Welcome to Brother, a study on the book of James. I am so glad you are taking the additional step in your faith to read this study. I truly believe that in whatever season you are going through, God wants to teach you the importance of hearing His instruction and learning how to apply that knowledge, instruction, and wisdom to your life! God used a particular man to teach us about how to apply God’s character to our lives, and his name was James. Therefore, if we are going to go into a study about James… it’s important to refresh our memory (if you already have an idea of who he was) or learn for the first time some things about James and what his purpose was behind writing his letter.
We are first introduced to James in John 7: “Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him.” Among those brothers was James himself. So how does this person that didn’t even believe Jesus was the Son of God, come to call himself a “servant” of Him?
Here are some things that you didn’t know about James:
- He was among the first witnesses of Jesus’ ascension (when Jesus went back into heaven after His 40 days after the resurrection), “Until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen. After His suffering, He presented Himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”
- He was among the few apostles that that remained in Jerusalem for his entire ministry.
- (Acts 15:13, 19), (Acts 12:17), (Gal. 1:19).
- Historians say that they tried to kill James by throwing him from a tower and when that didn’t work, they stoned him.
- He was also nicknamed, “James the Just.”
Through his new-found faith in Jesus, he wrote the book of James as a letter to the Christians that were dispersed among the nations.
In fact, the book of James:
- Was the first book of the New Testament written.
- Is like the proverbs of the New Testament.
- Is one of the seven books of the New Testament to be called, “General Letters” because it was written to Christians in general and not to a specific church.
- Is an epistle (which is another name for a letter)
- Was written around 48-50 A.D.
- Is meant to teach Christians the practice of Christianity. He gives practical advice on various topics that Christians come in contact with.
What made James such an expert on what a Christian walk is supposed to look like is the fact that he grew up with Christ himself! James, before he had a personal relationship with Christ, saw how Christ lived and functioned. It made logical sense to him. I am sure James even thought his brother was a good moral teacher. He could understand that the way Jesus lived was moral, well balanced, and practical. But it was when his perspective changed that James truly saw why Christ lived in the way that He did. James grew up watching all the ways of Jesus and how He approached every situation. That is what makes him so qualified to teach us how to do practical things that show our faith, and that help us in our walk as Christians.
The Book of James was written to inspire, encourage, and instruct the dispersed Christians among the nations. James’ letter was sent out in the midst of persecution and hardships for the Christians. There were oppositions and trials everyday! James knew he was writing to people that were less likely to be able to meet together or keep one another accountable. He knew that it would be in the practical things that the Devil would try and attack them. It wasn’t so much the physical that concerned James; it was getting caught up in the little areas that drag us away from our relationship with Jesus Christ. God used James to speak to the people of that time; he is now speaking to our generation today and even the generations to come. James preaches a universal message that is practical for Christians of all times.
God wants us to have nothing come between our relationship with him. And it is usually in the practical ways that the devil tries to distract us from how we ought to act. James ultimately teaches us how to live with practical faith.
Practical faith - hearing information and instruction that God supplies and putting it into action. It is wisdom that is applied to everyday situations. It is what faith in action looks like.
Through this study, I hope you are able to refresh your faith. To change in some areas of your life that you might not have even realized were an issue. God is doing a great work in you and wants you to listen to His instruction so that you have a blessed life! Get ready to let God work through you in these next weeks ahead.