Prayer: In the midst of all that I must do today, keep me centered in Your Word, O LORD. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
When the Church Fathers were debating which Books to include in the Bible, they really wrestled whether to include James or not for three big reasons. The first reason is, who is the author of the Epistle of James. It is thought by some Scholars to be written by the brother of Jesus. Other Scholars state that the author is not the brother of Jesus but an early Christian believer. This issue can be debated all day but we won’t know until we get to Heaven who actually wrote the Epistle of James. The second reason the Church Fathers also struggled with including James as it is not a true Epistle. The Epistle isn’t in traditional “epistle style”. Remember that the “epistle style” starts with a very formal Greeting to a designated Christian community. This was followed by a structure of writing which included the reason for the letter, advice given, and a closing blessing. The Epistle of James starts off with a bang. James writes a single sentence quickly describing who he is (a servant of God and our Lord Jesus Christ) and a quick hello to all the twelve tribes scattered throughout the world. There is no thanksgiving or blessing to a specific community. At the end of the Epistle, there is no individual greetings and no blessing. The third reason concerns when this Epistle was written. Possibly the Epistle of James was written before 95AD…. anywhere from 50AD to 95AD. A lifetime!
Yet, even with these three questions (author, letter form, and date) the Church Fathers thought it extremely important to include the Epistle of James because of the message it brings to the whole Christian community. The message is one of constant advice. If James were alive today, he would most likely be an advice columnist in a national newspaper. James’ message was: okay, Jesus isn’t here yet like we thought he would be so we need to be persistent in the Good News…. even though you are going through trials and tribulations, always rely upon Jesus. Pray continually. Seek wisdom.Re-Read James 1 and reflect why this epistle is important for our growth in faith.
This epistle is written for us so that we will not become discouraged in our Walk with God. No matter what James tells us to always pray, always give thanks, and most importantly always take the Word of God out into your community with you.
Prayer: All that I am, Lord, I place into Your hands. All that I do, Lord, I place into Your hands. Everything I work for, O Lord, I place into Your hands. Everything that I hope for O Lord, I place into Your hands. The troubles that weary me O Lord, I place into Your hands. The people who hurt me O Lord, I place into Your hands. For everyone that I care for O Lord, I place into Your hands. I give thanks for Your love and Your mercy this day. May I take Your Holy Word out into my community this day so that others will know of Your great love. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.