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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
James

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Chapter 5

Book Overview - James

by Gary H. Everett

STUDY NOTES ON THE HOLY SCRIPTURES

Using a Theme-based Approach

to Identify Literary Structures

By Gary H. Everett

THE EPISTLE OF JAMES

January 2013Edition

All Scripture quotations in English are taken from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Some words have been emphasized by the author of this commentary using bold or italics.

All Old Testament Scripture quotations in the Hebrew text are taken from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: With Westminster Hebrew Morphology, electronic ed, Stuttgart; Glenside PA: German Bible Society, Westminster Seminary, 1996, c 1925, morphology c 1991, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

All New Testament Scripture quotations in the Greek text are taken from Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology), eds. Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (United Bible Societies), c 1966, 1993, 2006, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

All Hebrew and Greek text for word studies are taken from James Strong in The New Strong"s Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, c 1996, 1997, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

The Crucifixion image on the book cover was created by the author's daughter Victoria Everett in 2012.

Gary H. Everett, 1981-2013

All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form without prior permission of the author.

Foundational Theme - The Perseverance of the Saints (from Persecutions without)

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name"s sake:

but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Matthew 10:22

Structural Theme - The Joy of the Holy Spirit

Imperative Theme - Patiently Walking in Love in the Midst of Trials (Perseverance of the Body)

INTRODUCTION TO THE CATHOLIC EPISTLES

The seven Catholic, or General, Epistles include James , 1, 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3, John , and Jude. This historical background will look at the history of (A) the title of the Catholic Epistles, and (B) the canonization of the Catholic Epistles.

A. The Title of the Catholic, or General, Epistles- Two titles to the seven General Epistles of the New Testament can be identified in the writings of the early Church fathers: " καθολικός ἐπιστολή" (Catholic Epistles) and "Epistolarum Canonicarum" (Canonical Epistles).

1. Catholic Epistles: The title " καθολικός ἐπιστολή" (Catholic Epistles) was given to the non-Pauline group of New Testament epistles by the early Church fathers because they were addressed to a more general audience. They were given this title of "catholic," or "general," in the sense that they addressed a general community of believers, in contrast to the Pauline epistles that were destined to particular churches. John Brown suggests that the term "Catholic Epistles" may have been applied to these seven epistles since the fourth century as a way to distinguish them from the Pauline Epistles. 1] However, Oecumenius (6th c.) states that this term was applied because all but two epistles (2,3John) were written to all the Jews scattered throughout the Roman Empire. 2]

1] John Brown, Expository Discourses on the First Epistle of the Apostle Peter (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1855), 29-30.

2] James Macknight, A New Literal Translation from the Original Greek, of All the Apostolic Epistles, vol. iv (Edinburgh: John Ritchie, 1809), 5.

Plummer tells us that the English word "catholic" comes from the Greek word " καθολικός," while the English word "general" is derived from the Latin "generalis." He says that the Latin Vulgate used the term "Catholicae." Plummer says it is generally believed that these seven Epistles were regarded as one collection of books by the third century since we have written testimony that the early church called the seven epistles of James , Peter, John and Jude by the title "Catholic Epistles," recognizing their general scope of recipients. 3]

3] Alfred Plummer, St. James and St. Jude , in The Expositor's Bible, eds. William R. Nicoll and Oscar L. Joseph (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1956), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2001), "Introduction, chapter 1: Catholic Epistles."

Perhaps the earliest description of the collection of Catholic Epistles is found in The Muratorian Canon (A.D 180-200), which refers to Jude 1:2, 3John by saying, "In catholica habentur," or "they are reckoned among the Catholic." 4]

4] Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, Canon Muratorianus: The Earliest Catalogue of the Books of the New Testament (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1867), 20.

The Muratorian Canon reads, "The Epistle of Jude , indeed, and two belonging to the above-named John—or bearing the name of John—are reckoned among the Catholic epistles." (Fragments of Caius 34) (ANF 5)

Clement of Alexandria (A.D 150-215) refers to this collection of New Testament epistles as "Catholic Epistles" on a number of occasions.

"For the apostle says, ‘All other things buy out of the shambles, asking no questions,' with the exception of the things mentioned in the Catholic epistle of all the apostles…" (The Stromata 415)

" Jude , who wrote the Catholic Epistle, the brother of the sons of Joseph, and very religious, whilst knowing the near relationship of the Lord, yet did not say that he himself was His brother." (Fragments of Clement of Alexandria 12)

Eusebius quotes Clement of Alexandria, saying, "To sum up briefly, he has given in the Hypotyposes abridged accounts of all canonical Scripture, not omitting the disputed books, - I refer to Jude and the other Catholic epistles, and Barnabas and the Song of Solomon -called Apocalypse of Peter." (Ecclesiastical History 6141)

Origen (A.D 185-254) uses the phrase "Catholic Epistle" a number of times.

"Now in the general [or catholic] Epistle of Barnabas, from which perhaps Celsus took the statement that the apostles were notoriously wicked men…" (Against Celsus 163)

"according to the things mentioned in the catholic epistle according to Peter, in which He went and preached to those spirits in prison who had formerly been disobedient." (Commentary on Psalm 3:6) (PG 12cols 1128D-1129A) (author's translation)

Eusebius (260-340) preserves for us some of the fragmentary writings of Dionysius the Great (d. c 264), bishop of Alexandria, and a pupil of Origen, who became a theologian of the Church. In these ancient quotes, he refers to the Johannian epistles by the term "Catholic Epistles."

"And I agree also that it is the work of a holy and inspired man. But I cannot readily admit that he was the apostle, the son of Zebedee, the brother of James , by whom the Gospel of John and the Catholic Epistle were written." (Ecclesiastical History 7257)

"Then he writes also an epistle: ‘John to the seven churches which are in Asia, grace be with you, and peace.' But the evangelist did not prefix his name even to the Catholic Epistle;" (Ecclesiastical History 72510)

Eusebius uses the phrase "catholic epistles" on several other occasions in his writings to refer to this collection of seven New Testament epistles.

"These things are recorded in regard to James , who is said to be the author of the first of the Song of Solomon -called catholic epistles. But it is to be observed that it is disputed; at least, not many of the ancients have mentioned it, as is the case likewise with the epistle that bears the name of Jude , which is also one of the seven Song of Solomon -called catholic epistles. Nevertheless we know that these also, with the rest, have been read publicly in very many churches" (Ecclesiastical History 22325)

"To sum up briefly, he has given in the Hypotyposes abridged accounts of all canonical Scripture, not omitting the disputed books, - I refer to Jude and the other Catholic epistles, and Barnabas and the Song of Solomon -called Apocalypse of Peter." (Ecclesiastical History 6141)

"The second is by Mark , who composed it according to the instructions of Peter, who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a son…" (Ecclesiastical History 6255)

Epiphanius (A.D 315 to 403), bishop of Salamis, uses the phrase "Catholic epistles" in reference to this collection of seven New Testament epistles when he writes:

"…and in the four holy gospels, and in the fourteen epistles of the holy apostle Paul, and in the ones before these, and with the ones in the times of the acts of the apostles, in the catholic epistles of James , and Peter, and John , and Jude , and in the revelation of John…" (The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Heresy 76: Against Anomoeans- Aetius 5) (PG 42, cols 559-562) (author's translation) 5]

5] S. Epiphanii Episcopi Constantiensis Panaria Eorumque Anacephalaeosis, tomi posterioris, pars prior, ed. Franciscus Oehler, in Corporis Haereseogolici, tomus secundus (Berolini:Apud A. Asher et Socios, 1861), 240.

The Synopsis of Sacred Scripture (4th-6th c.) of Pseudo-Athanasius refers to the seven Catholic Epistles.

"Catholic epistles of the different apostles, which (are) seven (in) all, being counted as one book." (PG 28 Colossians 292B) (author's translation)

Alfred Plummer quotes Bede (A.D 673-735) in his introductory remarks to the Catholic epistles, " James , Peter, John and Jude published seven Epistles, to which ecclesiastical custom gives the name of Catholic, i.e. general." (Prologue on the Seven Catholic Epistles) (c. A. D 712) (PL 93col 9A) 6]

6] Alfred Plummer, St. James and St. Jude , in The Expositor's Bible, eds. William R. Nicoll and Oscar L. Joseph (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1956), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2001), "Introduction, chapter 1: Catholic Epistles."

Thus, we see that a distinction was made in these early centuries between the term "canonical," which applied to those New Testament books universally accepted as inspired and authoritative, and the term "catholic," which was restricted to seven epistles.

Plummer notes that the term "catholic" did not necessarily refer to all Gentile and Jewish believers, since James and Peter designate their epistles to a Jewish audience. These epistles were catholic in the sense that they were addressed to more than one community of believers. However, the term "catholic Church" was also used by the early Church to define all believers scattered throughout the world, as Plummer notes in a comment made by Ignatius (A.D 35 to 107). 7]

7] Alfred Plummer, St. James and St. Jude , in The Expositor's Bible, eds. William R. Nicoll and Oscar L. Joseph (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1956), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2001), "Introduction, chapter 1: Catholic Epistles."

"Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ Isaiah , there is the Catholic Church." (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans 8)

2. Canonical Epistles- A second name used by the early Church fathers is "Canonical Epistles." Jerome says, "…seven epistles which are called canonical…one James , Peter two, John three, and Jude one…" (Prologue to the Seven Canonical Epistles) (PL 29 cols 821-825) (author's translation)

B. Canonization of the Catholic, or General Epistles - Although most of the New Testament as we know it today was quickly circulated among the early Churches and accepted as authoritative along with the Old Testament Scriptures, the other brief letters of 2Peter, 2 John , 3John and Jude were not quickly recognized. One fact that caused this uncertainty is the brevity of these letters. This brevity gave them less attention during public readings, since they were not immediately recognized as circulatory letters. In addition, the epistles of Hebrews and James , along with Revelation , were not immediately added to the list. This is perhaps because Hebrews and James were addressed to Jewish Christians, and not to the Gentile church. Thus, their circulation was slow. The mystical nature of Revelation seems to have also caused a slow appearance of it circulation and acceptance into the New Testament canon. Such circumstances possibly account for their slow circulation and for them being omitted from some of the earliest translations of the Christian Scriptures and canons. Because of their slower circulation, they were much less referred to by the earliest church fathers, making it more difficult to establish their genuineness. However, apostolic authorship won their favor by the time the canon was officially closed.

Although the epistles of 1Peter and 1John were quickly canonized, the other five of these Catholic Epistles were called "disputed writings" by Eusebius, since all twenty-seven books that make up the New Testament were not universally recognized by the entire Church until the early fourth century.

"Among the disputed writings, which are nevertheless recognized by many, are extant the Song of Solomon -called epistle of James and that of Jude , also the second epistle of Peter, and those that are called the second and third of John , whether they belong to the evangelist or to another person of the same name. (Ecclesiastical History 3254)

Alfred Plummer also tells us how there was an ancient tradition of placing this collective body of Catholic Epistles immediately after the book of Acts. Many ancient Greek manuscripts preserve this order, as well as some of the Church fathers, such as Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius, John of Damascus, the Council of Laodicea, and also by Cassian. However, it was Jerome's Vulgate that firmly established their place after the Pauline Epistles. 8]

8] Alfred Plummer, St. James and St. Jude , in The Expositor's Bible, eds. William R. Nicoll and Oscar L. Joseph (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1956), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2001), "Introduction, chapter 1: Catholic Epistles."

The order of these seven Epistles within their collection has not been constant throughout the centuries. Alfred Plummer tells us that the epistle of James almost always stands first, while the Western Church occasionally preferred to place 1Peter at the beginning. He goes on to refer to comments made by the Venerable Bede, who explains that James was placed first because he was the bishop of the church at Jerusalem, which was the original source of evangelistic work, or else it was place first because James addressed the twelve tribes scattered abroad, who were the first to believe in Christ. Bede also refers to the order that Paul listed in Galatians 2:9 as James , Peter and John.

Galatians 2:9, "And when James , Cephas, and John , who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision."

Alfred Plummer suggests that Jude was placed last because of its relative insignificance and delay in being accepted into the New Testament Canon. He tells us that the Syriac Version (A. D 180) only gives James , 1Peter and 1John, in that order, while excluding the other four, which were highly disputed until the early third century. 9]

9] Alfred Plummer, St. James and St. Jude , in The Expositor's Bible, eds. William R. Nicoll and Oscar L. Joseph (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1956), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2001), "Introduction, chapter 1: Catholic Epistles."

INTRODUCTION TO THE EPISTLE OF JAMES

Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures supports the view of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the biblical text of the Holy Scriptures, meaning that every word originally written down by the authors in the sixty-six books of the Holy Canon were God-breathed when recorded by men, and that the Scriptures are therefore inerrant and infallible. Any view less than this contradicts the testimony of the Holy Scriptures themselves. For this reason, the Holy Scriptures contain both divine attributes and human attributes. While textual criticism engages with the variant readings of the biblical text, acknowledging its human attributes, faith in His Word acknowledges its divine attributes. These views demand the adherence of mankind to the supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures above all else. The Holy Scriptures can only be properly interpreted by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an aspect of biblical scholarship that is denied by liberal views, causing much misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Holy Scriptures.

The Message of the Epistle of James - Donald Guthrie tells us that, with the exception of 1Peter and 1John, the Catholic Epistles played a minor role in shaping the thought of the early Church during the first few centuries, and were not fully embraced until the fourth century, when the New Testament canon was closed. 10] These Epistles are often overshadowed by the Gospels and Pauline Epistles in their relative importance to the Christian faith. This appears to be the case today as well as in in the ancient Church. Because their underlying message is one of perseverance, we can understand why the other New Testament writings appear more glorious, as they emphasize the revelations of our glorious Saviour and of sacred Church doctrine. However, the necessity to persevere is part and parcel to our eternal glorification, as is clearly brought out within the Catholic Epistles. This means that their message is an equally important part of our spiritual journey into eternal glory with our Heavenly Father.

10] Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grover, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1990), 722.

Introductory Material- The introduction to the epistle of James will deal with its historical setting, literary style, and theological framework. 11] These three aspects of introductory material will serve as an important foundation for understanding God's message to us today from this divinely inspired book of the Holy Scriptures.

11] Someone may associate these three categories with Hermann Gunkel's well-known three-fold approach to form criticism when categorizing the genre found within the book of Psalm: (1) "a common setting in life," (2) "thoughts and mood," (3) "literary forms." In addition, the Word Biblical Commentary uses "Form/Structure/Setting" preceding each commentary section. Although such similarities were not intentional, but rather coincidental, the author was aware of them and found encouragement from them when assigning the three-fold scheme of historical setting, literary style, and theological framework to his introductory material. See Hermann Gunkel, The Psalm: A Form-Critical Introduction, trans. Thomas M. Horner, in Biblical Series, vol 19, ed. John Reumann (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Fortress Press, 1967), 10; see also Word Biblical Commentary, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard, and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas, Texas: Word Incorporated, 1989-2007).

HISTORICAL SETTING

"We dare not divorce our study from understanding the historical setting of every passage of Scripture

if we are going to come to grips with the truth and message of the Bible."

(J. Hampton Keathley) 12]

12] J. Hampton Keathley, III, "Introduction and Historical Setting for Elijah," (Bible.org) [on-line]; accessed 23May 2012; available from http://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-and-historical-setting-elijah; Internet.

Each book of the Holy Scriptures is cloaked within a unique historical setting. An examination of this setting is useful in the interpretation of the book because it provides the context of the passage of Scripture under examination. The section on the historical setting of the epistle of James will address its historical background, authorship, date and place of writing, recipients, and occasion. This discussion supports the early Church tradition that James the brother of the Lord Jesus Christ wrote his epistle to the early Jewish converts from Jerusalem around A.D 44-48 because of the numerous trials that they were facing. The historical setting will look at the (1) historical background, (2) authorship, (3) date and place of writing, (4) recipients, (5) and occasion.

I. Historical Background

Guthrie tells us that because the Catholic Epistles lack a specific address and tend to be impersonal, it is more difficult to reconstruct their historical background. 13] Yet, there is some information that can be gathered regarding each of their situations. It is generally agreed that the epistle of James is addressed to those Jewish converts who lived outside of Palestine, dispersed across the Roman Empire, and who came to Jerusalem on their pilgrimage to celebrate Pentecost with their brethren in the Holy City. The epistle of James was written during an early period in Church history in which the Christian Jews still worshipped in the Temple in Jerusalem, and the Jews of the Diaspora still worshipped in their local synagogues. In other words, there was not yet a clearly drawn line between Christianity and Judaism. This Epistle also reflects a time in early Church history that was characterized by great difficulties for those Jews who did embrace Jesus Christ as their Messiah.

13] Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press), 1990, 722.

