James 1:1 – Part I

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Sermon Notes

The Book of James

  • General Epistle {one of eight}
    • First Order
      • Not written to a specific church
      • Not written to a specific person
    • Second Order
      • All of the NT is written by God to All of the NT Church, which lived at the time or thereafter
      • All of the OT is written by God to All of the OT & NT Church, which lived at the time or thereafter
      • Our expectation ought to be to hear God speak to us through the preaching of His Word
  • Author is God through James the oldest half-brother of the Lord Jesus Christ
    • Like the Apostle Paul, James initially rejected Jesus
    • Leader of the church in Jerusalem/Council that dealt with and settled the controversy at Galatia
    • Martyred ~ 62 A.D. {thrown off one of the temple walls then beaten to death with a club
  • Written ~ 44 – 49 A.D. which makes it the earliest book of the NT
  • Immediate audience was primarily Jewish Christians, especially those dispersed because of persecution, written from a distinctly Jewish perspective // to the great diaspora of Israel & Judah, but not for Judgment resulting from the breaking of the Law but rather of God’s Grace to the Gentiles
  • Character of the literature
    • Epistle for circulation
    • Sermon
    • Proverbs
      • Proverbs:OT as James:NT – less formal theological development than many of the other books of the NT yet more stress on lived application (doctrine/praxis, belief/behavior, truth & love/obedience)
      • Powerful driving toward obedience & godly living
      • Actual/realized fruit/proof of genuine saving faith not merely potential
  • Interpretive challenges
    • Relationship between faith & works
    • Nature of the healing promised by God: Spiritual and/or Physical
  • Themes
    • Perseverance in the midst of trials/temptations/sufferings/persecutions
    • Single-mindedness (same mind as our Lord Jesus Christ)
    • Vain v. true religion
    • Proper/God glorifying use of the tongue
    • The Final Judgment as encouragement for right living
    • Absolute centrality of God in the cosmos and in the truly Christian worldview
  • Noteworthiness of its extremely late official acceptance/recognition by the Church – WHY????

James 1:1
James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings. {2 …my brethren,…}