Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances. Proverbs 25:11


























- J -


Jacob. Grandson of Abraham and Sarah; the younger of twin sons born to Isaac and Rebekah. His twin brother was Esau. Jacob in Hebrew is ya‛ăqôb (3290) (Gen. 25:26), a verbal pun on the noun "heel," ʿāqēḇ (6119) (Gen. 25:26), because Jacob came forth from the womb second, but grabbing his brother's heel. "Jacob" means "heel-grabber." Later on brother Esau interpreted the name in a negative fashion, as in "supplanter" (Gen. 27:36).  Before the children were born Yahweh predicted the older would serve the younger (Gen. 25:21-23). Because of the fraudulence of his uncle Laban, Jacob was forced into marrying two of his cousins, Leah, whom he did not love, and Rachel, whom he did love, and whom he had been granted permission to marry at the dowry price of seven years' labor (Gen. 29:1-30). These marriages and family were dysfunctional from the beginning. When the two wives were unable to bear children, they each gave their personal maid in marriage to Jacob (Gen. 29:31-30:13). From the four women, Leah, her maid Zilpah, Rachel, and her maid, Bilhah, twelve sons were born to Jacob.
    God changed Jacob's name to Israel (Gen. 32:24-32). The new name means (NASBfootnote) “he who strives with God, or God strives.” This came about because a man wrestled with Jacob until daybreak. When he did not prevail, he dislocated Jacob's hip. The assailant asked Jacob to let him go because dawn was breaking. Jacob said he would not until the man blessed him. At that point the man changed Jacob's name to Israel because "you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed." Jacob asked for the man's name, but the man did not comply. Nevertheless he blessed Jacob. Jacob named the place "Peniel," which means, "Face of God." He explained, "I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved." In my estimation, Jacob, now Israel, was wrestling with the pre-incarnate Christ. Because Jacob was renamed "Israel," Jacob's twelve sons became heads of the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel. The twelve sons and the twelve tribes are frequently identified as the "sons of Israel."
    Jacob, however, had a problem with deceit, and he reaped a bitter harvest because of it. On the advice of his mother Rebekah, he deceived his blind father into thinking he was Isaac's favorite son, Esau (Gen. 27:1-29). He did this to receive the Abrahamic Blessing. In turn, Jacob was deceived by his uncle Laban, Rebekah's brother, into working an extra seven years as the price of marrying his wife of choice, Rachel (Gen. 29:1-30). Furthermore, his own sons deceived Jacob into thinking for years that his favorite son Joseph had been killed by wild animals (Gen. 37:12-36). Jacob is a graphic illustration that, in God's world people reap what they sow (Gal. 6:7).
    For additional information on Jacob, see the offsite article, "Who was Jacob in the Bible?"


James. The half-brother of Jesus, an acknowledged leader of the early church (Acts 12:17; 15:13-22; Gal. 1:19; 2:9, 12), and the most likely author of the letter that bears his name. James was one of four half-brothers of Jesus, the other three being Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3). These five sons of Mary had two or more sisters, none of them named (Mark 6:3). Before Jesus' death and resurrection, none of his brothers, including James, believed in Him (John 7:3-5). After His resurrection, apparently all of them believed in Him (Acts 1:12-14). Two of those brothers, James and Judas, also known as Jude, wrote letters that appear in the New Testament.
    The Author of the Letter of James. There are four men named James in the NT: James, son of Zebedee, brother of John, both called as disciples of Jesus (Matt. 4:21; 10:2);  James, son of Alphaeus (Matt. 10:3); James, father of Judas (Luke 6:16); and James, the brother of our Lord (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3). James, son of Alphaeus and James, father of Judas are both unlikely candidates for authoring the book of James. James, son of Zebedee, and one of three disciples closest to Jesus (Matt. 17:1; 26:37), might have been a likely candidate had he not been martyred by Herod Agrippa I about 44 AD (Acts 12:1-2). That leaves as the most likely author James, the brother of Jesus, as he himself claims (James 1:1). He was, as we have seen, a recognized leader in the early church.
    The Message of James. The central theme is "Applied Christianity." The major topics include (1) Handling trials and temptations (James 1:1-18); (2) Using God's Word (James 1:19-27); (3) The sin of partiality (James 2:1-13); (4) Faith and works (James 2:14-26); (5) The tongue (James 3:1-12); (6) Wisdom (James 3:13-18); (7) Spiritual conflict (James 4:1-17); (8) Woe to the wealthy! (James 5:1-11); (9) Integrity (James 1:12); (10) Appropriate responses to circumstances (James 5:13-18). See also the author's Brief Outlines of James ; Analysis of James; and Annotated Outline of James.


James T. Bartsch, JTB. The author / editor / publisher of WordExplain.com.


Jehoram / Joram.

Jehoram / Joram, King of Israel. (852-841 BC.) Evil king of Israel, son of evil Ahab. He was not as evil as his father, Ahab, and his mother, Jezebel, for he destroyed the sacred pillar of Baal which his father had made (2 Kings 3:1-2). Nevertheless, as did all the kings of Israel, he continued the sins of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, who first constructed the golden calves at Bethel and Dan to entice Israelis from worshiping the true God in the Temple at Jerusalem (2 Kings 3:3).
    After the death of Ahab,  Meesha, King of Moab rebelled against Israel (2 Kings 3:4-5). Jehoram mustered troops, allied with King Jehoshaphat of Judah, along with the king of Edom, to fight against Moab (2 Kings 3:6-8). There was a disastrous shortfall of water (2 Kings 3:9-10), and the kings consulted Elisha, the prophet (2 Kings 3:11-12). Elisha rebuked Jehoram, but agreed to consult the LORD out of respect for respect for Jehoshaphat (2 Kings 3:13-14). Elisha predicted Yahweh would supply both water and victory (2 Kings 3:15-19), which He, indeed, did (2 Kings 3:20)! The Moabites completely misinterpreted what they saw and attacked the coalition (2 Kings 3:21-23). The coalition completely routed the Moabites (2 Kings 3:24-27)!
    The king of Aram was continually warring against Israel (2 Kings 6:8). But the prophet Elisha continually warned King Jehoram of the Aramean ambushes (2 Kings 6:8-10). When someone revealed that it was Elisha who was the culprit, the Aramean military surrounded Dothan at night time (2 Kings 6:11-14). Elisha's servant was terrified, but Elisha prayed and God showed His army of angels to the frightened servant (2 Kings 6:15-17). At Elisha's prayer, God blinded the Aramean army (2 Kings 6:18), and Elisha led them to Jehoram (2 Kings 6:19-20). At the advice of Elisha, Jehoram spared the Armean army (2 Kings 6:21-23).
    Subsequently, there was a horrible famine in Samaria, caused by the siege of Ben Hadad, king of Aram (2 Kings 6:24-29). King Jehoram vowed to kill Elisha (2 Kings 6:30-31). The king's messenger spoke of rebellion against the LORD (2 Kings 6:32-33). Elisha predicted relief from the famine by the hand of Yahweh (2 Kings 7:1). The royal officer expressed his disbelief, whereupon Elisha predicted he would see the relief of the famine, but not experience it (2 Kings 7:2). Four Israeli lepers sought mercy from the Arameans (2 Kings 7:3-4). They joyfully discovered food in the vacated Aramean camp (2 Kings 7:5-8), and reported it in Samaria (2 Kings 7:9-11). King Jehoram was skeptical (2 Kings 7:12), but Israeli scouts confirmed the windfall (2 Kings 7:13-15). There was prophecy-fulfilling relief from the famine, but the disbelieving officer was trampled to death by the horde of Israelis streaming out to get food, just as Elisha had prophesied (2 Kings 7:16-20).
    Jehoram appears to be the king who restored to the Shunammite woman her property after she had been absent for seven years (2 Kings 8:1-6). Later, Joram fought against the Arameans and was wounded in the battle (2 Kings 8:28-29). Meanwhile a prophet anointed Jehu king of Israel, telling him God wanted him to purge the house of Ahab (2 Kings 9:1-10). Jehu obeyed instantly, and conspired to kill King Joram. He felled him with an arrow, and he sank down, dead, in his chariot (2 Kings 9:11-26).

