BLESSED IS A MAN WHO
PERSEVERES UNDER TRIAL: Makarios aner os hupomenei (3SPAI) peirasmon:
(Jas 1:2, 3, 4; 5:11; Job 5:17; Ps 94:12; 119:67,71,75; Pr
3:11,12; He 6:15; 10:32; 12:5; Re 3:19)
the Youtube Video "Bring the Rain"
Trial > faith > obedience >
perseverance > crown of life (Blessed)
Who but God could bring blessing
out of trials? When you are in the next trial, remember that it has a
blessing if we persevere. And don't try to persevere in your own
strength but by leaning on Jesus and His indwelling Spirit to empower
Although some commentators think
this verse is a solitary disconnected statement by James others such
as Hiebert feel that...
This verse crowns the whole
discussion with the promise of reward in the future life. The teaching
in Jas 1:2 to count their trials as joy is here completed with the
assurance concerning the ultimate effect of trials bravely endured. It
assures a blessedness both here and hereafter. Therefore, it is better
to conclude the paragraph with Jas 1:12 or make a separate paragraph
of it. (D
Edmond Hiebert - James. Moody)
Blessed is a man - There is
no verb "is" in the Greek, so that it reads more literally "Blessed
the man" similar to the beatitudes of Jesus which also lack the Greek
verb for "is" (cp Mt 5:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, Lk 6:20, 21, 22,
cp "blessed is the man" motif in - Ps 1:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 -
see in depth commentary notes on
Job 5:17, Ps 32:2; 34:8; 40:4; 65:4; 84:5; 94:12; 112:1; Pr. 8:34; Is
56:2; Je 17:7; Ro 4:8).
Charles Simeon introduces
this section noting that...
Under the afflictions with which we
are visited in this vale of tears, philosophy has suggested many
grounds for resignation and submission: but to find in them matter for
self-congratulation and joy, was beyond the reach of unassisted
reason. To that however are we led by the voice of revelation, which
teaches us to look with confidence to a future state, wherein all that
we endure for God, and in meek submission to his will, shall be
compensated with a weight of glory, proportioned to the trials we have
here sustained for his sake, and the spiritual improvement which we
have derived from them. St. James, who wrote to “his Jewish brethren
who were scattered abroad” through the violence of persecution,
frequently repeats this consolatory idea. He begins with bidding them
to “count it all joy when they fall into divers temptations.” Towards
the close of his epistle he declares this to be at least the
persuasion of his own mind; “Behold, we count them happy that
endure.” But in the text he does not hesitate to affirm it as an
unquestionable truth, that such persons are truly blessed (James
1 - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae - Commentaries)
is derived from a root
makar, (others say from "mak" which means large or
lengthy) which means to be happy, but not in the usual sense of
happiness based on positive circumstances. Makarios describes the
person who is free from daily cares and worries because his every
breath and circumstance is in the hands of His Maker Who gives him
such an assurance (such a "blessing"). As discussed below makarios was
used to describe the kind of happiness that comes from receiving
divine favor. Ultimately, the supremely blessed man or woman is the
one who finds their complete happiness in God.
Makarios is found 50
times in the NT - Mt 5:3, 4, 5, 6, 7,8, 9, 10, 11; 11:6; 13:16; 16:17;
24:46; Lk. 1:45; 6:20, 21, 22; 7:23; 10:23; 11:27, 28; 12:37, 38, 43;
14:14, 15; 23:29; Jn. 13:17; 20:29; Acts 20:35; 26:2; Ro 4:7, 8;
14:22; 1Co. 7:40; 1Ti 1:11; 6:15; Titus 2:13; Jas. 1:12, 25; 1Pe 3:14;
4:14; Re 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14.
Hiebert comments that in
the NT makarios is...
always a strongly religious concept
denoting an inner quality of life, a joy and happiness not dependent
upon favorable external circumstances. It commonly denotes "the
distinctive religious joy which accrues to man from his share in the
salvation of the kingdom of God."' It points to a state of soul that
the believer begins to experience in his life, even amid adverse
outward circumstances, but its full bliss will be realized only in the
future life. The blessedness consists not in being free from trials,
or yet in the fact that he is being subjected to testing, but that he
"perseveres" under trial in the manner indicated in Jas 1:2, 3, 4. (Ibid)
Greek used makarios to refer to their gods and thus "the
blessed ones" were the gods. They were "blessed" because they had
achieved a state of happiness and contentment in life that was beyond
all cares, labors, and even death. The blessed ones were beings who
lived in some other world away from the cares and problems and worries
of ordinary people. To be blessed, you had to be a god. Homer used
makarios to describe a state unaffected by the world of men, who were
subject to poverty, weakness, and death.
The Greeks also used makarios in reference to the dead who
were "the blessed ones", men and women who, through death, had reached
the other world of the gods and so were now beyond the cares and
problems and worries of earthly life. To be blessed, you had to be
dead, a state many of us have felt like we would just as well
experience because of the nature of our manifold troubles and
afflictions at the time.
Finally, the Greeks used makarios to refer to the socioeconomic
elite, the wealthy, the idea being (completely false I might add) that
their riches and power put them above the normal cares and problems
and worries of the lower socioeconomic strata, who constantly
struggled to make it in life.
In short, the Greeks felt that one had to be either a god, dead or
filthy rich to be blessed (makarios)! And so we see another one of the
words (like doulos, charis, etc) that the Bible elevated
in status and meaning, as described below in a compilation from many
MacArthur writes that makarios...
means to be happy,
blissful. That happiness is a divine pronouncement, the assured
benefit of those who meet the conditions God requires. (MacArthur,
J: Matthew 1-7 Chicago: Moody Press)
Makarios is a state of existence in relationship to God in
which a person is “blessed” from God’s perspective even when he or she
doesn’t feel happy or isn’t presently experiencing good fortune. This
does not mean a conferral of blessing or an exhortation to live a life
worthy of blessing; rather, it is an acknowledgment that the ones
indicated are blessed. Negative feelings, absence of feelings, or
adverse conditions cannot take away the blessedness of those who exist
in such a relationship with God!
Makarios ultimately describes the state those who believe in
Christ and in so possessing God, possess everything. In addition since
they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, they are fully satisfied no
matter what their circumstances. It is interesting that Aristotle
contrasted makarios with the Greek word endees which means "the needy
Friedrich Hauck says that the Greek word Makarios
overwhelmingly to the distinctive religious joy which accrues to man
form his share in the salvation of the kingdom of God."
Makarios means possessing
the favor of God, experiencing "spiritual prosperity". It
describes a state of being marked by fullness from God. And so what
Jesus is saying in the "Beatitudes" is "Spiritually prosperous
(blessed) are the poor in spirit...", etc (Mt
5:3) And thus some of the translators like Wuest pick up
prosperous are the destitute and helpless in the realm of the
Blessed is a man who
perseveres under trial
- Not "Blessed is one who is never tried"! To be sure there is an
element of this blessing which is experienced in this present life (cp
but the "bulk" of the blessing looks toward our future life with
Christ. Trust your loving, sovereign Father to use the trials as
faith-growing tests now and source of a reward in the future.
Wiersbe writes that
started (Jas 1:2) and ended with
joy. Outlook determines outcome. This beatitude is a great
encouragement because it promises a crown to those who patiently
endure trials. Paul often used athletic illustrations in his letters,
and James does so here. He is not saying that the sinner is saved by
enduring trials. He is saying that the believer is rewarded by
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
C H Spurgeon in
his sermon notes (James
1:12 The Tried Man the Blessed Man)
has this to say about blessed...
