Sept. 1, 2020

What Does James 5:16 Mean? Part 2

What Does James 5:16 Mean? Part 2


James 5:16b (NIV): The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.


In today's Bible Podcast, we explore one of the most quoted verses on prayer from the Bible.


We continue with our study of prayer and healing in James Chapter 5. 

James showed us that we are to pray at all times:

  • When you're troubled, pray.
  • When you're happy, pray.
  • When you're sick, call the elders to pray over you. 
  • When you've sinned, confess your sins to God and others and pray.

I think James wants us to pray. What do you think? 😝

But why prayer? What's the point? Can't God do whatever He wants on His own? 

James helps us understand why God wants us to pray in James 5:16b.

In today’s 2-minute Bible Study, you will discover:

  • How one of the most quoted scriptures on prayer can be interpreted 2 different ways
  • What "fervent" means in the original Greek language
  • How the KJV and NKJV differ in interpretation from ESV, NIV, NASB


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James 5:15 – If we have enough faith will God heal us?


James 5:16 – Why does James tell us to confess our sins to one another?


James 5:16 – A look at one of the most quoted verses on prayer and how it can be interpreted 2 different ways


James 5:17-18 – How does James say that you are like Elijah the prophet?


James 5:19-20 - What do we do when a believer leaves the faith.


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

We’ve been exploring the importance of prayer in the life of a believer. Today, we’re digging deeper into a verse that you’ve probably heard quoted more than a few times in your life found in James 5:16 which says, in the NIV, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." 

You might’ve also heard it quoted from the KJV as, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

This is a fascinating study today. Did you know that depending upon which translation you use, you can translate this verse 2 different ways? 

First, let’s look at the King James Version. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

The word fervent here means powerful, passionate, wholehearted. In other words, "pray it like you mean it". 

The wording here in the original language for fervent prayer implies this energy that lives within you. I see it almost like you’re allowing the spirit within you to be bubble up and be released through you in the form of a prayer. 

Now, your more modern translations, translate this verse differently. Instead of the person praying fervently, these translations imply that the fervency applies to the outcome of the prayer. For example, the NIV says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."

Did you catch that? The King James describes the kind of prayers you pray (like heartfelt, passionate), the more modern translations describe the outcome from the prayers you pray (like powerful and effective). 

The truth is, either way, it's Biblical. 

So, your simple truth for today: As a believer of Christ, your passionate, "pray it like you mean it" kinda prayers have extreme power when you partner with God to release His will on this Earth. 

How much power? Join us tomorrow to find out! 

Thank you again for continuing to share this podcast with someone God lays on your heart. Remember to subscribe. And as always listen in on your amazon smart speaker by simply saying “PLAY BIBLE STUDY.

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