Jehoram / Joram, King of Judah. (848-841 BC.) The firstborn son of king Jehoshaphat of Judah (2 Chron. 21:1-3). He reigned with his father Jehoshaphat for four years and another eight years after his father died. He was 32 when he became king (2 Kings 8:16-17). He was an evil man. When he was sole king after the death of his father, he killed off his brothers (2 Chron. 21:4). He married evil Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and the sister of Ahab's son, Joram. He did evil in the sight of Yahweh (2 Chron. 21:6). He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, just as Ahab had done. He made high places in the mountains of Judah, causing Jerusalem and Judah to play the harlot (2 Chron. 21:11). However, Yahweh was not willing to destroy Judah for the sake of David His servant (2 Kings 8:18-19). As a discipline of God, Edom and Libnah revolted against Judah in his days (2 Kings 8:20-23; 2 Chron. 21:8-10). Elijah the prophet sent him a letter. Because of his evil, God would strike his people, his sons, and his wives with a great calamity, and Joram would suffer a horrendous bowel disease, causing his death (2 Chron. 21:12-15). Consequently, the Philistines and the Arabs invaded Judah and carried away all Joram's possessions along with his sons and wives. The only son left to him was the youngest, Jehoahaz. Then the LORD afflicted him with a painful bowel disease, and within two years, he died, to no one's regret (2 Chron. 21:16-20).

Jehoshaphat. A mostly Godly king of Judah, he was the fourth king of Judah under the divided monarchy. He was the son of Asa.



Jehu. An Israeli army captain anointed to be king in place of Joram, King of Israel, best known for his Divinely-decreed extermination of the house of Ahab and his extermination of Baal worship in Israel.
    The narrative concerning Jehu actually begins after Elijah fled for his life from Jezebel, having killed the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 19:1-8). God comforted the depressed prophet (1 Kings 19:9-14), then gave him a three-fold assignment: (1) He was to anoint Hazael king over Aram; (2) anoint Jehu, the son of Nimshi to be king over Israel; (3) and anoint Elisha, the son of Shaphat to be prophet in his place (1 Kings 19:15-18). Elijah did not actually anoint Jehu, but his successor made sure the assignment was completed.
    Elisha the prophet called one of the sons of the prophets and told him to travel to Ramoth-gilead, search out Jehu ben Jehoshaphat ben Nimshi, take him to an inner room, and anoint him with oil. He was to say, "Thus says the LORD, 'I have anointed you king over Israel.'" Then he was to flee. The unnamed servant of Elisha did as he was told. He found Jehu, took him aside into the house, anointed him with oil, saying, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'I have anointed you king over the people of the LORD, even over Israel.'" But he did not stop there, for evidently the LORD gave him further instructions. He continued, "You shall strike the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish, and I will cut off from Ahab every male person both bond and free in Israel. I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah. The dogs shall eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and none shall bury her." Then he opened the door and fled (2 Kings 9:1-10).

Jeremiah. The final prophet God sent to the crumbling kingdom of Judah. Jeremiah may have been born in 647 B.C. (RSB). His ministry extended over forty years, from 627 to 585 B.C. (RSB). Jeremiah is sometimes called the "weeping prophet" ( Jer. 9:1; 13:17; 14:17; the entire book of Lamentations, whose presumed author is Jeremiah; cf. Lam. 1:2, 16; 2:11, 18; 3:48-49). The book of Jeremiah is classified as being among the five major prophets – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel. The term "major" simply refers to the length of the books. (Lamentations is not a long book, but it is included among the major prophets since Jeremiah probably wrote it. Hosea and Zechariah are almost as long as Daniel.)
     Jeremiah prophesied to Jewish people in Judea and in captivity. He wrote about Judah and the nations (Jer. 1:5, 9-10; 2:1-2). He prophesied during the reigns of Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah – all kings of Judah (Jer. 1:1-3). The time frame of his ministry was from 627-574. The historical background of his ministry is 2 Kings 22:1-25:38. (Credit to RSB for this paragraph.)
     Important passages in his book include his call to ministry (Jer. 1:4-10); the curse on Coniah (also called Jehoiachin) (Jer. 22:28-30); a prophecy of the Messiah (Jer. 23:5-6); the duration of the Babylonian captivity (Jer. 25:11); a profound prediction of and central passage on the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-37). (Credit for the material in this paragraph goes to RSB.)
     Topically, most of the book deals with prophecies concerning Judah and Jerusalem (Jer. 2:1-45:5; 52:1-34). The rest deals with prophecies against nations surrounding Judah (Jer. 46:1-51:64).
     The theme of Jeremiah is "God's Justice Forewarned and Experienced: The Fall of Jerusalem." See the author's Brief Outlines of Jeremiah. See also the author's Analysis of Jeremiah.

Jeroboam I (931-910 BC). The evil first king of the divided Northern Kingdom of Israel. The narrative of Jeroboam begins with King Solomon's disappointing departure from Yahweh. Even though Solomon was supremely blessed by God, he had a fatal weakness. He loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women from among the nations concerning which the LORD had warned the sons of Israel, "Do not associate with them ... for they shall surely turn your heart away  after their gods" (2 Kings 11:1-2). Solomon pursued Ashtoreth of the Sidonians, Milcom of the Ammonites. He built a high place for Chemosh, the detestable idol of Moab, and for Molech, the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon. He did this for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods (2 Kings 11:3-8). So God was angry with him. He told him He would tear the kingdom from him and give it to his servant. He would do this in the days of Solomon's son. Nevertheless he would leave one tribe in the hand of his son for the sake of David, his father and for the sake of God's chosen city, Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:9-13). Jeroboam was that servant.
    Jeroboam was a valiant warrior and an industrious person. Solomon placed him over the forced labor of the house of Joseph (1 Kings 11:26-28). Once, when Jeroboam was outside of Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite, wearing a new cloak, found Jeroboam on the road. He took of his cloak and tore it into twelve pieces. He told Jeroboam to take ten of the pieces. He quoted God as saying, "Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and give you ten tribes, but he will have one tribe, for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, they city which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel ... (1 Kings 11:26-32). The prophet continued to give God's reasons for the division of Israel, and encouraged Jeroboam to obey God always (1 Kings 11:33-39). Solomon's reaction to this news was to attempt to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt while Solomon was alive (1 Kings 11:40).
    After Solomon's death, Jeroboam and all Israel requested Rehoboam, next in line to be king, to lighten his father Solomon's load (1 Kings 12:1-4). Rehoboam foolishly followed bad advice, and refused (1 Kings 12:5-15). The people of Israel revolted against Rehoboam, and only Judah anointed him King over Israel (1 Kings 12:16-20). (To be continued)


Jeroboam II (793-753 BC). The evil king of Israel in Samaria who reigned 41 years from 794-753 BC (2 Kings 14:23). Though he had the same name as did Jeroboam I, the two were not related. Jeroboam II was the son of Joash, King of Israel. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin by placing golden calf idols in Bethel and Dan to prevent Israeli worshipers from traveling to Jerusalem (2 Kings 14:24). He restored the border of Israel from the entrance of Hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah according to the prophecy of Jonah, son of Amittai (2 Kings 14:25). This came about because God had compassion on His afflicted people (2 Kings 14:26-27). He even helped Jeroboam II regain control over Damascus and Hamath (2 Kings 14:28). When he died, his son Zechariah became King of Israel (2 Kings 14:29).


Jerusalem. Since the days of David, the Capital City of Israel. We first hear of the city when Abram encountered Melchizedek, King -Priest of Salem, and gave him a tithe of all he had captured in his rescue of Lot and the people of Sodom (Gen. 14:18-24). The name "Jerusalem" first appears in Scripture in Joshua 10:5. David and his men captured the city, also called Zion, from the Jebusites. David made the fortress his home, called it the "City of David," and built up the city around the citadel. Later, with the guidance of God, King Solomon, David's son and successor, built a beautiful temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6:1-7:51). In the seventh and eighth centuries A.D., Islam conquered the area and defiled the Temple Mount by building on it the Dome of the Rock shrine. When Israel was reconstituted as a viable state on May 14, 1948, President Truman was perhaps the first national leader to recognize the nation. On December 5, 1949 Israel declared Jerusalem as its "eternal and sacred" capital. In December of 2017 President Trump was the first U. S. President with the fortitude to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and began the process to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. One day, perhaps sooner than we think, Israel will build a temple to God on the Temple Mount, but the Antichrist, the "Man of Lawlessness," will defile it (Dan. 9:27; 12:11; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:3-4). King Jesus will defeat all Israel's and Jerusalem's enemies when He returns. He will reside in Jerusalem and the Millennial Temple and people from all over the world will travel there to listen to His decrees and messages (Isa. 2:1-4). Satan will be released from the Abyss at the end of the Millennium and will deceive multitudes to surround Jerusalem to destroy the King and His Administration and Followers (Rev. 20:7-10). They will be obliterated. God will destroy the existing universe (2 Pet. 3:7-12) and will create New Heavens and a New Earth (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1), the capital city of which will be New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2). That enormous city will be the eternal capital city of Israel and the home of the Church. Redeemed from among the nations will inhabit New Earth and have ready access to New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10-22:5), whose enormous and beautiful gates will be open around the clock. See an off-site discussion of Jerusalem, "What is the Significance of the City of Jerusalem?"


Jerusalem Council. The all-important assembly of the leaders of the Church to determine whether or not the Church should compel Gentile believers to be circumcised according to the demands of the Abrahamic Covenant and the Mosaic Law. The decision was a firm NO. They did not place the Gentile believers under the Law, nor did they compel them to be circumcised. Instead they asked the Gentile believers to refrain from certain things that would be especially objectionable to Jewish people. This whole event is recorded in Acts 15:1-29.


Jesus Christ. The human name, Jesus (Iēsoûs, 2424), of God's eternal Word (lógos, 3056) (John 1:1-3, 14) combined with His missional title, Christ (Christós, 5547) the ultimate Anointed One, anointed supremely with and by God's Spirit to be the Ultimate Prophet, Ultimate Priest, and Ultimate King. Technically, a more accurate translation would be "Jesus, the Christ." Pilate correctly identified Jesus as the one who is called "Christ" (Matt. 27:17, 22). The name Jesus,
(Iēsoûs, 2424), is the Greek equivalent of the OT name Joshua (Acts 7:45; Heb. 4:8), Yehôshûa‛ (3091). It means Jehovah (Yahweh) is Salvation" or "Yahweh Saves." A messenger from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, instructing him to take Mary as his wife, for she was to give birth to a son, and Joseph was to call His name "Jesus," "for He will save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:20, 21). In the Gospel accounts He is most frequently identified as simply "Jesus." In the epistles, He is more frequently identified with the title "Christ," as in "Jesus Christ" (1 Tim. 1:16), or sometimes "Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 1:1, 14), and sometimes also with the title "Lord" kúrios (2962), "Lord, Master," as in "Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Tim. 6:3, 14), or "Christ Jesus, our Lord" (1 Tim. 1:2, 12).


