Tag Archives: Bible

James 2

This reading is James 2.

Greetings! Here are a few thoughts on James 2. Please read along and comment if you like.

The first passage is about not showing favoritism toward the wealthy. I realize that churches are sometimes homogeneous because they simply reflect the economic situation of the surrounding community. But I really appreciate diversity within the church. After all, what we truly have in common is that we are sinners in need of a savior and that we are followers of Christ. The rest of the differences – skin color, age, economic status, clothes, etc. – seem to matter now but won’t in eternity. How can we ensure that we send a truly welcoming message to everyone who walks through our doors – executives, bikers, rich, poor, etc.? I love my church, but I wish we were more diverse.

James says that showing favoritism is a serious sin and reminds us that breaking one of God’s laws is like breaking the whole law. Then he reminds us that mercy triumphs over judgment. That is the good news for the day.

The next section is the faith versus works debate, which has generated tons of discussion over the years. At one point in his life, Martin Luther didn’t think the Book of James should even be in the Bible because he thought it said we are saved by works (He later changed his mind). At the risk of oversimplifying the situation, I approach the debate this way: We are saved by grace, through faith, and real faith will produce real works. If we just say we have faith and have no sustained works to back it up, our faith is not real. If I really believe that Jesus is God and I am putting my trust in Him as my savior, then it follows that I would attempt to obey Him. If I am doing good deeds without faith in Jesus, then my motive is probably to make myself look good. Those deeds won’t save anyone; in fact, they expose the sin of pride.

The next reading is James 3.

James 1


The reading for this week is James chapter 1 (Right-click the link and select “Open in New Window” to keep this window open).

Tip: Start by praying that God will reveal Himself through His Word as you read it.

Background: This “James” was not one of the twelve Apostles, he was Jesus’ brother. He did not become a believer until after the resurrection. This relatively short book is chock full of guidance, challenges and promises to believers.

I must admit that when verse 2 says, “”Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds . . .” that I am tempted to put the book down and say, “I’m outta here!”
Pure joy? When facing trials? I tend to just think of enduring trials. But I can’t deny that persevering eventually does great things in my life. Nothing happens to us that God doesn’t make happen or let happen, so we can trust that it will be for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

Verse 5 (If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him) contains a major-league promise. We should all meditate on that verse to remind ourselves that God will give us wisdom during trials. All we have to do is ask. No strings attached. Wisdom is different than intelligence. There are intelligent people who make lots of bad decisions, and less educated people that make mostly wise decisions.

Verses 19-20 have timeless guidance: “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” Everything works out better when I follow this command.

Verse 26 always convicts me: “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” Ouch. It is easy to keep a tight rein on my tongue most of the time, but not always.

Please add your thoughts or questions. If you aren’t sure how posting works or aren’t comfortable posting online, just email me a neil@4simpsons.com.

P.S. My good friend Travis memorized all of James! I have about 3 verses down. Only 105 to go!

The reading for next week is James chapter 2-3.