Another term of Let’s Do Theology is coming to a close on Sunday, and James has taken up residence on the corner of my desk. As I transition from teaching theology to leading women through inductive Bible study, I am reminded of the transformative power of the Word of God. It is a privilege that we have as english speaking Christians to hear the voice of God in print, fully understandable in our language. It is both good and right that women would take opportunities to study the Bible in community.
Not only is God’s Word transformative, it is also authoritative, inerrant, and sufficient. The Bible is more than a mere history book filled with facts and figures. Its revelation has an overarching theme from cover to cover with harmonious truths that reach out to the very souls of men. The Bible acquaints us with the mind of God, his ways and his desires for us, and by way of God’s Holy Spirit the Word does the work of heart and life change.
So, why James? We will study James to examine the relationship between faith and works and to explore the impact of our faith on life in this world. It seems that some who’ve read the works of Paul have many times believed James is contradictory regarding faith and works. Yet, it is true that Scripture interprets Scripture – When one believes there is contradiction, she should work for resolve. I would contend that although there might have been some tension within the details of the teachings, there is confirmation of justification and the working out of our salvation with both writers.
James addresses many practical issues and we will ask ourselves: What do I do during times of trials and temptations? Am I prone to fix my eyes on the circumstances and miss what God has in store? In the midst of temptations, am I prone to be dragged away and enticed by desires that are at the core of my life? We will be reminded to not believe Satan’s lies in the midst of trials or temptations and instead, remember that God is so very good and wants that which would be good for us! James teaches that we can trust the God of salvation in our trials and turn to Him in our temptations. He alone is the source of everything good.
It is my prayer that the key verse of James (1:22), “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves,” will come to us with fresh significance. And when the six-week study concludes, each woman will walk away having honored God with her time and intentions.