They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!
Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. John stresses the importance of fellowshipping with fellow Christians and the acknowledgement and confession of sins John defines some of the main traits of true Christians: keeping the commandments Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. He tells how to determine if someone has the love of God Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
John again defines the love of God Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth, because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever:.
I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father. And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another. This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.
For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God.
He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. Having many things to write to you, I did not wish to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, who have borne witness of your love before the church.
The General Epistle of James
We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth. I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.
Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God. Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true. I had many things to write, but I do not wish to write to you with pen and ink; but I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face. Here is a brief outline:. Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. God, out of love and concern, has given us His Word, the Bible, to show the way out of troubles and hardships.
He promises to reward those who seek Him with their whole heart if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
It is up to each of us to respond and to seek the truth that leads to eternal life. Continue Reading. The themes of the General Epistles include faith, hope and love.
Who wrote the book?
The seven General Epistles are: James. Order of Christian attributes The apostle Paul gives three Christian virtues in And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. These are reflected in the themes of the General Epistles: James speaks of faith. Peter speaks of hope. John speaks of love. Background and overview of the book of James There is some debate over who wrote the book, as there are a number of men in the New Testament with the name James.
Purpose The scattered members were facing various trials and afflictions. After acknowledging their trials James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings. Chapter 3 Proper control of the tongue is important for spiritual growth , and James makes a distinction between worldly and godly wisdom Who is wise and understanding among you? Chapter 4 A number of subjects are covered, including the causes of war and conflicts.
Chapter 5 James gives warnings about the pitfalls of riches and tells readers not to place all hope and desires on earthly things. The book of 1 Peter is addressed to Christians located in the northeast corner of Asia Minor. Most of these people were gentiles with previous pagan backgrounds.
Summary of the Book of James
What an incredible inheritance is reserved for true Christians! Chapter 3 Peter emphasizes conduct within the marriage and family , followed by further instruction in Christian living Chapter 4 Peter gives further instruction on overcoming human weaknesses by applying biblical principles of behavior, such as heartfelt prayers But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. Chapter 5 Peter gives guidance and instruction for the elders, including a warning about their adversary, the devil Overview: 2 Peter Main themes: Warning against false ministers, who appear to be within the Church.
Remaining steadfast in the faith. Chapter 2 Peter gives warnings against false prophets and their ways of deception. Chapter 3 Christians must prepare and be ready for the return of Christ and be wary of mockers who scoff at His literal return. Overview: 1 John Internal evidence in 1 John indicates a division was developing within the Church. They were trying to entice the rest of the membership to join them These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you.
Certain verses indicate that John is writing to believers My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. Chapter 1 John stresses the importance of fellowshipping with fellow Christians and the acknowledgement and confession of sins Chapter 2 John defines some of the main traits of true Christians: keeping the commandments Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. Massebieau independently in and respectively arrived at the conclusion that and were later Christian interpolations, added to a strictly Jewish document.
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As ingenious as this suggestion is, it suffers several criticisms: 1 text-critically, the only evidence we have of James is as a Christian document. And since we have a plethora of evidence for the NT as a whole and even James is not lacking its witnesses , to argue that any NT book had a literary history radically different than what is now found in the better MSS is speculation at best. That is in this epistle points very clearly, it seems, to an inner-Christian discussion.
This suggests that the two verses originally went together. The epistle was patterned on the twelve patriarchs. That is, analogous to several Jewish pseudepigrapha such as the Testament of Adam, the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, etc. Thus the epistle was pseudepigraphical, but like several Jewish pseudepigrapha it would have been so understood and accepted.
The view was originally proposed by Arnold Meyer in There are three problems with this view, however. That this letter follows the latter practice seems decisive against the patriarchal view. The epistle incorporates some genuine material. A mediatorial position, most recently articulated by Davids though around for more than fifty years , is that the letter has gone through at least two stages, one containing authentic material from James the Just, the second stage being a reworking of the material for a later audience by an unknown editor.
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The hypothesis is quite simple: the epistle is very likely a two-stage work. If some real connection with James would have been generally recognized, why the need for this theory at all. This would only be true before the Pauline Hauptbriefe had been published and widely circulated. The only possible way for it to be true and be evidenced in the MSS is for it ff Corbeiensis to reflect the earlier edition, 57 but this Latin MS differs from Vaticanus B only 21 times and can hardly be supposed to go back to an Aramaic original due to its late date, translational nature, and otherwise derivative features [as seen in its text for other NT books].
And in light of the unanimous though admittedly not widespread patristic testimony for Jacobean authorship, 58 coupled with the lack of virtually any other view for the first eighteen centuries of the church, this is still the most plausible view. The date of this short epistle is intrinsically bound up with its authorship. It is our opinion that an early date best fits the evidence. There is no mention of the Gentile mission, nor of Gentiles being admitted into the church.
