At this time, about 30 years after Jesus had returned to heaven from earth, Luke recorded his testimony of the good news of Jesus, which recounts key events in the life and ministry of Jesus on the earth (324). Luke seems to have consulted many sources in preparing this testimony — including Peter, Paul & Mary.
Luke later recorded the acts of the Holy Spirit working through the apostles to spread the good news about Jesus into Asia & Europe. He may also have served as pastor of the Philippian church for a time.
The inspired scriptures indicate that James was a close relative of Jesus. Like most people, James didn’t realize that Jesus was the son of God until after he had been raised from death. Then, James believed & became a strong witness for Jesus. Eventually, he became a prominent leader of the Jerusalem church.
About 30 years after Jesus had returned to heaven, James wrote this letter of encouragement & instruction to Jewish Christians who had been dispersed from Judea to many foreign lands (325). Some students of the inspired scriptures believe that James wrote his letter 20 years earlier, before the Jerusalem Council. Either way, it’s likely that this letter was copied & used in Christian churches in many different places.
James fills his letter with practical insights for Christian living, including the following:
- God allows troubles to come our way – primarily to make us stronger & to help us grow up as Christians. But we must choose to let God make us better (not bitter) through the troubles he allows in our lives.
- Faith — that God will answer with perfect wisdom — is the key to asking for & receiving godly wisdom. When we ask without faith, we remain without wisdom.
- When temptation to sin rises from within, consider life above — which God promises in love.
- We should desire only those gifts that God wants for us, never those things that we want only for ourselves. For example, we should hide the gift of God’s word in our hearts, so it can be the engine that drives our lives.
- It’s not enough to hear or even to memorize God’s teachings from the inspired scriptures. It’s equally essential to do what God teaches. Faith without obedience is meaningless & worthless. (Conversely, obedience without faith is equally meaningless & worthless.)
- We are called to love, freely & completely, anyone else who also loves Jesus, freely & completely – without any partiality as to sex, race, nationality, age, occupation, income, residence, or denomination.
(324) Luke’s testimony of Jesus is incorporated into previous posts on this site.
(325) James 1-2