In his commentary on James, D. Edmond Hiebert offers a richly practical study of this letter from Jesus’ younger brother. Hiebert presents insights that are valuable for both the lay person and the scholar that show how, far from contradicting Paul’s letters, James’ passionate pleas for obedience are a grace-filled complement to them.
“‘Faith’ here is not merely a body of doctrinal truth to which we adhere but rather the wholehearted attitude of a full and unquestioning committal to and dependence upon God, as He has revealed Himself to us in Christ Jesus. It is the proper human response to the goodness of God. When we approach God with our petitions, we must believe not only in His ability to grant our requests but also in His ability to answer in harmony with His character and purpose. Believing prayer takes its stand upon the character of God.” (Page 72)
“For James, the fatal defect in their planning is their presumptuous self-centeredness, resulting in the effective exclusion of God from the practical affairs of their daily lives. They were guilty of living a life of practical atheism.” (Pages 251–252)
“They have the whole thing settled in detail, even down to the profits from the year’s trade. The language reflects assurance and self-confidence; they assume that its execution is entirely in their control. No thought is given to their dependence upon God or to the uncertainty of life. Behind it all James sees a reprehensible attitude.” (Page 250)
“As Blue notes, ‘Most people count it all joy when they escape trials. James said to count it all joy in the midst of trials.” (Page 63)