Practical, precise and penetrating epitomize James’ letter to the early church. Among other things, this brief letter exposes how evil might even lurk in the hearts of God’s people. Yet James extended hope.
We have no difficulty envisioning the sad scenario he painted. That he needed to address it at all with those whom God had transformed into being a kind of first fruits of his creation (James 1:18) ought to alert us to be on guard. Continue reading “James on social discrimination”
As James looked out over the congregations of his day, did he perceive the need to address a particular problem? Commentators generally regard his original readers as being largely poor Jewish Christians. However, might there be more? Continue reading “A background for James?”
Life gets rough. How people respond is well known. “Why did God do this to me?” “How can God be good if he allows this to continue?” Adversity can foster many temptations. What role does God play in all of this?
James’ letter takes us straight to our questions about God. He does not answer every question we might pose. Rather he counsels us how to think about God when we are in the thick of it. Continue reading “How to think about God when life is rough”
James described both the poor and the comfortable encountering economic trials. Although details of their challenges differ, nonetheless both situations test one’s mettle. Furthermore, both trials go to the heart of the matter.
Fortunately, James offers us a practical path foward filled with uncommon wisdom. He turns our financial perspectives upside down. His counsel reorients us by calling us to reframe how we think about ourselves.
Continue reading “Everyone faces economic trials”
His counsel seems counterintuitive. It certainly doesn’t represent our intuitive reaction. What’s more we might wonder, how can it be possible? “Consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials” (James 1:2). How can James write this? Did he know something that could help us in the current crisis?
Continue reading “Handling adversity”
The rich, as a rule, love their riches. Jesus observed how difficult it is for the rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew 19.23. As well, many saints, whose eyes are impressed by wealth, give preference to the more well-off in life.
Therefore, it is necessary that we all, as brothers and sisters who love each other without prejudice or conditions, hear again the word of God, which discounts completely the possessions that a person has, for “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” Luke 12.15. Continue reading “Christians still prefer the rich. How crazy is that?!”
It might seem a strange thing to consider the subject of power in the letter of James, since the principal word for it (Greek, dunamis) does not appear in the document at all. But there are other signs of James’s interest.
This servant of the Lord is not interested in power in any pure, static form, but in the effective working of God in a saint’s life. Continue reading “Power in the epistle of James”
James’s three-pronged advice appears, at first glance, to help improve human relationships. It certainly would improve them, were we to apply it to how we deal with others. Not a few sermons and classes take this approach. But attention to context places us on a different plane.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; James 1.19.
Continue reading “Know what to do with God’s word”
In Mark 3 we read the reaction that Jesus’ family had to his teaching and performing miracles.
“Now Jesus went home, and a crowd gathered so that they were not able to eat. When his family heard this they went out to restrain him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind’” (Mark 3:20-21 NET). Continue reading “Why did Jesus’ siblings not believe?”