I. THE BLESSED IN THIS LIFE.
1. Blessedness is not in our text connected with ease, freedom from
trial, or absence of temptation.
Untested treasures may be
worthless; not so those which have endured the fire. No man may reckon
himself blessed if he has to fear that a trial would wither all his
2. Blessedness belongs to those who
have faith, or it would not be tried; faith is blessed.
These have life which bears trials, the spiritual life is blessed.
These possess uprightness, purity, truth, patience; all these are
3. Blessedness belongs to those who endure trials out of love to
God. The text speaks of "them that love him."
has love to God finds joy in that love.
He also finds blessedness in suffering for that love.
4. Blessedness belongs to those who are proved true by trial.
After the test comes approval. "When he hath been approved" is the
rendering of the Revised Version.
After the test comes assurance of our being right. Certainty is a most
5. Blessedness comes out of patient experience.
Blessedness of thankfulness for being sustained.
Blessedness of holy dependence under conscious weakness.
Blessedness of peace and submission under God's hand.
Blessedness of fearlessness as to result of further trial.
Blessedness of familiarity with God enjoyed in the affliction.
Blessedness of growth in grace through the trial.
He who, being tested, is supported in the ordeal, and comes out of the
trial approved, is the blessed man.
II. THE BLESSED IN THE LIFE TO COME.
Those who have endured trial inherit the peculiar blessedness—
1. Of being crowned. How crowned if never in the wars?
Crowned because victorious over enemies.
Crowned because appreciated by their God.
Crowned because honored of their fellows.
Crowned because they have kept the conditions of the award.
2. Of attaining the glory and "crown of life" by enduring trial,
thus only can life be developed till its flower and crown appear.
By trial brought to purest health of mind.
By trial trained to utmost vigor of grace.
By trial developed in every part of their nature.
By trial made capable of the highest glory in eternity.
3. Of possessing a living crown of endless joy. "Crown of life" or
living crown: amaranthine, unfading.
If such fierce trials do not kill them, nothing will.
If they have spiritual bliss, it can never die.
If they have heavenly life, it will always be at its crowning point.
4. Of receiving this lift-crown from God.
His own promise reveals and displays it.
His peculiar regard to those who love him doubly ensures it.
His own hand shall give it. Let us encounter trial cheerfully.
Let us wait for the time of approval patiently.
Let us expect the crown of life most joyfully and gather courage from
the assurance of it.
from hupó = under, as in under the rule of someone + méno
= to abide or remain - see study of noun
hupomone) means literally to remain
under but not simply with resignation, but with a vibrant hope.
Trench's Synonyms of the New
Testament for comparison of makrothumia, hupomone, anoche
Hupomeno is in the
which calls for this perseverance to be one's lifestyle. Bearing
up under the trying ordeal is to be our habitual practice.
How can we do this?
We can't but He can and He always said He would. Some say "Let go and
let God" but that absolves the believer of personal responsibility. We
still need to make a volitional choice to bear up but even this
motivation to please God is initiated by the indwelling Holy Spirit
(see Php 2:12, 13, especially verse 13 - see notes
Who also provides the power, energizing us to be able to endure as
more than conquerors in Christ Jesus our Lord. Don't misunderstand.
Sure we will fail to bear up from time to time, for we are human. But
when we do, we can return and repent and then press on in the test.
Although some theologians argue against this truth, the Biblical truth
is that perseverance is one of the signs of genuine faith. Our
perseverance does not save us but demonstrates that we are genuinely
2Ti 2:12 (see
notes) If we endure
we shall also reign with Him... (cp same idea of "perseverance of the
saints" in a number of NT passages - He 3:6-note,
Mt 24:13, 10:22, Lu 8:15, 2Jn 9, 1Co 15:2-note)
Robert Louis Stevenson
said that "Saints are sinners who keep on going."
The idea of persevering
is not just to "grin and bear it" but to remain under trials in a such
a way that we glorify God as we learn the lessons the trials are meant
to teach us, instead of seeking ways to get out from under (cf the
prefix preposition "hupo" = under) the trials and be relieved
of the pressure.
Hupomeno has the
following meanings depending on the context - (1) Stay behind,
to tarry behind (beyond an expected time), to remain (as in Acts
17:14, Luke 2:43). (2) To stand fast, endure or remain in the
sense of persevering so that under affliction, trouble, opposition or
trial one holds fast to one's belief or faith (Mt 10:22, 24:13, Mark
13:13, James 5:11, et al). The idea is to be patient under, to
persevere and to do so bear bravely and calmly (from Thayer).
Wayne Detzler recounts an
amazing true life example of Christian perseverance writing that...
True Christian perseverance
is not tied to tenacity. It is rather the work of God the Holy Spirit
in a believer's life. The starch in a saint's spine is shown by
Scripture to be nothing less than the sanctifying work of the Holy
Spirit. Only in this way can one explain the work of Gladys Aylward,
a London parlor maid. Societies scorned her missionary application.
She seemed too dull to master Chinese and fulfill her vision of
serving in China. Realizing this, she scoured up her own fare to China
and sailed in 1930. After slogging her way across Siberia she reached
her field in remote Yangcheng. When the Japanese invaded in 1940 she
led 100 children on an epic journey that caught the imagination of
Hollywood (Ed: Watch the movie about her life -
The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
In 1947 failing health forced her back to England where she crusaded
for missions until her death in 1970. That was tenacity, not just
British grit. It is God's persevering grace. (Detzler,
Wayne E: New Testament Words in Today's Language. Victor. 1986)
Another great example of a
Christian who endured (persevered) under trials in a God honoring way
is William Wilberforce (biography
in Wikipedia or
short bio in Christian History),
even better read Eric Metaxas' great biography! -
Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce
and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery)
the 19th-century parliamentarian, who was moved by the Lord to oppose
the lucrative but humanly degrading slave trade. In 1807 Wilberforce
brought about the banning of the slave trade in England but it was not
until 1833 was slavery as an institution abolished, this news reaching
Wilberforce even as he lay on his deathbed. Talk about persevering!
On the other hand take the life of British author Samuel Coleridge,
who was undisciplined and so did not persevere. Here's how William
Barclay described it...
Nothing was ever achieved without
discipline; and many an athlete and many a man has been ruined because
he abandoned discipline and let himself grow slack. Coleridge is the
supreme tragedy of undiscipline. Never did so great a mind produce so
little. He left Cambridge University to join the army; but he left the
army because, in spite of all his erudition, he could not rub down a
horse; he returned to Oxford and left without a degree. He began a
paper called The Watchman which lived for ten numbers and then died.
It has been said of him: "He lost himself in visions of work to be
done, that always remained to be done.”
Coleridge had every poetic gift but
one—the gift of sustained and concentrated effort. In his head and in
his mind he had all kinds of books, as he said himself, “completed
save for transcription. I am on the eve," he said, "of sending the
press two octavo volumes." But the books were never composed outside
Coleridge's mind, because he would not face the discipline of sitting
down to write them out. No one ever reached any eminence, and no one
having reached it ever maintained it, without discipline. (William
Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster, 1958),
vol. 1, 284.)
Spurgeon said "By
perseverance the snail reached the ark." He also said "'A poor woman
had a supply of coal laid at her door by a charitable neighbor. A very
little girl came out with a small fire-shovel, and began to take up a
shovelful at a time, and carry it to a sort of bin in the cellar. I
said to the child, 'Do you expect to get all that coal in with that
little shovel?' She was quite confused at my question, but her answer
was very striking, 'Yes, sir, if I work long enough.' Humble worker,
make up for your want of ability by abundant continuance in
well-doing, and your life-work will not be trivial. The repetition of
small efforts will effect more than the occasional use of great
Perseverance is also
illustrated in nature for yoday's
mighty oak is just yesterday's little nut that held its ground
Coleman Cox offered
another example from nature noting that "Even
the woodpecker owes his success to the fact that he uses his head and
keeps pecking away until he finishes the job he starts."
Samuel Johnson - Great
works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.
William Secker put it
well when he said that "Though
Christians be not kept altogether from falling, yet they are kept from
Hupomeno was a military
term used of an army’s holding a vital position at all costs. Every
hardship and every suffering was to be endured in order to hold fast.
Endurance is a critical
Christian virtue. Unless we have endurance , we can never learn
many of the truths that God wants us to learn, truths that will lead
us into a deeper life and a more fruitful ministry. Children are
usually impatient; they cannot sit still long enough to get the things
done that need to be done. “How long do we have to wait?” is the stock
question of the child. Impatience is a mark of immaturity. Impatience
is also a mark of unbelief.
as manifesting the
of spirit in which we accept God’s dealings with us as good, and
therefore without disputing or resisting.
= to make trial of, try, tempt, prove in either a good
or bad sense) describes first the idea of putting to the test and then
refers to the tests or pressures that come in order to discover a
person’s nature or the quality of some thing. In short, the word
peirasmos has a "double meaning" depending on the context and
depending on how one responds to the trial/test. In the present
context the primary meaning is trial or test which in itself is not an
enticement to evil, for he states we are not to resist (as one
would if the intent were evil) but to endure (which supports
the meaning of a "neutral" trial).
Think of yourself as a tube of "spiritual toothpaste". Pressure
brings out what's really on the inside! Or as another has said
Christians are a lot like tea bags. You don’t know what’s inside of
them until you drop them in hot water. Your faith develops when things
don’t go as planned. It purifies your faith.
Thomas Manton - Afflictions do not
make the people of God miserable. There's a great deal of difference
between a Christian and a man of the world: his best estate is vanity
(Ps. 39:5), and a Christian's worst is happiness. He that loveth God
is like a die; cast him high or low, he is still upon a square: he may
be sometimes afflicted, but he is always happy.
John Legge - The most durable and
precious metal in the ancient arts was the Corinthian bronze, which
was said to have first been caused by the fusing of all the precious
metals when Corinth was burned. The most precious products of
experience are got in the fire of trial.
Dean Stanley - An old sailor was
asked for what purpose shoals and rocks were created, and the reply
was, "That sailors may avoid them." A Christian philosopher, using
that axiom, upon being asked for what purpose trials and temptations
are sent, answered, "That we may overcome and use them." The true
dignity of life is not found in escaping difficulties, but in
mastering them for Christ's sake and in Christ's strength.
As Kistemaker says...
God tests man’s faith
to learn whether it is genuine and true. For instance, we test the
purity of a bowl made of lead crystal by lightly tapping the outer
edge. Immediately we know its genuineness when we hear a
reverberating, almost musical sound. We also know that the lead
crystal bowl went through the fire when it was made. Similarly, God
tests the faith of man as, for example, in the case of Job. Faith that
is not tried and true is worthless. God wants the believer to come to
him in a time of trial so that he may give him the strength to endure.
God is not interested in seeing the believer falter and fail; he wants
him to endure, overcome, and triumph. See how Peter encourages his
readers to persevere: “But how is it to your credit if you receive a
beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing
good and you endure it, this is commendable before God” (1Pe 2:20-note).
(Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. Vol. 14: New Testament commentary
: Exposition of James and the Epistles of John. Grand Rapids: Baker
J C Ryle - Trials are intended
to make us think, to wean us from the world, to send us to the Bible,
to drive us to our knees.
Spurgeon explains the great value of his personal trials
I am afraid that all
the grace that I have got out of my comfortable and easy times and
happy hours might almost lie on a penny. But the good that I have
received from my sorrows, and pains, and griefs, is altogether
incalculable. What do I not owe to the crucible and the furnace, the
bellows that have blown up the coals, and the hand which has thrust me
into the heat?... I bear my witness that the worst days I have ever
had have turned out to be my best days... I can bear my personal
testimony that the best piece of furniture that I ever had in the
house was a cross. I do not mean a material cross; I mean the cross of
affliction and trouble.... In shunning a trial we are seeking to avoid
Stulac - James the Just, with
his deep moral earnestness, wants to help suffering Christians find
the strength to make tough moral choices. He therefore calls us to
face the issue of worth. Persevering is worth doing, because the crown
of life is worth more than avoiding the trial. James calls for
courageous applications of this principle. Giving up on a difficult
ministry, retaliating against people who are mistreating you,
withdrawing from active participation in worship and fellowship,
compromising moral standards, interrupting your life of obedience,
turning away from a walk of fellowship with the Lord—all these
responses to adversity assume that escaping the trial is of more value
than gaining the crown of life. The Christian is called to place
greater value on the goal of becoming mature and complete in Christ.
With such applications, the Christian life is taken out of the realm
of sentimentality and placed in the realm of significant moral choice.
When a Christian’s spouse is unfaithful and abandons the marriage, is
Christ still worth obeying? When a Christian’s financial security is
threatened or wrecked, is Christ still worth trusting? When a
Christian’s physical health is crippled, is Christ still worth
adoring? When a Christian’s family member is killed, is Christ still
worth serving? When a Christian’s actions are misunderstood or
slandered, is Christ still worth devotion? Even if the Christian loses
everything else, is Christ still worth honoring, and is the crown of
life still worth the perseverance in faith? The answer is decisively
yes! “Afflictions are but
as a dark entry into our Father’s house,” wrote Thomas Brooks.
Christians through the generations of the church have borne testimony
to this experience. In the midst of the suffering we are able to see
little or no point to it all. So we cry to God, “Why?” Afterward,
whether very soon or much later, we find such good resulting from the
suffering that we reach the point of being able to say sincerely, “The
good I have seen coming out of the trial, especially the benefit of my
knowing God far better now, is worth the suffering it took to get me
here.” Because we value the Lord and his kingdom and the crown of life
more than we value ease or comfort, it becomes the choice of realism
and wisdom to consider it pure joy whenever we face trials of many
kinds. “However reluctant we may be to embrace it, we know that
suffering rightly received is one of the Christian’s supreme means of
grace” (Wenham 1974:79). (Stulac,
G. M. James. The IVP New Testament commentary Series. Downers Grove,
Ill. USA: InterVarsity Press
Peirasmos connotes trouble or something that breaks the
pattern of peace, comfort, joy, and happiness in someone’s life.
Trials rightly faced are harmless and in fact beneficial to the saint
as Peter (and James 1 explain), but wrongly met become temptations to
evil as explained below.
The KJV has "temptations" instead of "trials". The English word "temptation" originally referred to
trials, whether good or bad, but the evil sense has monopolized the
word in modern English.
What the Clutch Player Wins - In the 1996 Olympics in
Atlanta, Kerri Strug faced the trial of her life. She had injured her
ankle on the vault and was in great pain as she approached her final
attempt to determine whether the U.S. gymnastics team would win the
gold medal. She moved the crowd with an incredible performance in
spite of the pain she was enduring, and the United States won gold.
When asked how she did it, she said she focused on her coach, who kept
telling her she could do it and who reminded her of what was at stake.
When we are hurting during a trial, we need to put our focus on the
right place. The payoff for being a faithful clutch player is found in
James 1:12: "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he
has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord
has promised to those who love Him." A little-known fact about Michael
Jordan is that in addition to his numerous buzzer beaters, he also
missed over three hundred last-second shots during his career. It
takes a lot of pain and frustration to become a great clutch player.