The simple church order viz. This very terminology implies in my mind, strongly an early period when Christianity was still very much regarded as a Jewish sect , confirming a date before 49 CE. The relation of Jas. If the author seems not to have had any exposure to Galatians or Romans, the most satisfactory reason for this is that neither Pauline epistle had yet been written. Hence, a date no later than 49 CE.
Admittedly, each individual argument may not be extremely weighty in itself. But the cumulative effect argues for a date no later than 49 CE. If this is true, then a date no earlier than 44 CE—and probably not much later—would be most fitting. It is our tentative conclusion that James was written, therefore, c. Evidence for an early date and Jacobean authorship also supports the probability that the addressees were Jewish Christians.
In addition, there are other lines of evidence which support a Jewish Christian audience, two of which are as follows. However, in the NT it can refer to Christians 1 Peter Two questions still need to be asked: where? The dispersed believers would, of course, be located outside of Jerusalem and perhaps Judea. More than this cannot be said with certainty. At the same time, the difficulty in getting a letter to such a widely diffused audience seems to argue for a Palestinian dispersion.
The Jewish Christian communities may have been established due to the first persecution, and their numbers strengthened due to the second. If so, then there is no compelling reason to argue for a non-Palestinian audience for James. There are four circumstances hinted at in the letter which are particularly noteworthy. Jewish Background. Davids points out that. In pre Palestine, then, and to a large extent in post as well, one finds a cultural situation in which the majority of the population consists of peasants subsisting on a small plot of land.
The size of their plots and conditions favoring a growing population forced all males but the eldest son into trade if they were lucky or unskilled labor. Indeed, it was more than likely because of their poverty, combined with their Christian conviction, that they were oppressed. As Davids declares,. One can picture what this situation did to the church in Palestine. On the one hand, the church naturally felt resentment against the rich. On the other hand, if a wealthy person entered the church or was a member, there would be every reason to court him.
Where are we?
His money was seen as a means of survival. Certainly one should not offend him.
Further, their inappropriate response to the oppression, rather than the oppression itself, is what James condemns, pointing out that they should seek in such circumstances the wisdom and gifts of God. In this James affirms a principle seen elsewhere in scripture: what makes a man of God is not a natural response to a favorable condition, but a proper response to any condition.
It is not the circumstances but the response to the circumstances which produces character. The subsequent diaspora raised the need for correspondence; the reason for the diaspora shaped its contents. The trials these believers were facing would need to be addressed. Rather than understanding the slogan himself, though, James simply sought to show how their application of it made them no better off than demons! The general immaturity of these believers, as evidenced already in their inappropriate responses to trials, the rich and the poor, would help James to fill out the letter with other paraenetic advice.
James, The General Epistle of Definition and Meaning - Bible Dictionary
Many pockets of immaturity would have surfaced because of the persecution and famine, though certainly some had already been evident beforehand. James emphasizes a faith which is productive in the midst of trials. After this very brief greeting, James is no longer concerned with niceties: the rest of the letter is body—i. The body has three main parts: enduring trials , applying the Word — , and witnessing to divine providence before the world — Each section begins with a summary, followed by specific details which, to some degree, retrace the summary points in chiastic fashion.
But the chiastic pattern is not perfect, for like any good preacher James is more concerned to get his message across and he will not allow an artificial structure to get in the way. In some ways, the argument could be traced via expanding concentric circles many, for example, see as the key to the outline , but this produces less satisfactory results than the approach we have taken. In the first main section, James speaks about enduring trials The key is that to endure trials one must look upward, not outward.
James then develops these points in chiastic order. First, the one who doubts is unstable and will receive nothing from the Lord Second, since God is the giver of all good things, if he has not given the believer wealth, he has given him something else: character Third, the one who perseveres in his faith in spite of the circumstances will be blessed and rewarded with the crown of life Finally, the believer ought never to blame God for his temptations or trials , but instead should thank him for his goodness and sovereign care The second major section deals with faith as it works out within the community.
The mishandling of trials by believers not only does nothing for their faith in God; it also negatively affects the Christian community. James begins with a summary statement in which he articulates four elements of the obedience of faith: 1 obedient faith is not quick-tempered ; 2 obedient faith is not passive ; 3 obedient faith involves a tight rein on the tongue ; and 4 obedient faith is impartial in that it even helps widows and orphans—that is, those who cannot repay James then develops these themes in roughly chiastic order.
First, he addresses the sin of partiality: rather than helping the downtrodden, his audience has been catering to the rich James paints a hypothetical situation of two men entering the church, one poor and one rich, in which the church shows partiality Second, James now turns to the issue of passivity vs. James can be broken down into three sections: one illustration vv.
