This month in our exegetical Bible study we are starting the Book of James.
James is my favorite book of Scripture, but one that has long been misunderstood in particular regarding the way James handles discussions on faith and works. In addition, the later half of the Book of James introduces the concept of “Wisdom from Above” vs. “Wisdom of this World,” which can tend to get a little confusing and lead readers to wonder what the later half of the Book of James has to do with the first half.
In an effort to (try) and explain, I’ve created this little helpful summary of the Book of James’ main theological teachings:
- If you have a vibrant living faith in Jesus, then your life will demonstrate that by producing faithful actions.
- If you demonstrate your faith in Jesus through faithful actions, then you are a “doer of the good.”
- If you are a doer of the good, then you are “wise” in the “wisdom from above.”
- If you are wise in the wisdom from above, then you will demonstrate that wisdom through its fruits, particularly the fruits of caring for the widow and orphan.
- If you are not a doer of the good, then you are unwise in the wisdom of God, but you may be wise in the “wisdom of the world.”
- If you are wise in the wisdom of the world, then you will produce the fruits of the wisdom of the world.
- The fruits of the wisdom of the world lead to conflict.
- The fruits of the wisdom from above lead to peace.
- Be people of peace. Be people who are wise. Be people who produce good fruit. Be people of true living faith.
The Church to whom James was written was rife with conflict. Our lives are rife with conflict. Perhaps we need a little more wisdom from above…