This letter was written by Ya’akov, or Jacob or “James” as in English bibles. To most scholars, he was “head” or “Nasi” of the Netzarim (Nazarenes), or Messianic assembly in Jerusalem (Acts 15, Acts 21). He was known as “Ya’akov Ha Tzadik” of Jacob the Just because of his Torah observance that even the people respected. He was the half-brother of Yeshua as seen in Matt 13.55, and the brother of Jude (Yehudah). The letter was written about 60 AD to the various congregations among the twelve tribes who were dispersed outside the land. Many of these Jewish believers may have been some of those saved in Acts 2 because they came from 17 different countries. The letter was written to encourage these Jewish believers to stand strong in their Torah-based faith in Yeshua even under duress, tests, and trials. Josephus says “James” the brother of Yeshua was killed in 62 AD by the high priest Ananus (Josephus Antiquities of the Jews, Book 20, 9.1). Before reading and studying any of the epistles, we suggest that you read the teachings called, “The Torah and New Testament Foundations-Was Paul Torah Observant” and “Torah and New Testament Foundations-The Real Paul” before proceeding with any study of these letters. It will show that the writers of the New Testament were following a Torah-based faith in Yeshua and were teaching other believers to do the same. As with the other letters, this is a halachic commentary on the Torah.
Jam 1.1-27 tells us about trials, tests, and wisdom; having patience during these afflictions; how to obtain wisdom from God; overall encouragement and living for Yehovah in times of testing; how testing comes and its nature; God’s goodness has no variations; standing firm against wickedness; being doers (observant) of the word (Torah), not hearers only.
v 1…James (Ya’akov or Jacob), a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah to the twelve tribes who are scattered abroad (the Diaspora-these were probably saved in Acts 2 and carried the news about Yeshua back home after the festival), greetings (let’s look into the myth about the “lost tribes” of Israel. We know from Ezek 37 that two sticks will become one, so they aren’t lost; Yeshua is the king of the Jews and Israel; in Acts 2.5, 9, 14, 36 the terms “Judea” and “Israel” are used; all the tribes were invited to Hezekiah’s Passover in 2 Chr 34.9, 21; representatives of all twelve tribes contributed scholars to write, in the second century BC the Septuagint, six from each of the twelve tribes in the second century BC; Jess came from the very lands in which the supposed “lost tribes” disappeared; Anna in Luke 2.36 is from the tribe of Asher; God promised a remnant would survive and the remnant if Israel are a part of the remnant of Judah; Yeshua and Paul used the terms “Jew” and “Israel” interchangeably; there is a teaching called the “Two Houses” but it has major flaws; it is built on the myth that the ten tribes are lost and lost their identity, but we have already given a few examples how that’s not true with biblical evidence; this theory has most believers in Yeshua being descendants of the lost tribes, yet God’s plan included all the nations, not just descendants of Jacob to be saved; the theory teaches that only when believers “realize” who they are can the prophecies of “union” between Israel and Judah be fulfilled, but Scripture teaches this union comes as a distinct event in contrast to the salvation of non-Jews).
v 2…Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials (distresses),
v 3…knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
v 4…Let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete (mature; knowing all lines of a trade) lacking in nothing.
v 5…But if any of you lacks wisdom (Hebrew “chachmah” meaning knowing what to do when you have an understanding of Torah facts), let him ask of God, who gives to all (who ask) generously and without reproach (for past conduct like men often do), and it will be given to him.
v 6…But let him ask in faith (confidence in God in action) without doubting (questioning, indecision), for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
v 7…For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord (Heb 11.6),
v 8…a double-minded man unstable in all his ways (confused, unsettled, uncertain, always unchanging, etc).
v 9…But let the brother of humble circumstances glory in his high position (because he knows the Lord and is seated in heavenly places in the Olam Haba-Jer 9.23; Eph 2.6);
v 10…and the rich man in his humiliation (when he loses his property) because like flowering grass he will pass away (is reminded that he too will pass away).
v 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.
v 12…Blessed (empowered to succeed) is a man who perseveres under trial, for once he has been approved (through the testing), he will receive the crown of life (a reward, not salvation) which the Lord promised to those who love him (How do we love him? By action in keeping the commandments-Deut 6.4-9; John 14.15; 1 John 2.3-4).
v 13…Let no man say when he is tempted (allured to evil), “I am being tempted by God” for God cannot be tempted by evil (it’s not in him; Yeshua was tempted from the outside, but man is tempted from the inside-Matt 7.23); and he himself does not tempt anyone.
v 14…But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust (desires; baited by another evil person, or Ha Satan, like David-1 Chr 21.1).
v 15…Then when lust has conceived it gives birth to sin (the sin nature), and when sin is accomplished it brings forth death (it can be traced to sin-Rom 6.21-23).
v 16…Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren,
v 17…every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights (sun, moon, stars; knowledge as in spiritual light, etc), with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow (like the sun that only shines on certain places at certain times, and not in the same manner; it rises and sets; it crosses the line to go south, and then to the north; it produces seasons and different climates; in these things, he is not like the sun; he is unchanging and the same yesterday, today and forever; no darkness).
v 18…In the exercise of his will (his doing-John 1.13) he brought us forth by the word of truth-the Basar in Eph 1.13), so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among his creatures (the first in time to be called in the harvest; all born again believers in contrast to other creatures);
v 19…so that, my beloved brethren, let every man be quick to hear (the truth), slow to speak (against what is heard without evaluating the content), slow to anger (if reproofs are given, admonitions);
v 20…for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God (or make man righteous; our worst enemy is ourselves).
v 21…Therefore, putting aside all filthiness (pride, malice, vanity, anger, etc) and that remains of wickedness (wrath from an evil heart; the allusion is to the foreskin that is removed in circumcisions), in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls (heart, mind, spirit-the Scriptures are an instrument to show men the way, and the power of God is the energy that saves).
v 22…But prove yourselves doers of the word (the Torah-Rom 2.13; Psa 111.7-8; Deut 4.1-6, 30.3-10; Luke 8.21, 6.49; Avot (sayings of the fathers) 1.17), and not merely hearers who delude themselves (by not acting on it; self-deception is the root cause for those who reject the Torah today).
v 23…For if any one is a hearer of the word (Torah) and not a doer (acting on it), he is like a man who looks at his natural face like a mirror (and sees his true appearance; the blemishes, spots, wrinkles. whether they are beautiful or not),
v 24…for he looks at himself and goes away, and immediately has forgotten what kind of person he was (what he looks like; the mirror is like the Torah, and sin is the transgression of the Torah, and by the Torah is the knowledge of sin or “blemishes”).
v 25…But the one who looks intently at the perfect law (Torah), the law of liberty (the Torah is truth-Psa 119.160, and the truth sets you free-John 8.32; Psa 119.45; 1 John 5.3; 2 Cor 3.17; Luke 6.46-47; Jam 2.12; Exo 32.16 says the word engraved os “charut” and it has the same root as “cherut” meaning freedom; our attitude about the Torah should center on opportunities to love God by action and serve God, not a list of restrictions_ and abides (lives) by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed (empowered to succeed) in what he does.
v 26…If any man thinks himself to be religious (or seems to be by others) and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is worthless (unprofitable).
v 27…This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress (Deut 10.17-18), to keep oneself unstained (clean, undefiled, in place) by the world (Olam Ha Zeh- 2 Cor 6.14-18).