Really digging into the Bible requires time spent to read and reread the scripture, looking for a little nugget that might unlock the mysteries within. God reveals mysteries to us. Before you begin to study, pray that God will open you up to His Word, and open up His Word to you. You can even pray while you’re reading to seek clarification. Then always end your study with prayer, thanking God for opening your eyes to His message.
If you want to begin this study at the beginning, go here.
This is day 4. Yes, I know we’re spending a lot of time, but that’s so we can take the verses apart and look at them bit by bit. Today we will look at verse 12 and see what wisdom is unveiled.
12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.James 1:12 NIV
It’s important to look at some of the words in the text to help us grasp the meaning. In this passage the word perseveres deserves a closer look. Persistence is the determination to overcome something even though it may require more time or effort in the face of troubles. So we’re talking about someone who despite some form of problem is able to stay focused on the task and finish it. In this case, the prize is the crown of life promised to those who love God.
I generally read the NIV because it’s easier to understand that the KJV, but I think it’s important to look at different versions to help us get a clear picture. I also recently started looking at Eugene Peterson’s The Message. He breaks things down so they are more easily understood in today’s terms.
Let’s look at the KJV, because for many, this is the benchmark to compare to.
12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.James 1:12 KJV
In this version the phrase endureth temptation is used. Let’s see if that changes the meaning. Obviously by enduring, we’re going to outlast. But what is considered a temptation? For the sake of this study let’s use the definition of choosing between two actions. One that would be considered good and one that would be considered bad or evil.
I want to look at one more interpretation. This time using The Message.
12 Anyone who meets a testing challenge head on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such person’s loyalty in love with God, the reward is life and more life.James 1:12 The Message
This version does seem simpler to decode. Testing could be the same as persevering and challenge could be the same as a trial. But, what about that crown of life? Peterson uses reward is life and more life.
This seems to resemble Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Let’s take a look at that.
11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.Matthew 5:11-12
Overcoming evil and a reward in heaven seems to send a similar message to what James is writing about. Could the crown of life be a reward in heaven? I think that seems the case.
Digging deeper is worth the time spent. Read through the chapter each day that you sit down study and it will begin to seep into your heart.
Father, help us to open our hearts to receive your Word and to put it to practice in our daily lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.