We’ll look at that more carefully when we come to James in our studies, but to Luther it was just astounding.In the 1500’s when Martin Luther translated the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into the German language, he took James out of the Bible, along with three other New Testament books that he was not too happy with.Abraham, Paul said, is the evidence that someone is justified not by works but by faith and James says Abraham is evidence that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
So in the German Bible of Luther’s day and in our earliest English translations, James was omitted from the Bible and put in the back as sort of an appendix and not listed in the Table of Contents. He does approach things differently than Paul, but not in a way that provides contradiction. If you don’t have James you cannot understand fully what Paul is trying to say.
It wasn’t until the great Bible in the 1500’s, the forerunner and precursor to the King James’ Bible, that the translators took the book of James and put it back where it belongs. The great theme of James is the: The kind of faith that saves us, the kind of faith that really transforms us, has got to be the kind of faith that exists in three different dimensions. We Need an Intellectual Faith First, we need an intellectual faith.
I want to read you a little article that I pulled out of a magazine on diabetes that I read while waiting at the pharmacy the other day.
The title was: “Down the Hatch: How Food Turns to Fuel.” I’m just going to read a little bit of it to you because to me it was just so interesting.
We don’t have time to get into that, but over a thousand years later, there was another strike against James by our old friend, the reformer Martin Luther. He grew up in a world, in Europe, during the period when the great teaching of the clergymen was that we are saved and redeemed on the basis of a number of things that we must do. Luther said that if ever there was a monk who tried through shear monkishness to make it to heaven, it would have been him.