If you’ll take a moment to look in the sidebar to your right over there, you’ll see the button for the James study. Anytime you come back here, you can click it and it will take to you all of the posts that will be attached to the study!
Okay, ready? Let’s go!
Let’s look at the epistles in general first. Most all of them are letters written to a specific person or persons for a specific reason. That must always be kept in mind when studying them. Yes, they are obviously relevant today, but we have to also study them from the view point of the times they were written in and to whom they were written.
Gordon Fee & Douglas Stuart make this statement in their book How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (2003):
Each letter in the New Testament consists of 6 parts:
- name of the writer
- name of the recipient
- prayer wish or thanksgiving
- final greeting and farewell
James and 2 Peter are addressed as letters, but both lack the familiar final greeting and farewell; both also lack specific addressees, as well as any personal notations by the writers. James so completely lacks an overall argument that it’s more like a collection of sermon notes on a variety of ethical topics than a letter.
The book of James was written by the brother of Jesus. It is believed to have been written around A.D. 49 – a year before the Jerusalem Council met in A.D. 50.
So what is the book of James about? What is it’s purpose? What can we learn from it? The main theme behind this book is one of teaching that genuine faith will inevitably produce good deeds. The book also gives advice on practical Christian living.
There were hypocrites during that time. (Hypocrites? Who knew?!) And James wrote this book to express how much one needed to be a doer of the Word and not just a hearer. He wanted to show Christians that saying one thing and doing another wasn’t an acceptable practice.
He also wanted to give encouragement in the form of practical advice. He tells the reader to call on the elders so they can pray for you and you will be healed (James 5:13-16). He tells them to submit to God (James 4:7) and not to harbor bitterness or or selfish ambition (James 3:14).
There is a wealth of knowledge in the book of James. Ready to dig in?
See you next Thursday!!
I’ll be using the Life Application Bible (NIV) for this study and using some of their notes in this teaching.