Letter of James: Introduction (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 760)
JAMES, abbreviated as Jas, Jm
The 20th Book of the New Testament.
After the 13th Epistle of Paul and the Letter to the Hebrews, the New Testament contains seven other letters. Three of these are attributed to John, two to Peter, and one each to James and Jude, all personages of the apostolic age.
THE AUTHOR AND DATE OF WRITING
James, a relative of Jesus who is usually called “brother of the Lord” is considered to be the author. He was the leader of the Jewish Christian community in Jerusalem whom Paul acknowledged as one of the “pillars” (Gal 2:9), Acts 12:17 and Acts 15:13-22.
James is mention several times in the Bible, in Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Gal 1:19; so he is neither one of the two Apostle Jameses.
James identifies himself by name but simply describes himself as “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ”.
It would have been written sometime before AD 70. Jerusalem would also be the place of writing.
Purpose of Writing:
Framed within an overall theme of patient perseverance during trials and temptations, James writes to encourage believers to live consistently with what they have learned in Christ. He wants his readers to mature in their faith in Christ by living what they say they believe. He condemns various sins, including pride, hypocrisy, favouritism, and slander. He encourages believers to humbly live by Godly rather than worldly wisdom and to pray in all situations.
Within the New Testament canon, the Epistle of James is noteworthy because it makes no reference to the death, resurrection, or divine sonship of Jesus. It refers to Jesus twice, as “the Lord Jesus Christ” and as “our glorious Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1, 2:1).
(sourced : wikipedia)
The letter was in the Greek language.
The pages of James are filled with direct commands to pursue a life of holiness. He makes no excuses for those who do not measure up.
His letter deals more with Christian ethics than Christian theology.
It is different from Paul’s letters. It does not tell people what they must believe. James did not write it to tell them how to become Christians. He is writing to Christians, he is telling them how to become better Christians.
OUTLINE OF THE BOOK OF JAMES (source: purposequest dot com)
WHAT JAMES LEARNED FROM LIVING WITH HIS BROTHER JESUS
I. There are certain realities of life common to all believers – 1:2-1:18.
A. Trials and testing will come and can be overcome — 1:2-8.
1. Be joyful — 1:2.
2. Persevere — 1:3-4.
3. Ask for wisdom — 1:5.
4. Eliminate doubt — 1:6-8.
B. Riches are attractive but transient — 1:9-11.
1. The poor should glory in their humble position — 1:10.
2. Pursuit of money will pass away — 1:11.
C. Trials of life are the basis for eternal rewards now and later — 1:12.
D. Temptation is inevitable, yet not from God.
1. Understand the process — 1:16
2. Only good comes from God, including salvation — 1:17-18
II. Each believer should develop certain responses to the realities of life
A. Anger does not promote God’s purpose — 1:19-20.
B. Moral cleansing is critical — 1:21
C. Doing and not just listening to the word of God — 1:22-25
1. Care for widows and orphans, for instance — 1:26.
2. Eliminate favoritism for rich over poor — 2:1-4.
a. Rich are a source of problems and not worth the special treatment
b. The royal law requires that all be treated equally — 2:8-9.
c. Break this command to treat all as yourself and all the law is
broken — 2:10-11
3. Be a source of mercy and not judgment — 2:12-13.
III. There are certain requirements to be met if a believer is to have the proper response
to the realities of life — 2:14-3:18.