Adherents of the Trinity doctrine assert that the Holy Spirit is a personality alongside the Father and the Son. Yet, when the apostles—especially Paul—referred to the God Family in their epistles, why is mention of the Holy Spirit almost totally absent (James 1:1; II Peter 1:2; I John 1:3; Romans 1:7; I Corinthians 1:3; II Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; I Thessalonians 1:1; II Thessalonians 1:2; I Timothy 1:1-2; II Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:3)?
Where is the Holy Spirit? Is James not a servant of the Holy Spirit (James 1:1)? Is he a servant only of God and of Jesus Christ? What about "knowledge of the Holy Spirit" in II Peter 1:2? Is there no "fellowship with the Holy Spirit" in I John 1:3? Why do the apostles ignore it?
They include a greeting from the Father and the Son in each of these letters, but there is no greeting from the Holy Spirit. This was inspired by God! Is it possible that this is evidence that there is no other personality? Little by little, it keeps adding up. We need to see this with our own eyes—the Holy Spirit is ignored every time the God Family is mentioned. Father and Son—yes. Holy Spirit—no.
With a few variations in words, every apostle ignores the Holy Spirit. Would it not be gross insubordination for them to recognize two in the highest offices in the universe and totally ignore the third? They did this because they did not know the Holy Spirit as a personality within the God Family because Jesus taught them no such thing. The Holy Spirit is the power God uses to direct and carry out His purposes within His creation.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit
In New Testament times, the house of Israel was still scattered—still in a state of punishment. Therefore, Israel was still in exile as late as the generation of James, still punished more than 750 years after Assyria conquered it.
Searching for Israel (Part Seven): Seven Years' Punishment
James addresses his book, "To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad." Since the breadth of this address does not indicate that the people were enduring any common experience, James is likely giving counsel of timeless and general application that is indispensable to growth in godly character to all sorts of people under every circumstance. At the very beginning he writes,
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (1:2-4)
Is patience that important? How important is it that we grow to be perfect and entire? James is clearly saying that patience is a vital ingredient to achieving this. Notice that he does not perceive patience as passive. It works! The fruit of its work can be either another virtue it is producing or in preserving itself, for that, too, is sometimes necessary.
Patience is not merely a fixed determination to hold our place in the teeth of the wind, but to make actual progress in spite of it. A ship may ride out a strong wind with a snug anchor and strong chains, yet another may set the sails to take advantage of the wind to bring it closer to its destination. It is this latter attitude that James is bidding us have and use.
Christ is a good example of this. Luke 9:51 says, "He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem." All His life the shadow of His crucifixion hung over Him, yet without faltering, swerving, or resisting, He took every step of His path and nothing turned Him aside because He came into the world for that hour. His resolve never broke. He would not blench from carrying out His duty.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Patience
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing James 1:1: