The Book of James contains 21 epistles. “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,” is the author and is writing this book to the twelve tribes who are scattered throughout the land due to the persecution in Palestine at that time. James is encouraging the people to remain faithful and to endure and be patient through trials and tumult. Sounds familiar to scenes we have recently seen in the country and in the world. We all need encouragement to keep the faith, to persevere.
Many of the references to James conclude that this James is the brother of Jesus. He is faithful and notes he is a servant of Jesus Christ.
This book was most likely written about 70 AD. It was only gradually accepted into the New Testament. It is noted that these readings will be similar to what we read back in Matthew and Luke. We will most likely find many short themes or thoughts. Some think he purposefully addressed many topics with short passages. Others state that he wrote in no particular order, only in response to what was happening to his people. It will be interesting to read and determine our thoughts on his order.
The part I am looking forward to reading is on justification and salvation. Justification by faith. One other theme called out will be the anointing of the sick.
I found this quote interesting:
“The Letter of James also, according to the majority of scholars who have carefully worked through its text in the past two centuries, is among the earliest of New Testament compositions. It contains no reference to the events in Jesus’ life, but it bears striking testimony to Jesus’ words. Jesus’ sayings are embedded in James’ exhortations in a form that is clearly not dependent on the written Gospels.”
We can get started in this first Chapter reading about trials and temptations and also listening and doing. James 1
Related to this verse, we read in Psalm 22 about trials.
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.[b]
James and the people of that time may cry out with this same theme? Why have your forsaken me? Why aren’t you helping me? Why aren’t you listening to me? People of our time may be asking the same thing? And finally, we ask God:
11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.
19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
People of all times ask God for this strength to help us persevere through trials and through rough patches. May we learn from James and from our Psalms reading that it’s not just us today. It was people long ago and people along the way.