II. Authorship and Canonicity

In establishing the authorship of the New Testament writings, one must also deal with the issue of canonicity, since apostolic authority was the primary condition for a book to be accepted into the biblical canon of the early Church. This section will evaluate three phases in the development of the canonicity of the epistle of James: apostolic authority, church orthodoxy, and catholicity. The first phase of canonization is called apostolic authority and is characterized by the use of the writings of the apostles by the earliest Church father in the defense of the Christian faith (1st and 2nd centuries). The second phase of canonization is called church orthodoxy and is characterized by the collection of the apostolic writings into the distinctive groups of the Gospels, the Pauline epistles, and the Catholic epistles, and their distribution among the churches as the rules of the Christian faith (late 2nd century thru 3rd century). The third phase of canonization is characterized by the general acceptance and use of the books of the New Testament by the catholic church, seen most distinctly in the early Church councils (4th century).

A. Apostolic Authority- Scholars generally agree that the New Testament canon went through several phrases of development in Church history prior to its solidification in the fourth century. F. B. Westcott says the earliest phase is considered the apostolic age in which "the writings of the Apostles were regarded from the first as invested with singular authority, as the true expression, if not the original source, of Christian doctrine and Christian practice." He says the "elements of the Catholic faith" were established during this period in Church history. 14] At this time, the early Christian Greek apologists defended the catholic faith during the rise of the heresies of the second century using the writings that carried the weight of apostolic authority. The Church clung to the books that were either written by the apostles themselves, such as Matthew ,, John , Peter, and Paul, or directly sanctioned by them, such as Mark and Luke , the assistances of Peter and Paul respectively, and the epistles of James and Jude , the brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, scholars believe apostolic authority was the primary element in selecting the canonical books. This phase is best represented by evaluating the internal evidence of the authorship of these New Testament books and by the external witnesses of the early Church fathers who declare the book's apostolic authorship and doctrinal authority over the Church.

14] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co, 1875), 21. The Muratorian Canon (c. A.D 200) alludes to the criteria of apostolic authority for the New Testament writings, saying, "The Pastor, moreover, did Hermas write very recently in our times in the city of Rome, while his brother bishop Pius sat in the chair of the Church of Rome. And therefore it also ought to be read; but it cannot be made public in the Church to the people, nor placed among the prophets, as their number is complete, nor among the apostles to the end of time." (Fragments of Caius 33) (ANF 5); Corey Keating says, "In the first two centuries, ‘apostolic authority' was the important factor in deciding to keep or reject a particular writing." See Corey Keating, The Criteria Used for Developing the New Testament Canon in the First Four Centuries of the Christian Church (2000); accessed 15 April 2012; available from http://www.ntgreek.org/SeminaryPapers/ChurchHistory/Criteria%20for%20Development%20of%20the%20NT%20Canon%20in%20First%20Four%20Centuries.pdf; Internet.

Five of the General Epistles ( James ,, 2 Peter , 2, 3 John , and Jude) were slow in being received into the New Testament canon by the early Church for several reasons. 15] (1) Slow Circulation- One of the reasons for their delayed acceptance was slow circulation. James MacKnight says this slow circulation does not mean that they were viewed as forgeries by the early Church fathers; rather, it shows that slow circulation of these epistles had not allowed them to be as quickly judged and proven authentic. 16] The New Testament church was extremely careful before accepting any book as canonical, and did in fact identify certain writings as forgeries. (2) Brevity- Another reason the epistles of James ,, 2 Peter ,, 2 John ,, 3 John , and Jude were not quickly recognized by the early Church was the brevity of these letters. This brevity gave them less attention during public readings, since they were not immediately recognized as circulatory letters. This circumstance accounts for both their slow circulation and for them being omitted from some of the earliest translations of the Christian Scriptures and canons. Because of their slower circulation and brevity, they were much less referred to by the earliest church fathers, making it more difficult to establish their genuineness. F.B. Westcott responds to this fact by saying, "As a general rule, quotations have a value positively, but not negatively: they may shew that a writing was received as authoritative, but it cannot fairly be argued from this fact alone that another which is not quoted was unknown or rejected as apocryphal." 17] Despite their slow circulation and brevity, the Church's acceptance of apostolic authorship of these five epistles won them favor by the time the canon was officially closed in the fourth century.

15] Eusebius says, "Among the disputed writings, which are nevertheless recognized by many, are extant the Song of Solomon -called epistle of James and that of Jude , also the second epistle of Peter, and those that are called the second and third of John , whether they belong to the evangelist or to another person of the same name." (Ecclesiastical History 3253)

16] James MacKnight, A New Literal Translation from the Original Greek, of All the Apostolic Epistles, vol. iv (Edinburgh: John Ritchie, 1809), 5-6.

17] B. F. Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillian and Company, Ltd,1896), 11.

The book of James is sometimes called the first Catholic epistle in the New Testament, meaning that it is the first epistle of this collective group of Epistles that was addressed to believers in general. In other words, James was not written to just an individual, or to a particular church, as in the Pauline epistles, but to a larger group of believers scattered throughout various communities of churches in the Roman Empire. The reason for its general audience will become apparent we discuss the person who wrote this epistle and his office as bishop over the church in Jerusalem.

The English name James is derived from the Latin "Jacobus," coming from the Greek ‘І άκωβος, which is a transliteration of the Hebrew name "Jacob" ( יַעֲקֹב). Although James identifies himself as the author of his epistle, we do not have the specific identity of this individual within the Epistle, but must rely upon Church history. There were at least four men by the name of James in the New Testament: (1) James the father of Judas ( Luke 6:16), (2) James the apostle, the son of Alphaeus ( Luke 6:15), (3) James , the apostle, son of Zebedee and brother to John the apostle, who was martyred in A.D 44 (see Acts 12:1-2), and (4) James the brother of the Lord ( Matthew 13:55).

Luke 6:15-16, "Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James , and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor."

Acts 12:1-2, "Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword".

Matthew 13:55, "Is not this the carpenter"s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James , and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?"

A discussion of each of these individuals will give us an indication of which one most likely wrote the epistle of James.

1. James the father of Judas- The first individual, being the father of Judas, one of the Twelve, is obscure and never mentioned anywhere else. Therefore, scholars do not consider this individual as the author of James.

2. James the apostle, the son of Alphaeus- The second individual was an apostle of Jesus Christ by the name of James , the son of Alpheus, who never attained a prominent position of leadership in the church at Jerusalem, although he was one of the Twelve. As an apostle, James the Lesser, as he was also called by the early Church, was sent out to preach the Gospel, but is never mentioned outside of the four Gospels. His name is not found in the book of Acts nor the New Testament Epistle.

However, many scholars use particular Scriptures to argue that James the Less was the same as James the Lord's brother, and therefore, the author of this Epistle. We have some references to James the Lesser, who was one of the Twelve, mentioned in Matthew 27:55-56, Mark 15:40 and Luke 24:10. In these verses his mother is called Mary and his brother called Joses, just like Jesus' mother and brothers. Thus, it appears as if James , the brother of the Lord, mentioned in Matthew 13:55, and James the apostle mentioned in Matthew 27:56 are the same individuals. In addition, John 19:25 tells us that the mother of James the Lesser is said to also be the wife of Cleophas, which may be another name for Alpheus. By comparing these verses, many scholars, including Jerome 18] and Augustine, 19] credit this Epistle to James , the son of Alphaeus with the belief he was a cousin of Jesus, and loosely called the Lord's brother by the early Church fathers. They base their arguments upon the assumption that Mary had no other children but Jesus, and Mary, her sister and the wife of Cleophas, had children by the names of James and Jude , who were actually cousins to Jesus, rather than his biological brothers. However, others argue against this view by saying that these are two distinct individuals in Scripture, since these names were relatively common in those days.

18] Jerome writes, " James , who is called the brother of the Lord, surnamed the Just, the son of Joseph by another wife, as some think, but, as appears to me, the son of Mary sister of the mother of our Lord of whom John makes mention in his book, after our Lord's passion at once ordained by the apostles bishop of Jerusalem, wrote a single epistle, which is reckoned among the seven Catholic Epistles…" (Lives of Illustrious Men 2)

19] Augustine writes, "And, by the same use of the word, those called in the Gospel the Lord's brothers are certainly not children of the Virgin Mary, but all the blood relations of the Lord." (Reply to Faustus the Manichaean 2235) (NPF 1 4)

Matthew 27:55-56, "And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee"s children."

Mark 15:40, "There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;"

Luke 24:10, "It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James , and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles."

John 19:25, "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother"s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene."

3. James , the apostle, son of Zebedee and brother to John the apostle - James , the son of Zebedee and brother to John was an apostle who was mentioned in the Gospels a number of times. However, because he was martyred around A.D 44by King Herod II ( Acts 12:1-2) scholars generally believe that he was never in a position to write such an epistle to the Jewish Church of the Diaspora. However, John Gill says the Syriac version (A.D 160) credits it with this particular James in its preface to this work by saying, "the three epistles of the three apostles, before whose eyes our Lord transfigured himself, that Isaiah ,, James , and Peter, and John." 20] Also, an ancient fourth century Latin manuscript called Codex Corbeiensis ascribes the author to James , the son of Zebedee, but there is little ground to support this ancient subscription. 21]

20] John Gill, James , in John Gill's Expositor, in e-Sword, v 777 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), "Introduction."

21] William Barclay, The Letters of James and Peter, third edition, in The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, c 1958, 2003), 10.

4. James the brother of the Lord - The most widely held view among scholars is to accept the ancient Church tradition held by Origen, 22] Epiphanius, 23] and other early Church fathers, which attributes the authorship of this Epistle to James the biological brother of the Lord. Scholars who take this view argue that the family of Jesus was always listed separately in the Scriptures from the disciples of Jesus (see John 2:12), and thus, we cannot associate James , the Lord's brother, with any of the apostles or disciples mentioned in the Gospels who followed Him. Jerome mentions this tradition by telling us that some thought this James was the half-brother of the Lord, but he himself believed it was James , the son of Alphaeus.

22] Andrew Rutherfurd says, "Origen († 253 A.D.), in commenting on Matthew 10:17, says: ‘But, proceeding on the tradition that is recorded in the Gospel according to Peter or in the Book of James , they say that there are certain brothers of Jesus, the sons of Joseph by a former wife, who lived with him before Mary.'" (Andrew Rutherfurd, "Introduction to the Gospel of Peter," in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol 9, ed. Allan Menzies (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1906), 3.

23] Epiphanius writes, "…and in the four holy Gospels, and in the fourteen epistles of the holy apostle Paul, and in the ones before these, and with the ones in the times of the acts of the apostles, in the catholic epistles of James , and Peter, and John , and Jude , and in the revelation of John…" (The Panarion of Ephiphanius of Salamis, Heresy 76: Against Anomoeans- Aetius 5) See S. Epiphanii Episcopi Constantiensis Panaria Eorumque Anacephalaeosis, tomi posterioris, pars prior, ed. Franciscus Oehler, in Corporis Haereseogolici, tomus secundus (Berolini:Apud A. Asher et Socios, 1861), 240; PG 42, columns 559-562.

" James , who is called the brother of the Lord, surnamed the Just, the son of Joseph by another wife, as some think, but, as appears to me, the son of Mary sister of the mother of our Lord of whom John makes mention in his book, after our Lord"s passion at once ordained by the apostles bishop of Jerusalem, wrote a single epistle, which is reckoned among the seven Catholic Epistles and even this is claimed by some to have been published by some one else under his name, and gradually, as time went on, to have gained authority." (Lives of Illustrious Men 2)

It is generally accepted that the author of James is the same one mentioned in the first Council in Jerusalem, who presided over this historic event that decided the Gentile converts did not have to submit to the Jewish legal system ( Acts 15:1-29). This James is also generally believed to be the one mentioned in Galatians 1:19, where Paul describes his visit to Jerusalem. Alfred Plummer notes the fact that this Epistle was a disputed book testifies that it lacked apostolic authority, leading us to James the Lord's brother, who was not of the Twelve. 24] In other words, if this Epistle were authored by James , the brother of John or by James , the son of Alphaeus, who were both apostles, then the early Church would not have disputed over its authority and canonicity.

24] Alfred Plummer, The General Epistles of St. James and St. Jude , in The Expositor's Bible, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (New York: A. C. Armstrong and Song of Solomon , 1905), 19.

5. Oblias - John Calvin mentions a fifth option that was also held by ancient tradition, which said that the author of the Epistle of James was one of the seventy disciples, who was also called Oblias. However, Calvin did not accept this view, saying, "The ancients are nearly unanimous in thinking that he [James] was one of the disciples named Oblias and a relative of Christ, who was set over the Church at Jerusalem…But that one of the disciples was mentioned as one of the three pillars, and thus exalted above the other Apostles, does not seem to me probable." (Introduction to James) 25] Arthur McGiffert says, "the name [Oblias] is given to James by Epiphanius, 26] by Dionysius the Areopagite, and others." 27] We find this name mentioned by the church historian Eusebius.

25] John Calvin, Commentaries of the Catholic Epistles, trans. John Owen (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1855), 277.

26] Epiphanius writes, "His [Joseph's] firstborn was James , surnamed ‘Oblias,' meaning ‘wall,' and also surnamed ‘Just,' who was a Nazarite, which means holy man. He was the first to receive the bishop's chair, the first to whom the Lord entrusted his throne upon earth." (The Panarion of Ephiphanius of Salamis, Heresy 78: Against Antidicomarians 7) See S. Epiphanii Episcopi Constantiensis Panaria Eorumque Anacephalaeosis, tomi posterioris, pars prior, ed. Franciscus Oehler, in Corporis Haereseogolici, tomus secundus (Berolini:Apud A. Asher et Socios, 1861), 414; translate by Isabel Hill Elder, "The First Bishop of Jerusalem," [on-line]; accessed 8 March 2010; available from http://www.grailchurch/prg/bishopjames.htm; Internet.

27] Arthur Cushman McGiffert, A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series, vol 1: Eusebius Pamphilus: Church History, Life of Constantine, Oration in Praise of Constantine, eds. Henry Wace and Philip Schaff (New York: The Christian Literature Company, 1905), 125.

"Because of his exceeding great justice he was called the Just, and Oblias, which signifies in Greek, ‘Bulwark of the people' and ‘Justice', in accordance with what the prophets declare concerning him." (Ecclesiastical History 2237)

Internal and external testimonies support the traditional view that James , the brother of the Lord, authored this New Testament epistle.

1. Internal Evidence - Internal evidence favors the tradition that the author of the epistle of James was the brother of the Lord.

a) The Author Identifies His Name as James - In the opening salutation the author identifies himself as James.

James 1:1, " James , a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting."

b) The Author Declines to Call Himself an Apostle of Jesus Christ- Paul and Peter open their epistles as apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. The author of the epistle of James does not use this title, nor does Jude , his brother. The fact that he does not identify himself as an apostle supports the tradition that the author was not one of the Twelve, but rather James , the brother of the Lord, and brother of Jude , who authored this Epistle.

c) There are Similarities Between the Vocabulary in the Epistle of James and His Letter in Acts 15:13-21 - Some scholars suggest that the vocabulary in the epistle of James and the letter in Acts 15:13-21 contain significant similarities, suggesting that they were written by the same individual. Barry Smith 28] and Guthrie 29] give us the following list of comparisons:

28] Barry D. Smith, The General Letters: The Epistle of James (2009) [on-line]; accessed 2September 2010; available from http://www.abu.nb.ca/courses/ntintro/Jas.htm;Internet.

29] Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press), 1990, 728-729.

i) Both letters use the same Greek word for "Greeting" ( χαίρειν). This word is only used as an introductory greeting two times, in James 1:1 and in Acts 23:26 in the letter that Lysias sent to Felix.

ii) Acts 15:16-17 is a quote from Amos 9:11-12, in which the phrase "upon whom my name is called" is used. We find a similar phrase used in James 2:7, "by the which ye are called."

iii) Acts 15:13 uses the phrase, "Men and brethren, hearken unto me," which is similar to the phrase used in James 2:5, "Hearken, my beloved brethren."

iv) Both letters use the uncommon Greek word ἐπισκέπτομαι (G 1980), which means, "to go see, relieve" (Strong) used eleven times in the New Testament (see Acts 15:14, James 1:27).

v) Both letters use the Greek word ἐπιστρέφω (G 1994), which means "to revert" (Strong) used thirty-six times in the New Testament (see Acts 15:19, James 5:19-20).

vi) Both letters use the phrase, "to keep yourselves from" ( διατηροῦντες ἑαυτοὺς) ( Acts 15:29) and "keep yourself" ( ἑαυτὸν τηρεῖν) ( James 1:27).

vii) Both letters use the word "beloved" ( ἀ γαπητό ς) (see Acts 15:25, James 1:16; James 1:19; James 2:5)

viii) Both use the word "brethren" (see Acts 15:23 "twice," James 1:2; James 1:16; James 1:19; James 2:1; James 2:5; James 2:14; James 3:1; James 3:10; James 3:12; James 4:11; James 5:7; James 5:9-10; James 5:12; James 5:19).

ix) Both refer to the name of the Lord (see Acts 15:17, James 2:7).

