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Below you will also find the summary of this book.
Purpose of The Book of James:
This epistle of James is one of the most instructive writings in the New Testament. Being chiefly directed against particular errors at that time brought in among the Jewish Christians, it does not contain the same full doctrinal statements as other epistles, but it presents a summary of the duties of believers.
Summary of The Book of James:
James is the New Testament counterpart of the Old Testament’s wisdom tradition. The first thing we are to do with our faith, according to James, is to wisely live by it, especially when we undergo trials and temptations.
At first, James did not did not believe in Jesus and even challenged him and misunderstood his mission. Like the other brothers of Jesus, James once disbelieved Jesus’ claims to be the Messiah (John 7:6), but he was won by a special vision of the risen Christ (1 Cor 5:7) and was in the upper room before Pentecost (Acts 1:14). Nevertheless, James met a violent death that was described by the Jewish historian Josephus. Ananus, the high priest, ordered James to be stoned. James’ death, however, came at the hands of the priests who threw him from the roof of the temple, and after he survived the fall he was beaten to death by people with clubs.
Author and Dates of The Book of James:
The author identifies himself as James. He was probably the brother of Jesus and the leader of the Jerusalem council. James the brother of John was put to death by Herod Agrippa I about AD 44 (Acts 12:2). But James the brother of Jesus (Gal :19) was still alive and became a leader of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 12:17), presiding over the conference in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13-21) and writing the message from the conference tot he Gentiles churches (Acts 15:22-29). He was still the leading elder in Jerusalem on Paul’s last visit (Acts 21:18-25).
The book of James was written between AD 48-50 to believers in Christ among the Jewish Diaspora. James was stoned about AD 62. As leader of the Jerusalem church, James wrote as a pastor to instruct and encourage his dispersed people in the face of their difficulties. The book is addressed to “the 12 tribes which are of the Dispersion” (James 1:1). As the leading elder of the great church in Jerusalem and as a devout follower and half-brother of Jesus, the message of James had a special appeal to the widely scattered Jewish Christians.
Outline of The Book of James:
Themes of The Book of James:
The letter is concerned mainly with the practical aspects of the faith, consisting of statements and advice and counsel for everyday conduct and life. There is little reference to any of the central doctrines of the faith. The letter discusses true faith, true living, and true wisdom. In the very first verse he places Jesus on the same level as God (“the Lord Jesus Christ”). In 2:1 he presents Jesus as the object of faith: “as you believe in out Lord Jesus Christ, who is the glory.” Here Jesus is referred to as the Shekinah glory of God. James refers to Jesus as “Lord” frequently (James 1:1, 2:1, 3:9, 5:11, and 5:14). This refers to the ascended Christ who is full of glory.
The book of James does not refer to the cross or resurrection, but he alludes to the murder of Jesus (James 5:6) and his second coming (James 5:8). The main aim of the letter is to strengthen the faith and loyalty of scattered Christians in the face of persecution from those who were oppressing them. It is the picture of early Christian life in the midst of difficult social conditions. The glory of the New Testament is that the revelation of God meets our problems today because it did meet those problems of the first century. James is concerned mainly with the ethical and social aspects of the gospel that the followers of Christ may base their lives on.
James and Paul use the same words (faith, works, justify), but they mean different things by them. James and Paul do not contradict each other. Paul talks about “justifying” meaning that Christians are “declared righteous” before God because of Jesus’ work. James talks about “justifying” meaning that Christians are to demonstrate the gift of this righteousness before others. Paul is referring to the reception of righteousness. James is referring to showing that true faith exists in us by displaying the proof of it, which is good works.
James is answering the issue of obedience (James 2:14). Paul is answering the issue of salvation and redemption (Romans 1:17). Both refer to Abraham. Paul points to Gen 15 when Abraham is justified before God. James points to Gen 22 when Abraham is justified before humans. We are saved by faith alone, but a saving faith will not be alone.