Try and watch this video- I cover lots of stuff that place this letter in context for this study. [ Read acts 10,11,15, Galatians 1-2]
This letter was written by James- the brother of Jesus.
He was one of the main church leaders at the church in Jerusalem- we read about him in Acts chapter 15.
This [Acts 15] was the first church council in the history of Christianity.
I already taught the book of Romans written by the apostle Paul.
And as we read the New Testament in context- we can see the reason why James penned this letter- and addressed it to Jewish believers.
Paul was the most influential missionary in the early church- he established most of the gentile churches we read about in the bible [Rome being the exception].
He also wrote most of the letters that make up our New Testament.
His main teaching was Justification by faith.
There was a division we read about in the bible- between some of the Jewish believers at Jerusalem- and the churches Paul was planting [the church council mentioned above- was convened over this issue].
This division was based on the teaching of Paul- and some Jewish believers in Jerusalem accused Paul of rejecting the Mosaic Law.
Paul defended himself in the letters of the New Testament [Romans/Galatians] and even talks about his visits to the leaders at the church in Jerusalem.
Now- in this context- it seems fitting for James- the main church leader of the Jewish brothers- to ‘set the record straight’.
And to write his own letter- showing the importance of GOOD WORKS- and even saying ‘see how a man is justified/saved by works- and not by faith alone’.
The higher critics of Christianity [who you have heard me talk about in recent videos] will teach that James and Paul ‘taught different theologies’.
I do not agree with them.
But- our bibles are an early collection of the Real Time things that were taking place in the early church.
At the time these men were writing these letters- they were not writing them as a complete canon [book] - but were writing them as you or I would write a letter to another person.
In the wisdom of God- I think it is possible for these men to have seen different aspects of the manifold wisdom of God- and maybe they were not fully seeing the other writer’s point of view.
To me- this would not be a criticism of the canon of scripture- but it would show us that God used these men- thru their experiences- and yes- even disagreements- to write the letters that make up our bibles-
And in time- they would indeed become the official teaching of the church-
Embracing a broad range of Divine Revelation- that in the end- does NOT CONTRADICT itself- but instead makes a complete work- which we call the bible.
This letter is short- and packed with short verses of great wisdom.
It is the only New Testament letter that falls into the category of Wisdom Literature-
Meaning a particular genre’ of writing- like Proverbs in the Old Testament.
Because of this- I am going to post each chapter of the letter during this teaching- for those of you who have never read the bible all the way thru-
I want to challenge you to read these short chapters over the next few weeks.
I will comment and add historical stuff in this teaching- like I did in the other recent studies.
But most of all- read each chapter for yourself- ask God to give you wisdom- and apply the instruction of this letter to your life.
It is a very practical- straight forward teaching that comes to us from the brother of Jesus himself.
As I have been commenting on the other writings that did not make it into our bibles- like the Gnostic gospels-
One of the reasons these extra biblical writings have so much appeal-
Is because they claim to have other teachings- from/about Jesus- that are not in the bible.
For those of us who reject these other writings- as canon-
The letter of James kind of fills the void of ‘we want to know more about what Jesus taught’.
This would be the letter to read- because James grew up with Jesus- in the same home.
He was the oldest sibling of the Holy Family-
And he was not a follower of Jesus until after the resurrection of Christ.
He was one of the witnesses Jesus appeared to after his resurrection [Paul told us this in Corinthians].
So- if anyone has any ‘secret insight’ into the other stuff Jesus taught- it would be James.END NOTES-
James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
James 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
James 1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
James 1:9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
James 1:10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
James 1:11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
James 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
James 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
James 1:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
James 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
James 1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,Acts 10:2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
Acts 10:3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
Acts 10:4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
Acts 10:5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
Acts 10:6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
Acts 10:7 And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually;
Acts 10:8 And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
Acts 10:9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
Acts 10:10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
Acts 10:11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
Acts 10:12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
Acts 10:13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
Acts 10:14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
Acts 10:15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
Acts 10:16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
Acts 10:17 Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate,
Acts 10:18 And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.
Acts 10:19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.
Acts 10:20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.
Acts 10:21 Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?
Acts 10:22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.
Acts 10:23 Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
Acts 10:24 And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and he had called together his kinsmen and near friends.
Acts 10:25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.
Acts 10:26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.
Acts 10:27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.
Acts 10:28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
Acts 10:29 Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?
Acts 10:30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,
Acts 10:31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
Acts 10:32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.
Acts 10:33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
Acts 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
Acts 10:37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
Acts 10:39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
Acts 10:40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
Acts 10:41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
Acts 10:42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
Acts 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
Acts 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
Acts 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
Acts 11:1 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.Acts 11:2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,
Acts 11:3 Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.
Acts 11:4 But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying,
Acts 11:5 I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me:
Acts 11:6 Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
Acts 11:7 And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.
Acts 11:8 But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.
Acts 11:9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
Acts 11:10 And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven.
Acts 11:11 And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me.
Acts 11:12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house:
Acts 11:13 And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;
Acts 11:14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.
Acts 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
Acts 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Acts 11:17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.Acts 15:2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
Acts 15:3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.
Acts 15:4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
Acts 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
Acts 15:6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
Acts 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
Acts 15:8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
Acts 15:9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
Acts 15:10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
Acts 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
Acts 15:12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.
Acts 15:13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
Acts 15:14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
Acts 15:15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
Acts 15:16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
Acts 15:17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
Acts 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
Acts 15:19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
Acts 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
Acts 15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
Acts 15:23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.
Acts 15:24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
Acts 15:25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
Acts 15:26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 15:27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
Acts 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
Acts 15:29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
Acts 15:30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:
Acts 15:31 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.
Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)Galatians 1:2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
Galatians 1:3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
Galatians 1:5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
Galatians 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
Galatians 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
Galatians 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
Galatians 1:14 And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
Galatians 1:16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
Galatians 1:17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
Galatians 1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
Galatians 1:19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.
Galatians 1:20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.
Galatians 1:21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;
Galatians 1:22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
Galatians 1:23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
Galatians 1:24 And they glorified God in me.
Galatians 2:2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.
Galatians 2:3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:
Galatians 2:4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
Galatians 2:5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
Galatians 2:6 But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:
Galatians 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
Galatians 2:8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
Galatians 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
Galatians 2:10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
Galatians 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
Galatians 2:12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
Galatians 2:13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
Galatians 2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
Galatians 2:15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Galatians 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
Galatians 2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
Galatians 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.