Community of the Wise: The Letter of James (The New Testament in Context)
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Be diligent! As Jesus said "blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it. See discussion of marking key words. Excellent overview. James, with its devotion to direct, pungent statements on wise living, is reminiscent of the book of Proverbs.
Introduction to the First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy
It has a practical emphasis, stressing not theoretical knowledge, but godly behavior. James wrote with a passionate desire for his readers to be uncompromisingly obedient to the Word of God. He used at least 30 references to nature e. There are a number of ways to outline the book to grasp the arrangement of its content.
The Gospel according to Matthew was written for the Jews. The Epistle to the Hebrews is addressed explicitly to them. The Apocalypse is full of the spirit of the Old Testament. The Epistle of Jude is Jewish too. Yet all of these books have more of the distinctively Christian element in them than we can find in the Epistle of James. If we eliminate two or three passages containing references to Christ, the whole epistle might find its place just as properly in the Canon of the Old Testament as in that of the New Testament, as far as its substance of doctrine and contents is concerned.
That could not be said of any other book in the New Testament. There is no mention of the incarnation or of the resurrection, the two fundamental facts of the Christian faith. There is no suggestion that the Messiah has appeared and no presentation of the possibility of redemption through Him.
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Douglas J. This designation was given to these seven letters early in the history of the church because each appears to be addressed to the church at large rather than to a single congregation. These letters also shared an uncertain status in many areas of the early church. Along with Hebrew and Revelation, several of them were the last to achieve generally recognized canonical status. In the case of James, it was not until the end of the fourth century that both eastern and western Christendom acknowledged it as Scripture But, while Luther obviously had difficulties with James and came close to giving the letter a secondary status, his criticism should not be overdrawn.
He did not exclude James from the canon and, it has been estimated, cites of half the verses of James as authoritative in his writings. With greater knowledge of the Jewish background of James, and at a distance of several centuries from the battles Luther was fighting, we can appreciate the way James and Paul complement one another. Their opponents are different, and their arguments accordingly different, but each makes an important contribution to our understanding of faith.
There is no need here for a closer analysis. Let us clearly see the central stem and its main outreachings:.
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It is filled with moral precepts. It states the ethics of Christian faith. It is full of figures and metaphors. It is often quite dramatic in style. It compels the reader to think. Hebrews presents doctrine; James presents deeds.
Community of the Wise: The Letter of James
They go together in vital Christian faith. Some people have suggested that there is a conflict between what Paul and James have to say, but only superficial reading of both would warrant that accusation. James saw Him on the earth, telling us to be as perfect as His Father in heaven is perfect. Paul dwells on the source of our faith. James tells about the fruit of our faith. One lays the foundations in Christ; the other builds the superstructure. Not only believe that fact, but live it!
Although Paul lays great stress upon justification by faith, we have noticed in his epistles, especially in Titus, that he emphasizes good works.
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James exalts faith. He says that its trials produce patience in a person.
James begins and ends with a strong encouragement to pray see James —8; — Prayer is one of the easiest subjects to talk about but one of the hardest things to practice Spiritual arithmetic is of value, and the arithmetic of the Bible is important enough that none of us can afford to ignore it. We usually count it joy when we escape temptation and sorrow. In other words, use your trials. What is the purpose of testing? God uses our trials to give us blessings see James Too often our trials result in our impatience, but God will give us grace so that His real purpose will be accomplished.
Jude – Contending for the Faith
Patience is necessary more than anything else in our faith life. We forget that time is nothing to God, for with Him a thousand years is as one day; and one day, as a thousand years see 1 Peter What is the good of people saying they have faith if they do not prove it by their actions?
We must not be satisfied with only listening. We must be doing see James People who are listeners and not doers are like those who look at themselves in a mirror and then go away and forget what they looked like see James Those who look carefully into the Scriptures and practice them will be blessed in what they do. The religion that does not influence the tongue is not a true or vital one. An uncontrolled tongue in a Christian is a terrible thing—guard against it. And control your temper. It is dangerous. When you undergo a trial, be slow to speak.
Close off the air to a fire and the flames will go out see James What are we to do with the Word?
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It expresses our personality more than anything else We should not with the same tongue praise God and curse people who are made in His likeness! Cruel words have wrecked homes, broken friendships, divided churches and sent untold millions to ruin and despair. The devil has organized this world on principles opposed to God in every way.
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They are principles of force, greed, ambition, selfishness and pleasure. The believer should be crucified to this world see Galatians How easy it is for us to plan without God, yet how futile! Our lives are a series of surprises for us. We live just one day at a time. What a wonderful God we have! Wiersbe : "The Epistle of James was written to help us understand and attain spiritual maturity James b … James used the word perfect several times, a word that means 'mature, complete' see James , 17, 25; ; Compared to other New Testament writers. James says little about Christ, and yet his speech is virtually saturated with allusions to the teaching of Christ.
This epistle portrays Christ in the context of early messianic Judaism.
Bruce Wilkinson. Throughout the book, James contended that faith produces authentic deeds. For James, faith was no abstract proposition but had effects in the real world. James offered numerous practical examples to illustrate his point: faith endures in the midst of trials, calls on God for wisdom, bridles the tongue, sets aside wickedness, visits orphans and widows, and does not play favorites.