Yet over time your perseverance will bring great victory, a crown of
life as a reward you can enjoy today and for eternity. (Tony Evans)
Joyful Trials - The Bible tells us to respond to difficult
circumstances in a way that is directly opposed to our natural
tendency. One of the most challenging of those commands is this:
“Count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2).
Other translations speak of viewing our difficulties with pure joy,
considering ourselves happy—not resisting trials and temptations as
intruders but welcoming them as friends. I don’t know about you, but
that’s not the first thing that pops into my mind.
This outlook would seem absurd and unattainable if not for the reason
behind it: “knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience”
(James 1:3). An attitude of joy is not based on what we feel but on
what we know of God and His work in our lives. Therefore, a painful
process that yields a desired goal can be welcomed as a friend.
It’s not the testing of our strength but the trying of our faith in
Almighty God that develops our endurance. Through it all, the Lord
promises wisdom for today (James 1:5) and a crown of life for those
who persevere (James 1:12).
My natural response to difficult circumstances is “Oh, no!” The Lord
wants me to see what He can accomplish through them and say, “Oh,
yes!” --By David C. McCasland
The deeper meaning of my trials
O Lord, You've kept from me;
But some small part of Your great plan
I pray, Lord, help me see.
—D. De Haan
Joy in trials comes from
knowing that the outcome will be good.
Count It All Joy - A pastor placed this sign on his door:
"If you have problems, come in and tell me all about them. If you
don't have any problems, come in and tell me how you avoid them."
What do we do when problems come unannounced and with great intensity?
James told us to "count it all joy," because trials do not happen
without a reason. He said, "The testing of your faith produces
patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be
perfect and complete" (James 1:3, 4). Armed with this understanding,
our prayer changes from asking God "why" to thanking Him for what He
Having endured many trials and facing a new struggle with cancer, Our
Daily Bread author Joanie Yoder shared her thoughts in a letter: "I
have relinquished my destiny to God's will. Nothing, praise God, not
even cancer, can thwart His will. I may have cancer, but cancer
doesn't have me—God alone has me. So in this light, I would value your
prayers that Christ may be magnified in my body, whether by life or by
Trials are unavoidable and unpredictable, and they come in an
unimaginable variety. Knowing that our sovereign God will walk with us
and use trials to deepen our maturity, we can count them "all joy." —
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whatever befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
We can endure trials in this life because of the joys in the life
Vincent adds that in regard to the meaning of peirasmos
"is a mistake to
define this word as only solicitation to evil. It means trial of any
kind, without reference to its moral quality."
The context determines whether the intended purpose of the
"temptation" is for good or for evil. This distinction is brought out
in chapter 1 of James.
James first use of peirasmos refers to "trials for good" (as
in 1 Peter1:6), where he exhorted the saints to
Consider it (aorist
imperative ~ do it now once and for all!) all (wholly) joy
("whole joy", unmixed joy, without admixture of sorrow, not just "some
joy" along with much grief! How is this possible? The Spirit produces
His joy in you - see notes
my brethren, when (implies temptations are to be expected) you
encounter (fall into the midst of so as to be totally surrounded by)
various (poikilos - all "shapes and sizes" of) trials
(peirasmos), knowing that the testing of your faith produces
God brings (allows) such tests (peirasmos) to prove and increase
the strength and quality of one’s faith and to demonstrate its
validity (read all of
James 1 for full context).
Every trial becomes a test of faith designed to strengthen the
believer's faith, but if the believer fails the test by wrongly
responding, then that test becomes a temptation or a solicitation to
Later James uses the root verb form (peirazo) explaining
that no one should
"say when he is
“I am being tempted (peirazo)
by God”; for God cannot be tempted (apeirastos from a = without +
= tempt > incapable of being tempted) by evil, and He
Himself does not tempt (peirazo)
Whom God chooses -Psalms 65:4;
Whom God calls -Isaiah 51:2; Revelation 19:9
Who know Christ -Matthew 16:16,17
Who know the gospel -Psalms 89:15
Who are not offended at Christ -Matthew 11:6
Who believe -Luke 1:45; Galatians 3:9
Whose sins are forgiven -Psalms 32:1,2; Romans 4:7
To whom God imputes righteousness without works -Romans 4:6-9
Whom God chastens -Job 5:17; Psalms 94:12
Who suffer for Christ -Luke 6:22
Who have the Lord for their God -Psalms 144:15
Who trust in God -Psalms 2:12; 34:8; 40:4; 84:12; Jeremiah 17:7
Who fear God -Psalms 112:1; 128:1,4
Who hear and keep the word of God -Ps 119:2; James 1:24; Mt 13:16; Lk
11:28; Re 1:3; 22:7
Who delight in the commandments of God -Psalms 112:1
Who keep the commandments of God -Revelation 22:14
Who wait for the Lord -Isaiah 30:18
Whose strength is in the Lord -Psalms 84:5
Who hunger and thirst after righteousness -Matthew 5:6
Who frequent the house of God -Psalms 65:4; 84:5
Who avoid the wicked -Psalms 1:1
Who endure temptation -James 1:12
Who watch against sin -Revelation 16:15
Who rebuke sinners -Proverbs 24:25
Who watch for the Lord -Luke 12:37
Who die in the Lord -Revelation 14:13
Who have part in the first resurrection -Revelation 20:6
Who favour saints -Genesis 12:3; Ruth 2:10
The undefiled -Psalms 119:1
The pure in heart -Matthew 5:8
The just -Psalms 106:3; 10:6
The children of the just -Proverbs 20:7
The righteous -Psalms 5:12
The generation of the upright -Psalms 112:2
The faithful -Proverbs 28:20
The poor in spirit -Matthew 5:3
The meek -Matthew 5:5
The merciful -Matthew 5:7
The bountiful -Deuteronomy 15:10; Psalms 41:1; Pr 22:9; Lk 14:13,14
The peace-makers -Matthew 5:9
Holy mourners -Matthew 5:4; Luke 6:21
Saints at the judgment day -Matthew 25:34
Who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God -Luke 14:15; Re 19:9
FOR ONCE HE HAS BEEN
APPROVED: hoti dokimos genomenos (AMPMSN): (Deuteronomy
8:2; 13:3; Proverbs 17:3; Zechariah 13:9; Malachi 3:2,3; Hebrews
11:17; 1Peter 1:6,7; 1Peter 5:10)
For once (hoti) is
used here as a subordinating conjunction as a marker of causality and
could also be translated because. James is explaining the
reason for the beatitude associated with perseverance. Wuest
renders it "because after he has met the test
and has been approved." The point is that the promised
beatitude will be given after we have completed the test. It follows
that if we are to receive a reward, we must be tested, must submit to
the test and must endure the test to the end. This process proves we
are genuine ("approved").
= test, proof, trial = idea is that when you put
metal through a fiery testing and it comes out on the other side
enduring it "proven", "authentic" or "genuine"
Click discussion of related
dokimazo and the antonym =
describes one who has stood the test. Dokimos conveys the idea
of being tested and passing the test, so that God’s “Good (God)
Housekeeping” stamp of approval is on your life.
