31 Days of James


Here is a seemingly strange starting point for reading the Bible: Begin with the letter of James.

The reason this letter might seem strange as a starting point is because James comes so late in the Bible. It’s not a gospel. It’s not from Paul. This letter is so far back in the book, it feels like an appendix.

Yet the texts of the Bible were not arranged in the order in which they were written. James—Jesus’ brother—wrote what is likely to be the earliest New Testament text.

As a result, if you are not all that familiar with the contents of the New Testament, then you are in good company in reading James. Its original recipients were not all that familiar with the New Testament, either. It hadn’t been written yet.

If you are familiar with the Bible, try setting that familiarity aside. Try to imagine you don’t have the later texts—no gospels, no Pauline epistles. Try to treasure this one brief letter from James the way its first recipients did: as a document remarkably dense in spiritual substance, and just possibly as the beginning of something new.

Soon, I’m going to try something. I hope you’ll join me, and I’d welcome your help.

Starting October 1, I plan to spend one month offering daily blog posts on ideas out of the letter of James. Set aside 10 minutes or so per day for a month of exploring this text. Consider reading this little letter for yourself between now and then.

Please also help this writing find others. The daily posts begin in October, and I’ll offer some preliminary thoughts in September. If you know someone who might be interested in this walk through James, I would be honored and grateful if you would encourage them to subscribe to this blog by email or like these postings on Facebook.

Thank you!

[A postscript added much later: The 31 days are now done. Find links to all of the James blog posts on this page.]