Guthrie notes that these similarities are remarkable in that they occur within so short a passage, particularly when we understand that there is the possibility that Luke may not have given the word-for-word quote when recording his this letter in Acts. 30]

30] Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press), 1990, 728-729.

d) There is an Emphasis Upon Religious Piety in the Epistle, as is Characteristic of Other References to James , Bishop of Jerusalem - The messages in the epistle of James regarding religious practice and ethical conduct harmonizes with the character of James , bishop of Jerusalem, as seen in Acts 15:13-21; Acts 21:17-25, Galatians 2:12, and with the description of James that is given by Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History 2231-25). The message of this Epistle also harmonizes with what we know of the Jewish Dispersion from other sources of ancient history. For example, in the years leading up to the fall of Jerusalem, Palestine was corrupted with rich landowners and evil leaders who exploited the poor, a situation that ceased to exist after the city was destroyed by the Romans in A.D 70.

e) The Authoritative Tone of the Epistle of James Matches that of James the Bishop of Jerusalem- The authoritative tone of the Epistle matches that of James the Bishop of Jerusalem. This Epistle contains up to fifty-four imperatives, which give it a tone of authority, and would be more expressive of the voice of a bishop, such as James , the Lord's brother.

Thus, we can agree with Alfred Plummer who says that the overall character of the epistle of James harmonizes with the character of James the bishop of Jerusalem, and with the circumstances surrounding his ministry. 31] We will now see that the early Church fathers understood James , the Lord's brother, to be the bishop of the church in Jerusalem.

31] Alfred Plummer, The General Epistles of St. James and St. Jude , in The Expositor's Bible, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (New York: A. C. Armstrong and Song of Solomon , 1905), 22.

It is easy to see how canonicity is a testimony to apostolic authorship when we understand that the debates of the early Church fathers to accept the general epistles of 2Peter, 2,3John, and Jude was simply a debate about their authorship. Apostolic authorship meant that the works were authentic, and thus, authoritative. It was the writing's apostolic authority that granted its inclusion into the New Testament canon. Therefore, canonicity was based upon apostolic authority, and this apostolic authority was based upon the authenticity of the writing, and its authenticity was based upon the fact that it was a genuine work of one of the apostles or one who was serving directly under that apostolic authority.

B. Church Orthodoxy- The second phase in the development of the New Testament canon placed emphasis upon Church orthodoxy, or the rule of faith for the catholic Church. F. B. Westcott says, "To make use of a book as authoritative, to assume that it is apostolic, to quote it as inspired, without preface or comment, is not to hazard a new or independent opinion, but to follow an unquestioned judgment." 32] The early Church fathers cited these apostolic writings as divinely inspired by God, equal in authority to the Old Testament Scriptures. They understood that these particular books embodied the doctrines that helped them express the Church's Creed, or generally accepted rule of faith. As F. B. Westcott notes, with a single voice the Church fathers of this period rose up from the western to the eastern borders of Christendom and became heralds of the same, unified Truth. 33] This phase is best represented in the writings of the early Church fathers by the collection of the apostolic writings into the distinctive groups of the Gospels, the Pauline epistles, and the Catholic epistles, and their distribution among the churches as the rules of the Christian faith (late 2nd century thru 3rd century). These collected works of the apostles were cited by the church fathers as they expounded upon the Christian faith and established Church orthodoxy. We will look at two aspects of the development of Church Orthodoxy: (1) the Patristic Support of Authenticity, Authority, and Orthodoxy and (2) Early Versions.

32] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan anc Co, 1875), 12.

33] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan anc Co, 1875), 331.

1. Patristic Support of Authenticity, Authority, and Orthodoxy-Although the epistle of James has perhaps the weakest support of authorship and canonicity among the early Church of any New Testament writing, it still supports the ancient tradition that James , the brother of the Lord, was the author of the New Testament epistle that bears his name. Its slow acceptance by the Church at large can be credited to its limited circulation, its non-theological content and the fact that it may have been viewed as lacking apostolic authority because it was not written by one of the Twelve.

The early Church fathers make direct quotes, strong allusions and weak allusions to the epistle of James. Direct quotes are word for word citations from this book, strong allusions are apparent paraphrases, and weak allusions are words or phrases that appear to come from this book. However, the epistle of James is not well testified by the earliest Church fathers as the Pauline epistles. Although we have a possible paraphrasing of James in the Shepherd of Hermas, we have no clear quotes from this Epistle by Clement of Alexandria (A.D 150 to 215), Tertullian (A.D 160 to 225), Hippolytus (A.D 170 to 236) and Cyprian (d. A.D 258). However, since at least the third century the early Church fathers have unanimously affirmed that James the Lord's brother authored this Epistle, although its canonicity was not confirmed until the fourth century. Therefore, it is among a group of New Testament writings that did not immediately receive recognition as canonical by the early Church fathers. 34] As late as the time of Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340) we have record that it was "among the disputed writings"; 35] and for this reason few early Church writings make reference to it. Thus, the epistle of James was used by the Church fathers to establish Church orthodoxy.

34] Eusebius writes, "These things are recorded in regard to James , who is said to be the author of the first of the Song of Solomon -called catholic epistles. But it is to be observed that it is disputed; at least, not many of the ancients have mentioned it, as is the case likewise with the epistle that bears the name of Jude , which is also one of the seven Song of Solomon -called catholic epistles. Nevertheless we know that these also, with the rest, have been read publicly in very many churches." (Ecclesiastical History 22325)

35] Eusebius writes, "Among the disputed writings, which are nevertheless recognized by many, are extant the Song of Solomon -called epistle of James and that of Jude , also the second epistle of Peter, and those that are called the second and third of John , whether they belong to the evangelist or to another person of the same name." (Ecclesiastical History 3253)

Here are a few of the earliest quotes from the epistle of James: 36]

36] There are many other citations available from the early Church fathers that I have not used to support the traditional views of authorship of the books of the New Testament. Two of the largest collections of these citations have been compiled by Nathaniel Lardner (1684-1768) in The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, 10 vols. (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829, 1838), and by Jacques Paul Migne (1800-1875) in the footnotes of Patrologia Latina, 221vols. (Parisiis: Excudebat Migne, 1844-55) and Patrologia Graecae, 161vols. (Parisiis: Excudebat Migne, 1857-66).

a) Clement of Rome (A.D 96) - Alfred Plummer notes that there are a number of passages in the epistle of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians that allude to the epistle of James. 37] For example, his reference to Abraham being "the friend of God" alludes to James 2:23

37] Alfred Plummer, The General Epistles of St. James and St. Jude , in The Expositor's Bible, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (New York: A. C. Armstrong and Song of Solomon , 1905), 20.

"Abraham, styled "the friend," was found faithful, inasmuch as he rendered obedience to the words of God." (1Clement 11)

The lengthy account of Rahab the harlot in chapter 12would have been inspired by Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25.

"On account of her faith and hospitality, Rahab the harlot was saved. For when spies were sent by Joshua , the son of Nun, to Jericho, the king of the country ascertained that they were come to spy out their land, and sent men to seize them, in order that, when taken, they might be put to death. But the hospitable Rahab receiving them, concealed them on the roof of her house under some stalks of flax." (1Clement 12)

b) The Shepherd of Hermas (2nd Century) - The epistle of James appears to have been familiar to the author of The Shepherd of Hermas, as there appear to be many allusions to it, said by E. C. S. Gibson to be too numerous to quote. 38] For example, we find a paragraph in the ninth commandment of this ancient document that sounds similar to James 1:5-7.

38] Edgar C. S. Gibson, James , in The Pulpit Commentary, eds. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph Exell (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1950), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2001), "Introduction."

"He says to me, ‘Put away doubting from you and do not hesitate to ask of the Lord, saying to yourself, "How can I ask of the Lord and receive from Him, seeing I have sinned so much against Him?" Do not thus reason with yourself, but with all your heart turn to the Lord and ask of Him without doubting, and you will know the multitude of His tender mercies; that He will never leave you, but fulfill the request of your soul. For He is not like men, who remember evils done against them; but He Himself remembers not evils, and has compassion on His own creature, Cleanse, therefore, your heart from all the vanities of this world, and from the words already mentioned, and ask of the Lord and you will receive all, and in none of your requests will you be denied which you make to the Lord without doubting. But if you doubt in your heart, you will receive none of your requests. For those who doubt regarding God are double-souled, and obtain not one of their requests'." (Commandment Ninth)

James 1:5-7, "If any of you lack Wisdom of Solomon , let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."

The Shepherd of Hermas also alludes to James 4:7 in several places.

"But if evil desire see you armed with the fear of God, and resisting it, it will flee far from you…" (Commandment Twelfth 2)

"The devil has fear only, but his fear has no strength. Fear him not, then, and he will flee from you." (Commandment Twelfth 4)

"The devil can wrestle against these, overthrow them he cannot. If, then, ye resist him, he will be conquered, and flee in disgrace from you." (Commandment Twelfth 5)

James 4:7, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

c) Irenaeus (A.D 130 to 200) - Irenaeus clearly quotes from James 2:23.

"And that man was not justified by these things, but that they were given as a sign to the people, this fact shows,- that Abraham himself, without circumcision and without observance of Sabbaths, ‘believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness; and he was called the friend of God.' Then, again, Lot, without circumcision, was brought out from Sodom, receiving salvation from God." (Against Heresies 4162)

James 2:23, "And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God."

d) Clement of Alexandria (A.D 150 to 215) - Nathanial Lardner does not believe that Clement of Alexandria makes any quotes or allusions to the epistle of James. 39]

39] The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, vol 2 (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1835), 214.

e) Tertullian (A.D 160 to 225) - Tertullian makes the statement that Abraham was called "a friend of God," a phrase only found in the epistle of James.

"For whence was Noah ‘found righteous,' if in his case the righteousness of a natural law had not preceded? Whence was Abraham accounted ‘a friend of God,' if not on the ground of equity and righteousness, (in the observance) of a natural law?" (An Answer to the Jews 2)

James 2:23, "And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God."

f) Hippolytus (c A.D 170 to c. A.D 236) - Hippolytus, perhaps the most important third century theologian of the Roman Church, 40] quoted from James 2:13.

40] "Hippolytus, St," in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, revised, eds. F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), 652.

"I long to have compassion, but your lamps are dark by reason of your hardness of heart. Depart from me. For judgment is without mercy to him that hath showed no mercy" (Appendix to the Works of Hippolytus 47) (ANF 5)

James 2:13, "For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment."

g) Origen (A.D 185 to 254) - Origen refers to the epistle of James on a number of occasions, making some of the earliest references to it and quotations from it.

"For if he should declare on the one hand faith, but on the other hand it is found without works, such is dead, as we read in the epistle bearing (the name of) James." (Commentary on John 19:6) (PG 14col 569C) (author's translation)

James 2:17, "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."

"And this is the meaning of the expression, that "men have no excuse for their sin," viz, that, from the time the divine word or reason has begun to show them internally the difference between good and evil, they ought to avoid and guard against that which is wicked: "For to him who knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (De Principiis 136)

James 4:17, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."

"And as the body apart from (the) spirit is dead, then also the conscience (is) joined together with the soul…" (Commentary on Psalm 30:6) (PG 12col 1299B)

James 2:26, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

Origen also cites from the epistle of James in Commentary on Romans 4:1 ( James 2:21-22) (PG 14col 961C) and in Homilies in Leviticus 2:4 (PG 12col 418B) ( James 5:20). M. F. Sadler tells us that Origen cites the epistle of James by name when quoting James 2:20. 41] John Gill tells us that James is clearly mentioned by Origen among the canonical books of Scripture (see Book of Joshua, Homily 71) (PG 12col 857B). 42] Guthrie refers to the comments of D. J. Moo, who believes that Origen cites James only after coming in contact with the Palestinian church. 43]

41] M. F. Sadler, James , in The Biblical Illustrator, ed. Joseph S. Exell (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Pub. House, 1954), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2002), "Introduction."

42] John Gill, James , in John Gill's Expositor, in e-Sword, v 777 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), "Introduction."

43] Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press), 1990, 723.

h) Dionysius of Alexandria (d. c. A.D 264) - Dionysius the Great, bishop of Alexandria, may have been familiar with the epistle of James. 44] For example, Nathanial Lardner says he uses the expression "doer of the law." 45]

44] James Hardy Ropes, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle of St. James, in The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916), 94.

45] The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, vol 2 (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829), 690-691.

i) Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340) - Eusebius, the ancient church historian, in telling the story of the death of James the Just, as he was called by the early Church fathers, says that James authored the epistle bearing his name, and it was one of the seven Catholic Epistles.

"These things are recorded in regard to James , who is said to be the author of the first of the Song of Solomon -called catholic epistles. But it is to be observed that it is disputed; at least, not many of the ancients have mentioned it, as is the case likewise with the epistle that bears the name of Jude , which is also one of the seven Song of Solomon -called catholic epistles. Nevertheless we know that these also, with the rest, have been read publicly in very many churches." (Ecclesiastical History 22325)

Eusebius tells us in this passage that the early Church fathers listed the book of James as one of the disputed writings of the New Testament. Plummer points out that the phrase "disputed writings" did not mean that they were universally considered suspicious, but rather, that they were not yet universally accepted. 46] This explains the reason why Eusebius goes further to tell us that the epistle of James was not mentioned often by the early Church fathers, but that it was being read publicly in the churches.

46] Alfred Plummer, The General Epistles of St. James and St. Jude , in The Expositor's Bible, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (New York: A. C. Armstrong and Song of Solomon , 1905), 15-16.

"Among the disputed writings, which are nevertheless recognized by many, are extant the Song of Solomon -called epistle of James and that of Jude , also the second epistle of Peter, and those that are called the second and third of John , whether they belong to the evangelist or to another person of the same name." (Ecclesiastical History 3253)

Eusebius refers to the work of Clement of Alexander, who lists the "disputed books" of Scripture, called "the other Catholic epistles," which probably include the epistle of James in the phrase "Catholic epistles."

"To sum up briefly, he [Clement of Alexander] has given in the Hypotyposes abridged accounts of all canonical Scripture, not omitting the disputed books, - I refer to Jude and the other Catholic epistles, and Barnabas and the Song of Solomon -called Apocalypse of Peter." (Ecclesiastical History 6141)

Soon after the time of Eusebius, the epistle of James began to be quoted or listed as canonical by some of the greatest Church fathers, both the Cyrils, Gregory Nazianzen, Epiphanius, 47] and others. One factor that may have contributed to the late acceptance of this Epistle would have been its slow circulation into the Gentiles churches, since it was addressed to the Jews by a Jew. Another factor may have been its lack of theological content, being evaluated as conflicting with Pauline theology. A third factor may have been its apparent lack of apostolic authority, since James was not among the Twelve, and thus, would not have been well known to the Gentile churches outside of Palestine.

47] Epiphanius writes, "…and in the four holy Gospels, and in the fourteen epistles of the holy apostle Paul, and in the ones before these, and with the ones in the times of the acts of the apostles, in the catholic epistles of James , and Peter, and John , and Jude , and in the revelation of John…" (The Panarion of Ephiphanius of Salamis, Heresy 76: Against Anomoeans- Aetius 5) See S. Epiphanii Episcopi Constantiensis Panaria Eorumque Anacephalaeosis, tomi posterioris, pars prior, ed. Franciscus Oehler, in Corporis Haereseogolici, tomus secundus (Berolini:Apud A. Asher et Socios, 1861), 240; PG 42, columns 559-562.

j) Athanasius (A.D 296 to 373) - Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, supported the epistle of James as canonical.

"Again it is not tedious to speak of the [books] of the New Testament. These are, the four Gospels, according to Matthew ,, Mark ,, Luke , and John. Afterwards, the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles (called Catholic), seven, viz. of James , one; of Peter, two; of John , three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen Epistles of Paul, written in this order. The first, to the Romans; then two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians; then to the Philippians; then to the Colossians; after these, two to the Thessalonians, and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John" (Letters 395)

k) Ephraem Syrus (c. A.D 306 to 373) - Nathaniel Lardner cites Mill, who says Ephraem Syrus, the Syrian biblical exegete and ecclesiastical writer, makes quotations from the epistles of James ,, 2 Peter ,, Jude , and 2John on numerous occasions. 48]

48] The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, vol 4 (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829), 311-312.

l) Cyril of Jerusalem (A.D 315 to 386) - Cyril of Jerusalem places the Catholic Epistles, including James , of equal authority to the other New Testament writings.

"Then of the New Testament there are the four Gospels only, for the rest have false titles and are mischievous. The Manichaeans also wrote a Gospel according to Thomas, which being tinctured with the fragrance of the evangelic title corrupts the souls of the simple sort. Receive also the Acts of the Twelve Apostles; and in addition to these the seven Catholic Epistles of James, Peter, John , and Jude; and as a seal upon them all, and the last work of the disciples, the fourteen Epistles of Paul. But let all the rest be put aside in a secondary rank. And whatever books are not read in Churches, these read not even by thyself, as thou hast heard me say. Thus much of these subjects." (Catechetical Lectures 436)

m) Gregory of Nazianzen (A.D 329 to 389) - Gregory of Nazianzen, the Church theologian, calls James the "brother of God." After listing the books of the Old Testament canon, he says:

"And already for me, I have received all those of the New Testament. First, to the Hebrews Matthew the saint composed what was according to him the Gospel; second, in Italy Mark the divine; third, in Achaia Luke the all-wise; and John , thundering the heavenlies, indeed preached to all common men; after whom the miracles and deeds of the wise apostles, and Paul the divine herald fourteen epistles; and catholic seven, of which one is of James the brother of God, and two are of Peter the head, and of John again the evangelist, three, and seventh is Jude the Zealot. All are united and accepted; and if one of them is found outside, it is not placed among the genuine ones." (PG 38 Colossians 845) (author's translation) 49]

49] Cited by Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1: Apostolic Christianity A.D 1-100 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 582.

