Reading the Bible Together – James

January 2019

– The book we are reading this month is the Book of James which is the 20th book of the New Testament.

This will be the 50th book of the Bible we will have read, since commencing this initiative over three years ago in October 2015. (We have actually read Matthew and Joshua twice!) . There are a total of 66 books in the Bible, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.

We will review this month’s book at  our Bible Study and Prayer Meeting on Thursday 7th February 2019.

Introduction to the book of James

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. – James 1:22-25

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. – James 4:17

Overview

  • Chapter 1 – Faith Tested by Trials
  • Chapter 2 – Faith Shown by Works
  • Chapters 3 & 4 – Faith Proven by Conduct
  • Chapter 5 – With Faith Comes Persecution
Summary of The Book of James

The epistle of James has a clear focus on the necessity of Christian works, and this is in contrast but not in conflict with the doctrine of justification by faith set forth by the apostle Paul. The heart of the book of James takes one back to the time of Abraham, who believed first before any works, and he was justified before God. This is because God knew his heart and saw him through his omniscient eyes. Since man cannot see into of other men’s hearts, he can only see the true faith of an individual by his works. To James Christian works do not make a man saved but is the true test that a genuine Christian has already received salvation. Some of the points that James brings up is hearing the word of God and not doing the word of God, loving worldly possessions more than giving, not restraining the tongue, not trusting in God’s providence, partiality toward the rich and contempt for the poor, and other attitudes and actions which would not be in harmony with a “pure and undefiled religion.”

Author – The author of this epistle identifies himself as “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Most scholars agree that the book of James was written by James the Just, brother of our Lord (Matt. 13:55; Gal. 1:9), and leader of the mother Church at Jerusalem (Gal. 2:9). He is the same James to whom Jesus appeared, according to the words of Paul, and who made the speech at the Jerusalem council admitting Gentiles into the Church. James acted as president of the conference on circumcision (Acts 15:18; Acts 12:17; 21:18). Paul called him one of the “pillars of the Church.” Josephus spoke of James as a man of “preeminent justice.”

Date – There is no doubt that the book of James was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, but there is no way to be certain exactly when the book of James was written. The Epistle was written from Jerusalem, probably about 61 AD.

Audience – James addresses his book, “to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad,” which indicates that he was writing from Jerusalem to the Jews of the “dispersion” and “my brethren,” indicates that these were Jewish Christians living away from Jerusalem.

More information on the above can be found HERE

Short illustrated summary of the Book of James

 

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