James 5:13-20

James 5:13-20
Ordinary B44


See also: https://somuchbible.com/blog/saving-the-sick/

13 Are any among you suffering?A They should pray.B Are any cheerful?C They should sing songs of praise.D 

Notes on verse 13

A “are…suffering” = kakopatheo. 3x in NT. From the same as kakopatheia (suffering, distress, hardship; undergoing evil); {from kakos (bad, evil, harm, ill; evil that is part of someone’s core character – intrinsic, rotted, worthless, depraved, causing harm; deep inner malice that comes from a rotten character) + pathos (passion, lust, suffering, something that happens to you, strong feelings); {from pascho (to be acted on for good or ill; often used for negative treatment; properly, feeling strong emotions – especially suffering; can also be the ability to feel suffering)}}. This is to experience hardship or evil – to suffer.
B “pray” = proseuchomai. From pros (advantageous for, at, toward) + euchomai (to wish, make a request, pray). This is to pray or pray for, to worship or supplicate. It is more literally exchanging one’s own wishes for God’s.
C “are…cheerful” = euthumeo. 3x in NT. From euthumos (cheerful, encouraged); {from eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + thumos (passion, wrath; actions emerging from passion or impulse) {from thuo (to rush along, breathe violently, offer sacrifice)}}. This is to be cheerful or merry, to have high spirits.
D “sing songs of praise” = psallo. 5x in NT. From psao (to rub). This is to twang, play, sing psalms, pluck a stringed instrument such as a harp. Always used for songs of praise to God in the New Testament. It is where “psalm” comes from.

14 Are any among you sick?E They should call forF the eldersG of the churchH and have them pray over them,

Notes on verse 14a

E “are…sick” = astheneo. From asthenes (not having strength or weak in a moral sense; sick); {from a (not) + sthenes (strong, vigor); {from the base of sthenoo (to strengthen so that one can be mobile); from sthenos (strength)}}. This is sick, feeble, languishing, impotent. Can also refer to moral weakness.
F “call for” = proskaleo. From pros (at, to, toward, with) + kaleo (to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud); {related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on)}. This is to call to oneself, summon.
G “elders” = presbuteros. From presbus (old man). This is an elder as one of the Sanhedrin and also in the Christian assembly in the early church.
H “church” = ekkelsia. Related to “call for” in v14. From ek (from, out from) + kaleo (see note F above). This is properly a calling out or an assembly. It was used to refer to a church.

anointingI them with oilJ in the nameK of the Lord.L 

Notes on verse 14b

I “anointing” = aleipho. 9x in NT. From a (with) + liparos (oil, fatty; something luxurious); {from lipos (fat, grease)}. This is to anoint whether for medical reasons, as part of hospitality, for a dead body, for a celebration or festival, or to show respect.
J “oil” = elaion. 11x in NT. From elaia (the olive tree or that which it produces; can also refer to the Mount of Olives). This is olive oil.
K “name” = onoma. May be from ginosko (know, recognize, learn from firsthand experience). This is a name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation. The name was thought to include something of the essence of the person so it was not thought to be separate from the person.
L “Lord” = Kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.

15 The prayerM of faithN will saveO the sick,P

Notes on verse 15a

M “prayer” = euche. Related to “pray” in v13. 3x in NT. From euchomai (see note B above). This is a prayer that includes a vow to God.
N “faith” = pistis. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is less about knowing, believing, and repeating a list of doctrines then it is about trusting God. Faith means listening to God and seeking to live a holy life even (and especially) when we don’t understand how everything works or fits together. Faith is about being faithful (trusting and doing) rather than being all knowing.
O “save” = sozo. From sos (safe, rescued, well). This is to save, heal, preserve, or rescue. Properly, this is taking someone from danger to safety. It can be delivering or protecting literally or figuratively. This is the root that “savior” and “salvation” come from in Greek.
P “sick” = kamno. 2x in NT. This is weariness, being spent. It is exhaustion from working too much. Figuratively, it can be sick or wearied.

