Over the course of September we will be looking at this short epistle that’s found towards the end of the New Testament; and thinking about how it's very practical teaching might apply to our lives as Christians today.
The book of James has had a controversial history.
Although in the New Testament Canon, it was not widely accepted by both eastern and western churches until the end of the Fourth century.
Luther referred to it as "the epistle of straw" as it was seen to be weak on the doctrine of justification by faith.
The author is named simply as James and most scholars believe this to be James, the brother of our Lord, or James the Just as he is sometimes called; a leader of the church in Jerusalem who was martyred in AD 62.
The letter is written to Jews living over a wide geographical area and some scholars date it as early as between 45-48AD
The letter has a distinctly Jewish flavour with many references to the Old Testament but also to the teaching of Jesus.
It is also rich in metaphors and illustrations and images such as mirrors, the billowing sea and taming of animals gives it a universal appeal that makes it popular with ordinary readers
In week 1 (6th Sept) we will consider James teaching on equality and a God who shows no favouritism
In week 2 (13th Sept) we will think about the controversial issue of faith and works
In week 3 (20th September) we will consider what James has to say about the tongue and the power of the words we say to uplift or destroy
Finally in week 4 (27th September) we will look at the famous prayer of faith in James chapter 5
May I encourage you to read this short letter at home during the month of September as part of your own personal devotions and do feel free to join us in church as we go through the letter week by week and ask ourselves the practical question:-
How does this apply to my life as a Christian in Dorrigo today?
Blessings in Jesus