Aug. 24, 2020

What Does James 5:13 Mean?

What Does James 5:13 Mean?

James 5:13 (NIV): Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.


James wrote his letter to the persecuted Christians dispersed throughout the region. The main theme of his letter is found in James 1:22 (NIV) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

And today's verse continues encouraging his readers with that idea of doing what the Word says to do, and God's Word tells us to pray.

In 2 Minutes, you will discover:

  • How the Greek translation of the word "trouble" helps you understand this verse better 
  • How there isn't an English word that conveys the meaning James intended for "happy"
  • How the Greek tense for "trouble" and "happy" gives us a deeper meaning of what God is asking of us



The Jew’s tradition of swearing an oath in God's Name (James 5:12)


Praying and praising at all times (James 5:13)


The history of healing in the Early Church (an intro to James 5:14-15)


Calling upon the Elders to pray for you when you're sick. (James 5:14)


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

 We are moving into the home stretch of James’ letter. Just a few verses before, James was addressing those who were in pain and suffering from persecution, and James warned them (and us) to never grumble or complain in times of trouble because it shows a lack of trust in God. So, what is the right way to respond? Care to guess? Prayer!  

 James 5:13 says, “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray.” 

 The Greek word for “trouble” here means enduring hardship or experiencing misfortune. 

This trouble can come in the form of sickness, bereavement, disappointment, persecution, loss of health or property. The idea is of someone who’s experienced so many problems that it weighs you down physically AND emotionally. 

 And James is saying if this is you, you are to pray. And this isn’t a mere suggestion James is giving us here. This is a literal command. And the tone James uses urgency. “Are you suffering? Then pray. Right now. Pour out your heart to God. Ask for wisdom. And do it.”

 James continues in James 5:13, “Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.”

 The word for "happy" here doesn't quite convey its original meaning. The idea is that you are in a situation that almost causes laughter. Like you’re about to explode if you don’t share the good news. You’re cheerful, pleasant, your mind is free from trouble. It literally means “to have the mind well.” Basically, it’s the opposite of trouble that James just spoke about. 

 So just as important as asking God for help, we are to give Him thanks and praise for all His good gifts. 

 It’s interesting to note here that both the words “pray” and “praise” give the idea of continual action. Continue praying. Continue singing praises. Never stopping in your conversation with God.  

 Your simple Truth for today: No matter your state of mind, pray and praise God all the time.  

 Hey, I praise God for you. You all have been amazing in subscribing to the podcast and sharing this podcast with your friends. I am overwhelmed, blown away, and truly blessed. I’d sing a song of praise here for you but geez look at the time. 

But seriously, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  

 I’m Julie Carruth, and I’ll see you again tomorrow as we move into the hotly debated topic of healing. See you soon!