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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Parnell

James, Paul, and the Hope-Producing Effect of Trials (James 1:2-3)

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. —James 1:2-3

James sounds a lot like Paul.

What James Says

James 1:2-3 instructs us to consider it joy when we meet difficulty. The basis to this command is that such difficulty, or “the testing of your faith,” produces steadfastness.

There are three elements here in James: the command, the situation, and the result.

A. Be joyful B. in our trials C. because trials, which test your faith, produce steadfastness.

What Paul Says

Romans 5:3 tells us that we rejoice in our sufferings. This rejoicing is based upon what we know about suffering: “suffering produces endurance.” And this endurance is itself fruitful, producing character and then character hope. Although they’re not mentioned in James, character and hope are certainly implied (James 1:4). There are three elements here in Paul: the indicative, the situation, and the result.

A. We rejoice B. in our sufferings C. because we know that sufferings produce endurance (and its full effect).

Taken Together

James and Paul, put them together and what do you get? —a solid theology of the hope-producing effect of trials from two New Testament authors who many scholars claim to be at odds.

It is glorious: we should be joyful and rejoice in the midst of our trials and sufferings because these things are actually producing steadfastness and endurance in us.


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