This fall I'm digging into the book of James and you're invited along for the journey. Each Friday, starting tomorrow, I'll be posting and chatting about a small segment of James--small bites so we can mull over and savor this small but mighty book of the Bible.
Depending on the time you want to invest, each week there will be:
- questions for discussion
- opportunities to dig deeper on your own
- verses to memorize
Thoughts through the week...I will also 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.
The study books I'm using and will be quoting from sometimes...
Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore
James, Jesus' own brother, started out as a skeptic. See how one glimpse of the resurrected Savior turned an unbeliever into a disciple with Beth Moore's study James: Mercy Triumphs. Once you get to know both the man and the Book of James, you'll never be the same again.
Bible scholars compare James to the prophet Amos. In other ways, James more closely resembles the Book of Proverbs than any New Testament book. James is a book with many topics -- social justice, joy, hardship, faith, reversal of fortunes for rich and poor, wisdom, gifts from above, single-mindedness, the dangers of the tongue, humility, and prayer -- all of which are covered in this study.
The NIV Application Commentary by David P. Nystrom
Straight to the point, practical, affirming, convicting---that's the book of James. In it, we see a picture of early Christians wrestling to apply the teachings of Jesus to their everyday lives. And we see a community plagued by divisiveness and hypocrisy, with an emphasis on wealth and status. James pulls no punches addressing these issues, calling for a faith that shows itself in moral actions: in speech, in interpersonal relationships, in economic and social justice. He also lays out a theology of the redemptive value of suffering. In our day when the behavior and attitudes of professed Christians are often not much different from the surrounding culture, in our society of great wealth, and in our culture that abhors suffering, the challenging message of James is greatly needed. Exploring the links between the Bible and our own times, David Nystrom shares perspectives on the book of James that reveal its enduring relevance for our twenty-first-century lives.
This set of commentaries has quickly become my favorites.
Most Bible commentaries take us on a one-way trip from our world to the world of the Bible. But they leave us there, assuming that we can somehow make the return journey on our own. They focus on the original meaning of the passage but don't discuss its contemporary application. The information they offer is valuable---but the job is only half done! The NIV Application Commentary Series helps bring both halves of the interpretive task together. This unique, award-winning series shows readers how to bring an ancient message into our postmodern context. It explains not only what the Bible meant but also how it speaks powerfully today.
The Wiersbe Bible Commentary (NT)
Whether you are a pastor, teacher, or layperson, now you can study the Bible in easy-to-read sections that emphasize personal application as well as biblical meaning. Developed from Dr. Wiersbe’s popular “Be” series of Bible study books, this commentary carefully unpacks all of the New Testament.
The Wiersbe Bible Commentary New Testament offers you:
- Dr. Wiersbe’s trustworthy insights on the entire New Testaments
- New Biblical images, maps, and charts
- Introductions and outlines for each book of the Bible
- Clear, readable text that’s free of academic jargon
This is another favorite resource of mine, one I pull out often, whether I'm teaching or pondering.
The Complete Word Study Dictionary (New Testament) by Spiros Zodhiates Th.D.
Every word in the Greek New Testament is explained in great detail, covering all context usages for these words. Numbered to Strong's numbering system, each word has a basic definition and further commentary is provided by Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, noted Greek scholar.
I'm really excited about this study and hope to see you along the journey. See you Friday for our first post!