March 26 - James 1
Watch this short summary video to find out how the book of James is 'a beautifully crafted punch in the gut.'
JAMES IS NOT LIKE OTHER LETTERS: Unlike other epistles (letters in the Bible), such as the one to the Galatians that we just finished, the book of James does not flow from one passage to the next. The video explains that there is a loose structure and a few themes that are present throughout, but for the most part, each passage can stand alone and isn't really related to the other passages. This letter is actually more like an anthology of James' greatest hits. They are likely summaries of sermons James had preached over the years that were sent out for other churches to learn from.
JAMES IS A PERENNIAL FAVORITE FOR CHRISTIANS: People love the book of James so much because it is so practically oriented. Whereas Paul dives deep into the theological weeds in his letters, James stays closer to the surface and focuses on more day to day issues that Christians face.
But Christianity is not a two party system like politics. It's not designed to be the 'theologians' versus the 'practical' (although unfortunately that often is the case). James gives such good practical advice because the Holy Spirit used the theology James had learned from his brother Jesus and his colleague Paul, coupled with a solid knowledge of God's Word in the Old Testament, to arrive at the instructions he gives us in this letter. Our theology must have practical application, and our application must be theologically informed.
MEMORIZE: 1:22 - Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father of the heavenly lights, giver of every perfect gift (v17), who can not be tempted by evil (v13).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Do not just know what God says, do it (v22).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: