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  • Writer's pictureRICHARD DEAN BROOKS



PURPOSE: To expose hypocritical practices and to teach how Christians should live

AUTHOR: James, Jesus’ brother, a leader in the Jerusalem church

ORIGINAL AUDIENCE: First-century Jewish Christians residing in Gentile communities outside Judea

DATE WRITTEN: Probably AD 49, prior to the Jerusalem council (AD 50)

SETTING: This letter expresses James’s concern for persecuted Christians who were once part of the Jerusalem church.

KEY VERSE: “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” (2: 18)

The Blueprint                    

1.   Genuine religion (1: 1-27)                     2.   Genuine faith (2: 1– 3: 12)                     3.   Genuine wisdom (3: 13– 5: 20)

James wrote to Jewish Christians who had been scattered throughout the Mediterranean world because of persecution. In their hostile surroundings they were tempted to let intellectual agreement pass for true faith. This letter can have rich meaning for us as we are reminded that genuine faith transforms lives. We are encouraged to put our faith into action. It is easy to say we have faith, but true faith will produce loving actions toward others.

Living Faith Explanation: James calls believers to not only hear the truth but also put it into action. He contrasts empty faith (claims without conduct) with faith that is shown through good works. Commitment to love and to serve others is evidence of true faith. Living faith makes a difference. Make sure your faith is more than just a statement; it should also result in action. Seek ways of putting your faith to work.

Trials Explanation: The Christian life has trials and temptations. Successfully overcoming these adversities produces maturity and strong character. Don’t resent troubles when they come. Pray for wisdom; God will supply all you need to face persecution or adversity. He will give you patience and keep you strong in times of trial.

The Law of Love Explanation: We are saved by God’s gracious mercy, not by keeping the law. But Christ gave us a special command: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19: 19). We are to love and serve those around us. Keeping the law of love shows that our faith is vital and real. When we love others, we are overcoming our own selfishness.

Wise Speech Explanation: Wisdom shows itself in wise speech. God holds us responsible for the results of our destructive words. Accepting God’s wisdom will affect your speech— it will guide your words to convey true humility and lead to peace. The wisdom of God that helps control the tongue can also help control all our actions. Think before you speak, and ask God to give you self-control.

Wealth Explanation: James taught Christians not to compromise with worldly attitudes about wealth. Because the glory of wealth fades, Christians should store up God’s treasures through sincere service. Christians must not show partiality to the wealthy or be prejudiced against the poor. All of us are accountable for how we use what we have. We should not hoard wealth; instead, we should be generous toward others. In addition, we should not be impressed by the wealthy or look down on those who are poor.

Tyndale. NIV Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition (p. 3739). Tyndale House Publishers.

ON THE WAY HOME WALK WITH JESUS and always try to learn more about GODS WORD!! by RICHARD DEAN BROOKS

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