He makes a similar statement again:

"Indeed Matthew wrote to the Hebrews (the) miracles of Christ, and Mark to Italy, Luke to Achaia, and above all, John , a great preacher who walked in heaven, then the Acts of the wise apostles, and fourteen epistles of Paul, and seven catholic epistles, being of James , one, and two of Peter, and three of John again, and Jude is seven. You have all. And if there is some (other than) these seven, not (are they) among the genuine ones." (Carminum 1) (PG 37 Colossians 474) (author's translation)

n) Jerome (A.D 342to 420) - Jerome refers to James as one of the seven Catholic Epistles, which was a part of the New Testament canon. He tells us that James , the author of this Epistle, was the Lord's brother, being made bishop of Jerusalem by the apostles. He also mentions that there existed in his day a dispute regarding its authorship.

" James , who is called the brother of the Lord, surnamed the Just, the son of Joseph by another wife, as some think, but, as appears to me, the son of Mary sister of the mother of our Lord of whom John makes mention in his book, after our Lord"s passion at once ordained by the apostles bishop of Jerusalem, wrote a single epistle, which is reckoned among the seven Catholic Epistles and even this is claimed by some to have been published by some one else under his name, and gradually, as time went on, to have gained authority." (Lives of Illustrious Men 2)

Jerome calls the seven catholic epistles "canonical."

Jerome says, "…seven epistles which are called canonical…one James , Peter two, John three, and Jude one…" (Prologue to the Seven Canonical Epistles) (PL 29 cols 821-825) (author's translation)

2. Manuscript Evidence - A number of early third and fourth century manuscripts, such as p 23, containing the epistle of James , and p 72 (the Bodmer papyrus), containing the epistles of 1,2Peter, and Jude , reveal that the Catholic Epistles were being circulated as a collected corpus by the early Church. 50] E. C. S. Gibson tells us that the epistle of James is included in four of the great Bible manuscripts of the fourth and fifth centuries (Codex Vaticanus [B], Codex Sinaiticus [ א], Codex Alexandrinus [A] and Codex Ephraemi [C]). 51] These ancient manuscripts containing the collective body of General Epistles testify to the fact that the Church at large circulated these writings as a part of its orthodox faith.

50] The Bodmer Papyrus (p 72) contains 1Peter :14; 2 Peter 1:1-3:18; Jude 1:1-25. See Philip W. Comfort and David P. Barrett, eds, The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndall House Publishers, 1999, 2001).

51] Edgar C. S. Gibson, James , in The Pulpit Commentary, eds. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph Exell (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1950), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2001), "Introduction."

3. Early Versions - The earliest translations of books of the New Testament testify to their canonization. Perhaps as early as the second century, the New Testament was translated into Old Syriac and Old Latin. While the disputed epistles of Jude ,, 2 Peter ,, 2 John , and 3John were found in the Old Latin text, they are absent in the Old Syriac. 52] The Old Latin versions were later standardized into the Latin Vulgate by Jerome in the fourth century, which represent the canon as we know it today. The Syrian church has an unusual history regarding the development and acceptance of the New Testament Canon. While the Catholic epistles of James ,, 1 Peter , and 1John are found in the old Syriac, the lesser Catholic Epistles of 2Peter, 2,3John, Jude , and the Apocalypse are omitted from its canon. 53] This canon of 22New Testament books is reflected in the "Doctrine of Addai" (A.D 250-300) in which the clergy of Edessa are instructed to read from the Law, the Prophets, the Gospels and Acts and the Pauline Epistles, but not from the General Epistles. 54] Perhaps this comment was made because the Syriac versions only accepted three of the seven Catholic Epistles as canonical. The Old Syriac was soon formalized into the translation known as the Peshitta. The New Testament was translated in the Coptic languages of Egypt (Sahidic and Bhoairic) as early as the third century, representing the entire New Testament canon. The New Testament was soon translated into the languages of the Armenian (5th c), the Georgian (5th c), and the Ethiopic (6th c). 55] The Catholic Epistles would not have been translated with the other New Testament writings unless it was considered a part of the orthodox beliefs of the Church at large.

52] A. E. Brooke, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Johannine Epistles, in The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1912), 220-223.

53] Bruce M. Metzger, "Important Early Translations of the Bible," in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol (Jan 1993) (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary): 44, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 30b [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2004.

54] The Doctrine of Addai, the Apostle, trans. George Phillips (London: Trbner and Co 1876), 44.

55] The Old Latin Bible manuscripts of the fifth century, Codex Bezae (Gospels, Acts , Catholic epistles), Codex Claromontanus (Pauline epistles), and Codex Floriacensis ( Acts , Catholic epistles, Revelation) were used prior to Jerome's Vulgate (beginning A. D 382), and these Old Latin manuscripts testify to the canonization of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament at an early date. See Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, eds, The Greek New Testament, Third Edition (United Bible Societies, c 1966, 1968, 1975), xxxi-xxxiv.

C. Catholicity- The third and final phase of New Testament canonicity placed emphasis upon the aspect of catholicity, or the general acceptance of the canonical books. F. B. Westcott says, "The extent of the Canon, like the order of the Sacraments, was settled by common usage, and thus the testimony of Christians becomes the testimony of the Church." 56] This phase is best represented in the period of Church councils of the fourth century as bishops met and agreed upon a list of canonical books generally accepted by the catholic Church. However, approved canons were listed by individual Church fathers as early as the second century. These books exhibited a dynamic impact upon the individual believers through their characteristic of divine inspiration, transforming them into Christian maturity, being used frequently by the church at large. We will look at two testimonies of catholicity: (1) the Early Church Canons, and (2) Early Church Councils.

56] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co, 1875), 12.

1. Early Church Canons, - The Muratorian Canon (c 180) omits the epistle of James. 57] Alfred Plummer notes that the epistle of James was not mentioned in the Homilies of Aphrahat or Aphraates (c. A.D 335). 58]

57] See Fragments of Caius 3: Canon Muratorianus 2 (ANF 5).

58] Alfred Plummer, The General Epistles of St. James and St. Jude , in The Expositor's Bible, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (New York: A. C. Armstrong and Song of Solomon , 1905), 22.

2. Early Church Councils- Besides having the approval of the Church fathers of the fourth century, the Council of Laodicea (364), the Council of Hippo near the end of the fourth century, and the third Council of Carthage (397) later gave their approval of its importance by ratifying it as a canonical book of the New Testament, forever solidifying its place in the Scriptures. It was then officially accepted by the Church until the time of the Reformation, when scholars such as Erasmus, Luther, Calvin and others, renewed the ancient questions regarding its weight of authority with the other New Testament writings. For example, Luther called it "an epistle of straw" to suggest its lack of theological value. 59] However, he was speaking from a hostile environment where faith plus works was being emphasized by Catholicism. Therefore, Luther's fierce battle with those who taught false doctrine caused him to focus so strongly on salvation by faith in Christ alone that he underestimated the value of this small Epistle. Luther's views were typical of this period of Reformation in Church history. However, in the centuries that followed, general scholarship has placed the epistle of James back on equal footing with the other New Testament Epistles.

59] Alfred Plummer says, "Or, more literally, ‘a right strawy Epistle'-‘eine rechte strohern Epistel…Denn sie doch keine evangelische Art an sich hat.'" See Luther's Werke, ed. Gustav Pfizer (Frankfurt: 1840), 1412. See Alfred Plummer, The General Epistles of St. James and St. Jude , in The Expositor's Bible, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (New York: A. C. Armstrong and Song of Solomon , 1905), 24.

During the fourth century, the Roman emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity and ordered Eusebius to produce fifty copies of the Scriptures. 60] The production and distribution of these Bibles, along with the Church synods that followed, served to confirm the twenty-seven books of the New Testament as canonical and authoritative. The early Church traditions of authorship and authenticity became firmly embedded within their canonicity. Therefore, citations of the New Testament Scriptures and later manuscript evidence after this period of Church history only serve to repeat traditions that had already become well-known and established among the churches of the fourth century.

60] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, fourth edition (London: Macmillan and Co, 1875), 422-426.

James"s biography - We have enough internal evidence from the Scriptures and external evidence from the early Church fathers to put together a biography of the life of James.

A. Internal Evidence- The earliest references we have to James , the brother of Jesus, is found in the Gospels when Jesus went with His family and dwelt in Capernaum during the early years of His ministry ( John 2:12). A few years later, when Jesus launched into His full public ministry after John the Baptist was imprisoned, we find a reference to His family when He began to preach in Nazareth ( Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3). A third reference to James in the Gospels takes place during the course of His public ministry when His family attends one of His public meetings ( Matthew 12:46).

John 2:12, "After this he went down to Capernaum, Hebrews , and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days."

Matthew 13:55, "Is not this the carpenter"s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?"

Mark 6:3, "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him."

Matthew 12:46, "While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him."

We know from John 7:2-5 that James was skeptical of the Lord Jesus until the Resurrection, since this passage of Scripture tells us that His brothers mocked Him, and so James could not have been one of the Twelve, nor one of the Seventy, as some traditions tell us.

John 7:2-5, "Now the Jews" feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him."

Also, the fact that Jesus committed His mother to John the apostle in John 19:27 suggests that none of His brothers were yet converted at the time of the Crucifixion.

John 19:27, "Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home."

We can suggest that James , the Lord's brother, was converted at the time of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (A.D 30); for the Scriptures tell us that He appeared to him during the forty days Jesus appeared to His disciples after the Resurrection ( 1 Corinthians 15:7). An additional testimony to his conversion comes from Acts 1:14, where he was gathered in the upper room with the disciples awaiting the Day of Pentecost.

1 Corinthians 15:7, "After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles."

Acts 1:14, "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren."

We do have a brief account of this divine visitation to James mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:7 in the apocryphal Gospel of Hebrews.

"‘Now the Lord, when he had given the linen cloth unto the servant of the priest, went unto James and appeared to him (for James had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour wherein he had drunk the Lord"s cup until he should see him risen again from among them that sleep)', and again after a little, ‘Bring ye, saith the Lord, a table and bread', and immediately it is added, ‘He took bread and blessed and brake and gave it unto James the Just and said unto him: My brother, eat thy bread, for the Son of Man is risen from among them that sleep'." 61]

61] The Apocryphal New Testament being the Apocryphal Gospels, Acts , Epistles, and Apocalypses, trans. Montague Rhodes James (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1963), 3-4.

James must have gained recognition in the church in Jerusalem; for we find Paul telling the Galatians how he visited Peter and James when he returned from his three years" sojourn in Damascus to visit Peter ( Galatians 1:19) (A.D 37 or 38).

Galatians 1:19, "But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord"s brother."

James soon becomes the leader in the church in Jerusalem. When Peter was imprisoned and freed by an angel, it was his name mentioned as being prominent above the brethren (A.D 44).

Acts 12:17, "But Hebrews , beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place."

By the time of the Jerusalem convention in Acts 15 (c. A.D 51), (compare Galatians 2:1 - fourteen years later, from A.D 37), James had reached the position of first overseer in the church at Jerusalem. He was head of the first Council at Jerusalem ( Acts 15:13; Acts 15:19, Galatians 2:9), and it is possible that he was the one that drew up the letter to the Syrian churches.

Acts 15:13, "And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:"

Acts 15:19, "Wherefore my sentence Isaiah , that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:"

Galatians 2:9, "And when James, Cephas, and John , who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision."

Paul mentions James as the leading person in Jerusalem when Peter took Paul's rebuke while in Antioch for refusing to eat with Gentile believers (A.D 52).

Galatians 2:12, "For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision."

James was once more head of the Council at Jerusalem when Paul made report of the labors from his third missionary journey (A.D 58).

Acts 21:18, "And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present."

The Scriptures also imply that James was married when it says that "the brethren of the Lord" had wives ( 1 Corinthians 9:5).

1 Corinthians 9:5,"Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?"

James is also mentioned in the salutation to the epistle of Jude , who is also considered the brother of Jesus, and of James:

Jude 1:1, " Jude , the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:"

B. External Evidence - The position as bishop of the church in Jerusalem gave James , the Lord's brother, enough prominence in the early church to receive the attention of the early Church fathers. He is mentioned a number of times, giving some biographical information about his life.

1. Flavius Josephus (A.D 37 to 100) - According to Josephus, the Jewish historian, this same James became the bishop of Jerusalem, and was later stoned to death, perhaps around A.D 62-63.

"Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of Judges , and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned:" (Antiquities 2091, see also Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 22321-24)

2. Clement of Rome (flourished about A.D 96) - In a collection of pseudo-Clementine literature, Clement of Rome is said to have written an epistle to James , the brother of the Lord, informing him of the death of Peter the apostle. In the opening of this epistle, Clement of Rome calls James the bishop of Jerusalem.

"Clement to James , the lord, and the bishop of bishops, who rules Jerusalem, the holy church of the Hebrews , and the churches everywhere excellently rounded by the providence of God, with the elders and deacons, and the rest of the brethren, peace be always." (Epistle of Clement to James 1) 62]

62] Epistle of Clement to James , in The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D 325, vol 8: Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: The Twelve Patriarchs, Excerpts and Epistles, The Clementina, Apocrypha, Decretals, Memoirs of Edessa and Syriac Documents, Remains of the First Ages, American ed, eds. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, & A. Cleveland Coxe (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, Grand Rapids; Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997 [electronic edition]), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2009).

3. Hippolytus (A.D 170 to 236) - Hippolytus tells us that James the Lord's brother became the bishop of the church at Jerusalem.

"1. James the Lord's brother, bishop of Jerusalem." (Appendix to the Works of Hippolytus 49: On the Twelve Apostles Where Each of Them Preached, and Where He Met His End 1) (ANF 5)

4. Origen (A.D 185 to 254) - Origen makes a reference to the martyrdom of James the Just.

"I would like to say to Celsus, who represents the Jew as accepting somehow John as a Baptist, who baptized Jesus, that the existence of John the Baptist, baptizing for the remission of sins, is related by one who lived no great length of time after John and Jesus. For in the 18th book of his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus bears witness to John as having been a Baptist, and as promising purification to those who underwent the rite. Now this writer, although not believing in Jesus as the Christ, in seeking after the cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, whereas he ought to have said that the conspiracy against Jesus was the cause of these calamities befalling the people, since they put to death Christ, who was a prophet, says nevertheless-being, although against his will, not far from the truth-that these disasters happened to the Jews as a punishment for the death of James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus (called Christ), the Jews having put him to death, although he was a man most distinguished for his justice. Paul, a genuine disciple of Jesus, says that he regarded this James as a brother of the Lord, not so much on account of their relationship by blood, or of their being brought up together, as because of his virtue and doctrine. If, then, he says that it was on account of James that the desolation of Jerusalem was made to overtake the Jews, how should it not be more in accordance with reason to say that it happened on account (of the death) of Jesus Christ, of whose divinity so many Churches are witnesses, composed of those who have been convened from a flood of sins, and who have joined themselves to the Creator, and who refer all their actions to His good pleasure." (Against Celsus 147)

5. Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340) - Eusebius confirms Josephus' story about James by telling us the same information about him. He also quotes Clement of Alexandria in saying the James was chosen the first bishop of Jerusalem.

"Then James , whom the ancients surnamed the Just on account of the excellence of his virtue, is recorded to have been the first to be made bishop of the church of Jerusalem. This James was called the brother of the Lord because he was known as a son of Joseph, and Joseph was supposed to be the father of Christ, because the Virgin, being betrothed to him, "was found with child by the Holy Ghost before they came together," as the account of the holy Gospels shows. But Clement in the sixth book of his Hypotyposes writes thus: "For they say that Peter and James and John after the ascension of our Saviour, as if also preferred by our Lord, strove not after honor, but chose James the Just bishop of Jerusalem." (Ecclesiastical History 212-3)

Eusebius also preserved the narrative of Hegesippus, which gives us the lengthy story of the martyrdom of James (Ecclesiastical History 2234-18). Eusebius tells us that the death of James took place just before Vespasian besieged the city of Jerusalem:

"So they went up and threw down the just Prayer of Manasseh , and said to each other, "Let us stone James the Just." And they began to stone him, for he was not killed by the fall; but he turned and knelt down and said, "I entreat thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And while they were thus stoning him one of the priests of the sons of Rechab, the son of the Rechabites, who are mentioned by Jeremiah the prophet, cried out, saying, "Cease, what do ye? The just one prayeth for you.' And one of them, who was a fuller, took the club with which he beat out clothes and struck the just man on the head. And thus he suffered martyrdom. And they buried him on the spot, by the temple, and his monument still remains by the temple. He became a true witness, both to Jews and Greeks, that Jesus is the Christ. And immediately Vespasian besieged them." (Ecclesiastical History 22315-18)

Eusebius comments on the death of James again in his writings:

"For the Jews after the ascension of our Saviour, in addition to their crime against him, had been devising as many plots as they could against his apostles. First Stephen was stoned to death by them, and after him James , the son of Zebedee and the brother of John , was beheaded, and finally James , the first that had obtained the episcopal seat in Jerusalem after the ascension of our Saviour, died in the manner already described." (Ecclesiastical History 354-6)

5. The Apostolic Constitutions (4th Century) - The Apostolic Constitutions, a collection of ecclesiastical law that is believed to have been compiled during the latter half of the fourth century, states that James was the first bishop of the church at Jerusalem.