Dokimos occurs 7 times in the NT (Ro 14:18; 16:10; 1Co 11:19;
2Co 10:18; 13:7; 2Ti 2:15; Jas 1:12) and 6 times in the
primarily referring to precious metals - refined or pure - Ge
23:16; 1Ki 10:18; 1Chr 28:18; 29:4; 2Chr 9:17; Zech 11:13
Vine writes that
dokimos signifies "that which is approved by being
proved, that which stands the test (Collected
writings of W. E. Vine)
In his lexicon Vine adds " The word is used of coins and metals in the
Sept.; in Ge 23:16 (this is Brenton's English translation of the
Septuagint), "four hundred shekels of silver approved with
merchants (Hebrew = "passing for the merchant." The final clause
affirms that the measurement of silver was according to the standards
used by the merchants of the time);" in Zech 11:13 , in regard to the
30 pieces of silver, "Cast them into a furnace and I will see if it is
good (approved) metal."
Donald Barnhouse - In the ancient world there was no
banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was
made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into moulds and allowed
to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off
the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft and of course many
people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were
passed in Athens, to stop the practice of shaving down the coins then
in circulation. But some money changers were men of integrity, who
would accept no counterfeit money. They were men of honour who put
only genuine full weighted money into circulation. Such men were
called "dokimos" or "approved"
Wuest adds this
description that dokimos means to "put to the test for the purpose of
being approved, and having met specifications, having the stamp of
approval placed upon one. (Wuest's
Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)
A dokimos man or
dokimos character is like metal which has been cleansed of all
alloy and impurity. In James 1:12 (see below) the weaknesses of such a
one have been eradicated and he emerges strong and pure. That which is
dokimos is shown to be trustworthy and genuine.
anything tested and fit for service. As alluded to above, this term
was used of gold and silver which has been purified by fire of all
Dokimos is the word
describing money which is genuine or as we would say sterling (silver)
[sterling = conforming to the highest standard]. In other words, a
persons must first be "proved" before being "approved". One so
approved is assayed by the One Who has eyes like flames of fire (see
Revelation 1:14) yet passes
this scrutiny and is counted as worthy.
Dokimos is a word which
motivates one to have a "God consciousness" (cp "Coram Deo" - before
the face of God!), a consciousness of His presence and of living and
acting in His sight, so as to please Him in all things. (e.g., see the
use by James below)
Sometimes it is helpful to get a
sense of the meaning of a word by observing uses of its antonym and
here Isaiah 1:22 presents us with a clear picture, where God is
speaking to faithless Israel declaring...
Your silver has become dross
(Hebrew = siyg = literally that which is turned away or
skimmed off in the refining process, the waste or impurity, the refuse
after smelting precious metal and figuratively that which is base or
worthless), Your drink diluted with water. (Note: The
translates siyg with
the Greek word
essentially the opposite of dokimos).
Richards writes that
dokimos "is used in the NT in the sense of
recognition, of being officially approved and accepted."
William Barclay - The Greek for one who has stood
the test is dokimos, which describes anything which has
been tested and is fit for service. For instance, it describes gold or
silver which has been purified of all alloy in the fire. It is
therefore the word for money which is genuine, or, as we would say,
sterling. It is the word used for a stone which is fit to be fitted
into its place in a building. A stone with a flaw in it was marked
with a capital A, standing for adokimastos, which means
tested and found wanting. Timothy was to be tested that he might be a
fit weapon for the work of Christ, and therefore a workman who had no
need to be ashamed. (Barclay's
comments on 2Timothy 2:15 from The Daily Study Bible)
Barclay adds that "To the
man who meets trials in the right way there is joy here and hereafter.
In this life he becomes a man of sterling worth. He is dokimos;
he is like metal which is cleansed of all alloy. The weaknesses of his
character are eradicated; and he emerges strong and pure." (James
1 - Barclay's Daily Study Bible)
The root dek-, dechomai, accept,
gives two verbal derivatives dokeo and dokao. The former means
(intrans.) to appear, have the appearance, (trans.) to think, believe,
consider right; the latter means expect. Derivatives of the former
are: (a) dokimos, trustworthy, reliable, tested, recognized, used as a
technical term for genuine, current coinage, but also applied to
persons enjoying general esteem; (b) adokimos, untested, not
respected; (c) indirectly also dokimion, test, probation; (d) from
dokimos are also derived dokimazo, test, pronounce good, establish by
trial, recognize, and apodokimazo, disapprove of, reject, blame;
dokimasis and dokimasia, investigation, testing (preparatory to
installing in an office); dokime, approved character, trial. (Brown,
Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986.
Spurgeon in Faith's Checkbook - Mark of Divine Approval
- YES, he is blessed while he is enduring the trial. No eye can
see this till he has been anointed with heavenly eye salve. But he
must endure it, and neither rebel against God, nor turn aside from his
integrity. He is blessed who has gone through the fire and has not
been consumed as a counterfeit. When the test is over, then comes the
hallmark of divine approval, “the crown of life.” As if the Lord said,
“Let him live; he has been weighed in the balances, and he is not
found wanting.” Life is the reward: not mere being—but holy, happy,
true existence—the realization of the divine purpose concerning us.
Already a higher form of spiritual life and enjoyment crowns those who
have safely passed through fiercest trials of faith and love. The Lord
hath promised the crown of life to those who love Him. Only lovers of
the Lord will hold out in the hour of trial; the rest will either sink
or sulk, or slink back to the world. Come, my heart, dost thou love
thy Lord? Truly? Deeply? Wholly? Then that love will be tried, but
many waters will not quench it, neither will the floods drown it.
Lord, let thy love nourish mine to the end. (Spurgeon, C. Faith's
HE WILL RECEIVE
THE CROWN OF LIFE WHICH THE LORD HAS PROMISED TO THOSE WHO LOVE HIM:
lempsetai (3SFMI) ton stephanon tes zoes, on epeggeilato (3SAMI) tois
agaposin (PAPMPD) auton: (Crown - Mt 25:34; Lk 22:28, 29,
30; Ro 2:7, 8, 9, 10; 1Co 9:25; 2Ti 4:8; 1Pe 1:7; 4:13; 1Pe 5:4; Re
2:10; 3:21) (James 2:5; Is 64:4; Mt 10:22; 19:28,29) (James 2:5; Ex
20:6; Deut 7:9; Neh 1:5; Ps 5:11; Ro 8:28; 1Co 2:9; 8:3; 1Pe 1:8; 1Jn
COUNT IT JOY
by Susan Peterson
Count it joy, and
never be discouraged,
When by trials your life is sorely pressed.
For you know that when your faith is tested,
Your endurance then develops best.
Perseverance must complete its working;
You will need to let it have its way.
When it’s done, you’ll be complete and perfect,
Having all you need to meet each day.
So if any one of you lacks wisdom,
Ask of God, who always hears and cares.
He gives freely without asking questions;
His abundance will become your share.
But when asking, you must never falter,
Like a wave that’s blown and tossed about.
If you do, you’ll never gain God’s blessing;
Double-minded, you’ll succumb to doubt.
Blest the man who perseveres in trial;
For you know the testing soon will pass.
When it’s o’er and you have stood unmoving,
You’ll receive the crown of life at last.
But when tempted, never be accusing;
It’s not God who leads you from the path.
Your own lusts seduce you and entice you,
Giving birth to sin, and sin to death.
Do not let yourself yield to deception;
God’s the source of every perfect gift.
He’s the Maker of the stars in heaven,
Changing not as shadows move and shift.
For He chose a spirit birth to give you,
Through the Word of truth that you believed.
Thus are you the firstfruits of His labors;
By His grace, salvation is achieved.
Will receive (2983)
(lambano) means to take hold of, to grasp, to seize. Lambano
can indicate either benevolent and hostile actions, and have as object
either people or things; e.g. take a wife, collect taxes, accept a
verdict, take a road, and figuratively take courage. It is used with a
material subject, as when, for example, fear or terror seizes men. In
the present context clearly James is speaking of a benevolent action,
the crown of life. Note that it is one that we receive as a gift from
a gracious God, not one that we earn by our works/merit.
