Having set the stage in his introduction, James now turns to discuss one of the major themes he has introduced, that of wealth and charity. A discussion that expands on the previous statements in 1:9-11 and 1:22-27. Following James’ theme of responding to God’s implanted word in action in the previous chapter (1:22-25), the author now starts situate the behavioural patterns that ought to be manifested by his brothers and co-servants who have received the word. He does so with the emphasis of practicing equality within the church, as James clearly believes that the poor have a very important place in the church because of the levelling effect of the Christian gospel, to which he argues that true faith has no place for the social distinction of the world.
A summary of Gordon Fee’s Exegesis and Spirituality: Completing the Circle, an excerpt from Listening to the Spirit in the Text
To paraphrase the words of Gordon Fee: ‘The ultimate task of exegesis is spirituality,’ as he proposes the need for an interface between exegesis and spirituality which can be found in between the historical exercise of digging out the original intent of the text and the experience of hearing the text in the present terms of both its presupposed and intentional spirituality.
Accordingly if the goal of exegesis is spirituality it is crucial now for us to ask what spirituality is in the first place –for it is in framing it into a working definition that we start what Fee, portrays as the circle of approaching the Scripture from the vantage point of a serious exegete and a earnest followers of Christ that are seeking for a genuine encounter with the God who has revealed Himself in the Word.
I believe I was a high school sophomore when Joan Osborne’s song One of us became a chart topping hit. In the song the composer, Eric Bazilian, tries to deal with various aspects of belief in God by asking questions and inviting the listener to consider how they might relate to God. The song’s intro begins with a serious contemplative question that echoes the deepest yearnings that a lot of people had about what they would like to be set clear about God as the verse goes:
That verse somehow got stuck to my head from that point on, in spite of the irony that it was also during that time that I started to underwent my local church’s discipleship program. And it wasn’t until a few years following my graduation from college, after years of staying away from my community of faith that I came to realize that the answer to the question posed in the song’s verse is a unanimous: “yes,” because Scripture testifies that truth in the person of Jesus Christ.