Summary: So let me get this straight James... I am to 'rejoice' when troubles come my way?
A Study of the Letter of James
August 21, 2013
Last week we learned a little about the background and history of the book of James. During this past week I asked you to read the ENTIRE book of James once every day… how many did that?
Tonight we are going to begin our study in chapter 1, so let’s take the leap and begin to focus in on the verses and learn what God has for us in this wonderful letter!
Read v1 here: 1James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ: To the 12 tribes in the Dispersion.
v.1 – This is a greeting and/or introduction from James to his readers. We can see that the letter is FROM James (whom we believe is James the Just, brother of Jesus).
We see that James reveals his mindset and attitude immediately in his greeting. He says, “this letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
God and Jesus mentioned together like this equates Christ WITH God, just as Jesus had said, “I and the Father are one!” James believed Jesus was God!
Not only do we see the mindset and attitude of James being a slave (obedient) follower of Christ, whom he believed was God, but we see to whom James is focusing his teaching… the Jewish believers scattered abroad!
To the 12 tribes ‘scattered’ could represent the fact that because of the many times the Jews had been taken into captivity that there were Jews living all over the known world.
Coupled with those of foreign lands who had converted to Judaism… there were Jews in every country around the Promised Land.
Remember the book of Acts… especially chapter 2… When the Holy Spirit showed up and those in the upper room were speaking in tongues… it was not a heavenly language but it was the language of the many different countries represented by Jewish pilgrims coming to worship in Jerusalem…
But this reference by James could have also been a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 when Rome put down a Jewish rebellion and totally destroyed Jerusalem… and because of that the Jews were forced to move to other countries to survive.
Both situations could apply, but either way James is speaking specifically TO Jewish believers and followers of Jesus Christ!
HOWEVER, even tho’ his words are focused toward Jewish believers, the principles we can learn from James applies to ALL believers, Jew AND Gentile!
v2-4 – What is coming OR What can we expect?
Read v2-4 here:
2Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
In v2-4 James paints what many may consider a grim picture for believers.
When people come to Christ as Savior, they hear the message of being saved, redeemed and eternally promised to God… these images produce within our mind a thought that when we come to know Christ that our problems and troubles are OVER!