James: The Real McCoy (22 of 29) by Roger Thomas

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James: The Real McCoy (22 of 29)
Series: Through the New Testament
Roger Thomas
James 1:23-27


Did you ever wonder where that expression The Real McCoy comes from? According to the folks at phrases.org, nobody really knows for sure. Several possibilities are often cited.

Some think it came from the advertisements for a brand of Scottish whiskey from the 1870's. To combat cheap imitators, the distiller promoted its drink as the "Real McCoy."

Others point to Kid McCoy, a welterweight boxing champion from the late 1800's. So many lesser fighters traded on his name, the promoters resorted to calling the champ "the real McCoy."

Another possibility is Elijah McCoy, a Canadian inventor of engine lubricants that became popular with steam engines. When lower quality substitutes became common, he patented his product. It became known as the "real McCoy."

Whatever the origin of the term, we know what it means--the genuine article, the real deal! That's the concept in our text. In fact it's the theme that runs beneath the surface of the entire book of James. That's the next stop in our journey through the books of the Bible. We are at the beginning of our fifth year working our way through the Bible book by book.

The letter of James was probably one of the earliest New Testament books written. The author says he was "the brother of the Lord," probably one of the children of Mary and Joseph after the birth of Christ (Mat 13:55; Gal 1:19). James would become one of the leaders of the church in Jerusalem (1 Cor 15:7, Acts 1:14, 12:17, 15:13, 19; Gal 2:1, 9, 10, 12, 1 Cor 9:5). Early Christians nicknamed him "James the Just" because of his reputation for righteousness.

The key to the book is wrapped up in a few words found at the end of the first chapter. He says in 1:26, "If anyone considers himself religious...." He continues in the next verse, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is . . ." James asks, ...


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