and the Lord will raise them up;Q and anyone who has committedR sinsS will be forgiven.T 

Notes on verse 15b

Q “raise…up” = egeiro. This is to awake, raise up or lift up. It can be to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death. Figuratively, it can be rising from inactivity or from ruins.
R “committed” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
S “sins” = hamartia. From hamartano (to miss the mark, do wrong, make a mistake, sin); {from a (not) + meros (a part or share)}. Literally, this means not having one’s share or portion – like not receiving inheritance or what was allotted to you. This word means missing the mark so it is used for guilt, fault, and acts of sin.
T “forgiven” = aphiemi. From apo (from, away from) + hiemi (to send). This is send away, release, permit, forgive, allow to depart, discharge, or send forth.

16 Therefore confessU your sins to one another, and prayV for one another, so that you may be healed.W

Notes on verse 16a

U “confess” = exomologeo. 10x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + homologeo (to agree, speak the same, declare, promise, praise, celebrate; to align with, express the same conclusion, endorse); {from homologos (of one mind); {from homos (the same) + lego (to say, speak, tell)}}. This is agree, consent, or acknowledge. It can also be confess, give thanks, or praise. It includes an open, public, unabashed declaration.
V “pray” = euchomai. Related to “pray” in v13 & “prayer” in v15. 7x in NT. See note B above.
W “healed” = iaomai. This is to heal, particularly from a physical illness, but it could also be a spiritual difficulty. This is to cure or make whole in a literal or figurative sense.

The prayerX of the righteousY is powerfulZ and effective.AA 

Notes on verse 16b

X “prayer” = deesis. 18x in NT. From deomai (having an urgent need because one is missing or needing something so it is an earnest appeal or pressing request); from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is a request coming from a deep personal need or want. So, it is supplication or prayer.
Y “righteous” = dikaios. From dike (the principle of justice; that which is right in a way that is very clear; a decision or the execution of that decision; originally, this word was for custom or usage; evolved to include the process of law, judicial hearing, execution of sentence, penalty, and even vengeance; more commonly, it refers to what is right); may be from deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known). This is correct, righteous, just, or a righteous person. It implies innocent or conforming to God’s standard of justice.
Z “is powerful” = polus + ischuo. Polus is much, often, plenteous – a large number or a great extent Ischuo is from ischus (strength, might, power, force, ability; power that engages immediate resistance). This is to be strong or have power. It can also refer to being healthy and vigorous. Further, it can mean to prevail. It is strength in action against resistance, exercising force in a literal or figurative sense.
AA “effective” = energeo. From energes (active, effective, operative, energized, powerful); {from en (in, at, by, with, among) + ergon (word, task, action, employment); {from ergo (to work, accomplish) or from erdo (to do)}}. This is to be at work, accomplish, be mighty or effectual. This is where “energy” comes from.

17 ElijahBB was a human beingCC likeDD us,

Notes on verse 17a

BB “Elijah” = Elias. From Hebrew Eliyyah (Elijah) {from el (God, god) + Yah (the shortened form of the name of the God of Israel; God, Lord); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; God, Lord; the self-existent or eternal one); from havah (to become) or hayah (to be, become, happen)}}. This is Elijah, “The Lord is God.”
CC “human being” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
DD “like” = homoiopathes. Related to “confess” in v16 & “suffering” in v13. 2x in NT. From homoios (similar to, resembling, like); {from the same as homou (together); from homos (the same)} + pascho (see note A above). This is having a similar nature, sharing feelings or infirmities.

and he prayed ferventlyEE that it might not rain,FF and for three years and sixGG months it did not rain on the earth.HH 

Notes on verse 17b

EE “prayed fervently” = proseuche + proseuchomai. Proseuche is related to “pray” in v13 & “prayer” in v15 & “pray” in v16. From proseuchomai (see note B above). This is prayer, worship, or a place where one prays. Prosechomai is the same as “pray” in v13. See note B above.
FF “rain” = brecho. 7x in NT. This is to rain, wash, moisten.
GG “six” = hex. 13x in NT. This is six. It is part of where “hexagon” comes from.
HH “earth” = ge. This is earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area.

