My husband and I are reading through the Bible in big chunks, helping one another with accountability, and talking about our reading now and then. I love this aspect of Bible reading – getting an overview of the big story by reading several chapters daily.
At the same time, I also like to choose a book or topic for a deeper dive. For the next several weeks, I will explore James’s letter. James is a short book rich with concepts resembling a book of wisdom. The author touches on many themes!
Here are a dozen topics addressed in James:
- Social Justice
- Language or speech
- The Law
While I will surely explore those themes, there is a more unifying concept in James that I want to mention here. In James, we learn that God is One, undivided, and whole; the individual people of God need to be one, undivided, and whole; and the community of God must be one, undivided and whole (Doug Moo). I hope that as I dig into James more deeply, that theme of “one” will become clearer!
James, the brother of Jesus, is the author of this letter. We don’t know much about James except that he was not likely an early follower of His brother Jesus, but he was one of the earliest witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection. James was present at Pentecost and becomes a leader in the church in Jerusalem.
The book of James, a letter, differs from Paul’s. Paul clearly addressed his work to specific people, often mentioning people by name. James addresses his letter more broadly, generically. If he had specific people or specific churches in mind, he does not specify them.
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,James 1:1 NIV
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.
Last, notice that when James introduces himself, he does so as a servant of God. He could have noted his relationship to Jesus as his half-brother, a leader in the church, but he chooses instead a humbler approach. His greeting sets the tone for his very practical letter.
Father, you who teaches the humble what is right
and guides him in Your ways,
Who sustains the humble and
Crowns them with victory,
We enter this study of Your word, bowing down
Asking You for wisdom and understanding
To know you better, to deepen our relationship with You
To apply the instruction You have provided through James’ words
So that in all we do, we honor You for Your name’s sake.
Regular posts on James will drop on Wednesdays! I hope you’ll join me in reading and studying!