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James 1 - The Proverbs of the New Testament

James is a favorite for so many because of its down to earth, practical advice for Christian living.


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James 1 Summary


The book of James is like the Proverbs of the New Testament. Rather than having a linear format like Galatians or Hebrews, in which ideas are presented and fleshed out over the course of several chapters, James is a collections of short vignettes, which were likely excerpts of sermons James delivered over the years.


By my count, this first chapter contains seven separate unrelated teachings:

  1. v2-8 - Faith and wisdom are the result of going through trials;

  2. v9-11 - If you don't have the all the goodies the world offers, don't worry... they're all going to fade away anyways;

  3. v12 - Stand strong, for the crown of life awaits those who pass the test;

  4. v13-15 - Don't blame temptations the world brings on God;

  5. v16-18 - God is the overflowing fountain of everything good, and you are of Him!

  6. v19-25 - Keep your mouth closed and your ears open;

  7. v26-27 - True religion is caring for the forgotten and keeping yourself separate from the world.


Dig Deeper


We live in a world of hot takes where everything that happens is followed by an instantaneous flood of Tweets and posts, most of which are irrelevant, misleading and utterly foolish.

James has far different advice for you in v19-20:

let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Of course this advice is good and makes total sense, especially for those of us who are in Christ. But the reality of it is that it's extremely hard advice to follow, especially when we're in a heated argument or our anger is provoked while reading something disagreeable online.


Thankfully James goes on to tells us how we can be this way in two steps in v21:

  1. put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness

  2. receive with meekness the implanted word.

Once again, reading God's Word helps remind how important it is to read God's Word!


AAA Prayer:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The One who gives generously without finding fault (v5)

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask for the strength to put away filthiness & wickedness and continually receive God's word (v21).

  • ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:

 

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