James concludes his letter by reminding us of the power of prayer, the importance of adhering to the truth and how God identifies every soul as important.
1.13 Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise. 1.1.“Suffering” from the Greek Kakopatheo meaning suffering evil. 1.1.1.There was much affliction among the saints in those days.The cause of affliction may be sin (our own or another's), poor judgment, circumstance, recklessness, chance, or a combination of any of these. 1.2.“Pray” from the Greek proseuchomai meaning let him keep praying 1.2.1.Whatever the cause, prayer is the answer.Prayer may take the form of petition, praise, thanksgiving, deep meditation, or a combination of these. In this admonition, James was doubtless pointing especially to petition. 1.2.2.When we "make our wants and wishes known" in prayer, we present an appeal to the Almighty, and, in doing so, plead His promises. 1.3.Cheerful describes a disposition of being friendly, joyful, pleasant and agreeable. 1.3.1.A frame of mind which is free of anxiety and disturbing problems. 1.4.“Sing praise” is from the Greek psalleto and means to keep singing 1.5.This could be describing the same person. 1.5.1.One who is suffering goes to God in prayer and has their burden lifted.They then celebrate the praises of God in song. 2.14 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 2.1.There is a difference of opinion among commentators as to whether this is a physical illness or not. 2.1.1.Some believe the sickness James mentioned is not physical.He wrote of sin-sickness. The oil James mentions is not medicinal oil, but is the anointing of the word of truth. 220.127.116.11.I believe this line of thinking is wrong. 2.1.2.Others believe that this is a physical illness and that the oil is olive oil, which was used for both medicinal and symbolic purposes in the scriptures. 18.104.22.168.There is no proof what kind of oil is used.There are many types of oils that were used in the scriptures. 2.2.“Sick” comes from the Greek astheneo which means to be weak, feeble, to be without strength, powerless.Someone has a physical illness. 2.3.The elders, those who are generally the most spiritually mature in the flock, were to pray on behalf of the one ill.Whether they had any miraculous abilities is unclear, but we certainly can understand the power of God through prayers offered up by men of Faith. 2.4.The assumption is that this is olive oil, which is used repeatedly in the Old Testament, and it appears to be symbolic in nature. 2.4.1.There are those within the church who believe that we should still “anoint” others with oil. 22.214.171.124.For what purpose?The subsequent verses clearly state that it is the Lord who provides the healing. 126.96.36.199.What type of oil would be used?The assumption is the oil is olive oil but there is no proof. 2.5.It was to be done “in the name of the Lord” meaning by the Lord’s authority.Thus the oil was symbolic of the power of Christ on behalf of this sick person when prayers were offered on his behalf by men of faith, the elders. 3.15 and the prayer of faith shall save him that is sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, it shall be forgiven him. 3.1.The power of Christ shall save this sick person because prayers were offered on his behalf by men of faith, the elders.The credit, praise and glory go to the Lord. 3.2.When one is sick, especially if the illness is serious, it causes one to reflect upon their personal relationship to God and see they have rejected Him and not heeded his word. 3.2.1.Just as prayer can heal one from physical illness, prayer can reconcile a sinful Christian to God. 4.16 Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working. 4.1.Basically means to keep confessing your sins one to another and keep praying for one another. 4.2.This is NOT just dealing with public, open sin and making confession before the church, though it does include such. 4.3.Christians need, and should want, other Christians to pray on their behalf. 4.4.We are to confess our sins to a fellow Christian or the one against whom we have sinned.This implies repentance, which is a determination to change.The confession and repentance are to be followed by a joint prayer.The prayer brings healing.The healing is obviously in the realm of the spirit, and not the body. 4.5.“The supplication of a righteous man availeth much…” does not mean that we seek someone out that we believe is especially close to God and have them pray for us. 4.5.1.This is a call for us to live for God, keep his commandments, seek first his kingdom and emphasizes the power of prayer when one is engaged with being obedient to God. 5.17 Elijah was a man of like passions with us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth for three years and six months. 5.1.The point James made is that this man, though a prophet, was subject to the ordinary deviations of life.He was just as we are. 5.2.He was not without sin.He had his passions, just as we have ours.He could at one moment tower tall in gaining a great victory for God, and at the next moment cower at the threat of Jezebel.He could become despondent, and forsake his duty. 5.3.We can identify with Elijah because we have one human heart. 5.4.“He prayed fervently” comes from the Greek proseuxato meaning an emphatic prayer, great intensity 6.18 And he prayed again; and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. 6.1.He prayed earnestly.God answered his prayer.He asked for rain, and the rain came. The answer to his prayer was not miraculous.A cloud formed out in the sea, where clouds normally form.It moved over the land, and brought a torrent of water (1 Kings 18). 7.19 My brethren, if any among you err from the truth, and one convert him; 7.1.The numerous warnings of this letter have shown us the recipients were in danger of forsaking the truth and of falling into sins which were peculiar to and characteristic of their time and situation. 7.2.Why does one sin?Because we err from the truth. 7.2.1.We are begotten by the word of truth (James 1:18). 7.2.2.Our souls are purified by it (1 Pet. 1:22-23). 7.2.3.We are saved by it (1 Cor. 15:1-3). 7.2.4.We are made free by it (John 8:31-32). 8.20 let him know, that he who converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins. 8.1."Let him know" gnosketo is literally, "Let him keep on knowing ... 8.2.The word "converteth" has the same significance as in James 5:19, and means "to turn." 8.2.1.The word means to "turn someone back" in a religious and spiritual sense.John the Baptist was to turn many to God (Luke 1:16).The conversion is from the error of one's wrong way. 8.3.The "sinner" is from the Greek hamartolon which means to miss the mark, is one who does wrong, and in this context is referring to erring brethren. 8.3.1.The brother in sin is in "the error of his ways" It is the course followed by one who has forsaken the truth. 8.4.The" soul" to be saved from death is the soul of the one turned back from error. 8.4.1.To convert one is to save a soul from death.This is eternal death, the second death of the Bible or eternal punishment.To die and be lost is a horrible thing to contemplate.To save a soul from death is to enable such a one to escape eternal separation from God and Heaven. 8.5.Not only is an erring brother, through the help of another, thus saved from death, but the action involved covers "a multitude of sins." 8.5.1.To cover is to hide, put out of sight.So, by enabling a brother to obtain forgiveness, we bring him back from a situation which must, if permitted to proceed, result in eternal separation from God. His sins are put away, hidden, covered. 8.5.2.To "cover" sins is, therefore, to put them away, cancel them out, forgive them.This is accomplished when a brother is made to see the error of his way, and is prompted to turn to God for the forgiveness which He alone can provide. 8.6.The principle that is here taught, and repeatedly taught in other passages of Scripture, is that we have a responsibility to teach others. We do not live nor die unto ourselves.We sustain a tremendous responsibility to those about us, whether they are saints in error or alien sinners.We must try to help them to Heaven.