Welcome to the book of James! Today we begin our spring semester book study of James, a hard-hitting epistle with lots of practical applications. James was a half-brother of Jesus and a leader of the first church in Jerusalem. He was a Jewish Christian writing to other Jewish Christians who were scattered across the Roman Empire. James probably wrote this challenging letter sometime around AD 50, making it one of the oldest books of the New Testament.
Even though James was written almost 2000 years ago, it can still pierce our hearts, rivet our souls, and lift our spirits today. This spring, our study of this epistle will include the following always relevant topics: 1) Dealing with trials and temptations, 2) Hearing and obeying God’s Word, 3) Controlling our tongues, 4) Finding godly wisdom through humility, 5) Avoiding the dangers of wealth, 6) Learning patience, and 7) Praying in faith. James opens his letter by calling himself a “servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ,” a title we should all hope to carry as Christians. James was an apostle, something which we can’t be today because they were only a special group of people who lived during and right after the time of Jesus. He was also an elder (pastor), a church office only a small percentage of Christians will ever hold. However, James thought of himself as simply a servant of Jesus, a mindset we should all have as Christ’s disciples. James’ original audience was a group of Jewish (“the twelve tribes,” i.e. of Israel) Christians scattered across Europe, Southwest Asia, and Northeast Africa. However, today his letter is part of the Holy Bible and has been read by Christians throughout many centuries and all over the globe. We pray his inspired words will strengthen our faith as Christians at NRCA this semester!
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:
Questions to Think About
- Have you ever studied the book of James at church or elsewhere before? If so, what do you remember learning?
- Of the topics mentioned above, which seem most interesting to you right now?
- Are you already studying a book of the Bible on your own (like for personal devotions)? If not, would you be willing to try reading James devotionally on your own this semester as we also study it in homeroom? Why or why not?