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James (2011)


The book of James has been accepted as a part of the canonical literature since the earliest days of the church. There has been some doubt, however, over precisely which James wrote this book. The issue turns upon the perpetual virginity of Mary. If you believe in that, then you hold that this was written by James son of Alphaeus. All the rest of us believe it was written by James, the brother of Jesus.

The purpose of the book is quite clear: it is the wisdom literature of the New Testament. It occupies a place parallel to that of the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament. Indeed, the letter was not written for the church in general but for the Jewish people who had been dispersed from Jerusalem. The best efforts of history indicate that this was written just before the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70. It is a book to be taken in small bites.

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James 1:1-17 Every Good and Perfect Gift -  How the Christian is supposed to react to the trials of life.
James 1:18-27 The Tongue - How the control of the tongue is essential for the true Christian life.
James 2:1-13 Law of Liberty - The transition from the law of the Old Testament to the law of liberty.
James 2:14-25 Faith and Works -  The classic reconciliation between faith and works.
James 3:1-12 Learning to Teach -  Restriction on the number of teachers and the importance of the teacher's life compared to his teaching.
James 3:13 - 4:12 Wisdom and the Law -  A survey of wisdom and its use; including the question of judging others.
James 4:13 - 5:6 The Sin of Omission - The mist that is man, the sin of omission and the humble state of the rich.
James 5:7-20 While You Are Waiting -  Instructions for the Christian to follow while waiting for the return of Christ.

An earlier version of this series may be found here.