Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tonight I did something that I have never done before while teaching. I did a "Jet Tour" through the book of James tonight at church and I began the study by reading the whole book. Reading it slowly and dramatically, it took me almost fifteen minutes exactly to read it in its entirety. I loved it! Here is why I chose to do this and here is why I believe it was beneficial:

First of all, the practicality of the length of James is much easier to read than, say, Romans or Matthew or Hebrews (though this could [and should!] be done also). So, to read all five chapters of James will take about 15 minutes.

Second, this is, I believe, how the letter of James was intended to be read. Of course we know there were no chapter divisions when James wrote it. I don't think that in the early church they said, let's open up to James chapter 1:2 and we're going to do an exposition on two verses (though I'm sure there were some studies of this nature). I think, for the most part, the letter of James (like those of Paul to churches and to individuals) were written with the intention of being read in one sitting in its entirety.

Third, it showed my hearers that the book of James is a unit. Not a bunch of randomly selected verses that were clumped together in this big (and hard to understand!) book that we call "Holy Bible." Rather, in reading the whole letter, it is clear that James has a theme that is interwoven through the letter. His wordplays, his word pictures, his proverbial sayings all are seen with greater understanding when observing the whole context contained in all five chapters.

Fourth, it tremendously increases conviction upon the hearers when they hear the whole book and all the practical commands and the reality of - if they are truly honest - their inability and inconsistency of keeping all the commands contained in the book.

So, with those brief four comments said, I found teaching the whole book of James tonight as very profitable and fun!

James 5:7-9 7 Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

5 comments:

Dad said...

Geoff, this is an excellent way to approach the Scriptures.

You are right, the NT letters were originally heard in their entirety and we gain much from seeing them in this way.

Many years ago, when I was asked to teach 2 Timothy, I memorized the book and presented it to the class in that way. It affected me in many ways, niot the least of which was learning the book in a very intimate way.

May your love for God's Word and your passion for teaching it continue to grow and be used of God to feed the sheep and glorify the true Shepherd.

Love,

Dad

geoffrey kirkland said...

Thanks dad.

Much love to you. Looking forward to seeing you guys in a few weeks! :=)

Anonymous said...

Geoff, I am envious of your hearers last night! What a wonderful way to approach the Scriptures!
Love you!

MOM said...

It wasn't meant to be anonymous. It was me, MOM!

Oneida said...

Keep up the good work.

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