Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? – Part 1

This sermon is the 1st of a series of 4 sermons entitled, “Good and Bad Series.” The 1st part of this series is, “Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?” The 2nd part is, “Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?”



Jews in Poland - Ghetto Litzmannstadt, under Nazi rule, 1941

In James 1:2-12, James, the brother of Jesus, was dealing with the trials, troubles, and tribulations of Christian Jews. “To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad” (James 1:1, NKJV). The 12 tribes refer to the people of Israel. But James called them, “brothers” (v. 2). He is writing to the believers in the 12 tribes of Israel, the Christian Jews. These Christian Jews were in the Jewish Dispersion. The Jewish Dispersion refers to those Jews who were forced out of Palestine and migrated throughout the Roman world . Now the noun, “dispersion” (ESV) is from the Gk. diaspora—“scattering.”[1] It is from the verb, diaspeiro—“to sow throughout.”[2] It carries the idea of the seed that is being scattered throughout the field. They were scattered probably due to intense persecution by Herod Agrippa I, in AD 44 (See Acts 12).[3] God scattered these believers, in order to spread Christ. (It is just like many Filipino believers today, who are positioned to preach Christ wherever they are scattered in the world.)

Now these Jewish believers were experiencing many trials, troubles, and tribulations in their personal lives and in their churches. Bad things were happening to these good people.  Why? Trials are meant to produce perseverance in Christ (Jas. 1:3). Troubles sharpen Christian character, producing spiritually mature Christians (Jas. 1:4). Tribulations are avenues of divine blessings (Jas. 1:12).

[1] Timothy Friberg and Barbara Friberg, Analytical Greek New Testament, Bible Windows CD [CD-Rom] V5.0, ed. Paul Bodin (Cedar Hill, TX: Silver Mountain Software, 1994).

[2] James Strong, Strong’s Greek Dictionary, Power Bible CD [CD Rom] V3.0, ed. John Gilbertson (Bronson, MO: Online Publishing, 2001).

[3] John MacArthur, gen. ed., The MacArthur Study Bible (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 1924.


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