The Epistle of James is a beautifully constructed Christian letter written by a skilled communicator with a pastor’s heart. His style is both terse and graphic, employing a wide range of effective illustrations, making it easy to believe that he also taught God’s truth orally with considerable power.
An indispensable element of the NT canon, the letter’s profound substance renders invalid Luther’s initial evaluation of the work as a “right strawy epistle.” The Book of James is the voice of a great Christian leader whose grasp of the spiritual life and of human nature is equal to any in the NT. The modern Church ignores James’s immensely practical admonitions at its own peril.
An outline of the book of James:
I. Salutation (1:1)
II. Prologue: Respond to Trials Properly (1:2-18)
A. Welcome Trials (1:2-11)
B. Do Not Accuse God (1:12-18)
III. Theme: Behave Well in Trials (1:19-20)
IV. Body: Cultivate the Necessary Behavior (1:21–5:6)
A. Be Swift to Hear (1:21–2:26)
B. Be Slow to Speak (3:1-18)
C. Be Slow to Wrath (4:1–5:6)
V. Epilogue: Persevere in Trials to the End (5:7-20)
A. Perseverance Will Be Properly Rewarded (5:7-11)
B. Perseverance Can Be Undergirded by Prayer (5:12-20)
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