18 Then he prayedII again, and the heavenJJ gaveKK rainLL and the earth yieldedMM its harvest.NN

Notes on verse 18

II “prayed” = proseuchomai. Same as “pray” in v13. See note B above.
JJ “heaven” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.
KK “gave” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
LL “rain” = huetos. 5x in NT. From huo (to rain). This is rain or a shower.
MM “yielded” = blastano. 4x in NT. Perhaps from blastos (a sprout). This is to sprout, germinate, bud, or bring forth. It can also imply yielding fruit. This also shares a root with the word “blastocyte.”
NN “harvest” = karpos. Perhaps from harpazo (to seize by force, snatch away); from haireo (to choose, take). This is a fruit or vegetable, through sometimes it refers to an animal. Figuratively, it is deeds, results, profits, or gain.

19 My brothersOO and sisters, if anyone among you wandersPP from the truthQQ and is brought backRR by another, 

Notes on verse 19

OO “brothers” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.
PP “wanders” = planao. From plane (wandering – used figuratively for deceit, error, sin, fraudulence, or wandering from orthodoxy); from planos (wandering, misleading, a deceiver or imposter). This is to wander, lead astray, mislead, mistake, seduce, or deceive. Generally used to refer to sin – going off the right path or roaming fr truth/virtue. This word shares a root with “planet” (as a heavenly body that wanders).
QQ “truth” = aletheia. From alethes (true, unconcealed; true because it is in concert with fact and reality – attested; literally, what cannot be hidden; truth stands up to test and scrutiny and is undeniable, authentic). {from a (not, without) + lanthano (unnoticed, concealed)}. Truth is literally that which is not or cannot be concealed. This word covers more than the sense of true versus false. It spoke of truth as that which corresponds to reality – reality as opposed to illusion. Thus, it includes, sincerity, straightforwardness, and reality itself.
RR “brought back” = epistrepho. From epi (on, upon, among, what is fitting) + strepho (to turn, change, turn back, be converted; to turn around completely to take the opposite path or a completely different one); {from trope (turning, shifting, a revolution; figuratively, a variation); from trepo (to turn)}. This is to turn, return, or come again. It can also mean to revert. It is turning in a literal or figurative sense – also a moral turning.

20 you should knowSS that whoever brings back a sinnerTT from wanderingUU, VV

Notes on verse 20a

SS “know” = ginosko. Related to “name” in v14. See note K above.
TT “sinner” = hamartalos. Related to “sins” in v15. From hamartano (see note S above). This is sinning, sinful, sinner. It referred to missing the mark or falling short. The term was also used in archery for missing the target.
UU “wandering” = plane. Related to “wanders” in v19. 10x in NT. See note PP above.
VV {untranslated} = hodos. Literally, “his way.” This is way, road, path, or journey. It can imply progress along a route.

will save the sinner’s soulWW from deathXX and will coverYY a multitudeZZ of sins.

Notes on verse 20b

WW “soul” = psuche. From psucho (to breathe, blow). This is breath, the breath of life, the self, individual, soul. This is the word for that which makes a person unique – their identity, will, personality, affections. This isn’t the soul as the immortal part of us, but as our individuality. It is also not life as a general concept, but specific to people. This is where the words psyche and psychology come from.
XX “death” = thanatos. This is death, whether literal or spiritual. It can also refer to something that is fatal.
YY “cover” = kalupto. 8x in NT. Related to kalube (hut, cabin). This is to cover, hide, veil, or conceal. Figuratively, it can mean to keep hidden or secret.
ZZ “multitude” = plethos. From pletho (to fill, accomplish, supply; to fill to maximum capacity). This is fullness, multitude, great number.

Image credit: “Magdalena in Meditation” by Jan Lievens, between 1625 and 1631.

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