Book of James: A 21 Day Study

As a church family, many of us are reading through the New Testament letter of James using the SOAP method of study.  We will post the reading each day here on the blog and invite your comments and reflections.  But you may download the whole 21 day schedule by clicking on this link:  The Book of James in 21 Days

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3 thoughts on “Book of James: A 21 Day Study

  1. I am not very familiar with the book of James. Would anyone be able to give me some background information on what was happening at the time this book was written? While I understand that we are supposed to be concentrating on our own personal walk it would be helpful to put what James is saying into context. Thank you.

  2. Here is a a brief sketch of the context in which James was writing. This comes from the Bible Gateway website. James’ audience would be primarily people of Jewish upbringing with a fairly recently acquired Christian faith who were experiencing a severe persecution at the hands of their erstwhile leaders in Judaism. They were mourning deeply because of the death of a loved and respected leader, Stephen (Acts 7). Almost all the Christians (except for the apostles such as James) had been driven from their homes in Jerusalem and scattered to other places. Almost all of them had likely lost homes or possessions or normal means of income; they had been separated from relatives and friends. There were abundant circumstances to cause them confusion, fear, loneliness, anger, sorrow, poverty, hardship–in fact, “trials of many kinds” as James acknowledges in 1:2. James’s probable purpose in this context is confirmed in the letter: to encourage suffering Christians in the face of hardship and to strengthen them for faithful Christian living.

    It would fit this historical setting that James would be writing primarily to poor Christians and that one of his goals would be to instruct and encourage them in the face of hardship at the hands of rich unbelievers. In speaking of “the rich,” James would likely have in mind the unbelievers who were using their wealth as power to oppress the very vulnerable Christians.

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