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Bible Study Notes

James Introduction Part I

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
The Epistle of James Background Material.

James is a book about the application of our faith and the importance to learn and grow in Christ. That way, we can grow in faith and maturity so we can apply our Christian character and conduct in how we are to others! The primary theme running through James is the knowledge we are given by our Lord. The knowledge we gain from our experiences in life must be rooted in our hearts so it can bubble up into our daily life. That is, the knowledge that is in our heart must transition to how we live our life! At the time, the...

Introduction to the Book of James Part I


 

           

If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength! Proverbs 24:10

 

James is a book about the application of our faith and the importance to learn and grow in Christ. That way, we can grow in faith and maturity so we can apply our Christian character and conduct in how we are to others!  The primary theme running through James is the knowledge we are given by our Lord. The knowledge we gain from our experiences in life must be rooted in our hearts so it can bubble up into our daily life. That is, the knowledge that is in our heart must transition to how we live our life! At the time, the Jewish statuesque and many Greek philosophers believed that we are called to gain knowledge for knowledge's sake. To them, its only purpose is that it improves who we are as a person. But, there is no requirement to put any knowledge into practice, and some even taught only a low-life person would practice faith. They sincerely believed knowledge alone was the way to spiritual enlightenment; they were sincerely wrong! James combats this terrible mindset that was starting to come about in his time and that has taken root in many churches today. Our knowledge must change over from our hearts to our hands and feet so it is integrated into our life and church!

 

            If faith has not changed you over, you will lead a life of problems, without purpose and one of no distinction or betterment to yourself or others. Why? Because, problems are a part of life. At any one time, a problem is headed your way now, you have just gotten out of a problem, or you are headed into a problem. So, we have to know this-problems are coming! Problems are here! The question is not how to avoid them, as most will not be able to-nor should the question to ask be, why did this happen to me? Rather, the question needs to be, how we are going to deal with them? The Epistle of James is about how "to be" a Christian of faith so we will be able to handle problems and life while being "doers" of our faith. When we are being real with our faith, we will be growing, learning, maturing, and we will be leading a life of excellence to our Lord's glory!

 

During the time of James, the church was at a crossroads of ending its "honeymoon" period of being ignored by the religious leaders, so they were growing and feeling comfortable and good. They were still a part of Judaism and had not split off form their roots. Now, they are being singled out and picked on. The persecutions were just starting; the two other Jameses in the New Testament had been martyred, Steven had been stoned to death, and many were leaving the faith because of fear. The Church was also starting to deal with the human, sinful nature of gossip, strife, carnality, slander, doctrinal arguments and power plays, so their faith was becoming useless and unproductive-the themes we still have with us today. The self-filled life and the focus on the will of ourselves was overtaking fulfillment in Him and seeking God's Will (John 1:16; 3:30; Eph. 1:233:194:13; Col. 1:19; Col. 1:25). James seeks to write an extolment of Christ and an encouragement to the saints to look to Christ in faith and not to their circumstances. Thus, we will then be able to live a righteous life and be a meaningful Christian.

 

Many of the Apostles had gone far off in their missionary journeys as Jesus called, or had been martyred, so James takes over the lead of the Church base in Jerusalem. Without the New Testament being available yet and the instructions from the Apostles absent, a vacuum of instruction came into the Church. James starts to write his sermons, based on Jesus' teaching, to extol and encourage the Church. He writes like a pastor to point out problems, potential problems as well as sin, and encourage them to really follow Christ by faith and make the changes in their lives so they reflect Christ. Then they will be able to do something with their faith that is worthwhile.

 

James is a book of unparallel distinction, with no counterpart in controversy in the early church to the Reformers. It is a book that is unique, as it is not about the life of Jesus as the Gospels are, nor is it a treatise of doctrine such as Paul's letters, nor is it a prophecy as is the Revelation. Rather, it is a "how to" in practical living and encouragement for what lies ahead. It is more like Proverbs than any other New Testament book. 

 

 

James oss

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps the actual burial box of James. The 'Signature' of James - James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ

 

Jamesoss2

 

 

 

References and Resources used: 

 

1.      Richard J Krejcir. Into Thy Word. "Into Thy Word Bible Study Method." Writers Club Press. 2000.

2.      The Works of Justin

3.      The Works of Josephus

4.      The Works Eusebius

5.      The Works of Early Church Fathers

6.      Ralph Martin. James. Word. 1988.

7.      Peter Davids. The Epistle of James. Eerdmans. 1982.

8.      Warren Wiersbe. With the Word. Oliver Nelson. 1991.

9.      Halley's Bible Handbook. Regency. 1927.

10.  New Geneva Study Bible. Thomas Nelson. 1995.

11.  Sturgeon's Devotional Bible. Baker Books. 1964.

12.  Jerome H Smith, Ed. The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. Thomas Nelson. 1992.

13.  R.C. Sproul. Essential Truths of the Christian Faith. Tyndale. 1992.

14.  Expositors Bible Commentary, Revelation. Zondervan. 1994.

15.  Charles Haddon Spurgeon. The King Has Come. Revell. 1892.

16.  Craig S. Keener. The IVP Bible Background Commentary.  Inter Varsity Press. 1993.

17.  Research at the Scholarly Archives at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA; Years of study & teaching notes; Seminary notes;  Prayer    

 

 

© 2004 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org 

 

 Richard Joseph Krejcir is the Director of "Into Thy Word Ministries," a missions and discipling ministry. He is the author of the book, Into Thy Word, and is also a pastor, teacher, and speaker. He is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena California (M.Div.) and currently pursuing his Ph.D. He has amounted over 20 years of pastoral ministry experience, mostly in youth ministry, including serving as a church growth consultant.

 

 
 
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