Daily Archives: September 8, 2017

Through the Bible, September 8

Reading:  James 1-2

Summary:  James, likely the brother of Jesus and the one identified in Acts as an elder in the Jerusalem congregation (Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18), identifies himself only as a servant of both God and the Lord Jesus Christ. He addresses his letter to “the twelve tribes in the Dispersion” (1:1).  As mentioned previously, the contents of this letter are exceedingly practical for matters of Christian living.  In these two chapters it speaks to rejoicing in trials, doing—not just hearing—God’s word, favoritism in the assembly, and the relationship of faith and works.

Devotional Thought:

The Birds and the Bees

No one knows for sure the origins of the euphemistic phrase that evades direct reference to the biological processes of reproduction.  Maybe, as some suggest, it’s just that the natural world around us provide a more comfortable context to address the sensitive subject.

Minus the euphemism, Scripture uses the same biology to help us understand both sin and salvation.  James 1 has two such occurrences.  First of all, don’t blame God for the presence of sin.  Because of God’s absolutely pure and holy nature, He can have nothing to do with sin, much less entice man to engage in it (Jas. 1:13).  Instead, Satan uses our own desires to lure and entice us.  When we act upon those temptations, that is the conception from which sin is born.  To take it a bit further, if this newly birthed entity is allowed to mature, the consequence is death (Jas. 1:14-15).

Second, and in deliberate contrast to the first, the will of God results in His giving us birth (James 1:18; ESV.  This the meaning of the phrase “brought us forth” NKJV, NASB).

We’ve got to understand spiritual biology.  Satan uses our own desires against us, and if allowed to reach his desired end, it is death.  On the other hand, it is only by the exercise of God’s divine will in my life that I am born, and that “by the word of truth.”

This language surely reminds us of other language in Scripture; the idea of being “born again” and being God’s “child.”

We cannot afford to misunderstand Bible “birds and bees”.

September Week 2 Bible Reading Introduction

Week 2: The Gospel Spreads (James, Acts 13-20)

September 8-14

The epistle of James is widely recognized as one of the earliest New Testament books written, some believing it to be the very first—others suggest Galatians or 1 Thessalonians.  It likely was not written as early as prior to Paul’s first missionary journey, of which we’ll read the last part of this week, but this is a good place to insert the reading of this letter.  Moving from chapters 12 to 13 in Acts marks a significant transition in the emphasis of the book.

The book of James likely bears the name of Jesus’ brother, who plays a prominent role in the life of the early church in Jerusalem.  The book of James has been called the “Proverbs of the New Testament” or the “practical Gospel.”  Unquestionably it affords great benefit to the Christian with very practical instruction in Christian living.

The reading from Acts for this week covers all of Paul’s missionary journeys, that is, the three prior to his ultimate arrest in Jerusalem and first Roman imprisonment (with which the book of Acts concludes).  Several of Paul’s letters are based on this time of his ministry and will be the subject of the readings for the remainder of this month as well as October.