Answering James’ Rhetorical Questions.

In James’ letter, he asks a handful of rhetorical questions. I’ve taken it upon myself to offer short answers to his rhetorical question, to the best of my ability. You may notice that I left some unanswered. These, you will have to answer for yourself.

Q: For if someone comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and a poor person dressed in filthy clothes also comes in, if you look with favor on the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here in a good place,” and yet you say to the poor person, “Stand over there,” or “Sit here on the floor by my footstool,” haven’t you made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? (James 2:2-4)
A: Yes, we have.

Q: Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? (2:5)
A: Yes, he has.

Q: Don’t the rich oppress you and drag you into court? (2:6)
A: Yes, they do.

Q: Don’t [the rich] blaspheme the good name that was invoked over you? (2:7)
A: Yes, they do.

Q: What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? (2:14)
A: It is no good.

Q: Can such faith [that does not have works] save him? (2:14)
A: No, it cannot.

Q: If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, stay warm, and be well fed,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? (2:15-16)
A: It is no good.

Q: Senseless person! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless? (2:20)

Q: Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works in offering Isaac his son on the altar? (2:21)
A: Yes, he was.

Q: In the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute also justified by works in receiving the messengers and sending them out by a different route? (2:25)
A: Yes, she was.

Q: Blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way. Does a spring pour out sweet and bitter water from the same opening? (3:10-11)
A: No, it does not.

Q: Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters, or a grapevine produce figs? (3:12)
A: No, they cannot.

Q: Who among you is wise and understanding? (3:13)

“By his good conduct he should show that his works are done in the gentleness that comes from wisdom…” (3:13)

Q: What is the source of wars and fights among you? (4:1a)

“You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and wage war.”(4:2)

Q: Don’t [wars and fights] come from your passions that wage war within you? (4:1b)
A: Yes, they do.

Q: You adulterous people! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? (4:4)
A: Yes, we do.

Q: Or do you think it’s without reason that the Scripture says: The spirit he made to dwell in us envies intensely? (4:5)
A: No. We think it has a reason to say that.

Q: Don’t criticize one another, brothers and sisters. Anyone who defames or judges a fellow believer defames and judges the law. If you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? (4:11-12)
A: God has not appointed me as a lawgiver or judge.

Q: Is anyone among you suffering? (5:13)

“He should pray” (5:13)

Q: Is anyone cheerful? (5:13)

“He should sing praises” (5:13)

Q: Is anyone among you sick? (5:14)

“He should call for the elders of the church…” (5:14)

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