Aug. 12, 2020

What Does James 4:16 Mean?

What Does James 4:16 Mean?

James 4:16 (NIV): "As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil."

We’ve been exploring a portion of James’ letter that’s written to prominent businesspeople warning them of planning their own futures without acknowledging their dependence upon God.

In today's Bible podcast, you will discover:

  1. What is James referring to when he says "your arrogant schemes?"
  2. What is the deeper meaning of the word "arrogant" that helps us understand James' point better?
  3. Why is boasting "evil?" (It's probably not what you think)

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Transcript

Hi, welcome to The Simple Truth. I’m Julie Carruth. 

We’ve been exploring a portion of James’ letter that’s written to prominent businesspeople warning them of planning their own futures without acknowledging their dependence upon God. 

James continues with that idea in James 4:16, “As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.” 

When James says, “you boast in your arrogant schemes,” he’s referring back to verse 13 when the business person plans their own future by saying (and I’m paraphrasing here), “We are going to this town and do business there. We’ll stay for as long as we want and we’re going to make a lot of money.” 

James says if you do this then you’re guilty of arrogant boasting.  

Vincent’s Word Studies says that the original word for “boasting” was characteristic of a wandering quack, a vagabond. He would offer cures when there really were no cures, and he boasted of things that he wasn’t able to do.  

So what James is saying here is that no man has the power to decide and control his own future. He’s boasting of things he cannot do. And, he’s just a wandering quack when he does. 

And when you do arrogantly boast, James says it’s quote “evil.” Evil? What does that mean? 

They were following worldly wisdom believing that their own future and their ability to make wealth are within their own power and control. It’s evil because it forgets God. They’re making plans that God did not make and claiming that they have the ability to control their life and boast about the wealth that they will make. They are claiming a love for worldly desires over a love for God.  

Some commentators even say that James is referring to making a conscious decision to oppose the will of God. Meaning, you know what God has asked you to do, but you flippantly laugh in His face and do what YOU want to do.  OR you know that you are to ask God for wisdom, but you don’t take the time to do it because you believe you know what’s best for you.

If this whole pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we definitely don’t have control of the future. However, what we do have control of is our relationship with God.  

So, your simple truth for today: Don’t be like the ignorant who boast of their ability to control their own future. Instead, be like the wise man who boasts in a God who does control the future. 

Wanna know one way to learn about that God who controls the future? Yep. Study your Bible daily. And we’ve made it super simple for you. All you have to do is ask your Amazon smart speaker to “Play Bible study.”

I’m Julie Carruth and I’ll see you again tomorrow.