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Summary: Introductory message to the Book of James

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A Jet Tour Through

James - Practicality

INTRODUCTION: James is a call to put faith to work. Mere words will not do. Agreement with a particular creed in not enough. Genuine faith will be displayed in a life that is increasingly maturing in Christ. We are saved by faith alone, but faith that saves is not alone.

I. The Author of the Book.

A. 3 different James’ in the N. T.

1. James the son of Zebedee (Matt. 4:21; 10:2; Luke 5:10)

2. James the son of Alphaeus (Matt. 10:3; Acts 1:13)

3. James the son of Joseph & Mary {½ brother of Jesus} (Mat 13:55; Gal 1:19)

B. Author = James the ½ brother of Jesus; He was…

1. the oldest of Jesus’ brothers. (Mark 6:3)

2. an unbeliever prior to the resurrection. (John 7:3-10)

3. among those Jesus appeared to after the resurrection, resulting in his conversion. (1 Cor 15:7)

4. with the disciples in the upper room awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. (Acts 1:14)

5. the 1st pastor of the Jerusalem Church. (Acts 12:17, 15:13, 19; Gal 2:1, 9, 10, 12)

6. married. (1 Cor 9:5)

7. humble; referring to himself not as “brother” of Jesus, but rather as a “servant” of Jesus. (Jas 1:1)

8. traditionally regarded as an “unusually good man”.

9. given the nickname “the Just”.

10. said to have had calluses on his knees from spending so much time in prayer.

II. The Recipients of the Book.

A. The 12 tribes (of Israel) scattered abroad (1:1)

B. Jewish Christians (2:1)

C. A “General Epistle” = circulated among several groups of Believers.

III. The Date & Place of Writing.

A. Date = 45 A. D. ; 1st NT Book written

B. Place = Jerusalem

IV. The Purpose of the Book.

A. To show that true faith produces good works.

B. To emphasize the practical aspects of Christian living.

V. The Message of the Book: Show Me Your Faith:

A. By the way you react to trials (1:1-12)

B. By the way you handle temptation (1:13-18)

C. By doing, not merely hearing, the Word (1:19-25)

D. By how you care for the destitute (1:26-27)

E. By not showing favoritism (2:1-13)

F. By letting your faith work (2:14-26)

G. By controlling your tongue (3:1-12)

H. By exhibiting godly wisdom (3:13-18)

I. By submitting to God (4:1-12)

J. By living one day at a time (4:13-17)

K. By developing a proper attitude toward wealth (5:1-6)

L. By suffering patiently (5:7-12)

M. By fervent prayer (5:13-18)

N. By converting sinners (5:19-20)

VI. The Keys to the Book.

A. Key thought = “Faith without works is dead"

B. Key verse = 2:20

C. Key words =

1. Faith = 16 times

2. Works = 15 times

VII. An Outline of the Book.

A. Chapter 1 - Key word = Do

1. The right reaction towards trials (vv. 1-12)

· Count it joy (vv. 1-2)

· Know that it works (v. 3)

· Let it work (v. 4)

· Ask God for wisdom (vv. 5-12)

2. The real origin of temptations (vv. 13-17)

· Desire (vv. 13-14a)

· Deception (v. 14b)

· Disobedience (v. 15a)

· Death (v. 15b-17)

3. The reliable antidote for temptations (vv. 18-25)

· A repentant spirit (v. 21a)

· A receptive spirit (v. 21b)

· A responsive spirit (v. 22)

· A reflective spirit (v. 23-25)

4. The responsible display of true religion (vv. 26-27)


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