Jewish. The preferred self-designation of sons and daughters of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. Jewish people consider the tern "Jew" to be pejorative. It is not, technically, proper to call a Jewish person living abroad from Israel "Israeli." That term designates someone who has Israeli citizenship and, typically, is living within the State of Israel. However, from WordExplain's perspective, all Jewish people are really Israelis, theologically speaking. Jewishness is, for some Jewish people, merely a culture. They may or may not go to synagogue, but they definitely constitute a cultural and perhaps economic bloc. Many Jewish people in the United States associate with the Democratic political Party. That has never ceased to amaze me, for the Democratic party as a whole is no friend of the nation of Israel. An increasing number of Jewish people are emigrating to Israel and residing there. Theologically speaking, that will only increase, especially after the horrors of the Tribulation period. See, for example, the article entitled, "The Glory of Israel in the Millennium and Throughout Eternity." See the term Aliyah which describes the return of Jewish people to the land of Israel.


Jezebel. Evil queen of Israel, wife of King Ahab, daughter of Ethbaal, King of the Sidonians (1 Kings 16:31). "Jezebel" means "dunghill." According to Constable, this must have been a name assigned to her by the Israelis. Ahab's marriage to Jezebel seems to have brought out the worst in Ahab. In fact, the Scriptures state that Jezebel incited Ahab to do evil (1 Kings 21:25). After his marriage to her, Ahab not only continued to walk in the sins of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, but he deliberately chose to serve Baal and worship him (1 Kings 16:31). He built a temple for Baal in Samaria and erected an altar for Baal within the temple. Jezebel was so evil she ordered the murder of the prophets of Yahweh (1 Kings 18:4). A godly man named Obadiah secretly preserved alive 100 of them (1 Kings 18:13). So adamantly did Jezebel wage war against Yahweh that she subsidized at her table 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah (1 Kings 18:19). 450 prophets of Baal responded to Elijah's challenge, and when the God of Israel supernaturally defeated the prophets of Baal, Elijah ordered their deaths (1 Kings 18:20-40). Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah that she would have him killed (1 Kings 19:1-2). Elijah escaped.
    Later, Ahab desired the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel. Naboth refused to sell it. Ahab sulked (1 Kings 21:1-4). Jezebel arranged false testimony against Naboth that resulted in his death (1 Kings 21:5-14). Then Jezebel told Ahab to take possession of Naboth's vineyard (1 Kings 21:15-16). God sent Elijah to reprimand Ahab in his ill-gotten vineyard. He predicted Ahab's demise and also prophesied, "The dogs will eat Jezebel in the district of Jezreel" (1 Kings 21:17-24).
    Later, the prophet Elisha called one of the sons of the prophets to anoint Jehu king over Israel. He did so, and prophesied to Jehu, "You shall strike the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel" (2 Kings 9:1-7). Then he prophesied, "The dogs shall eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and none shall bury her" (2 Kings 9:10). Jehu responded immediately, heading with a company of men toward Jezreel to meet King Joram. Joram asked Jehu if he came in peace. Jehu responded, "What peace, so long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?" (2 Kings 9:22). Jehu killed both Joram and Ahaziah, King of Judah (2 Kings 9:24, 27-28). When he arrived at Jezreel, Jezebel made herself pretty and looked at the window, accusing Jehu of murder. Jehu called for anyone on his side to throw her out the window. Two or three officials did so. When Jehu thought to bury her, they found nothing but her skull and her feet and the palms of her hands. Then Jehu remembered the prophecy against Jezebel (2 Kings 9:30-37).


Joash, King of Judah (835-796 BC).


Joash, King of Israel (798-792 BC).


Job. A Godly saint who suffered a great deal at the hand of God and wondered why in the book that bears his name. He may have written the book of Job, but we are uncertain as to who the author was. We are perhaps more certain as to approximately when the book was written. One clue is the terminology for God. The generic Elohim (430) is used 17X in the book. The much more specific Yahweh (3068) is used 32X. This is the name especially revealed to Moses as the Israeli name for God (Exod. 3:13-16). However, long before Moses' conversation with God, that name appeared in the book of Genesis 165X. Ryrie has some good comments on the supposition that the time of the events of the book was during the patriarachal period:

(1) Job lived more than 140 years (Job 42:16), a not uncommon life span during the patriarchal period; (2) the eonomy of Job's day, in which wealth was measured in terms of livetock (Job 1:3), was the type that existed in this period; (3) like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Job was the priest of his famly (Job 1:5); (4) the absence of any reference to the nation Israel or the Mosaic Law suggests a pre-Mosaic date (before 1500 B.C.).

The theme of the Book of Job is "The Sovereignty of God in Human Suffering." The book wrestles with the subject of why good people suffer. The reader is told the reason for Job's suffering, but Job never was. God and Satan engaged in a sort of bet as to whether Satan could, through suffering, cause Job to turn his back on God and reject him. Satan inflicted enormous amounts of suffering upon Job by depriving him of all his children and virtually all of his possessions. Furthermore, God permitted Satan to inflict incalculable physical suffering on Job. Job's three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar were convinced that God was punishing Job for some secret sin. Job protested his innocence. He wished he could argue with God face to face and was most concerned about vindicating his own character. In the end, God appeared to Job and emphasized His own wisdom and sovereignty, never once explaining why He had done what He had done. In the end, Job repented of his hasty words with God. God restored to him twice as much as he had before, and replaced his ten dead children with ten new children.

The prophet Ezekiel describes Job as a real, historical figure who was righteous, and on a par with Noah and Daniel (Ezek. 14:14, 20). James holds up Job as a model of patient endurance, along with portraying God as exhibiting compassion and mercy (James 5:11).


John the Apostle. One of the three inner circle of Jesus' closest disciples, and the author of John's Gospel, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and the book of Revelation. What we know about John is pieced together primarily from the gospels, from the book of Acts, and from John's writings. Part of the difficulty in this process is that not one of the gospel writers identified himself by name. This was customary in that day. However, the gospel writers were not hesitant to mention others by name. (See the author's Analytical Outlines: Gospel of John; 1 John; 2 John; 3 John; Revelation. See also the author's Expanded, Annotated Outlines of Gospel of John; 1 John; Revelation.)

