James calls the Christian Jewish community to patient perseverance during trials and temptations, and to live consistent with what they have learned in Jesus Christ.
AUTHOR. The author has traditionally been accepted as James the brother of Jesus, who was martyred before 66 AD.
James was the pastor of Jerusalem. He made an important speech at the council of the Apostles. Josephus says he was stoned to death about 62 AD, on a charge of departing from the Jewish law.
RECIPIENTS. It is addressed to “the twelve tribes in the dispersion.”
Taken literally, that meant the Jewish people living outside the Holy Land.
However, it was often used as symbolic language for the Christian Jewish community. Some of them were rich, and some were poor. They were lustful and greedy and proud. They were not doing the Lord’s work as they should.
PLACE AND DATE. This letter no doubt written from Jerusalem where James was the pastor.
But the date is disputed. Some put it as early as 40 AD. Others say it was written not later than 50 AD. Still others put it at about 61 or 62 AD, just before the martyrdom of James.
In any case, it is probably safe to say that it was one of the very earliest of the New Testament books.
PURPOSE. James calls the Christian Jewish community to patient perseverance during trials and temptations, and to live consistent with what they have learned in Jesus Christ.
The author switches abruptly from one subject to another, with no transitions in-between.
There is no overall theme, although the notion of “Faith with out works is dead” comes up more than once.
It portrays the Christian faith in terms of moral excellence. It lacks the doctrinal emphasis found in the writings of Paul. It mentions neither the resurrection nor the ascension. It only mentions the name of Jesus twice.
LIVE AS DISCIPLES OF JESUS
SERVE OTHER PEOPLE
GROW IN GODLINESS
James 1:2. Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various temptations,
James 1:3. knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
James 1:22. But be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deluding your own selves.
James 2:14. What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him?
James 2:15. And if a brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food,
James 2:16. and one of you tells them, “Go in peace. Be warmed and filled;” yet you didn’t give them the things the body needs, what good is it?
James 2:17. Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself.
James 2:19. You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder.
James 2:24. You see then that by works, a man is justified, and not only by faith.
James 4:7. Be subject therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:8. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you double-minded.
James 4:15. For you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will both live, and do this or that.”
James 5:9. Don’t grumble, brothers, against one another, so that you won’t be judged. Behold, the judge stands at the door.
James 5:16. Confess your offenses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.