Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


James 1:4

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Let patience have her perfect work - That is, Continue faithful, and your patience will be crowned with its full reward; for in this sense is εργον, which we translate work, to be understood. It is any effect produced by a cause, as interest from money, fruit from tillage, gain from labor, a reward for services performed; the perfect work is the full reward. See many examples in Kypke.

That ye may be perfect and entire - Τελειοι, Fully instructed, in every part of the doctrine of God, and in his whole will concerning you. Ὁλοκληροι, having all your parts, members, and portions; that ye may have every grace which constitutes the mind that was in Christ, so that your knowledge and holiness may be complete, and bear a proper proportion to each other. These expressions in their present application are by some thought to be borrowed from the Grecian games: the man was τελειος, perfect, who in any of the athletic exercises had got the victory; he was ὁλοκληρος, entire, having every thing complete, who had the victory in the pentathlon, in each of the five exercises. Of this use in the last term I do not recollect an example, and therefore think the expressions are borrowed from the sacrifices under the law. A victim was τελειος, perfect, that was perfectly sound, having no disease; it was ὁλοκληρος, entire, if it had all its members, having nothing redundant, nothing deficient. Be then to the Lord what he required his sacrifices to be; let your whole heart, your body, soul, and spirit, be sanctified to the Lord of hosts, that he may fill you with all his fullness.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

But let patience have her perfect work - Let it be fairly developed; let it produce its appropriate effects without being hindered. Let it not be obstructed in its fair influence on the soul by murmurings, complaining, or rebellion. Patience under trials is fitted to produce important effects on the soul, and we are not to hinder them in any manner by a perverse spirit, or by opposition to the will of God. Every one who is afflicted should desire that the fair effects of affliction should be produced on his mind, or that there should be produced in his soul precisely the results which his trials are adapted to accomplish.

That ye may be perfect and entire - The meaning of this is explained in the following phrase - “wanting nothing;” that is, that there may be nothing lacking to complete your character. There may be the elements of a good character; there may be sound principles, but those principles may not be fully carried out so as to show what they are. Afflictions, perhaps more than anything else, will do this, and we should therefore allow them to do all that they are adapted to do in developing what is good in us. The idea here is, that it is desirable not only to have the elements or principles of piety in the soul, but to have them fairly carried out, so as to show what is their real tendency and value. Compare the notes at 1 Peter 1:7. On the word “perfect,” as used in the Scriptures, see the notes at Job 1:1. The word rendered “entire” ( ὁλόκληροι holoklēroi) means, whole in every part. Compare the notes at 1 Thessalonians 5:23. The word occurs only in these two places. The corresponding noun ( ὁλοκληρία holoklēria) occurs in Acts 3:16, rendered “perfect soundness.”

Wanting nothing - “Being left in nothing;” that is, everything being complete, or fully carried out.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Christianity teaches men to be joyful under troubles: such exercises are sent from God's love; and trials in the way of duty will brighten our graces now, and our crown at last. Let us take care, in times of trial, that patience, and not passion, is set to work in us: whatever is said or done, let patience have the saying and doing of it. When the work of patience is complete, it will furnish all that is necessary for our Christian race and warfare. We should not pray so much for the removal of affliction, as for wisdom to make a right use of it. And who does not want wisdom to guide him under trials, both in regulating his own spirit, and in managing his affairs? Here is something in answer to every discouraging turn of the mind, when we go to God under a sense of our own weakness and folly. If, after all, any should say, This may be the case with some, but I fear I shall not succeed, the promise is, To any that asketh, it shall be given. A mind that has single and prevailing regard to its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its purposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continue fervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions. When our faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, there will be unsteadiness in our words and actions. This may not always expose men to contempt in the world, but such ways cannot please God. No condition of life is such as to hinder rejoicing in God. Those of low degree may rejoice, if they are exalted to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom of God; and the rich may rejoice in humbling providences, that lead to a humble and lowly disposition of mind. Worldly wealth is a withering thing. Then, let him that is rich rejoice in the grace of God, which makes and keeps him humble; and in the trials and exercises which teach him to seek happiness in and from God, not from perishing enjoyments.
Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 279

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:2-4. TMK 279.1

The Word does not say that we are to count it all joy when we fall under temptation, but when we fall into temptation. It is not necessary to fall under temptation, for temptation comes upon us for the trying of our faith. And the trying of our faith worketh patience, not fretfulness and murmuring. If we put our trust in Jesus, He will keep us at all times, and will be our strength and shield. We are to learn valuable lessons from our trials. Paul says, “We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope ...” (Romans 5:3-5). TMK 279.2

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Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 70

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:3, 4. OHC 70.1

The apostle says we succeed in the grace of temperance that we may add patience. Patience under trials will keep us from saying and doing those things which will injure our own souls and injure those with whom we associate. Let your trials be what they will, nothing can seriously injure you if you exercise patience, if you are calm and unexcited when in trying positions.... OHC 70.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 344-5

What has Jesus done for you, and what is He continually doing for us individually? What have you that you have not received? Said Christ: “I am the Vine, ye are the branches.” “Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” The branches do not sustain the vine, but the vine supports and nourishes the branches. The church does not support Christ, but Christ, by His vital power, supports the church. It is not enough to be a branch; we are to be fruitful branches. “He that abideth in Me,” said Jesus, “and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.” But if the fruit produced be that of the thornbush, it is evident that we are not branches of the living Vine. 5T 344.1

Life is disciplinary. While in the world, the Christian will meet with adverse influences. There will be provocations to test the temper; and it is by meeting these in a right spirit that the Christian graces are developed. If injuries and insults are meekly borne, if insulting words are responded to by gentle answers, and oppressive acts by kindness, this is evidence that the Spirit of Christ dwells in the heart, that sap from the living Vine is flowing to the branches. We are in the school of Christ in this life, where we are to learn to be meek and lowly of heart; and in the day of final accounts we shall see that all the obstacles we meet, all the hardships and annoyances that we are called to bear, are practical lessons in the application of principles of Christian life. If well endured, they develop the Christlike in the character and distinguish the Christian from the worldling. 5T 344.2

There is a high standard to which we are to attain if we would be children of God, noble, pure, holy, and undefiled; and a pruning process is necessary if we would reach this standard. How would this pruning be accomplished if there were no difficulties to meet, no obstacles to surmount, nothing to call out patience and endurance? These trials are not the smallest blessings in our experience. They are designed to nerve us to determination to succeed. We are to use them as God's means to gain decided victories over self instead of allowing them to hinder, oppress, and destroy us. 5T 344.3

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 306.4

It is God that has led you through straight places. He had a purpose in this, that tribulation might work in you patience, and patience experience, and experience hope. The trials He permitted to come upon you were that through the exercise of these you would experience the peaceable fruits of righteousness.... TDG 306.4

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