Paul speaks of a similar
reward in his last letter to Timothy explaining that...
in the future there is laid up for
me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge,
will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who
have loved His appearing. (2Ti 4:8 -note)
crown of life - Note that the tested and approved believer will
not receive life, but the crown of life, which Hiebert
explains as "Eternal life as the final
consummation of our salvation in eternity. The genitive "of life" is
best taken as an appositional genitive, the crown which consists of
eternal life in the full, final sense of the term. It is God's
gracious reward to those who have been rendered fit for that life by
their approved character. The article with "life" (tes zoes) points to
that eternal life in all its fullness awaiting the attested believer.
Burdick remarks, "Since it is a reward for an accomplishment
subsequent to initial faith, it must refer to a still higher quality
of life." It is not merely escape from eternal condemnation, but the
believer's eternal enjoyment of life as the approved of God in His
William Barclay comments (see more by Barclay with some repetition
under Stephanos below)...
In the life to come he receives the crown of life. There is far more
than one thought here. In the ancient world the crown (stephanos,
Greek #4735) had at least four great associations.
(a) The crown of flowers was worn at times of joy, at weddings and at
feasts (compare Isaiah 28:1-2; SS 3:11). The crown was the sign of
(b) The crown was the mark of royalty. It was worn by kings and by
those in authority. Sometimes this was the crown of gold; sometimes it
was the linen band, or fillet, worn around the brows (compare Psalms
21:3; Jeremiah 13:18).
(c) The crown of laurel leaves was the victor's crown in the games,
the prize which the athlete coveted above all (compare 2 Timothy 4:8).
(d) The crown was the mark of honour and of dignity. The instructions
of parents can bring a crown of grace to those who listen to them
(Proverbs 1:9); Wisdom provides a man with a crown of glory (Proverbs
4:9); in a time of disaster and dishonor it can be said, "The crown
has fallen from our head" (Lamentations 5:16).
We do not need to choose between these meanings. They are all
included. The Christian has a joy that no other man can ever have.
Life for him is like being for ever at a feast. He has a royalty that
other men have never realized for, however humble his earthly
circumstances, he is the child of God. He has a victory which others
cannot win, for he meets life and all its demands in the conquering
power of the presence of Jesus Christ. He has a new dignity for he is
ever conscious that God thought him worth the life and death of Jesus
What is the crown? It is the crown of life; and that phrase means that
it is the crown which consists of life. The crown of the Christian is
a new kind of living which is life indeed; through Jesus Christ he has
entered into life more abundant.
James says that if the Christian meets the testings of life in the
steadfast constancy which Christ can give, life becomes infinitely
more splendid than ever it was before. The struggle is the way to
glory, and the very struggle itself is a glory. (James
1 - Barclay's Daily Study Bible)
- The crown is the emblem of
spiritual success, given by the King of the universe to those who
'keep their faith' in the midst of suffering and temptation. Life
should be taken as identifying the reward—`the reward that is life.
(Moo, D. J. The Letter of James. The Pillar New Testament commentary.
Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos)
O the friends that now are waiting,
In the cloudless realms of day,
Who are calling me to follow
Where their steps have led the way;
They have laid aside their armor,
And their earthly course is run;
They have kept the faith with patience
And their crown of life is won.
from stepho = to encircle,
twine or wreathe) was a wreath made of foliage or designed to resemble
foliage and worn by one of high status or held in high regard.
There are 25 uses of
stephanos in the NT - Mt. 27:29; Mk. 15:17; Jn. 19:2, 5; Acts 6:5,
8f; 7:59; 8:2; 11:19; 22:20; 1Co. 9:25; Phil. 4:1; 1Th 2:19; 2Ti 4:8;
Jas 1:12; 1Pe 5:4; Re 2:10; 3:11; 4:4, 10; 6:2; 9:7; 12:1; 14:14. Note
the concentration of uses in the Revelation.
There are 29 uses of stephanos in the non-apocryphal
- 2Sa 12:30; 1 Chr. 20:2; Est. 8:15; Job 19:9; 31:36; Ps. 21:3; 65:10;
Prov. 1:9; 4:9; 12:4; 14:24; 16:31; 17:6; Cant. 3:11; Isa. 22:18, 21;
28:1, 3, 5; 62:3; Jer. 13:18; Lam. 2:15; 5:16; Ezek. 16:12; 21:26;
23:42; 28:12; Zech. 6:11, 14. Note that in the Septuagint, stephanos
in some contexts symbolizes a special honor or as representative of
happiness and prosperity (Ps 21:3; Pr 12:4; 16:31; Lam 5:16;
Ezek.16:12) and also of a royal crown (2Sa 12:30; 1Chr 20:2 Zech.
stephanos was literally an adornment worn around the head as a
crown of victory in the Greek athletic games, this reward being given
to the runner who crossed the goal first, to the disc thrower with the
longest toss, etc. Apart from recognition of athletes and winners of
various kinds of competitions, in the Greco-Roman world, the awarding
of a crown or wreath signified appreciation for exceptional
contributions to the state or groups within it. The recipients were
usually public officials or civic-minded persons serving at their own
Paul uses the image of a crown
in his first epistle to the Corinthians writing...
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one
receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone
who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They
then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
Comment: No one competing in the Olympic games received a crown
until the race is over. In this present life we are charged to "run
with endurance" (cp He 12:1, 2-note)
and not to shrink back (cp He 10:38, 39-notes)
when the trials come. James sets before us the grand reward that
awaits those who persevere, loving God.
were the sorts of crowns which were in use amongst the Roman victors:
(1) Corona civica, a crown made of oaken boughs, which was given by
the Romans to him that saved the life of any citizen in battle against
(2) Obsidionalis, which was of grass, given to him that
delivered a town or city from siege.
3) Muralis, which was of gold,
given to him that first scaled the wall of any town or castle.
(4) Castralis, which was likewise of gold, given to him that first entered
the camp of the enemy.
(5) Navalis, and that also of gold, given to
him that first boarded the ship of an enemy.
(6) Ovalis (and that of
myrtle), which was given to those captains that subdued any town or
city, or that won any field easily, without blood.
which was of laurel, given to the chief general or consul who, after
some signal victory, came home triumphing.
These, with many others, as
imperial, regal, and princely crowns (rather garlands or coronets than
crowns), are not to be compared to the crown of glory which God hath
prepared for those that love him. Who is able to express the glory of
it; or to what glorious thing shall it be likened? If I had the tongue
of men and angels, I should be unable to decipher it as it worthily deserveth. It is not only a crown of glory, but hath divers other
titles of pre-eminency given unto it, of which all shall be true
partakers that are godly; a crown of righteousness, by the imputation
of Christ's righteousness; a crown of life, because those that have it
shall be made capable of life eternal; a crown of stars, because they
that receive it shall shine as stars for ever and ever. — John Spencer
Barclay adds that
had the following associations in the ancient world...
(a) the victor's crown
in the games. Smyrna had annual games which were famous all over Asia.
As in the Olympic Games, the reward of the victorious athlete was the
laurel crown. The Christian can win the crown of victory in the
contest of life.
When a man had faithfully performed the work of a magistrate,
at the end of his term of office he was granted a crown. He who
throughout life faithfully serves Christ and his fellow-men will
receive his crown.
The heathen world was in the habit
of wearing crowns, chaplets of flowers, at banquets. At the end of the
day, if the Christian is loyal, he will have the joy of sitting as a
guest at the banquet of God.
