Why study the book of James?LoL, you mean other than the fact that it's in the Bible?
So often people say they believe something but their actions—their lives—don't support what they're saying. At times, their actions contradict what they say they believe.
“Television has created in our culture a low information - action ratio. People are accustomed to learning good ideas, but not acting on them.” -Neil Postman in Amusing Ourselves to Death.
Just look at Pinterest. How many of us have boards loaded with great knowledge and things that are good and even great? What percentage of those things have we used--really incorporated into our everyday lives?
The book of James call us to account. He shows us the Christian life is more than just intellectually assenting and accepting some beliefs.
James shows us the “pinch points” where our faith and our practice don't align
- in times of persecution and trial
- whenever we open our mouths (our tongues easily show any discrepancy there is between faith and practice!)
- in all of our relationships
- in the handling of money
“True wisdom comes only when our attitudes and practices match up with the content of what we say.” ~Terry C. Muck
About the book of James...James was possibly written around AD 45-48, before the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15), making it one of the first New Testament books to be written. BUT the book of James was left out of some of the early versions and collections of sacred books. While the churches of Rofe and Carthage doubted the canonicity of James, it was used early on by the churches of Jerusalem, Alexandria and Asia Minor.
Key theme of James: Spiritual maturity
Key words: brethren, faith, perfect (perfected), sin, rich (riches), judge (judges, judged, judgment), law, say (says), works, tongue
Key verse: James 1:4
|James 1:4 from BibleGateway.org Click image to see larger.|
James wrote to a church, to Jewish Christians who were having some problems in their personal lives as well as within the fellowship of Believers.
What were their problems?
- not living out what they said they believed.
- The tongues of the Believers were causing some serious problem, even division within the church.
- Disobedience and Christians straying from the Lord and from the church.
But all these problems (in the early church and in today's church) go back to a root cause: spiritual immaturity. James teaches us about maturity—about growing up.
So, where do we fit into this?We need to stop and look at ourselves and our lives—our actions, not just our intentions!--and see where we are in our Christian walk. I don't mean just a quick glance, but a deep, thorough look. Take some time this weekend or this week, and ask God to show you where you are—then stick around and listen with ears, eyes and heart open to see what He has to say.
This week:Read through James in one sitting. Slowly. It should take less than 30 minutes.
Go the extra mile and read it a second time, out loud this time and listen to what you're reading.
- What's the first verse that comes to mind when you think of the book of James?
- What's your favorite verse in James?
Thoughts through the week...I'll be tweeting about James throughout the week and if you're on Twitter, I would dearly love for you to join me for it. You can find me on Twitter at @PattyWysong
James isn't interested in just adding more intellectual knowledge to us. He wants to see the evidence of what we believe.
Heavenly Father, as we get ready to study James, open our hearts and minds to the truth of where we are in our walk with you. Show us Your truth and help us be diligent to live and act accordingly. Give us the courage to make the changes You call us—changes that will help us grow up in You.