Good day siblings in Christ,
Our Bible study group has just started a study on the Book of James. There wasn’t class last week, so if you are thinking of jumping in, we have only looked at chapter 1. We are studying James, not only because it is part of the lectionary this month, but because James was very different from Paul. Lots of people do not realize that even in the beginning, there was a split between more conservative/orthodox Jewish Jesus followers, who felt one should still follow the Torah and all the Biblical laws and a more liberal/non-orthodox group who were Jewish and Gentile Jesus followers.
When people think of the Bible, they sometimes think it is a unified voice, but one of the treasures is that multiple view points exist in it. James, for example, was one who felt new Jesus followers still needed to follow the Torah and the laws. Paul, on the other hand, felt that in order to allow for new followers to come in, Jesus followers needed to drop some of the orthodox ways of Judaism and form a new group since Abraham was not circumcised when he was called by God and was later circumcised when Judaism got its start. To Paul this meant Gentiles and Jewish people called to follow Christ both had the same promise. James would not agree with that.
Isn’t it funny that even in the beginning the divide between orthodox and liberal existed? If you are interested in more, we meet Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. and will do so for only a few more weeks before we take a break. You may join us in person on the lower level of the parish hall. Use the street-level entrance. A Zoom link was sent out by email for those who wish to join remotely. Contact me if you need the link.