This year popular teaching and worship event, Spring Harvest will focus on the theme “Only the Brave”. Throughout the 5-days of celebration, they will be looking at different passages in order to piece together the different aspects of discipleship that are so crucial as we walk with God.
Here we introduce the Book of James both for those attending Spring Harvest and those who aren’t.
Straight away, the author identifies himself as James. It is believed he is the brother of Jesus and the leader of the Jerusalem Council since he is the most prominent of the four men called James mentioned in the Bible (apostle James died too early to be the author).
Jesus’ brothers are mentioned in Matthew 13:55, as James is mentioned first we can assume he is the eldest. Both James and his brothers doubted Jesus’ words and ministry (John 7:2-5).
However, James does go on to believe and becomes a prominent figure in the early church.
Jesus appears to him after his resurrection, Paul describes him as “pillar” of the Church (Galatians 2:9) and Jude describes himself simply as “the brother of James” (Jude 1:1), highlighting the sphere of his influence.
The book of James is found in the New Testament following Paul’s letters to the early Church. It is a short book of only 5 chapters. But he manages to squeeze a whole lot of teaching into a small space, exploring themes including:
Trials and Temptations (1:2-18)
Listening and doing (1:19-27)
Favouritism Forbidden (2:1-13)
Faith and Deeds (2:14-26)
Taming the Tongue (3:1-12)
Two Kinds of Wisdom (3:13-18)
Submit Yourselves to God (4:1-12)
Boasting about Tomorrow (4:13-17)
Warning to Rich Oppressors(5:1-6)
Patience in Suffering (5:7-12)
The Prayer of Faith (5:13-19)
He identifies in the opening of the book exactly who is writing to: “the twelve tribes scattered among the nations” (James 1:1) This could apply to all Christians but is most likely to apply to Jewish Christians.
At the time, the early Jewish Christians were under the threat of persecution and as a result, were tempted to compromise their Christian values. James wrote to encourage and challenge them, urging them to develop spiritual strength.
So whether you’re attending Spring Harvest, or not, this year why not open up the book of James and learn more about discipleship?
To find the official resources for this year’s Spring Harvest festival, as well as from this year’s speakers, head over to our Spring Harvest 2018 department.
March 13th, 2018 - Posted & Written by Laura White