"Faith without works is dead!" chirps many an ignorant Christian, thinking that James 2:17 and 2:20 are talking about salvation. Well, I got tired of hearing this abuse of James. So finally did 22 videos exegeting the relevant words -- live from BibleWorks on screen -- to prove that James is talking about Spiritual MATURATION (the theme of his letter, 1:3 and 1:12), not salvation. You can view the playlist in Youtube: here .
The last 12 videos are most helpful, because I color-coded his rhetorical style, and especially his penchant for changing between the common, anarthrous, and monadic use of the (nee: definite) article, to make his trenchant points.
My pastor always harped on the need to track the article and prepositions, when deciphering Bible text, how they are used as tracking devices. Yeah, and if you do that, you can tell exactly when the Lord was born and died -- so why don't we know that? For the same reason as we routinely misuse James! No one cares what Bible REALLY says, it's only what popular or respected people say, that matters!
It becomes very easy to see how he condemns human works in favor of Divine Works, when you see how he uses the (nee: definite) article. Can prove the chirpers wrong in maybe 10 minutes' scanning.