It is evident that James was profoundly influenced by the Old Testament (especially by its Wisdom Literature) and by the Sermon on the Mount. But James’s impassioned preaching against inequality and social injustice also earns him the title of the Amos of the New Testament. Because of the many subjects in this epistle, it is difficult to outline; suggestions have ranged from no connection between the various topics to a unified scheme. The outline used here is: the test of faith (James 1:1-18); the characteristics of faith (James 1:19-5:6); and the triumph of faith (James 5:7-20).
- Read James 1:1-18
The first part of this epistle develops the qualities of genuine faith in regard to trials and temptations. After a one-verse salutation to geographically dispersed Hebrew Christians (James 1:1), James quickly introduces his first subject, outward tests of faith (James 1:2-12). These trials are designed to produce mature endurance and a sense of dependence upon God, to whom the believer turns for wisdom and enablement. Inward temptations (James 1:13-18) do not come from the One who bestows “every good gift” (James 1:17). These appeals to evil must be check at an early stage or they may result in a disastrous consequence.
Journal Prompt: What are some trials that you are currently facing?
Excerpts drawn from The Open Bible