    There are subtle hints about John's identity in the Gospel of John. More about that later. We gain explicit information about John, however, from the other gospel writers. Matthew identified John as the brother of James, "the one of Zebedee," both of whom were sons of their father Zebedee. All three participated in the family fishing business. Jesus called them (Matt. 4:21; Mark 1:19), and immediately they left their boat and followed Him (Matt. 4:22; Mark 1:20). Later, Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority to cast out unclean spirits and to heal every kind of disease (Matt. 10:1). Since He would be sending them out on healing / preaching missions, they were identified as Apostles. The names of the twelve Apostles included James, son of Zebedee, and John his brother (Matt. 10:2; Luke 6:13-14). John, along with Peter and James, was one of the three inner circle (Luke 8:51) whom Jesus took along so they could witness His transfiguration, a preview of the yet coming Millennial kingdom (Matt. 17:1-8; Mark 9:1-8; Luke 9:28-36). John and his brother James possessed an explosive element in their personalities (Luke 9:54). Perhaps this is why Jesus nick-named them "Sons of Thunder" (Mark 3:17). Later, John, along with James, Peter, and Andrew (Mark 13:3) requested a private explanation from Jesus about the future in what we now call the Olivet Discourse (Mark 13:1-36). Hours before His death, Jesus sent John and Peter to prepare the Passover (Luke 22:8). These two were often mentioned together (Acts 3:1, 3, 4, 11; 4:13, 19; 8:14). Shortly thereafter, John, along with his brother James and Peter, were among the three that Jesus took aside for special prayer support during His traumatic distress in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to His crucifixion (Mark 14:32-34).

   
Now let us identify what we can learn about John from the Gospel that bears his name. There were two disciples of John the Immerser who heard John identify Jesus as "the Lamb of God" (John 1:35-36). These two disciples gained a private audience with Jesus (John 1:37-39). This is the only gospel that recorded this encounter. The writer identified one of the men as Andrew, Simon Peter's brother (John 1:40). The other remained unidentified. But it makes the most sense to identify this unnamed former disciple of John the Immerser who began to follow Jesus and later became His disciple as John the Apostle.

    Jesus evidently had a special affinity for John. As He was dying on the cross, Jesus gave the care and keeping of his mother into the hands of the disciple whom He loved (John 19:26-27). By the end of John's gospel, we can deduce the identity of that person – evidently the Apostle John. In the final chapter of John's Gospel, Jesus appeared to several disciples at the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1). Those present included Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael,  the sons of Zebedee (one of whom was John), and two unnamed disciples (John 21:2). After a miraculous catch of fish (John 21:4-6), the disciple whom Jesus loved told Peter it was the Lord (John 21:7). After Jesus' prediction of Peter's death (John 21:18-19), Peter saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, and so he asked, "Lord, and what about this man?" (John 21:20-21). This man is also identified as the one who had leaned back on Jesus' bosom and had asked the identity of the betrayer (John 21:20; 13:23-25). Jesus told Peter not to worry about this man's destiny (John 21:22-23). This unnamed disciple, who by all evidence appears to be none other than John the Apostle, is the author of the book that bears his name (John 21:24). He claimed to have seen Jesus' glory (John 1:14), and personally encountered Jesus (1 John 1:1-4).

    After Jesus' ascension into heaven and the founding of the Church John was present with Peter at the latter's healing of the lame beggar at the gate of the temple called "Beautiful" (Acts 3:1-11; 4:13, 19). John later accompanied Peter to incorporate officially the believing Samaritans into the Church (Acts 8:14). The Apostle Paul recognized John as being one of the pillars of the Church (Gal. 2:9).

    The person who wrote 1 John does not identify himself. Church history identified the author as John. There is no reason to doubt the opinions of Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian. The person who wrote the letters of 2 John and 3 John identified himself simply as "The Elder" (2 John 1:1; 3 John 1:1). This is a very fitting self-description for John who, likely was the last surviving Apostle. In humility he identified himself not as "the Apostle," but as "the Elder." Early church tradition cited the Apostle John as the author. There is no valid reason for contradicting that tradition.

    The author of the Book of Revelation identified himself as "John" (Rev. 1:1, 4, 9; 22:8), writing "to the seven churches that are in Asia" (Rev. 1:4). There is no valid reason for stating that this author was anyone other than John the Apostle. John witnessed the visions that culminated in this final book of the New Testament when he was on the island of Patmos (Rev. 1:9). There follows here a quotation from Thomas Constable:

Some of the early church fathers (Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius, Irenaeus, and Victorinus) wrote that the Apostle John experienced exile on the island of Patmos during Domitian's reign. They wrote that the government allowed John to return to Ephesus after Emperor Domitian's death in A.D. 96. Consequently many conservative interpreters date the writing of this book near A.D. 95 or 96.

I accept this view as valid. See the Glossary entry for more information about the term "Apostle."


John the Baptist, more accurately, John the Immerser. The herald or forerunner of Jesus the Messiah. A word of explanation is in order. This John is typically called "John the Baptist." But the translators have been less than forthcoming in their failure to translate this word. Why did they fail to translate it? Because the Church, at some point, began improperly baptizing infants, a practice nowhere supported in the NT. Few are going to immerse infants, so to ameliorate the inherent inappropriateness of immersing infants, the church elected to disguise the meaning of the word "immerse" by simply not translating. The Greek text refers to "John the Immerser" (Matt. 3:1), where "Immerser" actually translates literally the noun baptistês (910), referring to one who dips or immerses or submerges. This truth can more readily be illustrated by observing the lexical entry at Mark 1:4, where John is identified as "John, the one immersing," where "immersing" is the Nominative Masculine Singular Present Active Participle of the verb baptídzō (907), which means, "to dip or submerge."

    John is the one who, according to three gospel writers, was predicted by Isaiah the Prophet in Isa. 40:3-5. This prophecy consisted of a call to prepare the way for Messiah's advents (Isa. 40:3-5). (1) There would be a voice calling for the preparation of a highway for Yahweh in the wilderness (Isa. 40:3). (2) There would be a voice calling for the removal of impediments for Yahweh (Isa. 40:4). (3) There was a prediction of the revelation of the glory of Yahweh that would be seen by all humanity (Isa. 40:5). (This glory would be viewed in muted form in the Messiah's First Advent, but completely unveiled at His Second Advent (2 Thess. 1:9-10.) Matthew (Matt. 3:1-3), Mark (Mark 1:1-3), and Luke (Luke 3:2-6) all relate the prediction of the King's Herald to its fulfillment in John the Immerser (Matt. 3:1; Mark 1:4), though Luke does not give him that precise title.

    John had a most unusual birth, predicted by the angel Gabriel. He was to be born to a barren mother, Elizabeth and a skeptical, priestly father, Zacharias. Gabriel told Zacharias his son would be "great in the sight of the Lord." He would be filled with the Spirit even while yet in his mother's womb (Luke 1:14-15). He would turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God (Luke 1:16). He would go in advance before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17). He would succeed in turning the hearts of the fathers back to the children (Luke 1:17; cf. Mal. 4:6), and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous (Luke 1:17), and to make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:17).

