Word of the Week | James 1:1 | Part One
Word of the Week | James 1:1 | Part One
Welcome to our new weekly segment on our blog, “Word of the Week.” In these articles, we’ll dive into a single biblical verse, exploring its meaning and relevance to our lives today. We hope to offer insightful reflections and practical applications that will deepen your understanding of Scripture. The goal of this is not to puff you up with knowledge, but to help you learn to grow and share your growth with your family, friends, and anyone else who crosses your path.
We are going to begin our “Word of the Week” segment by focusing on the letter we call “The Epistle of James.”
Are you ready? Let’s get our zealous on!
“What a difference it would make if all God’s people could get hold of the techniques and principles necessary for the cultivation of their own spiritual nourishment.” 1
F.O.L.L.O.W. CHRIST | The Acronym We Will Use In Our “Word of the Week” Segments
To keep our posts on the shorter side, we are going to focus on a single verse of Scripture each week. However, to help you and other learn methods of proper biblical interpretation, we are going to use a verse by verse method. We are going to use an acronym to guide our study so that we can grow as disciple who truly learn to follow Christ. That Acronym is “F.O.L.L.O.W.” Don’t worry, we will explain it to you along the way and as we use it verse by verse, you will see its power as a guide to our study and growth. For the first few weeks, we will teach you how to use the acronym two letters at a time. Today we are going to look at the first two.
The F in F.O.L.L.O.W. stands for FOCUS.
Before we approach God’s Holy Word, we should pause and focus on the journey ahead of us. It is a good practice to remind ourselves that we aren’t studying for study’s sake. We are studying to show ourselves approved. Every time we study the Bible, we should begin by approaching God and asking for enlightening and wisdom. Wisdom that helps us to know Him more and to serve Him more faithfully.
Now would be a great opportunity to pause and spend a few minutes praying to God and asking for a distraction free period with Him. Ask Him to impart lessons that will help you ignite a stunning zeal that you can shine before others as you live, glorifying Christ. Consider the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 119:18:
18 “Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law.”
Psalm 119:18 (NASB)
Pause for a few moments and seek the Lord’s guidance. Ask for the Holy Spirit to illuminate His Word before you so that you can hear what the Lord is saying.
The O in F.O.L.L.O.W. stands for OBSERVE.
The next step is to dive into God’s word with a prayerful heart. We recommend reading over a particular verse at least twice in at least four different translations of Scripture. We will use the ESV, the NKJV, the NASB, and the NLT. So let’s look at our scripture.
As you read, record observations about things that stand out to you.
- What do you see?
- What is the most important word or words in this verse? Is there a word that really defines and drives the sentence?
- Ask the questions, “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “how.”
- Also, see if the verse connects or outlines what you are reading throughout the passage that you are in.
Okay, let’s put it to work.
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.
James 1:1 (ESV)
1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.
James 1:1 (NKJV)
1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
James 1:1 (NASB)
1 This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to the “twelve tribes”—Jewish believers scattered abroad. Greetings!
James 1:1 (NLT)
What do we see?
We see that someone named James wrote this epistle (letter). He is writing to twelve tribes scattered abroad. He claims to be a bondservant/servant/slave of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is the most important word or words in the verse?
This verse gives us five words that are very important to help us understand the letter. The four words and the reasons they are important are:
- James – Who is he?
- Bondservant/servant/slave – What does he mean?
- Twelve Tribes – Who are they?
- Dispersion/dispersed/scattered – What does this mean?
- Greetings – How should we read this writing?
Our observations can direct us into areas where further study will help us understand the meaning and importance of any verse of Scripture. The overall observations point to a clear introduction of a letter to a group of believers in Christ who have been scattered abroad. In our next article, we will dig more into answering the questions that our observations have opened before us.
In future weeks, we will use this same verse to complete our acronym and lay out a foundation for us to build upon. After we have completed this introductory process, we will move more quickly through this process by covering a separate verse each week. We will make full use of the entire acronym each week. At the end of these introductory lessons, we will provide you with a PDF file that will contain a printable guide to help you walk through these steps on your own. We are excited to help you learn to dig more thoroughly into the word of God. See you next week! Until then, be zealous.
Are you ready to build a zealous home? Let us help you ignite a stunning zeal for your sensational journey today!
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1 Swindoll, Chuck. “Foreword.” In Living by the Book: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible, p. 8. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2007.
- Word of the Week | James 1:1 | Part One - June 21, 2023
- Exploring the Profound Nature of Pastoral Ministry - June 16, 2023
- Lessons on Zealous Living Learned in the Garden! Part Four - May 20, 2023