Mike’s Musings …..
The Book of James
If the Lord wills, this coming Wednesday night we will begin studying from the book of James. It is a short letter, only five chapters. Yet, its content is not only simplistic, it is sublime in its directness.
Chapter one expresses first the need for wisdom, and what one must do to obtain wisdom. Next, it speaks of the use of this wisdom regarding the avoidance of sinful temptations. While everyone is tempted, these trials are not from God, and cannot be attributed to Him. Rather, it is God who helps the soul avoid eternal death resulting from participating in sin! We find God is the Giver of every good and perfect gift; how we must temper ourselves by being doers of the word rather than mere hearers. Last, we learn what pure and undefiled religion truly is in God’s eyes!
Chapter two teaches us the value of humility and the necessity of putting our faith to work. Chapter three teaches us how to use our tongues to God’s glory rather than man’s shame. It also teaches the value of being wise. Chapter four shows us explicitly how to draw near to God, and the importance of this attraction when we realize the brevity of life. Chapter five rebukes those who would trust in their earthly wealth rather than in the blessings from Jehovah God. It encourages us to be strong in times of peril and to understand the power of prayer.
James goes into much greater detail than we’ve offered in this brief description. That’s why we’ll be studying the book … not merely reading it! Too often, we find souls who read a book of God’s word (usually like James … one of the shorter ones) and declare they’ve “studied the book.” May I kindly ask, “If that works, would you let your children try that with their school work?” No, you’d have them study the material and prove their understanding. If you are given a manual for your work, would reading it only be enough to give you a complete understanding of the material? It’s doubtful. Would you want your surgeon to merely watch a YouTube video, and then declare he knew all he needed to do to complete your surgery? I doubt it! Then why think that merely reading a few chapters of James (or any other book of the Bible) gives you all the understanding you need to please God? May I also suggest that a serious reading of the book of James will indeed prove you need to study the context in detail?
I muse on the tremendous depth of instruction James, by inspiration, writes in these short chapters! It is my prayer we can and will study it thoroughly and lovingly. After all, it is written to Christians of which I am one. Are you?