Summary: Study of the Book of James
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The book of James is referred to as a General Epistle, because it is not written to any particular person or church, but the church as a whole particularly Jews believers. It is believed to have been one of the earliest writings of the NT somewhere around AD 45-49, to which many believe makes it the first NT writing followed closely by the book of Galatians. It also would make it just after the death of Stephen.
There was two named James; the credit of this writing is mostly given to James the half brother or step brother of Jesus. He seems to have been the follower of Peter at the church in Jerusalem after Pentecost. He was not a follower of Christ during Jesus life but was present at the resurrection and was present in the Upper Room at Pentecost.
He stood for a stricter application to the law than say Paul did, and they had a church council meeting about this issue Acts 15.
His writings have a close similarity to the sayings of Jesus, the style. (Sermon of the Mount) Jesus is mentioned only twice in the book of James, which is far different than the writings of Paul.
The book of James is the Proverbs of the NT, it brings the practical application to the truth in everyday situations.
The second chapter of James v24 see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only, Martin Luther call James “an epistle of straw” because it seemed to contradict the teaching of Romans and Galatians on Justification by faith.
James is to seen as being against the hypocrisy of pretending to have faith without living it. “show me thy faith apart from thy works and I by my works will show thee my faith 2.18.
Early truth has it perversion the doctrine of salvation by faith may easily become nothing more than a creed without living a life of holiness.
James never denies the necessity of faith he just insists that faith must produce results, fruit.
Jas 1:1 ¶ James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
What was happening to cause the scattering? persecution
Jas 1:2 ¶ My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
:3 Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations,
Does this mean we should be looking for the temptation to sin?
No it does not refer to enticements to sin, but rather trials, persecution and afflictions from the world or satan.
NIV Jas 1:2 ¶ Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
Trials in life are not always because you and I have done something wrong but that God recognizes our faith in Him. Concern Job
Jas 1:4 But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Perfect reflects the Biblical view of perfection, a right relationship with God that bears fruit.
Jas 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Wisdom many times and places in the Bible has nothing to do with how high of an education you have. There was an 8 year old boy that became king over Israel which demonstrated more wisdom that his peers.
Wisdom here means in the spiritual capacity to see and evaluate life and conduct from God’s point of view. It involves making right choices and doing right things according to the will and plan of God.
Jephoshat did not seem to have much wisdom when he sent the choir in front of the people going to battle but it was God’s plan and he had the wisdom of God in that place. That is why there is what is called the Gift of Wisdom that is operated by the HG, not from what you learned in a university, but what the HG said’s at that time and moment. It is given of God.
We can call upon God to give us wisdom in a matter.
Jas 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
:8 A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways.