1 From where come wars and fightings among you? (see Matt. 24:6) come they not here, even of your pleasures that war in your members? (Why do you have clics, sects? They ruin good works.)
2 You lust, and have not: you murder, and covet earnestly, and are not able to obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, on account of your not asking.
3 You ask, and receive not, because you ask with evil intent, in order that you may spend it in [gratifying] your pleasures.
4 You adulterers and adulteresses (professors and teachers. Cp. Matt. 12:39. Jer. 3:9. Ezek. 16; 23. Hos. 2;,&c.), know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world constitutes himself (see 3;6) the enemy of God.
5 Or do you think that the scripture says in vain, The spirit that dwells in us lusts to envy? (This refers to the general testimony of Scripture that the natural man is prone to selfish desires, leading to envy of others who posses the things desired. Cp. Gen. 6:5; 8:21)
6 But He gives greater grace (this has reference to the new nature. Cp. 1 Cor. 2:12). Wherefore He says, "God resists the proud (see Rom. 1:30), but gives grace to the lowly." (Quoted from Prov. 3:34.)
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (This brings peace. See Luke 10:18,19. In the name of Jesus Christ the devil has no choice but to flee from you. You have power over Satan.)
8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts (see 1 Pet. 1:22. 1 John 3:3), you double minded. (See 1:8. A double minded Christian is one that just occupies a place in the pews every Sunday morning. Let a little affliction come their way Monday morning and they begin to doubt the very existence of God. If you are a double-minded Christian, the next verse applies to you.)
9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness (casting down your eyes. Be all for Christ, or not at all for Christ. You will be happy while the double-minded people will be looking for a dark cloud to walk under all of the time.).
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord (see 2 Cor. 11:7), and He shall lift you up. (See John 12:32. Don't put anything, or anybody, before the Lord. That includes yourself. What do you have to cry about? Nothing! Don't be a "poor me baby". Your Father loves you very much. Humble yourselves before Him, and He will raise you up.)
11 Speak not evil (speak against, backbite) of one another, brethren. He that speaks evil of his brother, and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law, and judges the law: but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge. (Don't put yourself in God's place. Very bad! This applies only to your brothers and sisters. Setting yourself up as judge is dangerous. It is far better to be a doer of God's Word that to set yourself up as a judge of His Word. The latter will bring some extreme chastisement on yourself.)
12 There is one Lawgiver (cp. Rom. 9:4. Heb. 7:11), who is able to save and to destroy (Matt. 10:28): who are you that judges the other? (There is nothing wrong with utilizing discernment when dealing with your brethren; however, be careful not to judge. There is only One that is able to save your soul or to cause your soul to perish. God is the judge.)
13 Come now, you that say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into this city, and continue there a year, and trade, and get gain:" (This eagerness to travel for trade purposes is a prominent characteristic of a Judean [tribe of Judah] today. Did you notice anything missing? Those who say this are leaving God out of the equation. If you leave God out of your decisions, they are bound to fail.)
14 Such as you are know not what shall be on the tomorrow. For what is your life? For it is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. (See Acts 13:41. The word "vapor" could be translated "mist". Life in the flesh is like the morning mist that quickly vanishes at it evaporates. The point is that you had better have God in your equation for this flesh life doesn't last long. 70 years can vanish as a mist before your very eyes.)
15 Instead of your saying (They forgot God. He may have another plan) you ought to say, "If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that." (You should do everything in God's will. How do you know if something is in the Lord's will? He will let you know in a hurry, if what you are doing isn't His will.)
16 But now you rejoice (see Rom. 2:17; 5:2) in your pride: all such pride is evil. (Prideful boastings in what you have done, or will do, with your own hands is evil in the eyes of God. Humble yourself before God, and He will lift you up.)
17 Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin. (Don't put things off. Procrastination, especially to do good, is evil. Include God when you are making major decisions in your life, and don't forget to ask in His will. You should always do work that you are proud of; however, it is a sin to take all of the credit for what you have done with your own hands, or mind. Give God the glory and the credit. Without His gifts you would be nothing. If you are doing God's will, your efforts will be blessed. If you aren't doing His will, you may expect chastisement. Always remember, God only chastises those He loves. When He chastises you, kiss the paddle, say, "Thank You Father", and straighten yourself out. There is work to be done. Humble yourself before God.)