“From James, a servant of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ. Greetings to the twelve tribes scattered all over the world.” James 1:1

Try something different this week as you “abide in Christ” through the scriptures. My challenge for you is to spend the entire week with the book of James; written by the brother of Jesus. Read and enjoy this short but powerful scripture that calls us forward to live in ways marked by the evidence of an authentic faith in Christ. There are five chapters in the book of James. I suggest reading one chapter several times over each day over the week.

All scripture is inspired but too often, we “Pogo Stick” through the Bible, bouncing from one scripture to another that may be written in cultures separated by centuries. As a result, we sometimes fail to absorb the deeper meanings of scripture and how it applies to our lives. My challenge for you is to begin reading large chunks of scripture and even entire books in the Bible in one sitting. By reading scripture slowly and repeatedly, and in context, you open doors for the deeper truths to become a natural part of your daily walk with Christ.

James who wrote this book is a different person from the Apostle and brother of John. This James (referenced in Matthew 13:55, Mark 5:3 and is most likely the James referred to in Acts 12:17 and 15:13-2) became a significant leader in the early church. He grew up with Jesus but when he was a young man, seems to have doubted Jesus. Yet, as an adult follower of the resurrected Christ, James begins this letter by boldly identifying himself as a “servant of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The brother of Jesus testifies to the true identity of Jesus as the Holy One of God, the Messiah. James falls to his knees beside us in honor of God’s Only Son, his brother Jesus.

By the way, the Greek word for “scattered” in verse 1:1 is Diaspora. Just as the Jewish people group were “scattered all over the world”, the Deaf community has a special connection with this letter as a people who are likewise scattered. It is through our common experience of grace and forgiveness that we are gathered into a singular body of Christ called to this mission. Read this as a letter written to people who experience isolation and persecution for their faith in Christ. Read it as though it is written specifically to you.

On a person note, the book of James was huge for me as I was becoming a Christian and as a young Christian, in part because it is so practical. I loved the insistence by James that faith and action cannot be separated and that the evidence of our faith is seen by the decisions we make. For me, this helped move me get past my distain for the hypocrisy I witnessed in the lives of many who carried the label, “Christian”. Our salvation comes by grace through faith but we should never cheapen this gift by trying to live as though our actions are unimportant. We must prayerfully and humbly respond to a Holy God who wants the best for His Children. Our personal choices really do matter.

Here is a suggested schedule for your time with James including topics found in these chapters.

Day 1 – James 1:1-27

Faith and Wisdom

Testing and Tempting

Listening and Doing

 

Day 2 – James 2:1-26

Warning against Prejudice

We All are Guilty

Faith and Actions

 

Day 3 – James 3:1-18

The Impact of our Words

Controlling What We Say

Wisdom from Above

 

Day 4 – James 4:1-17

Friendship with the World

Warning against Judging Each Other

Warning against Boasting

   

Day 5 – James 5:1-20

Warnings about Wealth

Patience and Prayer

Restoring Faith

 

You many want to consider using a Bible Commentary or other resources as you read scripture. Proper tools make for a well-built house. These types of study aids can give you a much deeper understanding and appreciation for your personal Bible study.

 

Comments: Bob Ayres

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