Aug. 16, 2020

What Does James 5:1 Mean?

What Does James 5:1 Mean?

"Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you." James 5:1 NIV

Today, we move into the last chapter of James!

If you've been with us from the beginning, congratulations on your commitment to put God's Word first.

If you are new to The Simple Truth, thank you for joining us and welcome to the tribe! You've joined a great group of men and women committed to digging deeper and understanding more of the Bible.

We've come a long way through James' letter. 



  • How to endure trials and temptations (James 1:2-18)
  • Don't just hear the Word, do it (James 1:19-2:26)
  • The danger of the tongue (James 3:1-12)
  • The difference between earthly wisdom vs. heavenly wisdom (James 3:13-18)
  • How to draw near to God through humility (James 4:1-17)




  • The history of rich landowners oppressing the poor (James 5:1-6)


  • The blessing of patience (James 5:7-11)



  • Learn the fascinating history of how the wealthy landowners took advantage of the poor Christians (this really got James steaming mad)
  • Why the wealthy people took the peasant labor to court (this would get me mad, too)
  • What you would do if you couldn't pay your debts (I could never imagine having to do this!)



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

Today, we move into the last chapter in the book James. I wish I could say that James has saved the best for last, but the truth is, for many of us, the next 6 verses in Chapter 5 will the hardest ones to swallow of his entire letter.

You see, James is about to get all up in our business here about money. And money is one area that many of us don’t like others telling us how to spend it. Am I right? But I think once you learn the history surrounding these verses, James’ point will make more sense. Cool?

All right. Here we go. James 5:1 in the NIV says, “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you.

 Now, James is addressing wealthy, non-Christian landowners who often lived far away from their estates. They would hire day laborers, also known as peasant labor, to work their fields, especially during harvest time. The majority of these laborers lived below the poverty line, and they depended on their daily wages to feed themselves and their families.   

So, because the rich wanted to get even richer, they would take advantage of these day laborers by withholding their pay. Why? Because they could. They knew that the peasants didn’t have the means to sue them and take them to court, and if they did, these rich people were known to take them for everything they got, many times even throwing them into prison. So, when these day laborers did not receive their pay, they couldn’t pay their debts. And when you couldn’t pay your debts, you had to sell your family members as slave labor. Could you even imagine?? I honestly don’t think most of us can imagine what that was like.

 So, when James tells warns of the misery that is coming on these evil rich people, he’s talking about the coming judgment. This is a day when God will take direct action on sinners. Isaiah 13:9 says this is a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger when God will make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.

So, what’s our Simple Truth from this happy verse today? Money is not the problem, it’s the love of money that causes people to do evil things. So today, may God give us the courage to examine our own hearts and see what has first place in our lives. God or money?  

Hey, if you’re looking for a simple way to incorporate a Bible study into your daily routine, just ask your Amazon smart speaker to “play Bible study.” 

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