"Now concerning those bishops which have been ordained in our lifetime, we let you know that they are these:--James the bishop of Jerusalem, the brother of our Lord; upon whose death the second was Simeon the son of Cleopas; after whom the third was Judas the son of James" (Constitutions of the Holy Apostles 7446)

6. Epiphanius (A.D 315 to 403) - Epiphanius tells us that James , the Lord's brother, was the first bishop of Jerusalem

"But the rank of priest because Christ is high priest and chief of high priests—since James , called the brother and apostle of the Lord, was made the first bishop immediately. Actually he was Joseph's Song of Solomon , but was said to be in the position of the Lord's brother because they were reared together." (The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Heresy 29: Against Nazoraeans 38-9). 63]

63] The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Book I (Sects 1-46), trans. Frank Williams (Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill, c 1987), 114; See S. Epiphanii Episcopi Constantiensis Panaria Eorumque Anacephalaeosis, tomi prioris, pars prior, ed. Franciscus Oehler, in Corporis Haereseogolici, tomus secundus (Berolini:Apud A. Asher et Socios, 1859), 230.

Edgar C. S. Gibson says that Epiphanius "transfers to James the Just the well-know statement of Polycrates regarding St. John , that he wore the " πέταλον ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς." 64]

64] Edgar C. S. Gibson, James , in The Pulpit Commentary, eds. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph Exell (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1950), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2001), "Introduction."

8. St. John Chrysostom (A.D 347 to 407) - John Chrysostom, in his homily on Acts 15, tells us that James was bishop over the church in Jerusalem.

"This (James) was bishop, as they say, and therefore he speaks last, and herein is fulfilled that saying, ‘In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.' (Deut. xvii 6; Matt. xviii 16)…No word speaks John here, no word the other Apostles, but held their peace, for James was invested with the chief rule, and think it no hardship." (Homilies on Acts 33) (NPF 1 11)

9. Jerome (A.D 342to 420) - Jerome tells us of the holy manner of James' life and his of his death as a martyr. He is said to have ruled the church in Jerusalem for thirty years up to the time of his death.

"He says also many other things, too numerous to mention. Josephus also in the 20th book of his Antiquities, and Clement in the 7th of his Outlines mention that on the death of Fetus who reigned over Judea, Albinus was sent by Nero as his successor. Before he had reached his province, Ananias the high priest, the youthful son of Ananus of the priestly class taking advantage of the state of anarchy, assembled a council and publicly tried to force James to deny that Christ is the son of God. When he refused Ananius ordered him to be stoned. Cast down from a pinnacle of the temple, his legs broken, but still half alive, raising his hands to heaven he said, ‘Lord forgive them for they know not what they do.' Then struck on the head by the club of a fuller such a club as fullers are accustomed to wring out garments with--he died." (Lives of Illustrious Men 2)

III. Date and Place of Writing

It is most likely that most of the General Epistles were written during the time when the early Church experienced its first large-scale persecutions at the hands of the Roman Emperors Nero (A.D 54-68) and Domitian (A.D 81-96). It was this season of persecutions that occasioned the need to write and encourage these early believers to hold fast to their faith in Christ, even at the cost of their lives. It is generally agreed by conservative scholars that the epistle of James has an early date of writing from A.D 44to 48, since the Epistle contains no references to the events found in the book of Acts , in which James presided over the first Jerusalem council in A.D 49 ( Acts 15:1-35), and when Paul met with James and the elders at Jerusalem after his third missionary journey around A.D 58 ( Acts 21:15-26). Thus, it is believed to be one of the earliest books of the New Testament to be written, with 1Thessalonians, the earliest of Paul's epistles written A.D 52-56. It is also generally agreed that the Epistle was written from Palestine, most likely Jerusalem, where James , the bishop of the church in Jerusalem, served as bishop for many years.

A. Date of Writing- For those scholars who accept the authorship of James the Just, bishop of Jerusalem, a date in the middle of the first century is acceptable. Josephus tells us that James , the brother of the Lord and bishop of the church at Jerusalem, was martyred (Antiquities 2091). According to Hegesippus this event is believed to have taken place around A.D 62 (Ecclesiastical History 2231-20). 65] Thus, the epistle must precede this date; nor should we date it so early that the Christian faith had no time to spread across the Jewish Diapora. It must have been written after the dispersion of the Jewish believers ( Acts 8:1; Acts 11:19) that followed to the death of Stephen around A.D 35 ( Acts 7:1 to Acts 8:19). It is unlikely that this epistle would have been written as early as A.D 44, when James had evidently taken a leadership role in the church at Jerusalem. It is most likely that James wrote this epistle while living in Jerusalem as bishop over the church there. There have been several suggestions for dating this epistle towards the earlier years of the church:

65] "St. James , the Lord's brother," eds. F. L. Cross, and E. A. Livingstone, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, revised (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), 722.

1. The Epistle Reflects Early Jewish Congregations- The Jewish nature of this Epistle characterizes the earlier New Testament congregations. For example, the use of the term "synagogue" does not fit the later Gentile congregations.

2. No References to Church Leadership- There is a lack of any references to Church leadership, such as bishops, elders and deacons. The Epistle only makes a reference to "teachers." This suggests that these offices were not well developed.

3. No Reference to the Fall of Jerusalem in A.D 70 - The lack of any reference to the fall of Jerusalem in A.D 70 suggests a date prior to this event. Although it can be argued that this event did not affect Christians as much as Jews, it still would weigh as an important event to Jewish believers who spent their life either worshipping in Jerusalem, or taking pilgrimages there.

4. No Reference to Jewish-Gentile Controversies- The lack of any reference to the Gentile controversy over circumcision and other Jewish offences supports an earlier date, perhaps before the first Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 dated around 50 A.D.

5. Distinct from Pauline Theology- The lack of similarity to Pauline theology suggests that the Apostle's epistles were either not yet written, or not well circulated. Instead, James has a close affinity to the Old Testament Scriptures. However, many scholars argue that there are many similarities between these writings.

6. The Parousia- The expectancy of the Lord's return is similar to 1,2Thessalonians, which also suggests an early date of writing.

7. Early Allusions to the Epistle of James - The allusions to James from some of the earliest Church fathers suggest a first-century writing. For example, we find allusions to this Epistle in 1Clement (c. A.D 96) and the Shepherd of Hermas (2nd century).

Many scholars take the view of an early date prior to 50 A.D. However, it could have been written towards the later end of James' life when the Gentile churches were developing in Asia Minor and Macedonia and Italy, so that a date of A.D 62is possible.

B. Place of Writing - Regarding the place where the epistle of James was written, it is generally agreed that James , the brother of the Lord, and the first bishop of the church in Jerusalem, wrote it from Jerusalem, or at least Palestine. E. H. Plumptre gives us a description of Palestine by using the geographical descriptions from this Epistle. For example, the hot blasts of wind from the desert ( James 1:11), "the brackish springs from the hills of Judea" ( James 3:11), "the figs, olives and grape vines" which cover the Judean hills ( James 3:12), the early and latter rainy seasons ( James 5:7) and the storms that arise on the Sea of Galilee or Mediterranean Sea ( James 3:4) all point to the land of Palestine. 66]

66] E. H. Plumptre, The General Epistle of St. James , with Notes and Introduction, in The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, ed. J. J. S. Perowne (Cambridge: The University Press, 1890), 43.

IV. Recipients

It is generally agreed that James was writing his epistle to Jewish converts. There are a number of passages in the epistle of James which indicate that the recipients were Jewish. The first verse of the epistle of James describes his readers as "the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad" ( James 1:1), which is a Jewish phrase referring to the Jewish Christians who were scattered throughout the known world at that time. James , as bishop of the church in Jerusalem, and thus, a pillar in the early church, felt compelled to minister to those Jews who lived abroad. We know that they assembled in a "synagogue" ( James 2:2). James mentions Abraham as "our father" in James 2:21, something that Paul also applied to the Gentile Church; but in the immediate context of this Epistle, it suggests Jewish readership. There are a number of references made about the importance of obedience to the Mosaic Law ( James 2:8-12; James 4:11). The phrase "Lord of Hosts" ( James 5:4) is very Hebraic, not appearing in any other New Testament writing, but frequently used in the Old Testament Hebrew text.

Some scholars suggest that the epistle of James was directed towards all Jews, both believers and non-believers because of the opening phrase "the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad," and with its strong Jewish flavor. However, a number of verses indicate that the recipients were converts to Christianity. For example, the recipients are called "brethren" and "beloved brethren" throughout the entire Epistle. We also know that these Jews had accepted Jesus Christ as the Messiah, since James says, "My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons," ( James 2:1). Thus, they had placed their faith in Jesus Christ. In James 5:7-8 James exhorts his readers to be patient for the Second Coming of Christ, a charge that would have little meaning to those Jews who had rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah. The Pseudo-Clementine writing of Clement of Rome supports this view. He is said to have written an epistle to James the brother of the Lord informing him of the death of Peter the apostle. In the first chapter of this epistle, Clement of Rome calls James "the lord, the bishop of bishops, who rules Jerusalem, the holy church of the Hebrews." This verse gives us an indication as to how James' position as bishop of Jerusalem empowered him to write the Epistle as a letter of apostolic authority to all of the Hebrews scattered abroad.

"Clement to James , the lord, and the bishop of bishops, who rules Jerusalem, the holy church of the Hebrews , and the churches everywhere excellently rounded by the providence of God, with the elders and deacons, and the rest of the brethren, peace be always." (The Epistle of Clement to James 1) 67]

67] Epistle of Clement to James , in The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D 325, vol 8: Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: The Twelve Patriarchs, Excerpts and Epistles, The Clementina, Apocrypha, Decretals, Memoirs of Edessa and Syriac Documents, Remains of the First Ages, American ed, eds. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, & A. Cleveland Coxe (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, Grand Rapids; Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997 [electronic edition]), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2009).

Regarding the location of these recipients, we know from the opening verse that it is a general epistle addressed to all Jewish converts scattered abroad in the Diaspora. To be any more specific is sheer speculation. For example, some have suggested that James may have addressed those Jewish converts who had been scattered from Jerusalem during the death of Stephen and the persecution that followed thereafter. However, neither the Epistle, nor other New Testament writings, nor early Church history gives us an indication as to a specific community of believers.

V. Occasion

What would have occasioned the writing of the epistle of James by the bishop of Jerusalem? One obvious answer lies with the text of this letter to the church, in that they were facing a multitude of trials ( James 1:2-4). The rich were oppressing them ( James 5:1-6; their religious traditions were marred with lack of genuine faith and trust in God; there appears to be grumbling ( James 5:9) and strife ( James 3:1 to James 4:2) within the congregations. When such reports reached the church in Jerusalem, James felt compelled to address these issues.

As bishop of Jerusalem, which was the center of the Jewish nation, James had many opportunities to hear of what was going on in the churches scattered about the known world. James served in this capacity in Jerusalem for several decades, which gave him a strategic position in the body of Christ regarding Jewish believers, for they made their pilgrimage to this holy city year after year. As the final voice of approval because he was their pastor, his words probably held authority over the apostles of Jesus Christ regarding Church doctrine and order. This is shown in the book of Acts 15, when the elders at Jerusalem took council as to how to handle certain matters concerning Gentile conversions. This Jerusalem church, and James himself, received a bird"s eye view, and even a strong voice, in the most current events happening in the church abroad. He heard of their difficult plight when they were run out of Rome under Claudius ( Acts 18:2). He heard how many Jewish converts were excommunicated from their synagogues across the Roman Empire. Such trials and persecutions brought emotional, physical and economic hardships upon this group of Jewish believers. James knew very well that all believers had these same types of trials in common.

1 Corinthians 10:13, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."

1 Peter 5:9, "Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world."

In order to face these trials victoriously, James had to make a distinction between true religious faith in God, and the traditions followed by religious Jews who still had not accepted Jesus as the Messiah.

LITERARY STYLE (GENRE)

"Perhaps the most important issue in interpretation is the issue of genre.

If we misunderstand the genre of a text, the rest of our analysis will be askew."

(Thomas Schreiner) 68]

68] Thomas R. Schreiner, Interpreting the Pauline Epistles, second edition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, c 1990, 2011), 11.

Within the historical setting of the early church, the authors of the New Testament epistles chose to write to various groups of believers using the literary style of the formal Greco-Roman epistle, which contains a traditional salutation, the body, and a conclusion. Thus, the New Testament epistles are assigned to the literary genre called "epistle genre," In the introductory section of literary style, a comparison will be made of the New Testament epistles, as well as a brief look at the grammar and syntax of the epistle of James.

VI. Comparison of the New Testament Epistles

Note some of the characteristics of the epistle of James.

A. Comparison of Content: The Epistle is More Practical than Doctrinal - As is characteristic of all of the General Epistles, James is more practical than doctrinal. However, we find many doctrinal statements and similarities in them to the teachings of Christ Jesus and of Wisdom Literature.

The lack of theological content and emphasis upon practical application to the believer's lifestyle is typical of the Catholic Epistles. This characteristic in particular contributed to the epistle of James being slow in its acceptance into New Testament canon literature. For example, the Epistle contains no discussions to the Atonement, the Resurrection, to the Church sacraments or Church government, nor any major foundational doctrines of the New Testament Church. However, its practical teachings rely upon these theological foundations.

B. Comparison of Content: James Has Much Similarity to Wisdom Literature - We can also find characteristics of Jewish wisdom literature within the epistle of James. For example, James makes a number of references to the importance of wisdom in James 1:5 and James 3:13-17. We also find short pity sayings in James 1:8; James 1:22; James 4:17 that are similar to those found in the book of Proverbs.

James 1:8, "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."

James 1:22, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."

James 4:17, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."

We find in James 3:13-18 a contrast between good and evil, which is typical of Proverbs 10-15. James 4:6 is a quotation from Proverbs 3:34.

James 4:6, "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."

Proverbs 3:34, "Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly."

We find similar concepts mentioned in James 1:5 with Proverbs 2:6; James 1:19 with Proverbs 29:20; James 3:18 with Proverbs 11:30; James 4:13-16 with Proverbs 27:1; and James 5:20 with Proverbs 10:12.

James 1:5, "If any of you lack Wisdom of Solomon , let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

Proverbs 2:6, "For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding."

James 1:19, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:"

Proverbs 29:20, "Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him."

James 3:18, "And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."

Proverbs 11:30, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise."

James 4:13-16

Proverbs 27:1, "Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."

James 5:20, "Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins."

Proverbs 10:12, "Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins."

C. Comparison of Content: James Has Similarities to Other New Testament Writings - The epistle of James contains more parallels to the Gospels than any other New Testament epistle.

1. The Epistle of James is Similar to the Sermon on the Mount in that Both are Filled with Illustrations from Nature - The epistle of James is similar to the Sermon on the Mount in that both are full of illustrations from nature. The author uses nature approximately thirty times in his Epistle to explain his message of faith and works amidst hardships and persecutions. Divine truths are explained by using illustrations of waves of the ocean, flowers, the shadow of the sun, ships at sea, horses, childbirth, etc. James must have been brought up in an environment that gave him much access to nature. When we struggle to give an illustration to someone, we draw on our past experiences to make a point clear. Here, James draws on God"s creation to illustrate divine truths. For example:

James 1:6 - Waves of sea

James 1:11 - Rising of sun

James 1:15 - Childbirth

James 1:17 - Shadow of sun

James 1:23 - Looking in a mirror

James 2:1-3 - Rich & poor man

James 3:3 - Horse

James 3:4 - Ship

James 3:12 - Fig trees, olive trees

James 5:3 - Farmer

2. The Epistle of James is Similar to the Sermon on the Mount and Other New Testament Passages in its Content- James is similar to the Sermon on the Mount and other New Testament passages in its content. We find in James 1:12 a phrase that is similar to the Beatitudes.

James 1:12, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation"

James 5:12 is similar to Matthew 5:34-37 in that both deal with the subject of oaths.

James 5:12, "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation."

Matthew 5:34-37, "But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God"s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Other suggested parallel statements may be found in James 2:5 and Luke 6:20, James 3:10-12 and Matthew 7:16-20, and James 3:18 and Matthew 5:9.

