James 1:2
My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations;
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1:1-11 Christianity teaches men to be joyful under troubles: such exercises are sent from God's love; and trials in the way of duty will brighten our graces now, and our crown at last. Let us take care, in times of trial, that patience, and not passion, is set to work in us: whatever is said or done, let patience have the saying and doing of it. When the work of patience is complete, it will furnish all that is necessary for our Christian race and warfare. We should not pray so much for the removal of affliction, as for wisdom to make a right use of it. And who does not want wisdom to guide him under trials, both in regulating his own spirit, and in managing his affairs? Here is something in answer to every discouraging turn of the mind, when we go to God under a sense of our own weakness and folly. If, after all, any should say, This may be the case with some, but I fear I shall not succeed, the promise is, To any that asketh, it shall be given. A mind that has single and prevailing regard to its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its purposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continue fervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions. When our faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, there will be unsteadiness in our words and actions. This may not always expose men to contempt in the world, but such ways cannot please God. No condition of life is such as to hinder rejoicing in God. Those of low degree may rejoice, if they are exalted to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom of God; and the rich may rejoice in humbling providences, that lead to a humble and lowly disposition of mind. Worldly wealth is a withering thing. Then, let him that is rich rejoice in the grace of God, which makes and keeps him humble; and in the trials and exercises which teach him to seek happiness in and from God, not from perishing enjoyments.My brethren - Not brethren as Jews, but as Christians. Compare James 2:1.

Count it all joy - Regard it as a thing to rejoice in; a matter which should afford you happiness. You are not to consider it as a punishment, a curse, or a calamity, but as a fit subject of felicitation. Compare the notes at Matthew 5:12.

When ye fall into divers temptations - Oh the meaning of the word "temptations," see the notes at Matthew 4:1. It is now commonly used in the sense of placing allurements before others to induce them to sin, and in this sense the word seems to be used in James 1:13-14 of this chapter. Here, however, the word is used in the sense of trials, to wit, by persecution, poverty, calamity of any kind. These cannot be said to be direct inducements or allurements to sin, but they try the faith, and they show whether he who is tried is disposed to adhere to his faith in God, or whether he will apostatize. They so far coincide with temptations, properly so called, as to test the religion of men. They differ from temptations, properly so called, in that they are not brought before the mind for the express purpose of inducing people to sin. In this sense it is true that God never tempts men, James 1:13-14. On the sentiment in the passage before us, see the notes at 1 Peter 1:6-7. The word "divers" here refers to the various kinds of trials which they might experience - sickness, poverty, bereavement, persecution, etc. They were to count it a matter of joy that their religion was subjected to anything that tried it. It is well for us to have the reality of our religion tested, in whatever way it may be done.

temptation: or, trials
My brethren,.... Not only according to the flesh, he being a Jew as they were; but in a spiritual sense, they being born again of the same grace, belonging to the same family and household of faith, and having the same Father, and being all the children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus:

count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; not the temptations of Satan, or temptations to sin; for these cannot be matter of joy, but grief; these are fiery darts, and give a great deal of uneasiness and trouble; but afflictions and persecutions for the sake of the Gospel, which are so called here and elsewhere, because they are trials of the faith of God's people, and of other graces of the Spirit of God. God by these tempts his people, as he did Abraham, when he called him to sacrifice his son; he thereby tried his faith, fear, love, and obedience; so by afflictions, God tries the graces of his people; not that he might know them, for he is not ignorant of them, but that they might be made manifest to others; and these are "divers": many are the afflictions of the righteous; through much tribulation they must enter the kingdom; it is a great fight of afflictions which they endure, as these believers did; their trials came from different quarters; they were persecuted by their countrymen the Jews, and were distressed by the Gentiles, among whom they lived; and their indignities and reproaches were many; and their sufferings of different sorts, as confiscation of goods, imprisonment of body, banishment, scourgings, and death in various shapes: and these they "fall" into; not by chance, nor altogether at an unawares, or unexpectedly; but they fell into them through the wickedness and malice of their enemies, and did not bring them upon themselves through any crime or enormity they were guilty of: and when this was their case, the apostle exhorts them to count it all joy, or matter of joy, of exceeding great joy, even of the greatest joy; not that these afflictions were joyous in themselves, but in their circumstances, effects, and consequences; as they tried, and exercised, and improved the graces of the Spirit, and worked for their good, spiritual and eternal, and produced in them the peaceable fruit of righteousness; and as they were attended with the presence and Spirit of God, and of glory; and as they made for, and issued in the glory of God; and because of that great reward in heaven which would follow them; see Matthew 5:11. The Jews have a saying (g),

"whoever rejoices in afflictions that come upon him, brings salvation to the world.''

(g) T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 8. 1.

{1} My brethren, {c} count it all joy {2} when ye fall into divers temptations;

(1) The first place or part concerning comfort in afflictions, in which we should not be cast down and be faint hearted, but rather rejoice and be glad.

(c) Seeing their condition was miserable because of the scattering abroad, he does well to begin as he does.

(2) The first argument, because our faith is tried through afflictions: which ought to be most pure, for so it suits us.

All joy (πᾶσαν χαρὰν)

Joy follows up the rejoice of the greeting. The all has the sense of wholly. Count it a thing wholly joyful, without admixture of sorrow. Perhaps, as Bengel suggests, the all applies to all kinds of temptations.

When (ὅταν)

Lit., whenever: better, because it implies that temptation may be expected all along the Christian course.

Ye fall into (περιπέσητε)

The preposition περί, around, suggests falling into something which surrounds. Thus Thucydides, speaking of the plague at Athens, says, "The Athenians, having fallen into (περιπεσόντες) such affliction, were pressed by it."

Divers (ποικίλοις)

Rev., manifold. See on 1 Peter 1:6.

Temptations (πειρασμοῖς)

In the general sense of trials. See on Matthew 6:13; and 1 Peter 1:6.

2. My brethren—a phrase often found in James, marking community of nation and of faith.

all joy—cause for the highest joy [Grotius]. Nothing but joy [Piscator]. Count all "divers temptations" to be each matter of joy [Bengel].

fall into—unexpectedly, so as to be encompassed by them (so the original Greek).

temptations—not in the limited sense of allurements to sin, but trials or distresses of any kind which test and purify the Christian character. Compare "tempt," that is, try, Ge 22:1. Some of those to whom James writes were "sick," or otherwise "afflicted" (Jas 5:13). Every possible trial to the child of God is a masterpiece of strategy of the Captain of his salvation for his good.

Count it all joy - The word πειρασμος, which we translate temptation, signifies affliction, persecution, or trial of any kind; and in this sense it is used here, not intending diabolic suggestion, or what is generally understood by the word temptation. 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy - Which is the highest degree of patience, and contains all the rest. When ye fall into divers temptations - That is, trials. 1:2 Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations. Instead of murmuring over trials and temptations, rejoice in them.
James 1:1
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