    John did just that, having come to the region bordering the Jordan River, announcing an immersion signifying a change of mind resulting in the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). John warned the crowd not merely to go through the motions of a professed change of mind, but to perform appropriate deeds. Otherwise they were in danger of fiery judgment (Luke 3:7-9). When pressed, he gave them examples of appropriate responses (Luke 3:10-14).

    The people were wondering whether or not he were the Christ (Luke 3:15). John responded, "I indeed immerse you with water. But there is one coming who is stronger than I, of whom I am not worthy to unloose the strap of his sandals. He will immerse you with the Holy Spirit and fire, whose winnowing fork is in his hand to thoroughly clean his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his granary, but the chaff he will burn with inextinguishable fire" (Luke 3:16-17, author's translation).

    John introduced two of his disciples to Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:35-36). In Jesus' estimation, there was no one born who was greater than John the Immerser (Matt. 11:11). Yet, the one least in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he (Matt. 11:11). What did Jesus mean? John was as great as any alive in his day. Yet the least important person to live in the still future kingdom of the heavens would be greater than he. This is true in that John did not labor and live in the kingdom of the heavens. He merely invited people to prepare for it. Even today, we in the Church Age, despite our great salvation, do not yet live in the kingdom of the heavens! It is still future. The greatness of living in that future kingdom here upon earth is unimaginable!

    Thus, John served to prepare a segment of the sons of Israel for spiritual purification, permitting them, eventually, to enter the kingdom of the heavens over which Jesus would eventually be the King.


Jonah. God's greatest OT missionary to the Gentiles. Jonah, son of Amittai (Jon. 1:1), was a servant of Yahweh, the God of Israel, a prophet who hailed from the town of Gath-Hepher (2 Kings 14:25) in the territory allotted to the sons of Zebulun (Josh. 19:10-13), about fifteen miles due west of the Sea of Galilee. Jonah evidently prophesied on God's behalf to the Northern Kingdom (Samaria) during the reign of Jeroboam II (793-753 B.C.) (2 Kings 14:23-25).

Yahweh commissioned Jonah to take a message of impending judgment to Nineveh (Jon. 1:1-2), a major city of the Assyrian Empire on the east bank of the Tigris River, some 550 miles northeast of Samaria. Jonah, however fled the opposite direction, sailing for Tarshish, 2500 miles west of Joppa (Jon. 1:3). Jonah's stated reason for disobeying was that He knew God is merciful, and that the Ninevites might well repent and be spared God's judgment (Jon. 4:1-2). It is difficult for Gentile readers today to fathom Jonah's motivation. My conjecture is that, as a prophet, Jonah knew that one day Assyria was destined to conquer and destroy his own people. If Nineveh itself were destroyed, Jonah reasoned, that future disaster for his own country would be averted.

Yahweh impeded Jonah's flight, and he was hurled into the raging sea to save the mariners (Jon. 1:4-15). The immediately becalmed sea resulted in the salvation of the mariners (Jon. 1:16). Meanwhile Yahweh had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah, saving him from drowning (Jon. 1:17). In a psalm of prayer composed inside the fish's belly, Jonah described his near demise and prayer of repentance, and vowed to obey (Jon. 2:1-9). At this, the fish disgorged Jonah onto dry land (Jon. 2:10). True to his vow, Jonah delivered the message of impending judgment to the Ninevites. They miraculously repented, and God spared them from disastrous judgment (Jon. 3). Jonah was greatly displeased with Yahweh for sparing the lives of the Ninevites, and requested to die (Jon. 4:1-3). Jonah stationed himself outside the city to see what would happen. God prepared a plant that shaded Jonah, a blessing for which he was grateful. But God also appointed a worm that killed the gourd, and Jonah lost his shade, once again requesting death. God asked Jonah if he was justified in feeling angry about the plant. Jonah said he had good reason to be angry about the loss of the plant. Then Yahweh pointed out Jonah's compassion for a mere plant that he had neither made nor caused to grow. If Jonah was justified in his compassion for the plant, was not Yahweh justified in having compassion on 120,000 children and even the animals of Nineveh (Jon. 4:4-11)?

Jonah never answered Yahweh's question. But he he evidently internalized the message. He wrote the book.

Cynical critics question the historicity of the book and the authorship of Jonah. Jesus did not, stating that Jonah's three days in the belly of the fish was a sign of His own impending death and resurrection (Matt. 12:38-41; 16:4; Luke 11:29-32). See the Condensed Outline of Jonah, the Outline of Jonah, and the Annotated Outline of Jonah.


Jordan River. The river extending from above Lake Huleh southward to the Dead Sea. It "begins at the junction of four streams (the Bareighit, the Hasbany, the Leddan, and the Banias), in the upper part of the plain of Lake Huleh." Lake Huleh is but seven feet above sea level, while the Dead Sea is presently 1385 feet below sea level, the lowest place on earth. "The Jordan Valley is an element of a great rift which extends from Syria to the Red Sea and continues through a large portion of Eastern Africa." After Israel's conquest of the land promised her by God, the Jordan separated the 9 1/2 tribes on the west from the 2 1/2 tribes on the east side of the river, also termed "Transjordan." The Hashemite kingdom of Jordan now occupies the eastern side of the Jordan while the western side belongs to Israel. In the future Israel will control the east side of the Jordan (Zeph. 2:9-10).

Naaman, a general in the Syrian Army, dipped seven times in the waters of the Jordan and was healed of his leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-19). The Sea of Galilee, in the Jordan Valley, was frequented by Jesus during His lifetime (Matt. 4:18, 23). John the Baptist, the Herald of King Jesus, baptized in the Jordan (Mark 1:4-5). Jesus himself was baptized by John there (Mark 1:9).


Josiah. An exceptionally good king of Judah, the last good king before Judah's Babylonian Exile.

JTB. James T. Bartsch, the author / editor / publisher of WordExplain.com.


Judah. Jacob and Leah's fourth son (Gen.29:35); later, the Tribe of Israel who were descendants of Jacob's son Judah (Num. 1:26, 27); still later, the Southern Kingdom of the nation of Israel after the division of the nation under Solomon's son, King Rehoboam; still later, Judea, the Southern Portion of the nation of Israel as opposed to the Northern Portion, Samaria. The OT proper noun is
yehûdâh, 3063; in the NT, the proper noun is Ioúdas, 2455, more often translated "Judas."