There are enough parallels within the Sermon on the Mount that Donald Guthrie, William MacDonald, and Arthur Farstad make the following chart of comparisons: 69]

69] Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press), 1990, 729-730; William MacDonald and Arthur Farstad, Believer"s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comments on James 1:2.

Subject

James

Parallel in Matthew

Adversity

James 1:2; James 1:12; James 5:10

Matthew 5:10-12

Prayer

James 1:5; James 4:3; James 5:13-18

Matthew 6:6-13; Matthew 7:7-12

The Single Eye

James 1:8; James 4:8

Matthew 6:22-23

Wealth

James 1:10-11; James 2:6-7

Matthew 6:19-21; Matthew 6:23-34

Wrath

James 1:19-20; James 4:1

Matthew 5:22

The Law

James 1:25; James 2:1; James 2:12-13

Matthew 5:17-44

Mere Profession

James 1:26-27

Matthew 6:1-18

The Royal Law

James 2:8

Matthew 7:12

Mercy

James 2:13

Matthew 5:7

Faith and Works

James 2:14-26

Matthew 7:15-27

Root and Fruit

James 3:11-12

Matthew 7:16-20

True Wisdom

James 3:13

Matthew 7:24

The Peacemaker

James 3:17-18

Matthew 5:9

Judging Others

James 4:11-12

Matthew 7:1-5

Rusted Treasures

James 5:2

Matthew 6:19

Oaths

James 5:12

Matthew 5:33-37

D. Comparison of Style: James is Impersonal, Lacking References to Individuals - Because of its general nature, the Epistle of James lacks any references to individuals that would help us date this epistle and understand what occasioned its writing. Thus, it is impersonal.

E. Comparison of Style: The Epistle of James is Written in an Authoritative Style - Of its one hundred and eight verses, the epistle of James contains fifty-four imperatives. This would be typical of a person who stood in a great position of authority over the early Church, such as that of bishop in Jerusalem.

F. Comparison of Style: James Lacks the Typical Epistolary Opening and Closing Benediction - The Epistle of James lacks the typical epistolary opening and closing benediction, as with the other New Testament epistles. In fact, many scholars describe it more as a sermon than an epistle. For example, there are at least fifty-four (54) imperatives, and forty-seven (47) occurrences of the second person pronoun "you," which shows the author making direct applications and charges to the hearers.

G. Comparison of Style: James is a Jewish Writing in its Nature- The epistle of James is considered one of the most Jewish writings of the New Testament in its style and content, just as the Gospel of Matthew is also strongly Jewish. Guthrie says its Jewish nature tells us that the author was at home with Jewish methods of thought and expression. 70]

70] Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press), 1990, 728.

1. Reference to the Jewish Diaspora- The epistle is addressed to the twelve tribes, which are of the Dispersion ( James 1:1).

2. Reference to Jewish Synagogues- Their meeting-place is called "your synagogue" ( James 2:2).

3. Abraham was Their Father- Abraham is mentioned as "our father" ( James 2:21).

4. The Lord of Hosts- God is given the Hebrew title, "the Lord of Sabaoth" ( James 5:4), which is translated into English as "the Lord of Hosts."

5. References to the Mosaic Law - There are a number of references to the Mosaic Law. The perfect law of liberty is to be reverently and loyally obeyed ( James 1:25). It is a royal law to which every loyal Jew will be subject ( James 2:8-11). It is a law of liberty, to be obeyed because it will judge us ( James 2:12). It is not to be spoken against nor judged ( James 4:11). James also cites portions of the Law, of which his readers are to obey ( James 2:11).

6. Numerous Old Testament Quotes and Illustrations - The author of James quotes directly from the Old Testament on five occasions ( James 1:11 paraphrases Isaiah 40:6-7; James 2:8 from Leviticus 19:18, James 2:11 from Exodus 20:13-14 or Deuteronomy 5:17-18, James 2:23 from Genesis 15:6; James 4:6 from Proverbs 3:34 [LXX]). Illustrations of faithfulness and patience and prayer are used in the Epistle based upon Old Testament characters, in Abraham ( James 2:21), Rahab ( James 2:25), Job ( James 5:11), and Elijah ( James 5:17-18).

7. Hebrew Idioms - The Epistle of James makes use of Hebrew idioms. James 5:17 say, "and he prayed in a prayer", which is a Hebrew way in intensifying how Elijah prayed, meaning he prayed fervently.

VII. Grammar and Syntax

H. Grammar and Syntax: The Greek is of High Quality - The Greek language used in the epistle of James is of high quality. Some doubt if this could have been written by the brother of the Lord, whose native language was Aramaic. However, many people in the first century were bilingual. In Palestine, it was not uncommon to know Aramaic, Greek and another language.

THEOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK

"Scholarly excellence requires a proper theological framework."

(Andreas Ksenberger) 71]

71] Andreas J. Ksenberger, Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2011), 161.

Based upon the historical setting and literary style of the epistle of James , an examination of the purpose, thematic scheme, and literary structure to this book of the Holy Scriptures will reveal its theological framework. This introductory section will sum up its theological framework in the form of an outline, which is then used to identify smaller units or pericopes within the epistle of James for preaching and teaching passages of Scripture while following the overriding message of the book. Following this outline allows the minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to take his followers on a spiritual journey that brings them to the same destination that the author intended his readers to reach.

VIII. Purpose

A. Consolatory/Hortatory - The primary purpose of the General Epistles is hortatory. The message of the epistle of James is consolatory in that it is a message of perseverance under trials, as he exhorts them to patience ( James 1:2, James 5:7). The author of this Epistle wanted his Jewish readers to embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ as more than just a new set of Jewish traditions, to which traditions so many Jews were guilty of embracing with no heart-transformation. This acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah meant persecutions and eventually excommunication from their own synagogues. Song of Solomon , they needed words of exhortation to continue in the faith and not abandon their faith in Jesus without abandoning their Jewish background.

The Epistle is also hortatory in that James also saw the need to rebuke them for their faults, exposing the areas where they were weak in the faith in hopes of converting them from their sins ( James 5:19-20). Since this Epistle has strong similarities to the Sermon on the Mount, we can compare its purpose to Jesus' most famous sermon also, which was to define true righteousness in God's eyes as something that proceeds from the heart, and is manifested by good works. James wanted the Gospel to penetrate down to the heart and motive of every act of good will that these Jewish believers performed. He wanted them to understand that the true Jewish faith was not liturgical and traditional acts of worship, and void of practical fruits of a Christian life ( James 2:14-26), but a lifestyle of faith in God motivated from a pure heart that involved good deeds towards others, such as orphans and widows, who could not repay them ( James 1:27). It was this love walk that would prepare these Jewish converts for the Second Coming of the Messiah ( James 5:7-8).

The hortatory purpose reflects the primary theme of the epistle of James , which is the perseverance in the faith against persecutions from without the Church.

B. Doctrinal- The General Epistles contain some doctrinal teachings along with hortatory instructions regarding perseverance. The epistle of James teaches about genuine religion being expressed in mixing good works with one's faith.

The doctrinal purpose reflects the second theme of the epistle of James , which is the expression of a genuine religion based upon one's lifestyle of good works.

C. Practical - The epistle of James gives practical instructions as believer is instructed on how to patiently and joyfully serve the Lord with good works in the midst of trials.

The practical purpose reflects the third theme of the epistle of James , which is to joyfully endure suffering.

IX. Thematic Scheme

Introduction- Each book of the Holy Scriptures contains a three-fold thematic scheme in order to fulfill its intended purpose, which is to transform each child of God into the image of Jesus Christ ( Romans 8:29). The primary, or foundational, theme of a book offers a central claim that undergirds everything written by the author. The secondary, or structural theme, of the book supports its primary theme by offering reasons and evidence for the central "claim" made by the author as it fully develops the first theme. Thus, the secondary theme is more easily recognized by biblical scholars than the other two themes because they provide the literary content of the book as they navigate the reader through the arguments embedded within the biblical text, thus revealing themselves more clearly. 72] The third theme is imperative in that it calls the reader to a response based upon the central claim and supporting evidence offered by the author. Each child of God has been predestined to be conformed into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Scriptures, and they alone, have the power to accomplish this task. This is why a child of God can read the Holy Scriptures with a pure heart and experience a daily transformation taking place in his life, although he may not fully understand what is taking place in his life. In addition, the reason some children of God often do not see these biblical themes is because they have not fully yielded their lives to Jesus Christ, allowing transformation to take place by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Without a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, a child of God is not willing to allow Him to manage his life and move him down the road that God predestined as his spiritual journey. This journey requires every participant to take up his cross daily and follow Jesus, and not every believer is willing to do this. In fact, every child of God chooses how far down this road of sacrifice he is willing to go. Very few of men and women of God fulfill their divine destinies by completing this difficult journey. In summary, the first theme drives the second theme, which develops the first theme, and together they demand the third theme, which is the reader's response.

72] For an excellent discussion on the use of claims, reasons, and evidence in literature, see Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003).

A. Primary Theme (Foundational) of the Epistle of James: The Perseverance of the Saints: Against Persecutions from Without the Church- Introduction- The central theme of the Holy Bible is God's plan of redemption for mankind. This theme finds its central focus in the Cross, where our Lord and Saviour died to redeem mankind. The central figure of the Holy Scriptures is the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the Cross is the place where man meets God and where we die to our selfish ambitions and yield our lives to the God who created all things. Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are not intended to be a precise record of ancient history. Rather, its intent is to provide a record of God's divine intervention in the history of mankind in order to redeem the world back to Himself through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary.

Every book of the Holy Bible makes a central claim that undergirds the arguments or message contained within its text. For example, the central claim of the Pentateuch is found in Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD," to which all additional material is subordinate. The bulk of the material in the Old Testament is subordinate in that it serves as reasons and evidence to support this central claim. This material serves as the secondary theme, offering the literary structure of the book. In addition, the central claim calls for a response, which is stated in the following verse, "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." ( Deuteronomy 6:5) Such a response is considered the third, imperative theme that runs through every book of the Holy Scriptures.

This central claim is the primary, or foundational, theme and is often obscured by the weight of evidence that is used to drive the central message, which weight of evidence makes up the secondary theme; and thus, it contains more content than the primary theme. Therefore, the secondary themes of the books of the Holy Scripture are generally more recognizable than the primary theme. Nevertheless, the central claim, or truth, must be excavated down to the foundation and made clearly visible in order to understand the central theme driving the arguments contained within the book. Only then can proper exegesis and sermon delivery be executed.

1. The Central Themes of the New Testament Epistles: Sanctification of the Believer- There are twenty-one epistles in the New Testament, which the early Church recognized as having apostolic authority so that they were collected into one body, circulated among the churches, an eventually canonized. While the Gospels emphasize the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ in the process justification of the believer, New Testament epistles emphasize the redemptive plan of the Holy Spirit as He works in the process of sanctification for each believer. Thus, the work of sanctification serves as the underlying theme of all twenty-one epistles. In addition, each one emphasizes a different aspect of this divine process of sanctification and they are organized together so that the New Testament is structured to reflect the part of our spiritual journey called sanctification In order to express this structure, each of these epistles have different themes that are woven and knitted together into a unified body of teachings which will bring the believer through the process of sanctification and ready for the rapture of the Church into a place of rest in the glorious hope revealed in the book of Revelation. Therefore, the New Testament epistles were collected together by topic by the early Church.

Of the twenty-one epistles, there are thirteen Pauline epistles and eight designated as General, or Catholic, epistles. We can organize these twenty-one epistles into three major categories: (1) there are epistles that emphasize Church doctrine, which are the nine Pauline epistles of Romans to 2Thessalonians; (2) there are those that deal with Church order and divine service, which are 1,2Timothy, Titus and Philemon; 73] and (3) there are those that stress perseverance in the Christian faith, which are Hebrews and the seven General Epistles. 74] Within Hebrews and the General Epistles, we note that the first three epistles exhort the believer to persevere under persecutions, which come from without the Church ( Hebrews ,, James , 1Peter), while the other five epistles emphasis perseverance against false doctrines, which come from within ( 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3 John , Jude).

73] For the sake of developing thematic schemes, the epistle of Philemon will be grouped with the Pastoral Epistles as did the Church fathers.

74] For the sake of developing thematic schemes, the epistle of Hebrews will be grouped with the General Epistles, although many of the early Church fathers followed the tradition of grouping it with the Pauline epistles.

2. The Central Theme of the Catholic, or General, Epistles: Perseverance in the Christian Faith - We know that the nine Pauline "Church" epistles, Romans to 2Thessalonians, serve to lay the doctrinal foundation of the Church. In addition, the Pastoral Epistles establishes the order of the Church, and how the Body of Christ functions in this world. This leaves us to consider the eight remaining epistles, seven of which are called the "Catholic Epistles" because they are addressed to a much broader group of believers than the Pauline Epistles. Although the seven Catholic, or General, Epistles include James , 1, 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3, John , and Jude , for the sake of this evaluation of thematic schemes, the book of Hebrews is included. As Paul's Church Epistles establish the doctrines of the Church, the Catholic Epistles deal with the practical struggles that each believer has in fulfilling the Christian life. Thus, these Epistles tend to be more practical and ethical than doctrinal or theological.

The early church faced two great challenges that attacked their sacred doctrines. They experienced persecutions from without, as addressed in Hebrews , James and 1Peter; and, they endured heresies from within, as dealt with in 2Peter, 1, 2, and 3John and Jude. 75] The underlying theme of Hebrews and the Catholic Epistles is the perseverance in the Christian faith, 76] exhorting the saints to persevere amidst persecutions from without the Church as well as false doctrines from within the Church. 77] The books of Hebrews , James and 1Peter address the particular issue of perseverance under persecutions from without the church, a theme popularly referred to as the "pilgrim motif." 78] 2 Peter , the three epistles of John , and Jude deal with the particular issue of false ministers and doctrines that attack the church from within ( 2 Peter 3:1-4, 1 John 2:26, Jude 1:3-4). Thus, there are three witnesses of perseverance under persecutions ( Hebrews , James and 1Peter) and three witnesses of perseverance under false doctrines ( 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3 John , and Jude). As with two epistles to the Corinthians and Thessalonians, the three epistles of John serve as one witness because they share similar themes among themselves.

75] J. B. Lightfoot recognized this two-fold aspect of Christian perseverance, saying, "The armoury of this epistle [Galatians] has furnished their keenest weapons to the combatants in the two greatest controversies which in modern times have agitated the Christian Church; the one a struggle for liberty within the camp, the other a war of defence against assailants from without; the one vitally affecting the doctrine, the other the evidences of the Gospel." See J. B. Lightfoot, Saint Paul's Epistle to the Galatians (London: Macmillian and Co, Limited, 1910), 67.

76] I do not adhere to the doctrine popularly referred to as "Once saved, always saved," or "the perseverance of the saints," a belief that has emerged in the modern church among several denominations, which has its apparent roots in Calvinist theology.

77] P. P. Saydon offers this theme for the epistle of Hebrews. See P. P. Saydon, "The Master Idea of the Epistle to the Hebrews ," Melita Theologica XIII, no 1-2 (1961) 19-26. See also George Salmon, "The Keynote to the Epistle of the Hebrews ," in The Expositor, second series, vol 3, ed. Samuel Cox (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1882), 83.

78] Philip Mauro, God's Pilgrims: Their Dangers, Their Resources, Their Rewards (London: Samuel E. Roberts, 1921); Ernst Ksemann, The Wandering People of God: An Investigation of the Letter to the Hebrews , trans. Ray A. Harrisville and Irving L. Sandberg (Minneapolis, MN: Ausburg Publishing House, 1984); David J. MacLeod, "The Doctrinal Center of the Book of Hebrews ," Bibliotheca Sacra (July 1989): 291-300, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), 297.

3. The Primary Theme of the Epistle of James - The primary theme of the book of James exhorts the believers to persevere against persecutions from without the Church. We can find verses to support this theme within the first few verses of this epistle. It states that we are to rejoice, because through faith and patience, we will be rewarded with eternal life.

James 1:2, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience."

The need for patience ( James 1:2-4) and prayer ( James 1:5-8) is found in the opening verses of this epistle. We find this same theme of patience ( James 5:7-11) and prayer ( James 5:8-20) in the closing passage of this same epistle. The greatest example of patience in the Old Testament is Job , while the greatest example of the power of prayer was prayed by Elijah when he shut up heaven. Both of these examples are given in the closing passage. For it is through patience and prayer that we find the strength to endure trials while counting it all joy.

B. Secondary Theme (Structural) of the Epistle of James: The Lifestyle of True Religion in the Holy Spirit - Introduction- The secondary themes of the books of the Holy Scriptures support the primary themes by offering reasons and evidence for the central "claim" of the book made by the author. Thus, the secondary themes are more easily recognized by biblical scholars than the other two themes because they provide the literary structure of the book as they navigate the reader through the arguments embedded within the biblical text, thus revealing themselves more clearly. For example, the central claim of the Pentateuch declares that the Lord God of Israel is the only God that man should serve, and man is to love the Lord God with all of his heart, mind, and strength, a statement found in the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4-5, which is the foundational theme of the Old Testament. The books of Hebrew poetry provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his heart as its secondary theme. The books of the prophets provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his mind as its secondary theme, as he set his hope in the coming of the Messiah to redeem mankind. The historical books provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his strength as its secondary theme.

