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THE GENERAL EPISTLE OF JAMES - Chapter 2 - Verse 5

Verse 5. Hearken, my beloved brethren. The apostle now proceeds to show that the rich, as such, had no special claim on their favor, and that the poor in fact might be made more entitled to esteem than they were. For a view of the arguments by which he does this, compare the analysis of the chapter. (See Barnes on "Jas 2:1")

Hath not God chosen the poor of this world? Those who are poor so far as this world is concerned, or those who have not wealth. This is the first argument the apostle suggests why the poor should not be treated with neglect. It is, that God has had special reference to them in choosing those who should be his children. The meaning is not that he is not as willing to save the rich as the poor, for he has no partiality; but that there are circumstances in the condition of the poor which make it more likely that they will embrace the offers of the gospel than the rich; and that in fact the great mass of believers is taken from those who are in comparatively humble life. See Barnes on "1 Co 1:26-28".

The fact that God has chosen one to be an "heir of the kingdom" is as good a reason now why he should not be treated with neglect, as it was in the times of the apostles.

Rich in faith. Though poor in this world's goods, they are rich in a higher and more important sense. They have faith in God their Saviour; and in this world of trial and of sin, that is a more valuable possession than piles of hoarded silver or gold. A man who has that is sure that he will have all that is truly needful for him in this world and the next; a man who has it not, though he may have the wealth of Croesus, will be utterly without resources in respect to the great wants of his existence.

 

"Give what thou wilt, without thee we are poor;

And with thee rich, take what thou wilt away."

Faith in God the Saviour will answer more purposes, and accomplish more valuable ends for man, than the wealth of the Indies could: and this the poor may have as well as the rich. Compare Re 2:9.

And heirs of the kingdom, etc. Marg., that. See Barnes on "Mt 5:3".

 

{a} "Hath not God chosen the poor of this world" 1 Co 1:26-28 {b} "rich in faith" Re 2:9 {+} "the kingdom" or, "that kingdom" {c} "the kingdom which he hath promised" Mt 5:3; Lu 12:32; Lu 22:29

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