A Visual of James 2:2-4
I am a visual person. I like to see things. It helps me understand and remember. Recently, when studying James chapter 2, I found myself breaking down three verses diagrammatically and it really helped me get my mind around it all. James wrote:
“For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ while you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘Sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (Ja. 2:2-4)
James is writing about partiality. His goal here is to show the dispersion (Ja. 1:1), the Christian Jews scattered throughout the known world, that they were showing partialities. To do this, he employs a fictitious (although certainly realistic) story. He wraps it in what we programmers call, an “if-then” condition. In other words, “if this is true, then this is true.” So that is how I diagrammed it. Let’s see how it does.
In the diagram I tried to show that if the condition is true, you are guilty of partiality. Simply put, “For, if a rich man and poor man come into your church and you show favor to the rich man and disfavor to the poor man, you are partial.” The neat thing about these equations is that you can remove the condition and it be a statement of fact, “For you are partial.”
Now, if I were making this into a devotional writing, I would tell you that there are many conditions to substitute here. For instance, you can use a white man and a black man, a male and a female, a successful man and a disappointed man, a popular man and an unpopular man, a baptist man and a pentecostal man, a friend and a stranger. I can go on. But I think you get the picture. This is not a devotional, but there you go, nonetheless.