The central claim of the four Gospel writers is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, which is the foundational theme of this division of the Holy Scriptures. In addition, each Gospel writer offers evidence as its secondary theme to support his claim. The Gospel of John offers the five-fold testimony of God the Father, John the Baptist, the miracles of Jesus, the Old Testament Scriptures, and the testimony of Jesus Christ Himself as its secondary theme. Matthew expounds upon the testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures as its secondary theme; Mark expounds upon the testimony of the miracles of Jesus as its secondary theme; Luke expounds upon the testimony of John the Baptist and other eye-witnesses and well as that of the apostles in the book of Acts as its secondary theme.

The central claim of the Pauline Church Epistles is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone how the power to redeem and transform man into the image of Jesus, which is the foundational theme of this division of the Holy Scriptures. The epistle of Romans supports this claim by offering evidence of mankind's depravity and God's plan of redemption to redeem him as its secondary theme. The epistles of Ephesians and Philippians expound upon the role of God the Father in His divine foreknowledge as their secondary theme; the epistles of Colossians and Galatians expound upon the role of Jesus Christ as the head of the Church as their secondary theme; the epistles of 1, 2 Thessalonians , 1, 2Corinthians expound upon the role of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying the believers as their secondary theme.

The central claim of the Pastoral Epistles is that believers must serve God through the order of the New Testament Church. The epistles of 1, 2Timothy expound upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a pure heart, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Titus expounds upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a renewed mind, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Philemon expounds upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a genuine lifestyle, which is its secondary theme.

The central claim of the General Epistles is that believers must persevere in the Christian faith in order to obtain eternal redemption. The epistles of Hebrews ,, James , and 1Peter modify this theme to reflect perseverance from persecutions from without the Church. The epistle of Hebrews expounds upon the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of James expounds upon a lifestyle of perseverance through the joy of the Holy Spirit, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of 1Peter expounds upon our hope of divine election through God the Father, which is its secondary theme. The epistles of 2Peter, 1, 2, 3, John and Jude reflect perseverance from false doctrines from within. The epistle of 2Peter expounds upon growing in the knowledge of God's Word with a sound mind, which is its secondary theme. The epistles of 1, 2, 3John expound upon walking in fellowship with God and one another with a pure heart, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Jude expounds how living a godly lifestyle with our bodies, which is its secondary theme.

The Apocalypse of John , though not considered an epistle, emphasizes the glorification of the Church, giving believers a vision of the hope that is laid up before them as a source of encouragement for those who persevere until the end. The central claim of the book of Revelation is that Jesus Christ is coming to take His Bride the Church to Glory. The secondary theme supports this claim with the evidence of Great Tribulation Period.

1. The Secondary Themes of Hebrews ,, James , and 1Peter- While the three epistles of Hebrew, James and 1Peter share a common, foundational theme commonly called the pilgrim motif, they also carry secondary themes that give each of them a distinct emphasis upon one aspect of the believer's perseverance in the Christian faith. The secondary themes of these three epistles are listed in 1 Peter 1:2, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied." The epistles of Hebrew, James and 1Peter and find the office and ministry of Jesus Christ the Song of Solomon , the Holy Spirit, and God the Father emphasized within them respectively.

a) The High Priesthood of Jesus Christ (Our Hearts) - The author of the epistle of Hebrews unambiguously states his theme in Hebrews 8:1 saying, "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;" John Ebrand says the Greek word κεφάλαιον can be translated "sum," "central point," or "key-stone." 79] In other words, the author is saying that the central point of Hebrews is the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ, a view that is widely held among scholars. 80] The doctrinal discourses of the Epistle that follow the six exhortations of perseverance focus upon the Exaltation and High Priesthood of Jesus Christ as explanations on how to persevere in the Christian faith. This secondary theme emphasizes perseverance by faith within our hearts.

79] John Henry Augustus Ebrand, "Exposition of the Epistle of Hebrews ," trans. A. C. Kendrick, in Biblical Commentary on the New Testament, vol 6, ed. Dr. Hermann Olshausen (New York: Sheldon and Company, 1859), 472.

80] David MacLeod says, "The traditional view, and the one most widely held, is that the epistle finds its center (its "keystone") in the doctrine of the high priesthood of Christ." He then offers a list of scholars in support of this view. See David J. MacLeod, "The Doctrinal Center of the Book of Hebrews ," Bibliotheca Sacra (July 1989): 291-300, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), 291-292.

b) The Lifestyle of True Religion in the Holy Spirit (Our Bodies) - Within the epistle of James , we find emphasis being placed upon our need to walk in the light and truth of God's Word as our basis for perseverance. This epistle emphasizes the office of the Holy Spirit as He leads us in a life of joy in the midst of our temptations. It teaches us that faith without works is dead, and that faith is perfected with patience endurance. Thus, the emphasis is placed upon our physical actions as the way to persevere.

c) God the Father's Hope of Our Eternal Inheritance (Our Minds) - The epistle of 1Peter takes a look at the foreknowledge of God the Father, and how He has called us to be a holy nation and given us a living hope of an eternal inheritance in Heaven. Thus, we are to gird up the loins of our minds as a means of persevering. In addition, we find these three themes of 1Peter, James and Hebrews , stated in the opening verse of the first epistle of Peter.

Thus, our ability to persevere persecutions from without is based upon setting our minds and hope upon our eternal rewards (1Peter) while endeavoring to walk in the light of God's Word by the leading of the Holy Spirit (James) and coming to the throne of God and Jesus Christ our Great High Priest with our confession of faith when we are in need (Hebrews). Thus, Hebrews deals with the perseverance of the heart of the believer, James emphasizes the perseverance of the body, and Peter focuses upon perseverance of the mind.

2. The Secondary Theme of the Epistle of James - Although we, as believers, are faced with many kinds of trials, God is a good God, and if we will hold fast to Him, He will reward us. In this we can rejoice. Note that this joy gives us strength ( Nehemiah 8:10, 2 Corinthians 8:2).

Nehemiah 8:10, "Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

2 Corinthians 8:2, "How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality."

The goal of the believer is to be perfect and complete ( James 1:4, Matthew 5:48, 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

James 1:4, "But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Matthew 5:48, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

As a Palestinian Jew, James had the Ten Commandments and the Mosaic Law instilled within his way of thinking. Therefore, he bases the logic of his epistle upon the Royal Law ( James 2:8).

James 2:8, "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:"

The epistle of James explains how to accomplish this goal in a practical way by serving the Lord according to the Royal Law of loving God and our neighbour.

Matthew 22:37-40, "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

Therefore, James tells those of the Diaspora to become doers of God's Word through faith and patience, which allows the Holy Spirit dwelling with us to strengthen us, thus, fulfilling the Royal Law.

C. Third Theme (Supportive) - The Crucified Life of the Believer (Perseverance Through Patiently and Joyfully Walking in Good Works in the Midst of Trials) - Introduction- The third theme of each book of the New Testament is a call by the author for the reader to apply the central truth, or claim, laid down in the book to the Christian life. It is a call to a lifestyle of crucifying the flesh and taking up one's Cross daily to follow Jesus. Every child of God has been predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ ( Romans 8:29), and every child of God faces challenges as well as failures in the pursuit of his Christian journey. For example, the imperative theme of the Old Testament is that God's children are to serve the Lord God with all of their heart, mind, and strength, and love their neighbour as themselves ( Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

The child of God cannot fulfill his divine destiny of being conformed into the image of Jesus without yielding himself and following the plan of redemption that God avails to every human being. This 4-fold, redemptive path is described in Romans 8:29-30 as predestination, calling, justification, and glorification. The phase of justification can be further divided into regeneration, indoctrination, divine service, and perseverance. Although each individual will follow a unique spiritual journey in life, the path is the same in principle for every believer since it follows the same divine pattern described above. This allows us to superimpose one of three thematic schemes upon each book of the Holy Scriptures in order to vividly see its imperative theme. Every book follows a literary structure that allows either (1) the three-fold scheme of Father, Song of Solomon , and Holy Spirit: or (2) the scheme of spirit, soul, and body of man; or (3) the scheme of predestination, calling, justification (regeneration, indoctrination, divine service, and perseverance), and glorification in some manner.

1. The Third, Imperative Theme of the Epistle of James - In the epistle of James our crucified lifestyle is manifested as we patiently and joyfully serve the Lord with good works in the midst of trials. James 3:13 tells us to "let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom." Wisdom empowers a believer, but humility allows us to manage this power, so that we do not exalt ourselves above others who lack this divine attribute that helps us walk above the problems of this world. We must not view meekness of wisdom as simply a passive person; for James will soon tell his readers to "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you," ( James 4:7). Thus, submission to God may be seen as a person on his knees before God, but it is also demonstrated as a person taking authority over the Devil, casting him out of his life. Walking in our divine authority as God's children by casting out devils and healing the sick is a display of this empowerment of divine wisdom. Such a combined display in a believer's lifestyle of divine wisdom and power coupled with meekness and submission to obey God's Word is what a believer looks like when following the teachings of the epistle of James. Every child of God has been predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ ( Romans 8:29), and the epistle of James emphasizes one aspect of this conformity through the crucified life of faith and obedience to Him. The evidence of a believer walking in faith and patience in His Word is the outward manifestation of the joy of the Holy Spirit in the midst of trials. James gives his readers a final exhortation using the examples of in the Old Testament of patience (Job) and faith in our prayers (Elijah).

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Figure 1 - The Themes of the General Epistles

D. Summary- Finally, it is important to note that the General Epistles do not establish Church doctrine, for this was laid down in the Pauline Church Epistles. They may refer to doctrine, but they do not establish or add to it.

X. Literary Structure

The literary structure of the epistle of James must follow the thematic scheme of the book. It is important to note that such a breakdown of this book of the Holy Bible was not necessarily intended by the original author, but it is being used as a means of making the interpretation easier. It is hoped that this summary and outline can identify the underlying themes of the book, as well as the themes of its major divisions, sections and subsections. Then individual verses can more easily be understood in light of the emphasis of the immediate passages in which they are found.

The underlying theme of the epistle of James is the perseverance of the saints. The structure of this Epistle is built around its secondary theme, which is the work the Holy Spirit empowering us to face trials in faith, which bring us into our eternal glory. The epistle of James can be divided into four sections. After the opening greeting ( James 1:1), James will introduce the two paths, or series of decisions, that every man can embark upon when facing trials ( James 1:2-27). A person can face them in humility as a trial of faith, or he can face them with pride as a temptation towards the flesh. Once James lays the foundational truths in our lives that there are two ways to face trials, with humility or with pride; by becoming doers of God's Word or by yielding to our own lusts, he will show us the path of faith and patience, which makes up the body of this epistle ( James 2:1 to James 5:18). This journey of facing trials by faith in God involves the entire man: spirit, soul, body and finances. It is done by submitting our hearts unto God, by bridling our tongues, by crucifying our fleshly lusts, and by trusting God in the financial realm. James then exhorts his readers to patience and prayer as a means to overcoming all trials of life. He concludes by appealing to this congregation to have enough compassion on one another by leading those that err from the path of humility when facing trials back into the truth of God's Word that provides wisdom to carry us through trials and temptations ( James 5:19-20).

I. Greeting ( James 1:1) - James 1:1 gives a brief greeting to the Jewish believes in the Diaspora.

II. Introduction: Two Paths to Choose ( James 1:2-27) - After greeting his readers ( James 1:1), the author addresses their present condition of hardships and trials. James begins by stating the theme of this epistle, which is that our faith in God and our patience to obey His Word will produce perseverance to overcome the trials of life with joy ( James 1:2-4). James 1:2-27 will shows us that we can respond to trials in two different ways. If we will humble ourselves and seek God's Wisdom of Solomon , trials become tests of faith. As we patiently obey God's Word, we develop maturity in our character ( James 1:3-4), which eventually results in a crown of life ( James 1:12). If we face trials with a proud heart and seek to do things our own way, we find that trials then become a temptation to do evil. If this situation, our fleshly passions and carnal reasoning lead us into sin, and when we follow sin long enough, it results in death ( James 1:13-15). Thus, the journey that we take initially depends upon how we face trials, with humility or with pride.

Trials " (Humility: The trial becomes a test of faith) Patience " Maturity " Crown of Life

Trials "(Pride: The trial becomes an temptation to do evil) Lust " Sin " Death

We can also see God's redemptive plan for us reflected in the words "faith, patience and completion," which can be translated "justification, perseverance, and glorification."

The underlying theme of the epistle of James is the saint's perseverance in the faith amidst the trials of this Christian life. This journey of perseverance must be walked out joyfully if one is to find the strength to endure its trials, for the joy of the Lord is our strength. We first make a decision to endure trials joyfully ( James 1:2). This decision is based upon the hope that is set before us ( James 1:3-4) (compare Hebrews 12:1-2). Once this decision is made, we must start the journey by getting divine wisdom ( James 1:5). At first, walking in divine wisdom is not easy, for we have not tested it in our lives, having lived with carnal reasonings ( James 1:6-7). If we will humble ourselves before the Lord ( James 1:9-18), He will show us exactly what to do to walk through each trial victoriously ( James 1:19-27). Thus, the author will take us on a series of lessons in order to learn how to walk in the wisdom of God so that we can persevere. We can be certain that God's plan for our lives always leads us into victory ( Romans 8:37, 1 Corinthians 15:57, 2 Corinthians 2:14).

Romans 8:37, "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."

1 Corinthians 15:57, "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

2 Corinthians 2:14, "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place."

This passage in James 1:2-27 gives us the steps to overcoming trials by faith in God.

A. Facing the Trial ( James 1:2-4) - We first recognize trials as an opportunity to develop a mature character ( James 1:2-4). We can find a place of joy in the midst of trials because each lesson in life that brings trials and pressures allows us to learn how to exercise our faith, which is worked out by patience endurance. It is only with our patience during such trials that faith can operate to bring us through the problems. Without such patience our faith can never brought to maturity ( James 2:22). Therefore, the epistle of James gives us different types of pressures and trials in life and teaches us how to patiently walk through each one by faith. James calls this the "testing of our faith" ( James 1:3) and he will give us wisdom in his epistle on how to walk by faith ( James 1:5).

B. Asking for Wisdom ( James 1:5-8) - If we want God to bring us safely through this trial, the first step is to ask God for wisdom and stand firm and believe that He will show us the way ( James 1:5-8); and God will respond to those who come to Him in faith. James will first lays a foundation of how to develop our faith in God in James 1:5-27 before giving us practical wisdom that will help us live by faith and overcome trials. However first, we first learn to seek the Lord in faith believing that He will answer our cry.

Proverbs 4:7, "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding."

C. Responding to the Trial with Humility or with Pride ( James 1:9-18) - As we seek God for wisdom we must humble ourselves and receive the wisdom that God gives to us ( James 1:9). Humility towards God is the door that leads us to our destiny of joy (or rest) in the midst of trials; but the door of earthly riches gives only temporal benefits and will pass soon away ( James 1:10-11). Humility is our way of showing devotion to God. Though the proud will reject God's ways, it is this spirit of humility that will guide us in wisdom that will bring us through the trial to victory ( James 1:12). Trials and temptations offer us opportunities to demonstrate our love and devotion to God ( James 1:12). When we yield to these earthly temptations we do so because of our own selfishness ( James 1:13-14). The proud will find himself tempted into sin because of his fleshly passions and eventually be overcome by the trial ( James 1:13-15), and this road leads to death ( James 1:15). Song of Solomon , we are warned not to take this path of death ( James 1:16). James 1:17-18 then tells us the reason we can safely humble ourselves to God's Word, since only good things coming from God ( James 1:17); and since He begat us with the Word of Truth to be a first fruits of His new creation ( James 1:18), then he only has good plans for us. He also says this because he wants his readers to understand that the trials they are facing are not from God. It is not and never has been His nature to bring trials into people's lives that lure them into sin. James has just stated this in James 1:13, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." Rather, God's will for our lives is to partake of His eternal nature and kingdom, which is proven by the very fact that we have been born again as new creatures in Christ, longing for our complete redemption in glory, which James calls the "crown of life" in James 1:12. God's purpose for us, even in the midst of trials, is to walk in the character of His first-born creatures ( James 1:18). This is our divine calling within the context of the theme of the epistle of James , which is the perseverance of the saints by our works.

1. Humility: The Poor and the Brevity of Life ( James 1:9-11) - On two occasions in the epistle of James the Lord reminds us of the brevity of our lives ( James 1:9-11, James 4:14). This reminder is placed within the message of the underlying theme of James , which is the perseverance of the saints. In James 1:9-11 we find an illustration in nature of the brevity of our lives. For we see how quickly it appears in all of its beauty, then it withers and dies within days.

