Abiding Bible Companion Volume I "Count It All Joy"
Commentary on the Epistle of James
Understanding the Epistle of James will help you everyday!
James is a beautiful Epistle. It opens us to God's word as spoken to the Jews and early Christians. It reveals to us the Jewish roots of Jesus' own moral teaching. In our world, where there is much confusion about what is right and what is wrong, James offers clear, concise answers. He tells us what Jesus wants us to say and do.
The major themes of this Epistle
James is an excellent epistle. It brings God's eternal instruction to light with practical clarity and insight. Learn about these ideas. Not one of these thoughts is new. Each one can be traced back to Jesus and from Him back to the Hebrew Scriptures.
Trials and Testings...
The first theme in the epistle of James is that there will be trials and testings. If we are to walk as Jesus did, we will encounter the same trials that He did. Jesus' family rejected Him, strangers misunderstood Him, His friends left Him, His religious leaders questioned and rejected Him and His political government crucified Him. We Christians, like Jesus, will suffer trials.
Respond with Joy!
Second, Christians are to respond with joy when meeting trials. Joy is the Christ- like response. Paul says rejoice always (Phil 4:4) and he wrote his epistle to the Philippians while he was in jail!
Abundance and Oppression
The third theme is Christian morality sees reason for the poor to exalt and warns the rich to put their trust in God, not in possessions. The rich are to support the poor. Christians are to treat the rich and the poor the same at worship and all other gatherings.
Do the Word... don't just listen
The fourth theme is that Christians are to be doers of the word of God, not hearers only. Faith without works is dead. James refutes the idea that if we listen to God and so not act upon God's word, we are safe, or saved. When we hear the word of God, we are to go out and act upon it.
Proper use of your tongue
The fifth theme is that the tongue comes in for much censure by James. We need to bridle our tongues, for the tongue is seen as the source of much trouble for Christians. James calls it "an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body". Uncontrolled passion is condemned. Passions cause fighting and wars, and Christians are to control their passions.