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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, a Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.

However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.

To see more Bible study outlines go to: More Bible Study Outlines.



January 25, 2015


SCRIPTURE: James 5:13-20


KEY VERSE: 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)


INTRODUCTION: In the previous verses in this chapter we received warnings concerning our attitude toward wealth or prosperity and our attitude toward affliction. James tells us to keep the right perspective on both of these areas. Now he turns his attention toward the positive.


In the closing verses of this chapter James encourages the believers with a prescription for a blessed Christian life. It is possible for us to be happy even in the midst of trials and testings. James gives us some practical advice as to how we should respond to the various circumstances that we might find ourselves.




A. B e a Person of Prayer and Praise. (James 5:13)


(James 5:13) 13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.


1. Prayer is our lifeline during trials.


a. The little child is fine until they fall and scrape their knee.


b. Then without hesitation they cry out for Mommy.


c. We are no different, when we find ourselves in the midst of trials and afflictions; our first call should be to God.


d. He is the One who loves us, the One who can make it all better!


(Matthew 7:7) Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:


2. Praise is the natural response from a grateful heart.


a. Singing and praising is the outward expression of the inward condition of the soul.


b. If God has been good to us, then we ought to praise Him.


c. I wonder about believers who never have anything good to say about the Lord.


d. When God saved me, He put a song in my heart…He did something in my life that I want others to know about!


(Psalm 34:1b) …I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.


B. Be a Person of Faith. (James 5:14-15)


(James 5:14-15) 14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.


1. “Is any sick among you?”


a. Certainly when a person is sick we should pray for them.


b. We are instructed elsewhere in the Scripture to pray or intercede on behalf of others.


c. But this sickness is not just a cold, or even a cancer…


d. James is dealing with sickness that is the result of God's chastisement for sin.


2. “Call for the elders of the church.”


a. This points to the need of the local church to minister to its people.


b. 'Elders' = not always a reference to the pastor, but implies an older, more mature Christian in the church.


c. These may or may not be the deacons.


d. It isn't so much what position they might hold, but their spiritual walk with God.


e. Because there is a spiritual problem that needs to be addressed.


3. Prayer and anointing.


a. Note verse 15 “The prayer of faith…”


b. As the elders pray for the individual and anoint them with oil…the goal is not so much physical healing as it is spiritual healing.


c. Oil is symbolic in the Scriptures.


(1) It is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, of His presence.


(2) Oil is also a symbol of God's care, comfort, and joy, and of His mercy to us.


(3) The oil focuses the attention and stirs the sick to believe in God's will to be merciful and His desire to fill the believer's heart with gladness.


4. Be a Person of Righteousness. (James 5:16a)


(James 5:16a) 16a Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.


a. We are to confess our sins to God but our faults one to another.


b. If I have injured you, then I ought to confess that to you.


c. But I will not confess my sins to you, and I do not want you confessing your sins to me.


d. You are to confess that to the Lord.


(1) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).


(2) I cannot forgive sins; neither can any clergyman forgive sins -- only God can do that.




A. Righteousness = Doing Right


(James 5:16b) 16b The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.


1. This is an underlying theme throughout the Book of James.


2. We are to be people of action and we are to do that which is right!


3. What does that mean?


B. Confession and prayer.


1. We are to confess or to acknowledge our faults.


2. We are to do this to one another…why?


3. Because we want to avoid the God's hand of chastening upon us.


4. If we live in such a way that we admit and understand our own weaknesses, we can find encouragement and help from one another.


5. We are to pray for one another that we be healed (or to be made whole or complete).


C. Power in prayer.


(James 5:17-18) 17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.


1. Power in prayer doesn't come from the length of our prayers.


2. Power in prayer doesn't come from the particular words that we use.


3. Power in prayer comes from a righteous walk before God.


4. James uses Elijah as an example.


a. He prayed and the rain was withheld.


b. He prayed again and the rain came.


c. Why? Because of His walk with God.


Missionaries In Absentia
By Bill Bright


Carol, a young Christian woman from Southern California, recently went on a short missions tour with a singing group to the island of Jamaica.


