thus the passage in ver. 3 becomes parallel to Romans 5:3, “tribulation worketh patience.” With regard to the sentiments of ver. 2, “Count it all joy,” etc., contrast Matthew 6:13. Experience, however, shows that the two are compatible. It is quite possible to shrink beforehand from temptation, and pray with intense earnestness, “Lead us not into temptation,” and yet, when the temptation comes, to meet it joyfully, Περίπέσητε. The use of this word implies that the temptations of which St. James is thinking are external (see Luke 10:30, where the same word is used of the man who fell among thieves). 1 Thessalonians 2:14 and Hebrews 10:32, 33 will show the trials to which believing Jews were subject. But the epithet “manifold” would indicate that we should not confine the word here to trials such as those.
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