8. The parts of the Epistle are as many as the chapters, inasmuch as it was written in a very free manner. Interpreters of the Epistle, Ancient, Reformed, Lutheran, Roman Catholic; and also a Synoptic Table.
The manner treatment or method is freer, as it is wont to be done in consolations, exhortations, and reproofs. Hence, omitting a division into sections, we will consider it sufficiently to deliver the arguments of the chapters.
I. Concerning patience in temptations, and the origin of these, Chapter 1.
With an inscription and prayer set before (verse 1), he teaches that there is to be rejoicing in temptations, because they render men perfect and entire (verses 2-4), and for this end he advises them to seek wisdom from God in faith (verses 5-8); he commends humility, because man passes away like the flower of the field (verses 9-11); pronouncing the man enduring temptations blessed (verse 12); and deriving the origin of temptations from concupiscence, not from God, the giver of every good thing, who begat us by the word of truth (verses 13-18), he invites ears to hear, teaches the restraint of the tongue and anger (verses 19, 20), and commands to receive the engrafted word in meekness (verse 21), and to do, and not merely to hear, the law (verses 22-25), to restrain the tongue, since true religion does not consist in ostentation (verses 26, 27): chapter 1.
II. Concerning respect of persons in preferring the rich, and the demonstration of faith in works, Chapter 2.
Forbidding them to have faith in respect of persons, because God has chosen the poor (verses 1-7), and the Royal law commands to love one’s neighbor, without transgression of any commandment (verses 8-13); he teaches that the same faith is not to be boasted of with words, but to be demonstrated in deeds (verses 14-18), since demons also believe (verse 19), and Abraham was justified, or demonstrated to be just, not by faith alone, but by works (verses 20-25): chapter 2.
III. Concerning restraint of the tongue, and an honest and quiet conversation, Chapter 3.
He forbids many to be made teachers, because these will receive a greater judgment (verse 1), and in many things we all offend (verse 2), and the power of the tongue is great in both directions, which only the perfect are able to restrain (verse 3), and it is as difficult a thing, to turn many men, as to turn a great ship tossed by storm winds (verses 4, 5), and, finally, a small aberration brings harm (verse 6), that tongue is tamed with greater difficulty than wild beasts (verses 7-12); He then teaches that true wisdom consists in this, that one conducts himself in meekness of wisdom, and does not have bitter envy (verses 13, 14), setting forth the marks of true and false wisdom (verse 15-18): chapter 3.
IV. Concerning the cause of fights, obedience, mourning, detraction, and opportunity for good works, Chapter 4.
The cause of fights he asserts to be concupiscence, envy, which he refutes (verses 1-6); he urges subjection and nearness to God (verses 7, 8); he dissuades from unseasonable rejoicing (verses 9, 10); he forbids detractions, because the detractor is a judge of the law (verses 11, 12); and he refutes trust in oneself for the using of the time granted by good for well-doing (verses 13-17): chapter 4.
V. Concerning the calamities of the rich, patience, veracity, and charity toward the sick and the erring, Chapter 5.
He predicts great calamities for the rich, the rusting of gold and silver, being about to consume them after the likeness of fire (verses 1-6); he commends longsuffering unto the coming of the Lord, who stands at the door (verses 7-11), veracity and simplicity of speech (verse 12), prayer in adversities, joy in prosperity (verse 13), and charity in the care of the sick, whom he commands to be anointed and assisted by prayers (verses 14-18), and in the conversion of these erring (verses 19, 20): chapter 5.