The New Testament is a legal document that, as such there should be an abstract, a brief statement that contains the most important points of a long legal document or of several related legal papers. It is like the skeleton to the body.
That document would be invaluable in understanding how all the other books fit together.
I argue that the book of James is the abstract to the NT.
James gives you the very short overall summary of what the Christian life is.
The first objection to this book is that it is written to the 12 tribes in the dispersion, an Old testament term. However, the entire book is written to those who wander from the truth, it begins with Jews who are scattered like sheep after the shepherd has been smitten, and it ends with James saying "whoever wanders from the truth". To answer this objection I use the book of Galatians and show how Paul is basically doing the same thing James did except that James was writing to Jews that had wandered from the truth and Paul is writing to Gentiles who are wandering from the truth.
The second big point in this book is two references to us being blessed. There is a promised blessing in James but it takes the entire book of Ephesians to explain in detail what this promised blessing is. Ephesians starts by telling us "blessed be God who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenliness" then in the six chapters Paul explains the New Covenant reality the seven blessings given to Abraham that are to us.
The third major point is James word to "count it all joy". It is very difficult when going through trials and sufferings and sorrows to "count it all joy". How can we do that? Paul goes into great detail on this point in the book of Philippians.
The fourth major point in the book of James is that we are not merely hearers of the word but doers. What does this mean? You need to know God's will, have spiritual understanding, to walk worthily, much less bear fruit in every good deed. You could never do this if you weren't made an heir of the inheritance of the saints in the light. This is the focus of the book of Colossians. Otherwise our doing would simply be good works, and not works of faith.
To be continued...
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