In Jacob's prophecy about his twelve sons, he predicted that the scepter would not depart from Judah (Gen. 49:10). This was partly fulfilled when Jesus, the Messiah, was born of the tribe of Judah (Matt. 1:1-3, 16). It will be more completely fulfilled when Jesus returns to reign over Israel and the world during the Millennium (Psa. 2:1-12; Zech. 14:9; Rev. 19:11-20:6). It will be most completely fulfilled when Jesus Christ and God the Father jointly rule over New Jerusalem and New Earth from their throne located in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1-3).


Judaism. The religion of Israel as defined in the Torah (the five books of Moses), amplified in the Neviʾim (The Prophets) and the Ketuvim (The Writings). The highlights of Biblical Judaism are the importance of circumcision, the Sabbath, love for God and for neighbor, the sacrificial system, the festivals, and the importance of the central sanctuary in Jerusalem. Obviously, since the Temple Mount is occupied by Palestinians and defiled by the Dome of the Rock shrine and the Al Aqsa Mosque, a Jewish Temple is presently untenable, and Israel's sacrificial system is non-functioning. Judaism also teaches of the coming of the Messiah, the Anointed deliverer, but tragically, Judaism abhorred her Messiah and had Him crucified. One day that animosity will vanish, the Messiah will return, and God will implement the New Covenant in the hearts and lives of Jewish people, who will stream back to Israel from all over the world. There are several subsets of Judaism, some of which less Biblical than others. Orthodox Judaism is the most inclined to follow the OT, but gives heavy credence to Rabbinic Judaism and especially the Talmud. Less conservative is Conservative Judaism, and even farther afield is Reform Judaism.


Judea. The "land of the Jews," and, in many respects, equivalent to the term Judah. Judah (yehûdâh, 3063) is far and away the more prominent term in the OT, while Judea (yehûd, 3061) is used sparingly (only in Ezra 5:1, 8; 7:14; Dan. 2:25; 5:13; 6:14). The noun Judea (Ioudaía, 2449) is very common in the NT (e.g., Matt. 2:1, 5), whereas the noun "Judah," more often translated "Judas" (Ioúdas, 2455), is much less common. Geographically, by the time we reach the Gospels in the life of Jesus, the territory once known in its entirety as the land of Israel was subdivided into three regions, Galilee in the North, Judea in the South, and Samaria in between (see the Bible map). Most of the exiles who returned to the land of Israel after the Babylonian exile were from the southern Kingdom of Judah, and in Graeco-Roman terminology, were called "Jews" (Ioudaîos, 2453), and their territory, Judea.



Judgment, Judgments. God's calling to every person to give an account of the way he has lived his life. The scope of this glossary entry is primarily the eschatological uses of the words for Judgment. Many theologians assume there is one general judgment. But they ignore the details, which make that impossible. There actually are a series of judgments. There are several different words used in describing judgment. We will briefly examine the words, then at least list the various judgments that take place.

The first word we will discuss is the noun krima (2917). NASB translators most frequently translate this word as "judgment" (15 X) and less often as "condemnation" (8 X). According to Friberg, (1) krima is an administrative decree which comes as a result of judging (krinô, to evaluate or judge 2919). It thus means a judgment, verdict, sentence (Luke 24:20). It is often used in an unfavorable sense and translated condemnation, punishment (2 Pet. 2:3). (2) It can also be used as the function of a judge -- authority to judge, judgment, judging (Rev. 20:4). (3) Finally, it can be used as a legal action or process -- a lawsuit (1 Cor. 6:7). Hebrews 6:2 is the only Scripture in the NT in which "judgment" (krima, 2917) is coupled together with "eternal" (aiônios, 166). Consequently Meaning (1) above is the most likely meaning, i.e. eternal punishment, i.e. the Lake of Fire in NT terms (Rev. 19:20; 20:11, 14-15).  More often NT writers refer to "hell" (geenna, 1067, often designated Gehenna) (Matt. 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6).

The related verb is
(krinô, to evaluate or judge 2919). It comes "from a basic meaning divide out or separate off;" in the present context ..."(5) as a legal technical term ... (b) of God's judging judge, administer justice, with an obviously negative verdict condemn, punish (2 Thess. 2:12)" (excerpted from Friberg). In an eschatological sense, this verb is used in the following contexts: Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:30; John 5:22; Acts 17:31; 1 Cor. 6:2, 3; 2 Thess. 2:12; 2 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 10:30; 13:4; 1 Pet. 4:5; Rev. 6:10; 11:18; Rev. 18:8, 20; 19:2, 11; 20:12, 13.

Another word entirely is the noun bēma (968), "(1) as a distance measured by one stride, approximately 2.5 feet, less than 1 meter step, stride (Acts 7:5); (2) as an elevated platform ascended by steps; (a) judicial bench, tribunal, judge's seat (Matt. 27:19); as a seat for a king or high official rostrum, throne (Acts 12:21)" (Friberg). This noun is used only twice in an eschatological sense, in Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10).

There are several eschatological judgments outlined in Scripture. The following list is not necessarily exhaustive, and the precise sequence of these judgments is unknown:
  • The time of testing (peirasmós, 3986) which will come upon the whole world to test (peirázō, 3984) those who dwell on the earth (Rev. 3:10), i.e. the Tribulation period. Jesus spoke of this time in Matt. 24:21. The elder instructing the Apostle John spoke of this time in Rev. 7:14. The sequence of this judgment is described in terms of seven seals broken by Christ, seven angels playing seven trumpets, and seven angels pouring out seven bowls of the wrath of God upon the earth (Rev. 6:1-16:21).
  • The Judgment of Israel (Ezek. 20:33-38; Dan. 12:1-3; Mal. 3:1-6; Matt. 25:1-13; 14-30; Luke 19:11-27).

Judgment Seat of Christ.  The judgment of all Church Age believers (Rom. 14:10-12). Salvation is not an issue here, for these believers possess eternal life (John 3:16), having been born into God’s family (John 1:12), and they do not enter into judgment or condemnation (John 3:18; 3:36; 5:24; Rom. 8:1).  Performance and motive is the issue.  How well have these believers invested their lives for Jesus (Col. 3:17, 23-25)? Every Christian is building on the foundation that has been laid. He is building with materials that survive the fire of Christ’s judgment or that do not (1 Cor. 3:12-15). If the Christian has done his work for the Lord, it will survive, and he will be rewarded. If not, his work will not survive, yet he himself will (1 Cor. 3:15). Faithful investing of one’s life for the Lord will, I believe, result in greater opportunity to serve Him later (Luke 19:11-19). This judgment will either take place with each believer when he meets the Lord (1 John 3:2-3) and / or else after the entire Church is raptured prior to the start of the Tribulation period.  By the time Christ returns to Earth (Rev. 19:11-21), the Church has been completely purified and is ready to return with Him as His spotless bride (Rev. 19:7-9). See a more extensive discussion of the Judgment Seat of Christ.


