SUMMARY.--The Sins of Rich Men. The Judgments Coming Upon Them. Patience Under Affliction. The Examples of Job and Elijah. Healing the Sick. Effectual Prayer. Restoring Sinners.
12, 13. Above all things, swear not. This verse is an appropriation of Matt. 5:33-37 , the words of Christ. See notes there. Swearing is a besetting sin of the East unto this day. 13. Is any among you afflicted? Let him not swear, or engage in any improper use of the tongue, but let him pray. God is the Helper in such an hour. Is any merry? Let his joy be shown, not in wanton speech, but in singing praises. Prayer and thanksgiving are the appropriate expressions for each condition.
14-16. Is any sick among you. In the early church, when miraculous gifts were imparted by the laying on of apostolic hands "as a sign to unbelievers," one of these was the gift of healing. In most early churches founded by the apostles some one of the elders would have this gift. There is no more reason for the descent of this gift to our times than of any other miraculous power. This passage, then, describes what was peculiar to the early church. The sick were anointed by the elders with oil, a symbol of the Spirit, which effected the healing, hands were laid, and prayer offered. See Mark 6:13 also Isaiah 1:6, and Luke 10:34 also Isaiah 1:6, and Luke 10:34 . 15. The prayer of faith. The prayer for the sick must be offered in faith to be effectual. If he have committed sins. Often our sickness is due to sins against our body. The Lord, who raises the sick in answer to prayer, will forgive these. 16. Confess your faults. This verse springs from the preceding . We all need healing of our sins. Let the brother confess his faults as a demonstration of repentance and let brethren pray for each other. Repentance, confession and prayer are the conditions of the forgiveness of sins committed by church members.
17-20. Elias was a man subject, etc. The last verse has affirmed the power of the prayer of a righteous man. An example of its power is now given. Elias was a man like ourselves, yet great results followed his prayer. See 1 Kings 17:1 , and following chapters. He prayed earnestly that it might not rain. No mention is made in the Old Testament of this prayer, but it is announced prophetically. He prayed, either before or after, that rain might be withheld until Israel repented. Three years and six months. See Luke 4:25 . In the Old Testament the time is not exactly stated. "In the third year" the Lord spoke to Elijah about rain, but we are not informed whether the beginning of the "third year" was when rain ceased to fall, or when he went to Zarephath. It is probable that the latter is meant. 18. And he prayed again. See 1 Kings 18:42 . This prayer was on Mt. Carmel after the trial which ended in the overthrow of the priests of Baal, and was followed the same day by rain. 19. If any one of you do err from the truth. If a brother is led away from the gospel. One might be led into false doctrine, or into false practice. And one convert him. Bring him back from his errors and restore him. 20. Let him know. As an inducement to engage in this work of love let him know how great a work has been done. Save a soul from death. Not physical but eternal death. Hide a multitude of sins. The sins of those forgiven are said to be covered or hidden. This passage means that all the sins of the restored sinner, though many, shall be blotted out. See Ps. 32:1 .