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James 5 - An Understandable Version (2005 edition)

Warning to Rich Oppressors

1. Come on now, you rich people, cry and wail over the miseries that are coming upon you.

2. Your wealth has rotted and moths have eaten your clothing.

3. Your gold and silver have tarnished and their tarnish will be a testimony against you [i.e., you have hoarded your wealth instead of using it to benefit others], and they will devour your flesh as fire [i.e., your riches will ultimately consume you]. You have hoarded up your riches in these last days.

4. Look, the wages you have fraudulently refused to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out [against you]. And the cries of these harvest hands have reached the ears of the Lord of [heavenly] armies [i.e., Almighty God].

5. You people have basked in luxury [here] on earth and lived lives devoted to pleasure. You have fattened yourselves [as sacrificial oxen] for the day of slaughter.

6. You have condemned and murdered the righteous man [i.e., the innocent person, See verse 4] and he does not [even] resist you.

Patience in Suffering

7. So, be patient, brothers, until the Lord comes. Look, the farmer waits for his land to produce the valuable crop and is patient with it until it receives the fall and spring rains.

8. [So], you people should be patient also; strengthen your hearts because the Lord’s coming is near [Note: This may refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, or to Christ’s final coming and judgment].

9. Do not complain against one another, brothers, so that you will not [have to] be judged [and condemned for it]. Look, the Judge [i.e., Christ] is standing at the door! [See verse 8].

10. Brothers, take the [Old Testament] prophets, who spoke in the name [i.e., by the authority] of the Lord, as your examples of suffering and patience.

11. Notice that we consider those who endured [suffering with patience] to be blessed [by God]. You people have heard of Job’s patience and have seen what the Lord finally did [for him]. The Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

12. But above everything else, my brothers, do not take oaths, not “by the heaven,” nor “by the earth,” nor by any other oath. But your “yes” should be [simply] “yes,” and your “no,” [simply] “no,” so you do not fall under condemnation.

The Prayer of Faith

13. Is there anyone among you who is suffering? [If so], he should pray. Is anyone happy? [Then] he should sing a psalm.

14. Is anyone among you sick? [Then] he should call for the elders of the church and they should pray for him, after pouring [olive] oil on him in the name [i.e., by the authority] of the Lord.

15. And if their prayer is [offered] by faith, [God] will heal the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up [from his sickbed]. And if he had sinned, he will be forgiven for them [Note: This may imply that the man’s sickness was the result of some sin. In any event, his forgiveness would follow his repentance].

16. So, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another to be healed [from sin sickness]. The special request of a righteous person is empowered with [great] effectiveness.

17. Elijah was a man with a similar nature as ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain [I Kings 17:1; 18:1], and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.

18. Then he prayed again and the sky poured rain and the ground produced its crop.

19. My brothers, if anyone among you strays away from the truth [of God’s inspired message], and someone brings him back [to it],

20. that person should know that whoever brings a sinner back from the error of his way will save that soul from [spiritual] death and will cover over a large number of sins [i.e., the many sins of that person will become forgiven].






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