Written by Jesus' half brother James, the book of James shares sage wisdom for all the churches and followers of Jesus. It appears to be highly influenced by Proverbs and frequently quotes Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. The introduction summarizes the words and themes found throughout the book, which is filled with short, challenging wisdom speeches that are full of metaphors and easily memorized one-liners. While James doesn't teach new theology, it does challenge believers on how they should live. The book of James is a concise, how-to guide to being a Christian. Although some Christians interpret James as proving that good works play a role in our salvation, this letter actually says that good works are the fruit of our salvation and will attract non-believers to the faith.
THEMES IN THE BOOK OF JAMES
- Faith that is alive is demonstrated by a believer's conduct. We should act out our faith in constructive ways. Trials will test every Christian. We become mature in our faith by facing temptations head-on and conquering them with God's help.
- Jesus commanded us to love one another. When we love our neighbors and serve them, we imitate Christ's servant character.
- Our tongue can be used to build or destroy. We are responsible for our words and must choose them wisely. God will help us control our speech and our actions as well.
- Our wealth, however much or little, should be used to advance the Kingdom of God.
- We should not favor the wealthy nor mistreat the poor. James tells us to follow the advice of Jesus and store up treasures in heaven, through charitable works.