Daily Bible Nugget #36, James 5:16

The Nugget:

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

My Comment:

This is the second on my list of verses about prayer that I first chose and memorized as a new Christian. This verse has much to teach us. Yet, it must be understood and applied carefully or much mischief may result. As for confessing faults to one another, caution is in order. Now it is wonderful to share prayer requests so we can pray for one another. But even this must be done judiciously lest we end up merely feeding gossip-mongers. James declares under the pen of divine inspiration that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much. We need more prayer, and more righteous men and women, I’m sure. This is a good verse to learn by heart. It also makes for a good verse to study further by means of cross reference Bible study.

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on pages 1453-1454 for James 5:16.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 1471 or in Logos 5 Bible software for James 5:16.

(3) Lacking access to those two resources, consult the cross references for this passage as I have developed them as given below:

James 5:16. Confess. Gr. exomologeō, S#1843g, +Mk 1:5. To confess from the heart, freely, publicly, openly (Thayer). It denotes full and unreserved confession or acknowledgment (Cremer, p. 772). The confession specified is voluntary (though not optional, the verb here is second person, plural number, middle voice, imperative mode, and so a command), not one-way auricular confession to a pastor or priest, not merely to the elders, nor to the church in a public meeting, not just to those we have offended, but to one another, to one in right standing with God, with the purpose of securing mutual informed interest, counsel, and prayer support. T#1235. Ge 41:9, 10. Ex 10:16, 17. Nu 21:7. Jsh 7:19. 2 S 12:13. 19:19. Ps 106:33n. *Ps 119:26. +*Pr 28:13. Mt 3:6. 5:24. **Mt 18:15, 16, 17. Lk 7:3, 4. 17:4. +*Ac 19:18. faults. Ps 19:12. Gr. paraptoma, *S#3900g. A falling aside, when one should have stood upright. Hence (morally) a fall, a falling aside from truth and equity; a fault, or trespass (CB). Mt 6:14 (trespasses), Mt 6:15, 15. 18:35. Mk 11:25, 26. Ro 4:25 (offenses). Ro 5:15, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20. 11:11 (fall), Ro 11:12. 2 Cor 5:19 (trespasses). *Ga 6:1 (fault). Ep 1:7 (sins). Ep 2:1 (trespasses), Ep 2:5 (sins). Col 2:13 (sins), Col 2:13 (trespasses). one to another. Ps 106:33n. Mt 5:23, 24. **Mt 18:15, 16, 17. +Ro 12:5. 15:1. +*Ga 6:1. +*He 3:12, 13. 10:24, 25. pray one for another. *1 S 12:23. Ro 15:30. Ep 6:18. Col 1:9. *1 Th 5:17, 23, 25. *He 13:18. that ye. ver. Jas 5:14. *Ge 20:17. *2 Ch 30:20. +**Ps 103:3. Mt 8:14, 15, 16, 17. 13:15. Lk 9:6. *Ac 10:38. He 12:13. 1 P 2:24. The effectual. “On the word energoumenē, inwardly energizing in devotion and love to God, so as to produce external effects in obedience” see the following reference passages. “Observe, therefore, how happily the two emphatic words dikaiou (righteous) and energoumenē are (in the Greek text) reserved for the end of the sentence, to give weight and force to the whole; and to make it sink into the ears and hearts of hearers and readers of the Epistle; and to teach the faithful of every age, that it is holiness of life and devotion of heart which give efficacy to Prayer” (Wordsworth, Greek Testament, vol. 4, p. 34). Zc 12:10. Ro 8:26. 2 Cor 1:6. *Ga 5:6. Ep 3:20. Col 1:29. **1 Th 2:13. fervent prayer. Ge 18:23-32. 19:29. *Ge 20:7, 17. *Ge 32:28. Ex 9:28, 29, 33. *Ex 17:11. 32:10, 11, 12, 13, 14. *Nu 11:2. *Nu 14:13-20. *Nu 21:7, 8, 9. *Dt 9:18, 19, 20. Jsh 10:12. *1 S 12:18. *1 K 13:6. *1 K 17:18-24. *2 K 4:33, 34, 35. *2 K 19:15-20. **2 K 20:2, 3, 4, 5. 2 Ch 14:11, 12. *2 Ch 32:20, 21, 22. +*Jb 42:8. Ps 10:17, 18. +*Ps 34:15. +**Ps 62:8. *Ps 145:18, 19. Je 15:1. *Je 29:12, 13. **Je 33:3. Da 2:18-23. *Da 9:20, 21, 22. Ho 12:3, 4. **Mt 7:7, 8, 9, 10, 11. *Mt 21:22. Lk 11:11, 12, 13. *Lk 18:1-8. *Ac 4:24-31. *Ac 12:5-12. 1 P 3:12. *1 J 3:22. a righteous. +*Pr 15:8, 29. *Pr 28:9. +*Jn 9:31. Ro 3:10. *Ro 5:19. He 11:4, 7. *1 J 3:7. availeth much. On this passage, Wordsworth notes “It is the inner working of the heart, moved by a spirit of love, that prevails with God. The wrestlings of Jacob in prayer, the yearnings of Hanna’s heart, these gain a blessing from Him.” Ge 18:23. Ex 8:13. 32:10, 11, 12, 13, 14. *Ex 33:17. 1 S 12:18. 1 K 13:6. Jb 42:8, 9, 10. Is 45:11, 19. +*Lk 11:9, 10. 18:7, 8. *Ac 10:4. 2 Cor 1:11. *Phil 1:19. Col 4:12. *Phm 22. He 5:7. *1 J 5:14.

