Count it all joy … ~ James 1:2

~ James 1:2 states:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…”

That up above is the NIV.   In the ESV, we have: 

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds …”

~ If you look up other versions, such as the NASB, NKJV and so on, you will most often find either “count” used or “consider”.   Lets quickly look at the Greek which I will excerpt out from Logos:

2 Πᾶσαν χαρὰν ἡγήσασθε, ἀδελφοί μου, ὅταν πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποικίλοις

Greek from:  Nestle, E., Nestle, E., Aland, B., Aland, K., Karavidopoulos, J., Martini, C. M., & Metzger, B. M. (1993). The Greek New Testament (27th ed., Jas 1:2). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.

~ The word of interest from up above is: ἡγήσασθε – hegesasthe which comes from ἡγέομαι – hegeomai.  This is the word that has been translated as “count” or “consider” in verse 2.  Logos has a nice chart showing the words various meanings. Here it is:


~ You can see that “consider” and “count” are primary meanings.  So what is my issue here?

Quite often when we read this verse, we think it is telling us to enjoy suffering somehow.  We think that someway, somehow we are to experience our trials as pure joy.  So we at times meet people who talk as though they are enjoying their suffering, delighting in their pain. How godly they are!

~~> I don’t think that that is what is going on in James 1:2.

~ Abraham was justified by faith alone. That is to say that righteousness was reckoned or credited to him. He was regarded by God as righteous. He was counted by God as such. Did he commit sins again for the rest of his life? Yes. But God considered him as righteous. In God’s eyes, he has the status of righteous on account of Christ righteousness being imputed to Him.  Like so…

Abraham by József Molnár (1821-1899)
Abraham by József Molnár (1821-1899)

When we repent of our sins and turn to Christ for forgiveness, we are regarded as being righteousness from that point on. Yet this does not mean that we feel righteous from that point on.  In fact we may feel like scum quite often.

So ??? James 1:2 ??

So James is telling us that when we go through a fiery trial, we credit what is happening to us as joy. We may not feel joyful, but we credit it as such. We regard it as such. We count it as such. We are taking joy to the bank.  And what we put away in the bank, will be something that we use or will experience in the future.

So when you go through a trial, it is as if you are making an entry in a ledger for future joy. Credited today. Experienced in an even greater fullness tomorrow.