Justification. The act of God whereby He declares the one who trusts in Jesus Christ to be righteous. The whole question of salvation impinges upon many areas, not the least of which is the integrity of God. How can a holy God, who cannot sin, bring to eternal salvation depraved sinners who are not righteous (Rom. 3:10), who do not seek God (Rom. 3:11), who do no good (Rom. 3:12), and who do not fear God (Rom. 3:18)? How can man become righteous when, by keeping the Law, he can never be justified (declared righteous, dikaioō, 1344) in God's sight (Rom. 3:20)?

Romans 3:21-26

The answer is that God Himself has revealed a different kind of righteousness (Rom. 3:21). (1) It is a "without law" righteousness that comes from God (Rom. 3:21). (2) It is a righteousness that is attested both in the Law and in the Prophets (Rom. 3:21). (3) It is a righteousness that comes, without distinction, to every person who trusts in Jesus the Messiah (Rom. 3:22). (4) It is a righteousness that is granted without distinction to all who believe because all, without distinction, have sinned and have fallen short of God's glory, the standard of His goodness (Rom. 3:23). (5) It is a righteousness which God assigns to people as a gift, on the basis not of merit, but of grace (Rom. 3:24). (6) It is a righteousness made possible because Jesus the Messiah, through His sacrifice on the cross, has paid the full purchase price to rescue man from the clutches of Satan and from death, the consequence of sin (Rom. 3:24). (7) It is a righteousness in which the full penalty has been paid for all the sins of all the people in the world who believe. (8) It is a righteousness God secured by displaying Jesus publicly as the legal satisfaction (propitiation, hilastêrion, 2435) for sin. Jesus paid the full penalty for sin by paying for it with His own life's blood. The payment is secured for each individual person who believes in Jesus (Rom. 3:25). In sacrificing His own Son God demonstrated His own righteousness in passing over sins committed by people from the beginning of the history of the human race (Rom. 3:25). In providing Jesus as the all-time payment for sin, God was consistent with His Divine standard that the consequences of sin -- death -- must be fully paid. In this way He Himself could remain just, and yet justify (declare to be righteous) every person who exercised faith in Jesus (Rom. 3:26).

Romans 4:1-25

The Apostle Paul continued to discuss the doctrine of justification in the next chapter. He made several point: (1) Abraham was saved through faith, apart from any works (Rom. 4:1-5). (2) David affirmed that the man is blessed "to whom God credits righteousness apart from works" (Rom. 4:6-8). (3) Abraham's justification preceded his circumcision (Rom. 4:9-12). Thus Abraham is the father of all who believe, though uncircumcised (Rom. 4:11), and he is the father of all who, being circumcised, also believe (Rom. 4:12). (4) Abraham's justification was by faith in God's promise apart from the Law (Rom. 4:13-25).

Romans 5:1-11

In this paragraph, Paul highlighted the incredible benefits of justification (declared righteousness). (1) First of all, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus (Rom. 5:1). (2) We stand in the place of God's blessing (Rom. 5:2). (3) We have a proud hope for the future glory of God (Rom. 5:2). (4) We can have pride in present hardship (Rom.5:3-5), for this creates perseverance (Rom. 5:3), proven character (Rom. 5:4), and hope (Rom. 5:4-5). (5) We are recipients of God's love (Rom. 5:5-8). (6) We have more assured protection from the future wrath of God (Rom. 5:9-10). (6) We have pride in God because of reconciliation (Rom 5:11).

James 2:14-26

Paul made it clear (1) that no one can be justified (
dikaioō1344) by virtue of his works of the Law (Rom. 3:20); (2) that God's attributed righteousness is on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:22); (3) that justification (dikaioō1344) is awarded as a gift by grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:24), accessed by faith (Rom. 3:25); (4) that God is just (dikaios, 1342) in justifying (dikaioō1344) the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom. 3:26); (5) and that a man is justified (dikaioō1344) by faith apart from the works of the Law (Rom. 3:28). Yet, James, at least at face value, seems to contradict Paul.

Of particular concern are three statements by James: (1) He gave an example by asking a question, "Was not Abraham our father justified
(dikaioō1344) by reason of works, having offered Isaac his son upon the altar"? (James 2:21, author's translation). (2) He concluded, "You see that by reason of works a man is being justified (dikaioō1344), and not by reason of faith alone" (James 2:24, author's translation). (3) He gave a second example by asking another question, "In the same way, moreover, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified (dikaioō1344) by reason of works, having welcomed the messengers and having sent them out by another way?" (James 2:25, author's translation).

Resolving the apparent contradiction

So how do we handle this apparent clash between the Church's greatest theologian, Paul, and the very practical James, half-brother of our Lord and trusted voice at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:1-35)? I don't think they are contradicting one another. I think they are looking at salvation, or at least justification, from two different, but related perspectives. First Paul is looking at "How can I become righteous?" He is saying that there is nothing I can do by trying to keep the Law or by performing a good work in order for God to declare me righteous. It is a gift, and it comes by God's grace, not by human merit. Paul put it this way, "For by grace you exist, being saved through faith, and this not from yourselves - it is a gift from God; not by reason of works, in order that no one should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9, author's translation). Paul used the word dikaioō (1344) as a religious technical term in the sense of God imputing righteousness to my account simply on the basis of my having placed my trust in Jesus Christ.

James, on the other hand, used the same word
dikaioō (1344) in the nuance of vindicating the validity of my faith (see Friberg). They are both right. There is nothing I can do to contribute to my salvation. I simply trust in Jesus and God credits my account with righteousness as an act of grace. However, as Paul stated, "For we are His craftsmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for the purpose of good works, which God prepared beforehand in order that in them (the good works) we should conduct our lives" (Eph. 2:10, author's translation). So Paul is saying (in Eph. 2:8-10) that good works can contribute nothing to our salvation. But if we are saved, we will inevitably produce good works. James is emphasizing the second  part of that equation. You prove you are saved by performing good works. Otherwise, faith without works is dead and useless (James 2:14, 17, 18, 20, 22, 26). We are justified by faith apart from any good works (Paul). That is true. But our saving faith is vindicated, or demonstrated, by our good works (James). That is also true.



 

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Updated June 23, 2022