James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. (James 1:1 ESV)
If you have ever been to a Sunday morning worship service at Calvary you’ve heard Pastor Chris ask everyone to stand while he reads from the bible. When he asks us to stand, “out of honor for God’s Word,” he’s helping us to remember that the bible is different than any other book. The bible is God’s Word. It contains important information about who God is and how we are to respond.
Standing to hear the bible read should give us some comfort because we know that God speaks. We don’t have to guess and wonder about what sort of things please God or bring honor to Him… The bible tells us these things. Most importantly the bible helps us understand who God is, how He loves us and how we can have a relationship with Him.
God used special men to write down the bible. Most of the writers in the Old Testament are called Prophets. Most of the writers in the New Testament are called Apostles. James was a relative of Jesus, a leader in the church and an Apostle.
James writes the letter to the twelve tribes of the dispersion. The dispersion refers to the people of the nation of Israel who don’t live in Israel. Many of these people had heard about Jesus through friends and relatives or they were in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified, but they had recently fled across the world to escape persecution. They were very far away from their home.
James sends his greetings. He wants them to know that even though they are living all across the world and away from their home, they are not outcasts. They are loved by God. God has a message for them and the book of James is that message. He writes to give them encouragement, strength to face persecution. He writes with wisdom that comes from trusting in God.