This is the clearest statement against the Pauline slogan of sole fide cf. James concludes with an analogy which ought not to be made to walk on all fours: a dead faith is surely the same as a faith which never was alive. Two sections are thus implicitly linked together: faith and works and faith and words. Lest his audience think that an obedient faith is obedient only in what it does , James follows this up: faith is also obedient in what it says He begins, in typical Jewish fashion, with an ad maior a minor argument from the greater to the lesser. Even teachers need to control their tongues ; hence, one whose tongue is kept in check is a mature man Then James launches into a series of analogies.
Second, it is ironic that even though human beings have tamed all kinds of animals, we cannot tame our own tongues Third, it is just as inconsistent for the tongue to praise God and curse men as it is for fresh and salt water to come from the same spring or the same tree to produce two different kinds of fruit Fourth, James concludes this second major section with a note on the wisdom of obedience This paragraph beautifully caps the second section: just as faith must be impartial, and productive in deed and word, it must also be wise.
Thus James uses wisdom as a character goal which comes about by the lack of bitterness, envy and selfishness—all outgrowths of anger ; indeed, the proper kind of wisdom is from heaven cf. Without any transitional conjunction typical of James , the author begins his third major section: the exercise of faith before a watching world — In this section he completes a trilogy: faith directed toward God , faith applied in the community — , and faith before the world — He characteristically begins with a summary statement on the reward of faith cf. James then fills out this summary section with specifics, though the order here is not chiastic.
First, he urges the believers to avoid worldly influences — This involves three things: 1 Do not judge one another, for only God is judge. In this paragraph James reveals a motif which he has been shaping throughout his epistle: judging is showing favoritism in fact, it is like what the rich do to the believers  , judging is employing an uncontrolled tongue , and judging is the opposite of humility The rebuke is fraught with eschatological overtones, giving great earnestness to the warning.
Second, James now turns to the oppressed share cropper and implores him to be patient A patient faith refrains from judging ; cf. In the final part of this third major section of the epistle, James gives admonition about believing prayer Second, he gives the biblical illustration of Elijah as a man of faith Third, he reminds the believers of their mutual responsibility toward each other It is fitting for James to conclude his epistle on the prayer of faith for this once again brings the focus directly on God.
He began his epistle with this theme and now concludes it the same way. Ultimately, a belief that behaves cannot be such a belief unless there is a God who shows grace. Applying the Word: Faith Within the Church — Hypothetical Situation: Impoverished Believer in your Midst Witnessing to Divine Providence — Jude 1 is to be distinguished from James the brother of Jesus Gal. Martin does not mention the seventh James. Against the notion of pseudepigraphy, we need only mention that the very ambiguity of mitigates any attempt at deception for a pseudepigraphical writer would certainly make a better effort at identifying which James he was attempting to emulate.
Nevertheless, we should guard ourselves against the overly facile assumption that the authors of all the NT books must be well known or mentioned elsewhere within the pages of the canon. In other words, the brother of the Lord was known, from early on, merely as James in both Pauline and non-Pauline circles. This was never true of James the son of Zebedee. This fact probably suggests that James is writing during the oral period, before the Gospels were penned.
This probably indicates that James came from the circle s as did Matthew, nothing more. Indeed, some scholars e. Aland, B. Mayor, James , li-lxiii; Davids, 9. James and Revelation would least fit the criteria of such supply and demand; it is no wonder then that they are the least copied books of the New Testament.
Edinburgh: T. Clark, , Attempts to find a Semitic Vorlage behind any document individual dominical sayings being the lone exception have all fallen shipwreck on the rocks of early textual evidence. On the other hand, we are not prepared to argue that Aramaic was unknown, or that it was not the primary language of some of the writers of the NT. By analogy, growing up in southern California, less than one hundred miles from Mexico, several of my friends knew Spanish quite well. Their knowledge had nothing to do with learning the language in school which we all did.
It had everything to do with their immediate contacts. I wholeheartedly reject the second assumption, and even have my doubts about the first. It is almost self-evident that Luke did not care to rid or was not conscious of all the Semitisms which were in his source in these first two chapters. In Gal. Therefore, Gal. But in the early decades before the war with Rome, the wealthy were either the religious aristocracy, wealthy landowners, or merchants—all of whom had long-time associations with avarice and greed cf.
Martin, lxxxv. To some degree, James may well be drawing a caricature of the wealthy, somewhat similar to the modern American caricature of lawyers and doctors. And if so, did they not have a faith which was alive? If so, why are they not saved? Still, he argues that James is behind the work. It should be noted in passing that although after 70 CE there were peasant farmers in Palestine, there are virtually no wealthy landowners so Guthrie, All attempts to find a tight organizational scheme are doomed to failure. Jacques , , though it has been extensively modified.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that James is notoriously difficult to outline, as it is both an occasional epistle and virtually NT wisdom literature. Any outline, therefore, is somewhat artificial. Questions About the Old Testament Law. Is it okay to involve an unbeliever in church ministry? What Denomination Does Bible. Psalms Of Kindness. Introduction A.