The heathen worshippers were in the
habit of wearing crowns when they approached the temples of their
gods. At the end of the day, if he has been faithful, the Christian
will have the joy of entering into the nearer presence of God.
Some scholars have seen in this
crown a reference to the halo or the nimbus which is round the head of
divine beings in pictures. If that is so, it means that the Christian,
if he is faithful, will be crowned with the life which belongs to God
Daily Study Bible Series Comments on Revelation 2:8-11 The Letter to
stephanos was the only prize ancient Olympic athletes received and
thus it was cherished as a great treasure. How much more should we as
believers "run with endurance the race that is set before" (see
us, knowing that the Olympic athletes
do it to receive a perishable
wreath (stephanos) but we an imperishable." (See note on
TDNT has a lengthy note on stephanos...
The crown, as a wreath placed around the head, is a sign of life and
fertility, and perhaps also a symbol of light. It has a place in the
cultus and supposedly wards off evil. The closed crown is used in
magic. The crown expresses joy and honor, but also sorrow. It
II. Nature. The simplest crown consists of a bent twig or of
two twigs tied together. Wreaths of grass, leaves, or flowers also
occur. The Dionysus cult uses ivy, oak, and acanthus, Neptune and Pan
wear wreaths of fig leaves, and Zeus of laurel. Soldiers wear crowns
at triumphs, and victors wear laurel or olive wreaths. The myrtle
signifies love. Roman magistrates wear gold crowns, and Etruscan
crowns, also used at Rome, are of precious stones and golden oak
1. The Cultus. In cultic acts priests wear various forms of crowns.
Aeneas crowns his brow with twigs when he first treads Roman soil and
prays. Crowns are placed on sacrifices and altars, and are even
offered in sacrifice. Images are crowned when dedicated to cultic use
and on the feasts of the gods. The crown expresses reverence;
Empedocles takes it as a mark of veneration when crowned.
2. Oracles. Crowns evoke true dreams. The person who delivers the
oracle wears a crown. When Creon comes back crowned after consulting
the oracle he is hailed as a messenger of joy. Roman frescoes depict
3. Processions and Feasts. Crowning takes place in relation to
prayer-processions. On the New Year feast at Rome houses are adorned
with crowns or wreaths. Animals are also crowned or garlanded at
4. A Sign of Salvation and Protection. Various examples show that
crowns are viewed as signs of protection. Thus Tiberius wears a laurel
wreath during thunderstorms. Wreaths are put at the entrances to
houses. Crowns also serve as a means of power and protection in the
invocation of gods or demons in magic.
5. The Mysteries. Mystagogues bear myrtle branches in the Eleusinian
mysteries, and neophytes in the Isis mysteries. A crown is handed to
the mystagogue in the dedication ceremonies of Mithras.
6. Political Life. Cultic and political life are closely related,
hence it is natural that those who hold national office should he
crowned. When politicians give orations in Athens they wear wreaths as
a sign of immunity. The Roman emperor, his family, the priests, and
state officials all wear crowns in processions.
7. The Games. Held in honor of the gods, sporting festivals culminate
when the victors, who struggle hard to win, are crowned with wreaths
of laurel, olive, or ivy. The herald calls their names, and the names
of their fathers and towns, and then hands over the wreaths. The
ceremony ends in their homes, which also bear wreaths. In the final
rites they offer their wreaths to the deity.
8. The Army. The Spartans put on crowns before doing battle, perhaps
in connection with sacrifice and as a sign of protection. In the Roman
army the general wears a crown to purify the troops before battle. The
goddess of victory is depicted with a crown, and there are crowns for
the victors, whether of grass, oak leaves, or laurel. An ancient Roman
custom is to offer prisoners for sale with crowns on; this possibly
derives from a Germanic practice of sacrificing prisoners.
9. Private Life.
a. A Sign of Joy and Respect. Various examples illustrate the use of
the crown or wreath as a mark of joy or respect.
b. Weddings. It is natural that there should be crownings at weddings.
Thus we have depictions of brides with crowns, and the guests at the
wedding feast also wear crowns.
c. Symposia. Wreaths adorn the participants at banquets and the
ensuing symposia, which are held in honor of various gods. The wreaths
express festal joy but also serve to cool the head during drinking.
Wreaths are also placed on the bowls and vessels and on the walls of
the rooms where the feasts are held.
10. The Cult of the Dead. A common custom is to put wreaths on the
dead, on the bier, and on the grave. Permanent wreaths are carved on
gravestones and funds are set up for regular adornment with wreaths.
The wreaths honor the dead but also protect them against demons. Plato
hands down an idea that in Hades there will be a symposium for the
righteous at which they will be adorned with crowns. The mysteries
promise initiates that in the hereafter they will be adorned with
crowns and will enjoy the company of the blessed. (Kittel,
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the
New Testament. Eerdmans)
in Scripture is used (1) to refer
to physical life (Ro 8:38-note,
1Co 3:22, Php 1:20-note,
James 4:14, etc) but more often to (2) to supernatural life
in contrast to a life subject to eternal death (Jn 3:36, see all 43 uses of "eternal life" below). This quality of
life speaks of fullness of life which alone belongs to God the
Giver of life and is available to His children now (Ro 6:4-note,
as well as in eternity future (Mk 10:30, Titus 1:2-note
on Eternal Life) for those who have received the gift of life found in
Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6).
Richards writes that..
Zoe in classical Greek refers to
natural life--the principle that enables living things to move and to
grow. In the NT, zoe focuses on the theological meaning rather than on
the biological. From the perspective of the NT, in every respect life
is the counterpart of death. Each book of the NT speaks of zoe. In
each, the principle of life lifts our vision beyond our earthly
existence to reveal a unique quality of life that spans time and
eternity and that has its roots in God. It is the biblical use and
meaning of zoe that most concerns us as we examine what the NT says
L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)
Wuest (in comments on 2Pe 1:3-note)
writes that zoe...
speaks of life in the sense of one
who is possessed of vitality and animation. It is used of the absolute
fulness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God. It
is used to designate the life which God gives to the believing sinner,
a vital, animating, spiritual, ethical dynamic which transforms his
inner being and as a result, his behavior.
(In comments on 1Jn 1:2 Wuest adds)
here used as Thayer indicates, as “the absolute fulness of life, both
essential and ethical, which belongs to God.” Thus, this life that God
is, is not to be defined as merely animation, but as definitely
ethical in its content. God is not the mere reason for the universe,
as the Greeks thought, but a Person with the characteristics and
qualities of a divine Person. The ethical and spiritual qualities of
this life which God is, are communicated to the sinner when the latter
places his faith in the Lord Jesus as Saviour, and this becomes the
new, animating, energizing, motivating principle which transforms the
experience of that individual, and the saint thus lives a Christian
life. The message of John is that since the believer is a partaker of
this life, it is an absolute necessity that he show the ethical and
spiritual qualities that are part of the essential nature of God, in
his own life. If these are entirely absent, John says, that person is
devoid of the life of God, and is unsaved. The ethical and spiritual
qualities of this life were exhibited to the human race in the earthly
life of the Lord Jesus. His life thus becomes the pattern of what our
lives should be in holiness, self-sacrifice, humility, and love.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans or
(epaggello from epí = intensifies meaning + aggéllo
= tell, declare) means to announce with certainty as to what one will
do. In Classic Greek it was used of announcing a summons or issuing a
command. To promise is to make a declaration that one will do or
refrain from doing something specified. The non-lying God makes a
legally binding declaration of what He will give the person who loves
endures trials and love him and therefore who has a right to expect
the reception of this glorious beatitude, the crown of life. The
aorist tense records
the historical fact that the promise was given and thus stated by the
non-lying God, stands firm and sure regarding its consummation. There
is no "gamble" involved in this promise.
