What Does James Mean When He Says: "You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only."? (Ja. 2:24)
Faith and works, works and faith! How does it all go together? I recently went through an inductive bible study training session at my church with the help of Jim Elliff who is with Christian Communicators Worldwide. I found the training very helpful and hope that you will check out their ministry. In that session I was taught to pay attention to words in the English text. Many times we like to seem enlightened and go to the Greek and Hebrew only to find out that the English translation was sufficient. Not that it isn't helpful sometimes consult the languages, but most of the time it isn't necessary. After going through Jim's training session, I noticed how much I tend to overlook words in the text of Scripture. It was astonishing! It also taught me to be careful about quote mining. We have a tendency to pull quotes and Bible verses out of context to the point of injury, and there are many Bible verses that are often misused. I said "we" because I have been guilty too!
Today I want to highlight an audio of Dr. Michael Heiser as he addresses the tension of Faith and Works. His explanation is the most helpful one that I have heard in a long while. After hearing Dr. Heiser's explanation, I went back and examined the text of James 2 and also Ephesians 2 and found that his explanation is a coherent one according to the text and not zealous ideologues. Studying the Scriptures is hard work, and while we do get help from commentaries and other sources, there is nothing like examining the text and thinking through it without the influence of a commentary. While I don't always agree with Dr. Heiser's interpretations of certain texts, I think that he hits a home run with this one. I think you will too!