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Thursday, July 18, 2002
- Ramblings on James -
Not a great week when it comes to keeping this thing updated.

I'm reading James right now and trying to outline it into a more logical fashion - I don't know if I'm being dense or if the flow of information is slightly confusing. (The outline can be found
here .)

Right now, I am just writing out my preliminary ideas, which will not be well researched. My first goal is to process the book. After this I will go back to the beginning and begin to chew on things.

It seems like the first chapter contains three themes besides the opening greeting: endurance through trials, an explanation the "why" of trials, and how a believer is supposed to live (This continues into chapter two, so I won't go into this during this post).

The main gist of the first theme is that we should suffer our trials joyfully for two reasons: (1) the trials produce endurance and (2) by enduring our earthly trials, we will be made complete and will one day be rewarded with the crown of life. I don't think this means to be a sort of transcendentalist philosophy (perfect yourself and find reward) - instead, I think James is exhorting us to look beyond all the things that surround us daily. Similar to his warnings to both the rich and the poor to think neither to highly or lowly of ourselves, I think the main point here - though not stated implicitly - is to keep our eyes firmly focused on the now empty cross and that the rest of our lives should become secondary to this one hope. James even begins the letter by declaring himself a "bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ" just to prove the point.

Next, James goes into a second theme of defining where these trials originate so that we would not be foolish and blame God for causing us to suffer mercilessly. Things tempt us and then we find these things to be more attractive than our Redeemer who has drawn us to himself and then we fall once again into sin. It is our own undoing. On the other hand, God the Father constantly gives us good and perfect gifts - though this may by providing for our needs for or by disciplining us, joyful gifts or painful gifts, it is all done unselfishly for our own good so that we would be a "first fruit" among the rest of creation.

This is all I plan to go into today. I post the next section as soon as I work it out.

posted by Jamie 1:12 PM

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