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IV. Converting The Wider Community (4:1–5:6)

The subject of the preceding section is peace; the subject of this new section is fights. The mood becomes more intense; the style becomes staccatolike through a series of verbs that characterize and condemn the readers for their strife-ridden society. The crescendo reaches its peak with a quotation from Scripture: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (4:6). Then follows a series of commands to surrender and to allow the Lord to lift up the person emptied of sin.

As an evangelist, James addresses the hearts of both the believer and the unbeliever in the same message. Adam Clarke (p. 781) insists that James has outsiders in mind, for he writes, “What a strange view must he have of the nature of primitive Christianity, who can suppose that these words can possibly have been addressed to people professing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who . . . were persecuted and opposed both by their brethren the Jews, and by the Romans!” It may be more proper, however, to place the letter in the context of a wider community.