James 1:1 - 27
ESV - 1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.
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To me, the main theme or purpose of the book of James is discussion of the practical hallmarks that characterize true Christianity, in contrast to beliefs or behaviors that are not indicative of saving faith. This theme is summarized in James 1:22 ("But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."). Specifically: True religion endures trials and temptations (James 1:2-18) -- with joy and patience (James 1:2-4) -- with wisdom from God (James 1:5-8) -- with a proper perspective (James 1:9-11) -- with an understanding of temptation (James 1:12-15) -- with an awareness of the Father's goodness (James 1:16-18) True religion consists of doing, not just hearing (James 1:19-2:26) -- One should be swift to hear (James 1:19-20) -- One should not be a hearer only, but a doer (James 1:21-27) -- One should not show personal favoritism (James 2:1-13) -- One should show their faith by their works (James 2:14-26) True religion displays wisdom, not just speaking (James 3:1-18) -- Danger of the tongue (James 3:1-12) -- Difference between heavenly and earthly wisdom (James 3:13-18) True religion befriends God through humility (James 4:1-17) -- How to be an enemy of God (James 4:1-6) -- How to draw near to God (James 4:7-17) True religion is blessed through patience, prayer, and love (James 5:1-20) -- The curse of rich oppressors (James 5:1-6) -- The blessing of patience (James 5:7-12) -- The blessing of prayer (James 5:13-18) -- The blessing of love for the erring (James 5:19-20)
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