I have two favorite books of in the bible. In the Old Testament it is Proverbs. In the New Testament…James. (In fact some consider James as the Proverbs of the New Testament.)
Solomon wrote 29 of the 31 chapters in Proverbs. There is so much good stuff on how to live our lives while honoring God. James has only 5 books but contains some powerful words. This is what James wrote about scripture: James 4: 5-6 “Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. Or They say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy; or They say that the Holy Spirit, whom God has placed within us, opposes our envy. And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
I first came across James a few years ago when a man, a good man, took me to breakfast to debunk the Catholic religion. I did not see it coming. He lived his life by the Martin Luther conclusion that we are save by faith alone. We know that’s not true, even though Romans state the very fact (taken out of context, of course). So I went to James and here is what he says about faith with no works:
James 2: 17-18, 20 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
He delivers a strong message that is much clearer than what Paul wrote to the Romans. And he’s as direct as Solomon was in Proverbs.
When asked what books of the bible I rely on to live my life, I tell them the Gospels, Proverbs and James.
By the way, the fella I spoke of above invited me to a follow-up breakfast and he couldn’t make a dent. I was shocked that I was able to overcome his points. (I haven’t heard one thing from him since that day.)