In the back of the bible

is James’ letter, a book a lot of people avoid, and have done for centuries. Martin Luther called it the Gospel of Straw and didn’t even want to include it in the canon!

Most people I talk with don’t really like James, and I have rarely heard sermons preached from it. I know there are commentaries out there, I even have one.

But the fact James is so controversial kind of intrigues me! Doesn’t it you?

From the blog

James: True Freedom

To experience the exhilaration of true freedom, you and I will first need to learn and master restraint, self-control. True freedom is found—quixotically, counterintuitively—in full surrender to the sovereignty of God.

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James: Power of Prayer

Both suffering and joy are experienced within the presence of God. Jesus set the example, noted in all the gospels as regularly taking time to be with the Father. All the apostles stood together in their teaching, urging believers to commune with God through all of life’s experiences.

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James: Riches and Patience

I doubt James intended to imply that patient forbearance will restore fortunes. Instead, the end of his letter points back to the beginning. Patient forbearance is the rich soil in which the implanted seed can bear fruit, producing an abundant harvest of godliness.

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James: Battle of Wills

Submission, especially to the sovereignty of God, is something you and I often do not (at least initially) think we will like. And, you and I may also balk at the call to self-control. It seems like a battle of wills, does it not?

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James: Common Grace

Obedience of faith is expressed in exercising great discipline in the power of the Holy Spirit, completely obedient to God’s word, which includes the law and even more, beginning with the law of love. 

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James: Trimming the Truth

I have heard people complain about James’ epistle, claiming it is all about works, about legalism, about human effort seeking to attain godliness, about pressure to produce a holiness that in reality is only accomplished through the divine work of the Holy Spirit.

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James: Costly Faith

Have you ever bought a knock-off? It looks just like the real thing until it starts to unravel, or crack, or the zipper breaks. You may be kind of suspected that it was not the real deal, but . . . what a great price, right?

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James: Introduction

James letter was written possibly in the mid-to-late 50’s AD, more as a circular of wisdom and exhortation, to be passed from community to community, much like the letter written by the Jerusalem Council around 50 AD, recorded in Acts 15.

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About Me

My passion for the Bible began when I was eight or nine years old, somewhere in there, when on occasion my dad would take me to synagogue, where he sang. I remember watching the men in synagogue pray the words of scripture, murmuring and weeping, lovingly touching and kissing the Torah, and I wished I could read what they were reading.

Imagine, then, my wonder when I was given a Bible of my own! Read more

Let’s hang out

[The first page of James in Minuscule 319, a Greek minuscule manuscript of the New Testament. | By Unknown author – Minuscule 85 (Gregory-Aland), Public Domain,]