James Teaches Us
How To Count
Warren E. Berkley
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” – Jas. 1:2
One way to look at this is, James is teaching us how to count. Just look at the word “count” in this verse. Perhaps you think of accounting. That’s close. The word means “to reckon,” consider or look at the whole picture.
A good accountant doesn’t just look at one line or figure. The whole picture is considered or reckoned.
We need to account for our lives as we would keep books for a business. Take everything into account. A single event doesn’t have to create permanent depression. A single day or even year may be packed with “trials,” but when the whole picture of your life with God is considered, joy remains the over-riding perception. James teaches us how to count, how to consider trials as events that do not diminish the joy of living in Christ.
While that is true, the inspired writer goes further. Read from a variety of translations, the reader is taken deeper.
NIV: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
NTPE (New Testament in Plain English): “My brothers and sisters, you should be very happy when you experience many kinds of trouble.”
Private Translations of Ralph Martin: “Treat it as altogether an occasion for joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”
Beyond just holding to a general joy, James says to count it all joy “when you meet trials of various kinds,” or in the trial itself. Two levels of instruction are presented here. (1) Maintain an overall joy as one living in Christ. But deeper there is (2) the challenge of being joyful in the trial.
For Christians, the trial itself can be a joy. How can that be?
“Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”
This is knowledge. Knowledge that God has so arranged the life of His people, when our faith is tested, there is a promise that patience is produced as we endure the trial.
There is something good God’s people can anticipate in every kind of trial. As we go through it with enduring faith, we develop patience. Patience is developed in the ordeal. God has set it up that way for His people.
James teaches us how to count. The whole picture creates joy. And even in the trial, good outcome is promised to the faithful.