😄 James 1:2-3 | "Count it all joy..."

Book context, a prayer and reading to set the tone, PLUS a song to help you meditate..

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Happy Monday! He is risen! ✝️ 🎉 

If this is your first verse with us, welcome! This week, we’re memorizing James 1:2-3!

📧 In today’s email…

  • 🤓 Background context on the book of James

  • 🤝 4 reasons to trust James

  • 🙏 A prayer and reading to set the tone for the week

  • 🎵 A song to help you meditate and memorize this week

Let’s dig in…

 🧠 Memorize

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

James 1:2-3

(Use our free web app to help you memorize in your favorite translation. Instructions to set it up are at the bottom of this email.)

Book & Cultural Context: James ✍️ 

  • Author: James, but which one?

    • Among the twelve disciples, there were two different men named James (Matthew 10:2-3)

    • James, the son of Zebedee (unlikely because he was martyred so soon) 🚫

    • James, the son of Alphaeus (unlikely because he was so obscure) 🚫

    • Most likely, though, it was James the half-brother of Jesus

      • This James became a chief elder of the Jerusalem church (Galatians 1:19; 2:9) and a major spokesperson for the church in and around Jerusalem, and potentially around all of Israel (Acts 15)

  • Original Audience: James wrote to mostly poor Jewish-Christian churches “scattered among the nations” - perhaps in nearby Syria or Palestine.

    • They were experiencing difficulties and trials, both external to and internally within the church

    • They were likely day-laborers and farmhands that were hired daily, but defrauded and discriminated against by wealthy landlords

  • When: ~45-50 AD

    • Scholars believe that James is potentially the earliest Christian document we have in the New Testament!

4 Reasons You Can Trust James 🗝

James led the Jerusalem church through great persecution 🔥

  • In the early days of the church in Jerusalem, things were HARD.

    • Peter and the apostles were beaten and charged to stop preaching (Acts 5:40) 

    • Stephen was stoned to death for preaching (Acts 7:58-59)

    • Saul was “ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison” (Acts 8:3)

    • There was a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and the believers were scattered (Acts 8:2) - but in all of this, James stayed in Jerusalem and led the church faithfully.

    • So he knows about the “trials of various kinds” of which he speaks!

James has been humbled 🙇🏽‍♂️

  • James initially got it wrong - he likely did not believe that Jesus, his own half-brother, was the Messiah during his ministry (John 7:5)

  • So when Jesus appeared to James after his resurrection (1 Cor 15:7), his world changed completely and he became new man with a new purpose: to help people get it right and follow Jesus faithfully

James was a godly man 🐫

  • Church historians detail that James knelt on his knees in the temple to pray so much that they became hard like a camel’s knees

  • James knows what it takes to remain steadfast 🙏🏼

James doesn’t pull punches! 👊🏽

  • Because of all this, James will tell you like it is!

  • If he has advice that can help you (and he does), he’ll lay it on you. We’ll see examples of that tomorrow!

Apply & respond: A prayer and reading for the week 📖 

Consider this as you memorize James 1:2-3 this week:

The culture around us (especially in America) would have us believe that we can only be happy when life is easy and things are going well.

In contrast, James links trials with joy.

Pray 🙏 

Lord, as I memorize James 1:2-3 this week, help me connect with the deep sense of joy available in the midst of hard times.

Please speak to me through your Word. Show me what work you want to do in my heart. Amen.

Read 📖 

Read James 1 slowly, preparing your heart to be worked on this week.

🍽️ Bonus: Read it out loud at your dinner table with family or friends.

Listen 🎵 

Ever wonder why you can remember lyrics from a song you haven’t heard in 20 years? What if we could use that to help us memorize Scripture?

Occasionally, there are songs we find that can help us soak in the verse we’re memorizing.

Here is one based on James 1:2-3.

You can click below to listen to Perseverance (Consider it Joy) on Spotify to help you meditate on this passage this week! (or click here to listen on Apple music)

See you in your inbox tomorrow as we dig deeper into James 1:2-3!

Have a great week! 👋 


Isaac (left) and Kieran (right)

p.s. just for fun…


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