Additional insight into the proper application of James 5:16 may be discerned by observing the whole scope and tenor of Scripture through careful consideration of the cross references given above. Take special notice of any notes elsewhere given. Notice particularly that there is reference made to the note at Psalm 106:33,

Psalms 106:33

Because. *Num 20:10; *Num 20:11.

provoked. Psa 106:7; Psa 106:43, Psa 78:17; Psa 78:40, Num 11:10; Num 12:3; Num 27:14, Deut 1:37; Deut 3:26; Deut 4:21, Job 17:2, Isa 3:8, Jon 4:4, Act 7:39; Act 15:39, 1Co 13:5, Eph 4:26, +Jas 1:20.

spirit. Heb. ruach. FS171Q24, Synecdoche of the Part: here, “spirit” is put by the figure of speech Synecdoche for the whole person. +S# H7307. Psa 77:3; Psa 77:6, Eze 21:7, Dan 2:1; Dan 2:3, Mal 2:15, 16, For the other uses of ruach, see Gen 6:3 note.

he spake. *Psa 39:1; *Psa 141:3, *Gen 30:1; *Gen 35:16, 17, 18, *Job 2:10; Job 3:1; *Job 38:2; Job 40:4, 5; *Job 42:7; *Job 42:8, +*Mat 12:36, Eph 5:11, 12, *Jas 3:2. As Matthew Poole notes, the Psalmist here does not mention what Moses spake, because that was fully known from the history, and because he would throw a veil over Moses’s infirmity, and rather imply than express his fault. Similar reticence is observed in Chronicles, where David’s sin regarding Bathsheba is omitted from the account. This should inform us as to the need for extreme caution in any application we might make of such a passage as Jas 5:16, “confess your faults one to another,” particularly since the Apostle Paul expressly forbids discussion of what has been done in darkness (Eph 5:11, 12). **2Co 7:11 note. +*Jas 5:16.

Consider further the related note given at 2 Corinthians 7:11 under what carefulness,

2 Corinthians 7:11

ye sorrowed. T605, 2Co 7:8, 9, 10, Lev 16:29; Lev 23:27, Deut 16:3, 1Sa 7:2, +Psa 119:6 (T602). Isa 66:2, Jer 31:19, Eze 20:43; Eze 36:31, *Zec 12:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, Mat 3:8, Luk 3:8; Luk 6:21; Luk 7:38; **+Luk 18:13, +Act 8:8 (T621). 1Co 5:2, Jas 4:9.

what carefulness. or, diligence. Note: In describing the effects of their sorrow, the Apostle speaks of the emotions of their minds, without mentioning the objects of these emotions; which he did, as Locke observes, from modesty, and from respect to the Corinthians. See on 2Co 7:7; 2Co 7:12, **Psa 106:33 note. Mar 6:25, Luk 1:39, +Rom 12:8 g. 1Co 7:34; 1Co 12:25, *Tit 3:8; *Tit 3:14, +*Jas 5:16 note. 2Pe 1:5, Jud 1:3 g.

it wrought. or, worked. 2Co 7:10.

clearing. 2Co 12:19, Gen 44:6, 7, +Act 22:1 g. Act 25:16, Rom 2:15 g. 1Co 5:13; 1Co 9:3, +*Eph 5:11, Php 1:7; Php 1:16, 1Ti 5:21, 22, 2Ti 4:16, 1Pe 3:15 g.

yea. FS18, +Deut 28:4.

indignation. 2Sa 12:5,6, 7, Neh 5:6, etc. Neh 13:25, Job 42:6, Jer 31:18, 19, 20, Dan 6:14, Mar 3:5, 1Co 5:2, Eph 4:26.

fear. Gr. phobos (S# G5401, Mat 14:26). 2Co 7:1; 2Co 7:15, Psa 2:11, Pro 14:16; *Pro 16:6; Pro 28:14, Act 5:5, Rom 11:20, +1Co 2:3, *Php 2:12, Heb 4:1; +*Heb 12:15; +*Heb 12:16, 1Pe 1:17, *Jud 1:23.

