Wednesday, May 09, 2012

James: Mercy Triumphs – Week Two – A Book Called James

Chairein! (Ky Rain)

Homework: Another terrific week of mining treasure from the Word of God. He is so wonderful to reveal all that He does in spite of how faithless I can be. This week, we talked about suffering, prayer, giving, temptation and God’s blessings. It’s quite a lot to process in only five days’ time. Especially since I’m memorizing the book of James and therefore reciting it several times each day, I am deeply impacted by different verses each time. And I’d like to chew on each piece a little bit longer. I suppose I’ll have to do this on my own when this study is done.

Melissa’s Articles: This week, Melissa wrote articles on “The Epistle of Jacob”, “Was James Married?” and “The Genre of James”. I am learning so much from these in-depth writings, but I know I’m not even wrapping my head around a fraction of what this beautiful sister in Christ has poured into it. I pray that the Lord will make this a permanent addition to Beth’s Bible study format to push women in Bible study to the next level.

By reading the article “The Epistle of Jacob,” I learned that I am a nerd who cares about tedium! Praise Jesus! I think it’s cool that the name “Jacob” became “James” at the battle of Hastings. Having Christ’s genealogy handy offers the information that James was probably named for his grandfather (as well as the patriarch Jacob). Scripture even record a couple stories about the custom of giving a child a family name. This article definitely raised several questions in my mind. It also made me wonder if the name made James a bit pious and contributed to his disbelief in his half-Brother’s identity.

“Was James Married?” According to 1 Corinthians 9:5, it is possible. Paul mentions in this passage that the Lord’s brothers were married as he talks about the leaders of the church. Four brothers are mentioned in scripture, but James is certainly of high rank in church leadership. Although I am a bit skeptical if the scholarly writings about him never bathing are true! Ick! Still, Melissa presents this speculation as evidence that even the smallest of verses of scripture can be packed with significance.

Before I read the article “The Genre of James,” I knew that the book of James was an epistle (letter). I also knew that it was wisdom literature. I’ve often heard the book of James referred to as the “Proverbs of the New Testament”. I could have surmised that James was a diaspora letter if I knew that such a thing was a legitimate genre. Now I do. Anyway, the opening verse addresses the letter to “the twelve tribes scattered among the nations.” Hello. Diaspora. And I learned a new word (and genre) “paraenesis,” which is advice or warning that includes the use of commands, moral examples and/or traditional materials. It also may include general applicability and/or a close relationship between the author and recipient(s).
Sounds a bit all-encompassing, doesn’t it? So, how does the analysis of genre affect my expectations as I read James? It’s a letter to believers sprinkled throughout foreign peoples that is full of wisdom, advice and warning. I will take it as a personal message from God to myself as I try to do with all of scripture. Beyond that, I’m not quite sure. I suppose that question is something worth pondering. After some research and reflection, I will approach James as a factual and straightforward word of advice for how to walk with God from a fellow believer.

Writing James: During the Video Segment this week, Beth had us write James 1:1, which I was able to do from memory. Praise Jesus! I wonder how long I will be able to stay ahead of this level of study through memorization. Oops. By the homework for day three, I was left in the dust! And my pages are filling up… So far, we’ve recorded James 1:1-18.

Memorizing James: In the Intro video last week, Beth suggested a time frame of about a month per chapter to memorize James. Since I have a theater background, my initial thought is to push to be “off book” by the end of the eight weeks of study. But I am flexible with whatever pace Jesus wants so that this will soak in and stay with me for life.

I’ve already asked my husband to test me when I’ve completed it and my BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) Group Leader has agreed to keep me accountable to this commitment as well. I am also quoting the book of James at pertinent moments during Sunday School.

As of the class meeting for week two of study, I have memorized James 1:1-14.

Video Segment: This week’s video left me in tears. If I cling to nothing else in this study, the truth I took home from this evening would be enough. Pain is meant to result in the birth of something beautiful! Hallelujah! Has your passion been born of your pain?

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