Roy Osborne 2006
I want to inform the new members on our mailing list, and remind the ones who have been with us before, that I do not intend this to be a commentary on the book of James.
We will pick out certain concepts, which I deem to be of importance to us in our lives today, and we will write on these themes. Therefore, we will not concern ourselves with who the author of the book might have been (although I believe it was the Lord’s brother), for that is for historians and textual critics. We will only assume that the author was a prominent leader of the church at Jerusalem, and highly respected by all, including Paul and the rest of the Apostles. Neither will we be concerned with the exact date of the writing, for this does not affect the concepts we will be discussing,
for they are timeless.
This is not a letter to a particular church. Whether it is meant for all Jews who were Christian, or a more general audience, does not affect the truth of the concepts presented. They are universal and apply to all of us. For example, James begins with a discussion of temptation, and this is a constant companion of every man. In the “Lord’s Prayer”, Jesus prays that God “…lead us not into Temptation”. We will find James telling us God does not tempt anyone, so the prayer of Jesus cannot imply that God might do so. Instead, Jesus recognizes, in His prayer, that we are always being lured by temptation. He is praying that God intervene, and lead us away from the ways we would go without His help. These are the kinds of things we will examine as we delve further into the book of James.
The entire book of James might be called a book dealing with temptation. He will address it with reference to many areas of our lives. It will be interesting to note that James does not limit his treatment of temptation to the active role it plays in causing us to abuse others, mis-use our tongues, etc. He is equally concerned with the role of temptation in preventing us from doing what we know is right. The problem of “hearing and not doing”, or “claiming faith without the evidence of actions”. This is perhaps the most insidious work of temptation. Few of us are tempted to steal, murder, or commit any other overt violation of the commandments, but most of us, at one time or another, are lax in living up to the faith we profess.
James will tell us how to deal with temptation in all of its aspects. I hope you will stay with us for this study, and that it will make us better citizens in His Kingdom for the effort.