James’ instruction in 5:13-18 is a favorite of many, it is very important as well. He tells us that if anyone is sick that he should call the elders and they will anoint and pray over the sick one who WILL be healed. I think we need to realize first of all that he says that the sick person must request the prayer and anointing. Granted, a parent or spouse can do the same for one too sick to call or in the case of a child, one who does not know to call. It is the faith that is important here–just as Jesus pointed out in many of His healing miracles. Secondly it is important to have godly people praying for you. Would you want Satanists to pray for your healing? In the same way one would not want “nominal” Christians to pray for ones healing either. I do not believe that these individuals have to have been elected to the position of elder (or any other position in any church) for their prayers to be effective. He then gives the example of Elijah’s prayers before his encounter with the prophets of Baal (Jezebel’s prophets) on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 17:1-7; 18:1-46). Finally, we are promised the forgiveness of sins. “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (verse 16).
Consider verses 19 and 20 carefully. All too often in the church there is just gossip over one who “strays from the truth.” James seems to indicate that we have a responsibility to lovingly point out the error of this brother (or sister) in order to get his life right with God. In so acting we are doing a great deed for that brother, and the kingdom.
1 Peter: Has it ever occurred to you that angels would like to know more about salvation? (1:12). But they are excluded from it, it is only offered to mankind.
The verb “gird” in verse thirteen is that from which we get the noun “girdle” which today we would call a “belt.” In commanding his hearers to gird up their minds Peter is telling them to get ready to use their minds. One girded oneself before working, running, etc., but otherwise one was often ungirded.
Peter also refers to his present day as “these last days” or times (1:20). At 1:24-25 he refers to God’s word by quoting Isaiah 40:6b, 8, reminding us that we like the rest of creation are transitory, but God’s Word, like Him, abides forever.
In chapter two he explains how Isaiah 28:16; Psalm 118:22; and Isaiah 8:14 were fulfilled in Jesus’ life. He is the cornerstone of the faith, His kingdom. Those who “stumble over Him” do so because they have rejected Him and the Scriptures that speak of Him and are disobedient to His Word. Notice that in this and the previous quotations of Scripture by Peter that he does not always neatly quote verses in order, nor even stay within one book or chapter. But he brings related verses from across the Scriptures together to paint a clearer picture for his hearers (readers).
He reminds us that suffering punishment when we deserve it does not show our mettle or the grace of God, but suffering silently when we suffer unjustly does (2:18-20; 3:17).
Peter’s commands to wives state that they should submit to their husbands and even silently suffer in order to lead their husbands to Christ (3:1-6) whereas Paul does not give this reason so clearly. His command to husbands is much less a burden than is Paul’s (3:7).
“Always be ready to make a defense to anyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentle boldness!” (3:15). That is a command, and it is a command that takes time to be able to obey. We must learn more about the faith and how to answer why we believe–as well perhaps we should be able to answer the common arguments given for the rejection of Christ Jesus.
Proverbs: We must realize that only God is infallible, our minds are prone to error. Give to those who truly need and God will bless you, ignore them to your own peril (but note that this is not to be enforced by the state, or the church. It is between the individual and God). The more righteous people there are, the happier the people. But one evil person can snuff out a lot of joy. Justice gives a country stability, but the taking of bribes causes disruption.