Those who love God - This phrase
or a similar phrase is a common designation for God's people both in
the OT (Ex 20:6; Ps 97:10-Spurgeon's
note; Ps 145:20-Spurgeon's
and the NT (Ro 8:28-note;
1Co 2:9; 2Ti 4:8-note;
1Pe 1:7, 8-notes).
Love (verb) (25)
related study of noun
agape) means to love unconditionally
and sacrificially as God Himself loves sinful men (John 3:16), the way
He loves the Son (John 3:35, 15:9, 17:23, 24). Note that
is a verb and by its
verbal nature calls for action. This quality of love is not an emotion
but is an action initiated by a volitional choice. And the
present tense signifies
that his reader's (verb is plural) have a continuing love for God.
How do believers love God? Certainly they
can say it and pray it, but ultimately the aphorism still applies that
actions speak louder than words. If we love God with our lips, we
should demonstrate it with our life. Let's listen to our Lord's words
to those who call themselves His disciples (cp Mk 8:34, 35, 36, Lk
Jn 14:15 If you love Me,
you will keep (tereo)
The key verb explaining
love is "keep" = keep an eye on, keep something in view, to attend
carefully, or to watch over it.
Tereo speaks of guarding
something which is in one’s possession. It means to watch as one would
some precious thing.
Jn 14:21 "He who has My commandments and keeps (tereo
- word study; present
not perfectly but as the general "tenor" of their life) them, he it is
who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I
will love him, and will disclose Myself to him."
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, what then has happened
that You are going to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?"
23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep
My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and
make Our abode with him.
24 "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which
you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.
Jn 15:10 "If you keep (tereo
- word study) My commandments, you will abide in My
love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His
11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and
that your joy may be made full.
12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have
13 "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for
Jn 21:15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to
Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love (agapao)
Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love
You." He said to him, "Tend My lambs." 16 He said to him again a
second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love (agapao)
Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love (agapao)
You." He said to him, "Shepherd My sheep." 17 He said to him the third
time, "Simon, son of John, do you love (phileo)
Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you
Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I
love You." Jesus said to him, "Tend My sheep.
1Jn 2:5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has
truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one
who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as
1Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep (tereo
- word study) His commandments; and His commandments
are not burdensome.
These Johannine passages clearly teach
that love is an action based on a choice, which for a disciple is first and foremost
manifest by the choice to obey the good and acceptable and perfect will of
the Father and the Son. Don't hypocritically say "I love God" on
Sunday in worship service and then spend the next 6 days doing your
will on earth instead of His. No, we cannot live in perfect
obedience but every waking moment should be marked by a sincere heart
desire to please our Father Who art in heaven (cp 2Co 5:9, 2Ti 2:4-NOTE). With such a mindset,
obedience is seen less as a duty and more as a privilege and pleasure.
When we live this way our joy will be made full beloved (Jn 15:11). Why do we far
too often grovel in the pig sties of this passing evil age when we
could be continually dining at the Father's table, Whose banner over
us is love.
Hiebert remarks that...
Their love for God is the outcome
of their faith in Him, which produces willing endurance for Him (Jas
1:2, 3, 4-notes).
Love is the essence of true faith. Where there is no love for God,
The promised reward cannot be
earned. It is God's gift to those who truly love Him. Indeed, "it is
unattainable by those who do not serve God from a heart of love and
devotion."' An obedience that is motivated by a personal desire to win
a reward is the very antithesis of Christian spirituality. The rewards
that God promises to those who love Him are of such a nature that only
someone prompted by unselfish love for the Lord would be able to
appreciate them. (Ibid)
Steven Cole says that...
You might expect James to say, “the
crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who persevere,” or
“to those who obey,” or “to those who believe in Him.” But rather, he
says, “to those who love Him.” Why does he say this? I think it is
because love for Christ keeps us from loving the world. Love for
Christ motivates us to persevere under trials. Note that love for
Christ does not exempt us from trials. Rather, it gives us the
strength to persevere. Love for Christ is the inevitable result of
belief in Him. If we don’t love Him, we don’t know Him (1Jn 4:8). When
Jesus restored Peter after his denials, He asked him three times,
“Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” (See John 21:15, 16, 17.) Why?
Because love for Jesus Christ is the necessary motivation to serve
Him, especially when serving Him causes hardship and persecution. If
you’re struggling with perseverance in trials, examine the quality of
your love for Christ.
Moo explains that in this
Clearly James’s overall purpose in
this verse is to encourage believers to endure trials faithfully so
that we might receive the reward that God has promised. Some
Christians have a difficulty with rewards, objecting that our
obedience to Christ should be pure and disinterested, unmotivated by
any such crass consideration as future reward. This objection is
understandable, and it is certainly the case that far too many
Christians bring a selfish and calculating “bottom line” mentality
into their service of the Lord, asking “What’s in it for me?” at every
step. But the contemplation of heaven’s rewards is found throughout
the NT as a spur to our faithfulness in difficult circumstances here
on earth. Keeping our eyes on the prize can help motivate us to
maintain spiritual integrity when faced with the temptations and
sufferings of earthly life. Moreover, as Mitton aptly observes, “the
rewards are of a kind that only a true Christian would be able to
appreciate.” (Moo, D. J. The Letter of James. The Pillar New
Testament commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leicester, England:
Gingrich writes that...
If we trustingly and prayerfully
endure our trials, we prove the genuineness of our faith toward God
and of our love for God and then in the world to come, we will be
given a victor’s crown, a crown consisting of eternal life and its
fulness. The award is given, not to trials or to endurance of trials,
but to faith tested and proved to be genuine through trials.
(Gingrich, R. E. The Book of James. Memphis, TN.: Riverside
Meyer writes that...
At His judgment-seat He (Christ)
will weigh up the worth of our individual mortal life, and He is doing
so day by day. Not only when we pass the threshold of death, but on
this side, our Lord is judging our character and adjudicating our
reward. Let us strive to be as well-pleasing to Him in this life, as
we hope to be in the next.
Give us grace, O Lord, to work
while it is day, fulfilling diligently and patiently whatever duty
Thou appointest us; doing small things in the day of small things, and
great labours if Thou summon us to any; rising and working, sitting
still and suffering, according to Thy word. AMEN.
Don Robinson (Reasons
for Trials) sums
up this section...
God is trying to produce in us an
enduring overcoming faith. We need to accept our trials; learn from
them; pray for wisdom; rejoice in our trials; and thank God for them.
Trials and testings happen in our
life to produce real Christian joy
Trials and testing happen in our life to produce in you an enduring
Trials and testings happen in our life to mature us as a Christian
Trials and testings happen in our life to drive us to prayer
Trials and testings happen to bring equality among the brethren
Trials and testings happen to bring us reward in heaven
review note that James 1:1-12 expounds four truths which should
encourage us when we experience trials -- God uses trials to produce
staying power in those who endure. God provides wisdom to understand
trials. Believers, whether rich or poor, find encouragement to rejoice
over their position in life. God promises a reward to fill the
believer with a sure, steadfast hope.
O THAT WILL BE GLORY
by Charles Gabriel
When all my labors and trials
And I am safe on that beautiful shore,
Just to be near the dear Lord I adore,
Will through the ages be glory for me.
O that will be glory for me, glory for me!
When by His grace I shall look on His face,
That will be glory, be glory for me!