The Scandal of partiality in the Epistle of James

Part 4: The theological thrust of James

The phrase: ‘action speaks louder than words,’ finds an appropriate denotation with regards to the epistles theological and moral vision. As it seems to accentuate the concept of working faith that is animated by love that which is a feeling that begs to be expressed, as it gains personality in action, and like in all things that is put in reference to love: actions speak louder than words.

For James, the reception of God’s implanted word is not sufficient for it is in responding in action, that is to heed what it says that James seems to put extra weight on that is why he calls them to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only” (1:22) for doing and hearing are two different and yet related actions for one can hear and yet be passive thus according to James is mere self-deception. Using the analogy of a man facing a mirror James speaks of what can be seen as the goal of receiving the word: transformation!

This transformation that we speak of is that which results in pure what James calls as pure and undefiled religion that manifests itself in the ministry of: visiting orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.(1:27)

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