October 18, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for James 1-3
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Author: James, brother of Jesus Christ
Date: AD 50s
Context: Although today, we identify James as the younger brother of Jesus Christ, he did not identify himself as such, recognizing Jesus Christ as the Lord. James wrote this letter to “the twelve tribes” which were likely scattered, with many outside of Palestine. James’ letter jumps from topic to topic rather quickly, similar to the book of Proverbs. Carefully meditate upon each section. Like Paul, James refers to trials as joyful. James is not saying that we must be joyful during our trials, or even seek out trials. Rather, we should rejoice in the result of the trial, a deeper understanding of Jesus Christ and a better relationship with Him. In our study of God’s Word, we are to be diligent and active. We are to absorb what is being taught and show it through our actions. We are not to show favoritism towards any one, but embrace all the same. Showing favoritism applies earthly standards and guidelines, instead of embracing the all-loving example of Christ. Read 2:14-26 carefully. James is not advocating salvation through works. He, using the same example of Abraham that Paul did, shows that we are saved through faith. True faith, however, produces deeds that exemplify that faith. Our faith is shown through our deeds. In chapter 3, James warns his readers to watch what they say. We are to demonstrate the wisdom of the Lord by our actions.
World History:James did not become of follower of Jesus Christ until after His resurrection, however, James went on to become a prominent leader in the early Christian church, supporting Paul at the Council of Jerusalem, recorded in Acts. James was also present when the gift of the Holy Spirit was received. Jewish historian Josephus places the martyrdom of James around AD 62.