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The Test of Wealth

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Chapter Summary

Within the realm of social ethics one of the major topics is the use of material resources, i.e., the issue of wealth. The Epistle of James clearly has plenty to say about wealth and its use. James 2:1-13 condemns discrimination against someone who is poor and in favor of someone who is rich. When we turn to Paul, we find much less of an emphasis on wealth and poverty. The relationship of James to the Jesus tradition is well documented. For James wealth is a test of one's commitment, and every time he uses the term "rich" it is for someone outside the community of faith. We find much less dependence by Paul on the Jesus tradition. Both Paul and James wish to encourage charity. The Pauline tradition has nothing negative to say about the rich.

Keywords: charity; James; Jesus tradition; Paul; Pauline tradition; poverty; spiritual wealth

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