vehement. 2Co 7:7, Psa 38:9; Psa 42:1; Psa 130:6; Psa 145:19, Son 8:6, Isa 26:8, *1Pe 2:2.

zeal. 2Co 7:7, 2Co 9:2, Psa 69:9; Psa 119:139, Joh 2:17, Act 17:16.

revenge. or, vindication. or, retribution (Strong). Gr. ekdikēsis [(S# G1557), vindication, retribution (Strong): Rendered (1) vengeance: Luk 21:22, Rom 12:19, 2Th 1:8, Heb 10:30, (2) avenge (with S# G4160): Luk 18:7, 8, Act 7:24, (3) revenge: 2Co 7:11, (4) punishment: 1Pe 2:14]. Psa 35:13, *Mat 5:29; *Mat 5:30, *Mar 9:43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, +*Rom 12:19, *Rev 3:19.

approved. +2Co 3:1; 2Co 6:4; 2Co 13:7, Lev 6:27, +Rom 3:5; Rom 6:21; Rom 14:18, **2Ti 2:15.

clear. or, pure. Gr. hagnos [(S# G53). 2Co 11:2 g (chaste). **Php 4:8 g (pure). *1Ti 5:22 g. Tit 2:5 g. +Jas 3:17 g]. or, holy. Holy has to do with moral purity, not ceremonial purity (LNT, fn q).

in this matter. 1Th 4:6.


This entry was posted in Christian Living, Daily Bible Nuggets, Practical Application Bible Studies, Principles of Christian Living and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Daily Bible Nugget #36, James 5:16

  1. ken sagely says:

    james 5.16 confess your faults one to another, amd prayer one for another, that ye
    healed. the effecual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. this verse is a
    great verse to memorize! there are alot of excellent cross references on this verse!
    i will share some of my favorite ones.

    jn 14.13 whatsover ye shall ask in my name, that will i do, that the father may be
    glorified in the son. i jn 5.14-15 if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth
    us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsover we ask, we know that we have
    the petitions that we desired of him. jn 15.7 if ye abide in me, and my words abide in
    you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. rom 8.26 we know not
    what we should pray for as we ought; but the spirit itself maketh intercession for us.
    eph 6.18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching
    thereunto with all perserverance and supplication for all saints.

    ph 4.6 be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with
    thanksgiving LET YOUR REQUESTS BE MADE KNOWN UNTO GOD. heb 4.16
    let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obatin mercy,
    and find grace to help in time of need. mk 11-22-24 what things soever ye desire,
    when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. lk 18.1-8 men
    ought always to pray and not to faint. ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye
    shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. col 4.2 continue in prayer, and
    watch in the same with thanksgiving.

    num 23.19 god is not a man that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he
    should repent; hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall
    he not make it good?

  2. James says:

    “The confession specified is voluntary”

    If the confession is voluntary how can it be a command given that the word confess is in the imperative?

  3. Jerry says:

    Thank you, James, for your comment and question.

    The answer to your question is just as I wrote above:

    “The confession specified is voluntary (though not optional, the verb here is second person, plural number, middle voice, imperative mode, and so a command), not one-way auricular confession to a pastor or priest, not merely to the elders, nor to the church in a public meeting, not just to those we have offended, but to one another, to one in right standing with God, with the purpose of securing mutual informed interest, counsel, and prayer support.”

    So, while “Confess” is an imperative, and not optional, it is specified in this very verse (James 5:16) that this confession is to be made to “one another.” My point is that this must be done with great discretion.

  4. James says:

    I’m still confused because voluntary means without obligation. You can’t volunteer if it’s not optional.

  5. Jerry says:

    I have spent a pleasant hour or so updating the format of the cross references given for James 5:16. I have added the verses which contain important notes about the issues involved when we voluntarily choose to confess our sins to one another.

    Much discretion is required when applying the command given in James 5:16, as noted throughout the rest of the Bible as shown by the cross references themselves and as explained in the two notes that pertain to the cautions to be observed.

    I trust the added notes and cross references I have now provided will help clarify how a command can be voluntarily fulfilled. It is voluntary because we are not to blindly obey the command apart from very careful discrimination as to the “how” (or manner) and the “to whom” (or, with whom) it is applied.

    The added texts (Psalm 106:33 and 2 Corinthians 7:11) and associated notes and cross references are taken from my newest expansion of Bible cross references, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury, which is far more complete than my original work, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, or the subsequent Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible.

    Thank you for pressing the issue you see regarding James 5:16 and my notes on this verse.

    Please feel free to comment further should any questions remain!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.