There is a history of controversy over its:






James describes practical holiness

James is designed to exhort, encourage, challenge, convict, rebuke, revive


James is addressed to a large sphere of believers (ie. Christians in general)


General Epistles:

The General Epistles that compliment Paul’s letters:


            1 and 2 Peter

            1, 2, 3, John



These letters compliment Paul’s teaching:

            Paul emphasized FAITH

            James stressed CONDUCT

            Peter taught HOPE

            John focused on LOVE

            Jude’s message was PURITY


James is interested in how faith impacts the life of the believer


James writes how faith finds expression in life

Paul writes to explain saving faith in relation to Christ’s work on Calvary


James is concerned that faith produces fruit

Paul is concerned that faith be placed in Christ alone


James is not satisfied only with correct doctrine or creed

Paul is not satisfied with obedience to law to produce “works of righteousness.”




It is fairly clear that the author is James the brother of the Lord


James was not Jesus cousin, since he is called the Lord’s “brother” literally the Gr. Word means “brother.”  “Cousin” violates the meaning of the word.



Mary and Joseph had other children because:

            a) Jesus was Mary’s “firstborn” (Luke 2:7) implying that others were born.

            b) Jesus was the “only son of God” not the “only son of Mary.”

            c) Joseph had no union with Mary “until” after the birth of Jesus (Mt. 1:25)

            d) Four brothers are named in Matthew 13:55:  James, Joseph, Simon, Judas.


James became the leader of the Jerusalem church

James was an unbeliever in John 7:5

James encountered the risen Lord  (1 Cor. 15:7)


In church History many early writers support James as the author of this book:

            Origen             Cyril of Jerusalem                   Augustine

            Eusebius          Athanasius                              Many others




The letter used excellent Greek

Josephus records that James was martyred in 62 AD

No mentioin is made of the Jerusalem coiuncili held in 49 AD

The book is dated at 45-48 AD

This means it was written while the church was still Jewish and the influx of Gentiles had             not yet begun

Some see James as a rebuttal to Romans, but this is not possible since Romans had not even been written

Paul did not write Romans or Galatians to undermine James since Paul recognized James and held him in high reguard

Paul and James compliment each other.



James 1:1 –“to the 12 tribes scattered among the nations”

Book has a Jewish flavor

It has the substance and authority of the OT prophets

Style and beauty of Psalms

The Jewish references:

            First fruits  1:18

            Synagogue meeting 2:2

            “our ancestor Abraham” 2:21

            Gehenna 3:6

            Fall and spring rains 5:7

            Also references to Rahab, Job, Elijah, the Law, 10 commandments,

            Allusions to 21 OT books:

                        Gn-Dt.  Jg, 1 Kg, Ps, Pr, Ec, Is, Jer, Ezek, Dan, and 7 of 12 minor prophets


Omitted from early collections of scripture

Earliest known collection of NT books is from 100’s (Muratorian) and it does not include James, Hebrews, 1 and 2  Peter.

Rome and Carthage rejected it (The West saw it as originating in Jerusalem and sent to the East.)

Jerusalem and Alexandria used it.

300-400 it began to be consistently accepted.


The teaching style of James is like John the Baptist who he must likely had heard teach

            James 1:22,27. . . . . . . . . .Mat. 3:8

            James 2:15-16. . . . . . . . . .Luke 3:10

            James 2:19-20. . . . . . . . . .Mat. 3:9

            James 5:1-6. . . . . . . . . . . .Mat. 3:10-12


Parallels with the Sermon on the Mount (Mt.5-7) by taking Jesus teaching from sermon form to a personal level:

            1:2                   Mt. 5:10-12

            1:4                   5:48

            1:5; 5:15          7:7-12

            1:9                   5:3

            1:20                 5:22

            2:13                 5:7; 6:14,15

            2:14-16            7:21-23

            3:17-18            5:9

            4:4                   6:24

            4:10                 5:3-5   

            4:11                 7:1-2

            5:2                   6:9

            5:10                 5:12

            5:12                 5:33-37



Though it begins as a letter it is basically a collection of lecture material

It lacks:

            a) Personal reference found in a letter

            b) a concluding benediction


It includes 54 imperatives in 108 verses


The book includes:

            Energetic and vived style

            Profound concepts

            Crisp, well chosen words

            Short, simple, direct sentences

            Metaphors and Similes with a touch of poetic imagination

            More figures of speech and imagery from nature than all of Paul’s epistles together

            Exhortations, rhetorical questions and illustrations from every day life.




Practicing Faith 1:2-2:26

            A. Trials

                        Purpose of trials 1:2-4

                        Wisdom to meet trials 1:5-8

                        Attitude toward circumstances 1:9-11

                        Distinction between trials and temptations 1:12-18

            B.  Righteous Life  1:19-27

            C. Love 2:1-13

            D. Faith produces works 2:14-26


Problems that Faith Faces

            A.  Tongue 3:1-12

            B. Self             3:13-17

            C.  Submitting to God  4:1-10

            D.  Judging  4:11-12

            E. Discerning Reality  4:13-17



Result of Faith Failing  5:1-6



Qualities of Faith

            A.  Patience   5:7-12

            B.  Prayer      5:13-18

            C.  Pity          5:19-20