Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

James 4:6b Study Notes

[The following is an example of how I do in-depth Bible study, especially when I am preparing to teach from a Bible passage. Many of the initial steps that I take in examining a passage are influenced by discipleship I received from Dave Stephenson of Grace Bible Church.]

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6b NIV 1984)

Christological Focus

The example of Christ:

Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus,
who, existing in the form of God,
did not consider equality with God
as something to be used for His own advantage.
Instead He emptied Himself
by assuming the form of a slave,
taking on the likeness of men.
And when He had come as a man
in His external form,
He humbled Himself by becoming obedient
to the point of death—
even to death on a cross.
For this reason God highly exalted Him
and gave Him the name
that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee will bow—
of those who are in heaven and on earth
and under the earth—
11 and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11 HCSB)

The teaching of Christ:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3 NIV 1984)

The teaching of Christ, re: justification:

Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14 NKJV)

The “5Ws” of James 4:6b

Who: 1. God, who stands in opposition to the proud, but gives grace to the humble; 2. The proud, against whom God is in opposition; 3. The humble, who are the beneficiaries of God’s grace.

What: Grace.

Where: This verse sets forth a universal principle, applicable at all places.

When: Pride has been a chief manifestation of sin from the beginning, when Lucifer said in his heart, "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God" (cf. Is. 14:13).

Why: Pride is a form of self-idolatry, and God stands in opposition to all idols.

How: Humility expresses utter forsaking of the core of rebellion, and acknowledges our essential dependence upon God, thus restoring (along with the righteousness of Christ) our primordial created position.

So what? If we stand under God’s opposition, then all we do will end in futility, frustration, and degradation. If we receive God’s grace, then all we do will be blessed, eternally significant, and we will be exalted to the glory of God.

2 Timothy 3:16 Hermeneutic

Teaching: This passage is doctrinal in nature, laying forth a spiritual principle that should shape our entire self-perception and response to God.

Rebuking: This passage rebukes the proud, exposing the fact that pride yields the opposition of God.

Correcting: This passage corrects any ideas that we can play a part in earning grace: it is only when we become utterly humiliated that we are in a position to become the benefactors of God’s grace.

Training in Righteousness: This passage trains us in rejecting pride and cultivating an essential attitude of humility.


[T]he original word, antitassetai, signifies, God’s setting himself as in battle array against them; and can there be a greater disgrace than for God to proclaim a man a rebel, an enemy, a traitor to his crown and dignity, and to proceed against him as such? The proud resists God; in his understanding he resists the truths of God; in his will he resists the truths of God; in his will he resists the laws of God; in his passions he resists the providence of God; and therefore no wonder that God sets himself against the proud. Let proud spirits hear this and tremble— God resists them. Who can describe the wretched state of those who make God their enemy? He will certainly fill with same (sooner or later) the faces of such as have filled their hearts with pride. We should therefore resist pride in our hearts, if we would not have God to resist us. [from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible]

4 ways in which God opposes the proud:
1. By refusing to speak to the proud. (Example: Luke 23:8-9, in which Jesus refuses to speak with Herod while Herod was exalting himself above Christ.)
2. By ridiculing their schemes (Example: Psalm 2:1-4, in which God laughs at those who exalt themselves against Him.)
3. By ruining their success (Example: II Chronicles 26, in which God curses King Uzziah’s pride when he taking a priestly job for himself.)
4. By removing their status (Example: Daniel 5, in which Nebuchadnezzar’s loses his sanity and his kingdom due to his pride.) [from Paul Stith, Grace Heritage Church,  15 May 2005]



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