Saturday, May 23, 2009

Notes on James 2

Able Shepherd has provided us with some notes, questions, and discussion points for James 2:

James 1
Rollover question from last week’s study...Why does James never quote Jesus?

James 2
1. What do verses 1 to 13 say about our tendency to form cliques in church?
2. How effective are our churches in welcoming?
3. How do verses 2:1-7 engage with our own cultures approach to wealth and poverty?
4. How could these verse shape our ministry to those in congregation who are involved in business?
5. How might Matthew 25:31-46 change our understanding of this? (See also the account of the widows mite, and treasure in heaven)
6. Does James’ teaching on faith and works in James 2:14-26 conflict with Paul’s teaching on this matter?

a) The issue for James is NOT ‘Can faith save?’ but ‘Can dead faith save?’
b) The issue is NOT between salvation by faith in Christ and salvation by works
c) ‘Dead faith’ (intellectual orthodoxy) cannot save (2:14), is only a verbal thing (‘if someone CLAIMS to have faith’, 2:14) and does not show love (2:15f)
d) Paul and James agree that faith and the obedience proceeding from it are not antithetical but work together. For Paul, what really matters is ‘faith WORKING (same Greek root as ‘works’ in James) through love’ (Gal 5:6)
e) Abraham was justified before God (approved) long before he was shown to be righteous by his offering of Isaac (Gen 15, Gen 22)
f) ‘Faith alone justifies, but faith that justifies is never alone’

For the geeks out there, James can be analysed from a Multiple Intelligence Theory perspective. If you want to know more, let me know!

We will return to some of the above issues again later in James.

Yours in Christ