The Word's Christian Fellowship, Inc.
#141 Consider Every Joy!                                                                                     April 1, 2018

Acts 8:1: And Saul was consenting unto his death [the murder of Stephen]. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Those in and around the Jerusalem area who were scattered abroad were Christian believers from the remnant that was left of the twelve tribes of Israel. They had believed God’s Word regarding the Lord Jesus Christ and had received God’s gift of holy spirit when it became available beginning on the day of Pentecost.

They had fled the Jerusalem area for fear of their lives because the persecution of the Christian believers by the unbelieving Jews had become so vicious. In the transient society of our modern times moving from one location to another is quite common. It’s normal. But in the lands and times of the Bible, families occupied the same land and the same house or houses from one generation to the next. To flee those generational homes was so abhorrent it would only be done in a time of war.

In our modern society when masses of people flee persecutions like this, they’re called refugees. They are pitied, with their plight covered by the news media and with international aid organizations rushing to provide assistance. Not so in this persecution. Those who fled were on their own with little or no worldly assistance. Yet, in spite of that, verse 4 records,

Acts 8:4: Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

Evidently, it was following this scattering abroad that God gave His Revelation to James, the half-brother of the Lord Jesus Christ, to publish and to distribute amongst those believers in the various areas where they had settled. This Revelation is what we now have as the Epistle of James.

James 1:1: James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

Understanding the historical context of God’s Revelation in James as well as comprehending to whom it is addressed is very helpful in rightly dividing this Epistle which is not addressed to the Church but rather written for our learning.

James 1:2: My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

Many of the other English translations use the English word “consider” instead of “count,” and “consider” would be a more accurate English word to translate the Greek word that is used. The English word “it” should have been placed in italics in the King James Version because it has no supporting Greek word. It was arbitrarily added by the translators and should be deleted. The Greek word translated “all” can certainly be translated that way but it can also be translated “every.” “Every” would be more appropriate in the immediate context. The Greek word translated “temptations” can be translated that way also, but it can also legitimately be translated “adversity,” “affliction” or “trouble.” The phrase “fall into” would more appropriately be translated from the Greek as “encounter.” “Divers” is simply an old English word which means “various” or “different.”

Bearing all of that in mind, a more accurate translation of verse 2 would read:

“My brethren, consider every joy when you encounter various troubles.”

God’s Word to these believers who had been “scattered” was not to find their joy in the troubles they encountered, but rather to consider every joy they had as children of God by God’s gift of holy spirit in the midst of those troubles. Troubles are never a source of joy for most normal people and certainly not ever for a Christian believer. However, in any circumstance, troubling or otherwise, a Christian believer can consider every joy they now have as a child of the most high God.

                                                            © Stephen A. Harrison  The Word’s Christian Fellowship, Inc.  4415 Yank Road  Wilson, NC 27893