When they returned, she said to her mother, "Mom, there were so many people there, and they were so warm and friendly." Then with tears in her eyes, she continued, "But none of them know Jesus."


Carol had been a Christian for many years, yet before this trip she had not given much thought to the spiritual condition of people beyond her own circle of influence.


Seeing firsthand the spiritual plight of some of those in other countries has given her a deep concern for the multitudes who live in spiritual darkness around the world.


She has gone on several other similar trips, and has seen hundreds of people come to Christ as a result of her singing group's ministry. These experiences have truly made Carol a "world Christian."


Do you have a heartfelt burden for those around the world who have never heard of Jesus Christ? Would you like to be a world Christian? You can, even if you cannot leave your own hometown.


How can this be? There are several ways.


First, you can pray for the lost people of the world. These need not be vague, general prayers, but you can target specific countries, as I did for Russia for 43 years before the walls came down and evangelism began there on such a wide scale. You can also target people and population groups within those countries, such as government leaders by name, which you can find in many places, such as almanacs.


You can also pray for fathers, mothers, children, churches and missionaries there, and other groups.


"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit." (James 5:16b-18).


Second, you can support evangelistic causes and missionaries in other countries where you may be burdened. By so doing, it is the same as you being there. It is a team effort, and even though physically absent, you will no less be on that team, and reap eternal rewards.


 -- By Bill Bright, Source Unknown




(James 5:19-20) 19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.


A. Be a Person of Compassion.


1. We are not talking about evangelism or soul winning.


a. Certainly we should do all we can to see the lost come to Christ.


b. We should pray and witness that others might be saved.


c. But that isn't what James is talking about here.


d. Remember that he is addressing believers, not lost people.


e. “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth...”


(1) The word “err” means to wander or go astray.


(2) Now what are we wandering away from? The Truth!


(3) James is talking about dealing with one who is backslidden in the faith.


(4) They have allowed themselves to wander away from the paths of righteousness.


(5) They need to be turned back!


B. James is talking about restoration not redemption.


1. What is our responsibility toward a brother who begins to backslide?


2. We are to go to them and “convert” them.


3. “Convert” = turn back or to get them back to where they used to be.


(Galatians 6:1) Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.


C. The consequences are serious.


1. To fail to intervene will lead to a person continuing down the wrong path.


2. More and more sins will be committed.


3. It may even get to the point where God kills the erring brother because of his sinful walk.


(1 John 5:16b) …There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.


(1 Corinthians 11:30) For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.


4. That is why it is so important that we be people of compassion.


5. Realizing that we may be the person God chooses to use to turn an erring brother around.


6. We may be the one God chooses to use to get someone back on track and save them from the awful consequences of continued sin.


In Jesus’ Name

By Dennis Fisher


One of my favorite collections of photos is of a family dinner. Preserved in an album are images of Dad, his sons and their wives, and his grandchildren in a time of thanks-giving and intercession.


Dad had suffered a series of strokes and was not as verbal as usual. But during that time of prayer, I heard him say with heartfelt conviction: “We pray in Jesus’ name!” About a year later, Dad passed from this world into the presence of the One in whose name he placed such trust.


Jesus taught us to pray in His name. The night before He was crucified, He gave a promise to His disciples: “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24). But the promise of asking in Jesus’ name is not a blank check that we might get anything to fulfill our personal whims.


Earlier that evening, Jesus taught that He answers requests made in His name so that He will bring glory to the Father (John 14:13). And later that night, Jesus Himself prayed in anguish, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).


As we pray, we yield to God’s wisdom, love, and sovereignty, and we confidently ask “in Jesus’ name.” -- Dennis Fisher, Our Daily Bread, December 20, 2014


CONCLUSION: We all want God's blessings upon our lives. James gives the prescription for a life of blessing.



Do we need to recommit ourselves to being the kind of person that God would have us to be? Right now we should do our business with God!


THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God.”


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REFERENCES: References used in the Bible study are the King James Bible (KJV), Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.




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