2. Facing Temptations ( James 1:12-16) - James 1:12-16 describes the two different paths, or options, that people have to choose from when facing temptations. Everyone faces temptations, but not everyone overcomes them. The person who responses to temptations by asking for wisdom and placing his faith in God embarks on the path of perseverance, which choice results in a crown of life; but for those who respond to temptations by following their passions and desires give birth to sin which ends in death. James 1:6 gives the warning to believers not to go down this path of error.

God created every human being with five sense-gates: hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting and feeling. Most information that we receive enters throughout ears and our eyes. Once this information enters into the mind, which is the seat of our will, intellect and emotions, we must make a decision whether to embrace the information or thought, or to reject it. If we embrace it, our heart opens up and we receive the information. Then we will have our bodies act out the ideals that we have embraced.

When an evil temptation enters our minds, we who have a pure heart do not lust after it nor desire it. The man with a wicked heart will embrace the temptations within his heart because of his evil desires ( James 1:14). He will then tell his body to commit such sins ( James 1:15). After living a life of pursuing those lusts, and having been brought into the bondages of sin, he will eventually die in those sins ( James 1:15).

It is not a sin to have bad thoughts or to feel temptations. We cannot keep our minds from seeing and hearing evil As a child of God, we must choose by our own will to reject such thoughts and cast down evil imaginations.

For example, God placed within the Garden of Eden the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to test man's love and devotion to Him. God did not tempt man to eat of the fruit of this tree. Rather, Adam and Eve were drawn away from God's Word to follow the words of Satan because of their own lusts and desires ( James 1:14). The pursuit of their own desires gave birth to sin and sin brought forth death ( James 1:15). Those who resist such worldly temptations demonstrate their love to God ( James 1:12).

We find a similar description of the progressive order of sin leading to destruction in 1 Timothy 6:9, "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition."

3. God is a Good God with Good Plans for Us ( James 1:17-18) - James 1:17-18 gives us an exhortation to seek God in the midst of trials. These verses simply expound upon the previous statement in James 1:5 about asking God for Wisdom of Solomon , who gives to all generously and does not upbraid us for it.

Why does James make these statements in James 1:17-18 about only good things coming from God ( James 1:17) and how He begat us with the Word of Truth ( James 1:18)? It is because he wants his readers to understand that the trials they are facing are not from God. It is not and never has been His nature to bring trials into people's lives that lure them into sin. He has just stated this in James 1:13, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." Rather, God's will for our lives is to partake of His eternal nature and kingdom, which is proven by the very fact that we have been born again as new creatures in Christ, longing for our complete redemption in glory, which James calls the "crown of life" in James 1:12.

D. Become Doers of God's Word ( James 1:19-27) - In James 1:19-27 James exhorts the Jewish believers to be doers of the Word of God, and not just hearers. The epistle of James alludes to the assembly of the early Jewish converts in the Temple and synagogues ( James 2:2) a number of times, as the Old Testament Scriptures were read to them ( James 1:19-27) by a scribe or teacher ( James 3:1). We can imagine Jewish believers assembling in the synagogues, or among themselves, both hearing the Scriptures read to them, and discussing its interpretation in light of Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

When we ask God for wisdom in the midst of trials, and if we humble ourselves and are willing to listen to God, He will surely speak to us. Thus, the next step in overcoming trials is to respond in obedience to what God tells us to do. James 1:19-21 tells us that we have to make a decision when facing each trial in life in order to pass the test. We decide whether to receive God's Word and obey it, or reject it and do things our own foolish way, which often is an angry response ( James 1:20), since a trial often involves someone doing us wrong. James will later discuss these two decisions in James 3:13-18 as decisions of earthly wisdom and heavenly wisdom. James 1:22-27 will explain the difference between false humility and true humility. In order to get onto the path that leads to a crown of life we must overcome the deception of false humility. We become doers of God's Word from a pure heart ( James 1:22-25). We are justified before God by being doers of God's Word and not hearers only. False humility is most readily seen in our acts of an unbridled tongue ( James 1:26), while true humility is most clearly demonstrated in helping those who cannot help themselves, namely, widows and orphans ( James 1:27).

III. The Path of Faith and Patience ( James 2:1 to James 5:18) - Once James lays the foundational truths in our lives that there are two ways to face trials, with humility or with pride, by becoming doers of God's Word or by yielding to our own lusts ( James 1:2-27), we are ready to receive much wisdom from God to help us overcome anything. James will then take us through a course of learning how to walk by faith in every area of our lives. He will show us how we demonstrate our faith by not showing partiality ( James 2:1-26), by taming our tongue ( James 3:1-18), and by managing our temper ( James 4:1 to James 5:6).

A. Quick to Hear: Overcoming Partiality by Refusing to Judge the Poor and Showing Him Mercy (Submitting our Hearts to God) ( James 2:1-26) - One of the greatest temptations of the flesh is to show partiality among the various social classes of a church congregation. In James 2:1-26 we find a teaching on having faith towards God without showing partiality towards others. James 2:1-26 paints a picture of Jewish believers gathering in the synagogue ( James 2:2) according to their tradition. They show partiality by seating the rich Jews in good seats near the front to be seen by others, while making the poor Jews sit or stand in the back. We know from the writings of Eusebius that James , the first bishop of the church in Jerusalem, worshipped and prayed in the Temple, showing that he sought to coexist with non-believing Jews as much as possible (Ecclesiastical History 2231-25). Thus, Jewish believers would have continued their tradition of worshiping in the Temple in Jerusalem and attending the synagogue as well as assembling with local believers. I have seen the partiality described in James 2:1-26 many times while a missionary in Africa, where the rich were seated in the front at functions and the poor stood outside on in the rear. This African custom was adopted by their churches as well, providing a vivid picture of this warning against showing partiality among the early church.

1. Facing the Temptation of Showing Partiality ( James 2:1-7) - We can face this temptation by judging others, or we can focus upon the teaching of the Word of God and learn to be a quick hearer and doer of the Word of God. Many church members focus on how others dress and judge others while sitting in church rather than focusing upon the preaching of the Word. Imagine being in a congregation of believers and looking around judging other and ignoring the preaching of the Word ( James 2:1-5). Thus, James condemns this behaviour within the congregation of believers by showing them that it is the very rich people who are exalted in church on the Sabbath that are oppressing them during the week ( James 2:6-7).

2. The Path of Death ( James 2:8-13) - Those who continue to show partiality commit since by breaking the royal law, which teaches us to love our neighbour as ourselves. This will result in judgment without mercy ( James 2:8-13).

3. The Path of Life ( James 2:14-26) - In order for them to get through their trials victoriously and joyfully they must give their full attention to God's Word and show compassion towards the poor ( James 2:14-16), and leave the judging of others to the Lord. Compassion towards others in need is our expression of faith in God ( James 2:17-20). James illustrates this divine principle of faith and works by using situations from the lives of Abraham and Rahab ( James 2:21-26).

B. Slow to Speak: Overcoming an Unbridled Tongue Through Meekness of Wisdom (Bridling our Tongues in the Mental Realm) ( James 3:1-18) - In James 3:1-18 James continues to allude to the assembly of Jewish believers in the Temple and local synagogues as they listened to the reading and interpretation of the Scriptures by a rabbi or teacher. These Jewish believers would be tempted to exalt themselves above others, seeking to be the teacher, or rabbi, which served as the head of local Jewish congregations ( James 3:1-12). James now warns his readers to avoid the temptation to exalt himself above others as a teacher and exercise an unruly tongue.

1. The Power of the Tongue ( James 3:1-12) - Many men who were big, rich men or leaders in society would naturally want to be exalted among a local congregation ( James 3:1), but James warns that the office of a teacher comes with greater judgment ( James 3:2). He explains the power of the tongue by using several illustrations from nature; the bridled horse, the rudder of a ship, and the spark that ignites a forest fire ( James 3:3-6). James then explains the difficulty of a man bridling his own tongue ( James 3:7-12). Thus, the tongue can be a source of blessing or cursing.

a) The Tongue Determines Maturity ( James 3:1-2)

b) The Tongue Directs our Course ( James 3:3-5)

c) The Tongue Must be Tamed ( James 3:6-12)

2. The Path of Life and Death ( James 3:13-18) - James 3:13-18 describes the paths of life and death. True wisdom from God is expressed by walking in meekness, which characterizes a man who has tamed his tongue, while earthly wisdom is shown through envy and strife, which characterizes a man who has an unbridled tongue ( James 3:13-18).

James 1:5 tells us to ask God for wisdom. The author now tells his readers in James 3:13 to look for examples of true wisdom among their church members. If a person is walking in envy and strife, he is walking in earthly wisdom ( James 3:14-16). If a person's walk is characterized by "pureness, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy," ( James 3:17-18) he is an example to be followed.

C. Slow to Wrath: Overcoming Strife by Submitting Ourselves unto God (Crucifying our Fleshly Lusts) ( James 4:1-12) - Another trial of faith is with our temper. We can see this being an issue in a local congregation, where Jewish synagogues traditionally consisted of those who struggled for power and influence in the local community.

1. Strife and Envy ( James 4:1-6) - James explains that it is our human nature to create strife and discord among a congregation because of our unregenerated hearts desired evil things. This causes our prayers to be unanswered.

2. The Path of Life ( James 4:7-10) - The way we overcome this trial is to submit ourselves to God by repenting of our sins and by resisting the devil, who puts these evil temptations within us.

3. The Path of Death ( James 4:11-12) - If we continue to speak evil of one another, which sows strife and discord among the brethren, we will be on the path of death. We see pride raising up its ugly head James 4:11 in those who continue to speak evil of others.

D. Covetousness: Overcoming Worldly Covetousness by Committing our Ways unto God (Trusting God in the Financial Realm) ( James 4:13 to James 5:6) - Another trial of faith we face is the temptation to worldly gain. We can see this being an issue in a local congregation, where Jewish synagogues traditionally consisted of those who struggled for power and influence in the local community.

1. The Temptation to Boast ( James 4:13-14) - James tells those of us who boast in our gains tomorrow that our lives are but a vapour, and we do not know what tomorrow holds.

2. The Path of Life ( James 4:15-17) - The way we overcome covetousness for this world's goods is to commit our ways unto the Lord.

3. The Path of Death ( James 5:1-6) - James 5:1-6 shows us the path of death by telling the rich man his end. Why this passage on rich people? The rich had misused the poor to obtain their wealth, and this will lead to death. James called the rich to the path of humility earlier in James 1:10. For those rich men who refuse this humble journey laid forth in this epistle, James speaks divine judgment upon them. God also wanted those who were being oppressed to see the dangers of wanting things other than God; for they had to live godly while enduring wrong suffering from the rich.

E. Final Appeal: Patience and Prayer ( James 5:7-18) - James leads us to the final step of our journey of perseverance by exhorting on patience ( James 5:7-11) and prayer ( James 5:12-18), which virtues support the theme of the perseverance of the saints; for it is only through patience and prayer that we will persevere and overcome the trials of life. Each of these trials listed above must be patiently endured if we are to overcome them. In order to illustrate the two virtues of patience and pray he draws upon two of the greatest examples of patience and prayer from the Old Testament. Job serves as a person who demonstrated the greatest example of patience in the midst of trials, and Elijah's prayers demonstrates the greatest example of prayer during a three and a half year trial of drought.

It is through patience and prayer that we find the strength to endure trials while counting it all joy. This is the way that a believer is able to endure trials; for without patience or prayer, a person will faint and give up his faith in God in the midst of trials, which was the temptation that Job faced. Thus, we find this same theme of patience ( James 1:2-4) and prayer ( James 1:5-8) in the opening verses of this epistle.

1. Examples of Patience ( James 5:7-11) - In James 5:7-9 the pastor gives his people the example of the farmer as a man of patience ( James 5:7). They are to make the same decision as the farmer to patiently wait for their eternal rewards ( James 5:8) without grumbling and complaining ( James 5:9).

In James 5:10-11 the pastor gives clear examples of patience during wrongdoing by referring to the suffering servants of the Old Testament. God gives us the greatest example from Scriptures of someone who suffered the deepest losses for something that was not their fault. The example of Job tells us how he overcame through patience.

a) The farmer an example James 5:7-9

b) Job an example James 5:10-11

2. Final Appeal for a Pure Speech ( James 5:12) - In James 5:12 the pastor makes his final appeal for his people who have a pure speech. He has told them earlier that "if any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect Prayer of Manasseh , and able also to bridle the whole body." ( James 3:2)

3. Practical Advice in the Midst of Trials ( James 5:13-18) - When we face trials and afflictions, we have two choices. We can either choose to rejoice, or we can sorrow. In order to learn how to rejoice in the midst of trials, which is the theme of this epistle (verse 2), we are taught in James 5:13 to sing psalms and worship the Lord in an act of faith. This effort to worship God will lift us out of our sorrows. As we learn to practice this action of faith, it becomes easier for us to maintain our joy during these trials.

However, if we do not learn to walk in joy, then we will be overcome by sorrow. It is this sustained sorrow that will lead to sickness ( James 5:14). But thanks be unto God for His endless grace. He has made a way for us to be healed if we do not learn to rejoice. If we will simply call the elders of the church to pray for us ( James 5:15) and acknowledge our sins (verse 16), then God will forgive us and heal our bodies. This is because sin has been the root cause of the sickness in the first place. James 5:17-18 gives us an example of how effective prayer is despite our human frailty if we will only believe. Then James 5:19-20 tell us to watchful to know when our brethren fall into sorrow and sin, so that we may help them escape this entrapment before it leads them into sorrow and ultimately sickness. In this world of wrong suffering, it is easy to allow sin to creep in. The church has been ordained by God to help one another overcome sin, not to condemn the brethern. Thus, the epistle of James opens and closes with the same exhortation to rejoice during trials of afflictions.

a) Different ways to Pray James 5:13-16

b) Elijah an Example James 5:17-18

IV. Conclusion: Appeal for Compassion Towards One Another ( James 5:19-20) - James concludes his epistle to these Jewish congregations in James 5:19-20 by exhorting them to have compassion for one another by showing other brethren how to overcome in faith as they have overcome, so that none of them stray from their faith in God. This epistle has given two paths to choose from for each trial faced. Thus, those who hear and do God's Word are now equipped to show the erring brother how to convert and walk in the path of life. The brother who errs can be shown to face the temptation of showing partiality by refusing to judge others and showing mercy to the poor ( James 2:1-26). He can be shown how to overcome an unbridled tongue through meekness of wisdom ( James 3:1-18). He can be shown how to overcome strife by submitting himself unto God and resisting the Devil ( James 4:1-12). He can be shown how to overcome boasting by committing his ways unto God ( James 4:13 to James 5:6). Finally, he can be exhorted to patience and prayer through the examples of Job and Elijah ( James 5:7-18).

XI. Outline of Book

The following outline is a summary of the preceding literary structure; thus, it reflects the theological framework of the epistle of James: its purpose, its three-fold thematic scheme, and its literary structure. As a result, this outline offers sermon sections that fit together into a single message that can be used by preachers and teachers to guide a congregation or class through the epistle of James. This journey through James will lead believers into one aspect of conformity to the image of Christ Jesus that was intended by the Lord, which in this book of the Holy Scriptures is to prepare Christians to patiently and joyfully serve the Lord with good works in the midst of trials.

I. Greeting — James 1:1

II. Introduction: Two Paths to Choose — James 1:2-27

A. Facing the Trial — James 1:2-4

B. Asking for Wisdom — James 1:5-8

C. Responding with Humility or with Pride — James 1:9-18

a) Humility: The Poor and the Brevity of Life— James 1:9-11

b) Facing Temptations— James 1:12-16

c) God is a Good God With Good Plans for Us— James 1:17-18

D. Become Doers of God's Word — James 1:19-27

III. The Path of Faith and Patience — James 2:1 to James 5:18

A. Quick to Hear — James 2:1-26.

1. Facing the Temptation of Showing Partiality — James 2:1-7

2. The Path of Death — James 2:8-13

3. The Path of Life — James 2:14-26

B. Slow to Speak — James 3:1-18

1. The Power of the Tongue — James 3:1-12

a) The Tongue Determines Maturity — James 3:1-2

b) The Tongue Directs our Course — James 3:3-5

c) The Tongue Must be Tamed — James 3:6-12

2. The Path of Life and Death — James 3:13-18

C. Slow to Wrath — James 4:1-12

1. Strife and Envy — James 4:1-6

2. The Path of Life — James 4:7-10

3. The Path of Death — James 4:11-12

D. Covetousness — James 4:13 to James 5:6

1. The Temptation to Boast — James 4:13-14

2. The Path of Life — James 4:15-17

3. The Path of Death — James 5:1-6

E. Final Appeal: Patience and Prayer — James 5:7-18

—1. For patience— James 5:7-11

a) The farmer an example— James 5:7-9

b) Job an example— James 5:10-11

2. For pure speech— James 5:12

3. For prayer— James 5:13-18

a) Different ways to Pray— James 5:13-16

b) Elijah an Example— James 5:17-18

IV. Conclusion — James 5:19-20

BIBLIOGRAPHY

COMMENTARY BIBLIOGRAPHY

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