Oct 24, 2009

God in the Book of James

I am currently working on a paper that I will deliver at this year’s Evangelical Theological Society meeting on the doctrine of God in the Book of James. On this topic, Craig Blomberg and Mariam Kamell write:

“It seems strange to put God so far down on a list of James’ doctrines [see this post for the list], arranged in roughly descending order of important. Doubtless, belief in Yahweh is a fundamental presupposition for James, but God is not as central or direct a focus for doctrinal reflection in this letter as the six preceding themes. Nevertheless, James teaches us that God dispenses wisdom (1:5) and reward (1:12). He cannot do evil but only good (1:13–18). He chooses those who turn to him as their only hope (2:5). He is one, both in his existence as the only true God and in his unwavering constancy (2:19). God is Creator and Redeemer (1:17-18), Lawgiver and Judge (4:12), compassionate and merciful (5:11). His righteousness requires us to be righteous (1:20), but this can be accomplished only by faith (2:23). He embraces those who humble themselves before him while he resists the proud (4:4–8). He may be viewed as a benefactor (one who gives freely and graciously) but not as a patron (requiring reciprocity). He is father (3:9), not in any authoritarian sense but as a nurturer of widows and orphans, a caregiver to the most dispossessed (1:27).”

Craig Blomberg and Mariam Kamell, James, Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), 259–60.

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