Read 354.) the 5 chapters of James and the sole chapter of Jude. There are 7 general epistles, and we look at 2 of them today. Each of these were written by a half-brother of the Lord. The letter from James is distinctively Jewish and imminently practical, not touching upon great theological themes, it delves deep into true religion, faith and wisdom. From the first chapter we learn of the nature of our trials and temptations, and how we can meet them with faith and experience joy. Beginning with verse 19, we have instruction pertaining to our conduct, and the most natural things as listening and doing, 1:22. Chapter 2 goes to the matter of showing favoritism, and simply instructs us not to, 2:1. And, verse 10 is famous for how that we may use The 10 Commandments for explaining how that one is a sinner, in need of God’s free salvation. Have you lied; you broke the 9th Commandment. Have you taken what isn’t yours; you have broken the 8th. Have you lusted after another; you have committed adultery in your heart and broken the 7th. Have you cursed, sworn or blasphemed; you have broken the 3rd… and, to have broken any brings the same judgment as if you had broken them all! The chapter closes with verses 14 thru 26 about the relationship of faith to good deeds. True faith will generate good deeds, 2:17+26.
Chapter 3 then takes us all to task about our tongue and speech; and he doesn’t go easy on us, 3:1-12! To the end of the chapter, James teaches of 2 kinds of wisdom, heavenly and earthly. With the 4th chapter, James warns against worldliness, and contains the wonderful promise of verses 7+8, about submitting to and drawing near to God, that He might come near to each of us. The final chapter contains a warning to the wealthy, 5:1-6, and some final exhortations; such as to patience, 5:7-11, swearing oaths, 5:12, and about prayer, 5:13-18. James closes on a pastoral note, encouraging us to seek to recover those who fall away, 5:19+20.
With the 25 verses of the one chapter of Jude, we read that he wanted to write of salvation, but saw a necessity to address the matter of false teachers and their perversions instead, v.3+4. With that in mind, verses 5 thru 16 take these to strong task, contending for the faith, and showing them no mercy; firm, but very gentle, by the standard of that time, as Paul put it in II Tim.2:24-26. Jude then seeks to build up believers to persevere in the truth, v.17-23, and closes with a glorious doxology, v.24+25. It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell