The essay on James that I wrote for my class on the New Testament. This was a series of papers and essays, which I'm trying to transfer here
James is thought to be the first book written in the New Testament, and it was written about 45-50 A.D. It is differs from the Pauline Epistles and is classified as being a part of the General Epistles; this means these books were written for a wider audience instead of a specific congregation or place.
Martin Luther, and others, actually contested the book of James being added, and finally it was agreed upon years later and was included. They stood against the letter because they believed in “salvation by grace” and not by faith and works. Luther believed it was too harsh, and was full of works instead of grace. This became a huge deal and one of the major issues that arose and eventually led to them breaking off with the Catholic church. Luther and others were not happy to have the book of James as a part of the New Testament.
James is a book about faith, and It highlights how necessary and beneficial it is to believers. Faith is imperative in our walk with the Father, because it pleases Him to know we trust in His plan one hundred percent. Any parent would comfort their children when they worry and would want them to relax. They would calm them and tell them to let mommy/daddy handle it, and they would ache in their hearts if their kids were scared or anxious and couldn’t be consoled. Our Father is the same way, and as His children He wants us to have faith in Him and relax some.
James, in itself, is one of my favorite books to read in the New Testament. It was written in Jerusalem, as James was the leader of the first Christian congregation there. He was writing to the Jews, who had been scattered throughout the nations. This was, and still is, referred to as the Diaspora (dispersion of the Jews worldwide). The Jewish people were kicked out of Rome and several other major cities, and some theologians go on further to imply that it could have been Saul of Tarsus that exiled them.
This person scared them to the point that they wanted to leave their homelands, and we do know Paul had a history of persecuting the Jewish people. He did terrify them enough later on to send them fleeing from their homes to Damascus, and then he set out after them, enraged by their exodus from the city. On that very journey we know he changed because Yeshua came before him. Paul would go on to be paramount to the spread Christianity. Ironic how things work out.
James wanted to provide a guide for a way of living, or a lifestyle if you will, that was fitting to the Lord. He also felt the need to share the following important things in his letter: he tells the first group of Christians how they should behave to live the lifestyle God wants them to. He also tells them the importance of works; to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22). This is important because he also tells us in chapter two “Faith by itself, if it does not have works, it dead.” (2:17). This implies that perhaps both Protestants and Catholics have it skewed, and that maybe there is a combination of things that can and need to be done to please God.
If we are truly saved, works come easy. Selfish people can’t give things easily, so this is also a great way to evaluate one’s character. Faith leads to works, and works will prove the Faith to others. It’s beautiful to show kindness to a stranger, in that moment, they are seeing a glimpse of the love God has for them.
Sometimes, that can set forward a chain of reactions more powerful than the sun and all the energy in the cosmos. If we only save but one soul, we have saved a life from eternal suffering and pain, and that is true love to our fellow brethren.
© 2021 Bri Smith