Book of James
The Book of James or The Epistle of James is a letter included in the New Testament. Its authorship is usually attributed to a man named James, although there is still widespread controversy as to the exact identity of the author. There were two apostles of Jesus by the name of Jesus; James, son of Zebedee and James, son of Alphaeus. However, none of them seems to be the likely author as James, son of Zebedee was killed at about 44 AD and that would make it too early for him to be the writer. Not much is known about James, son of Alphaeus, as he was never prominently mentioned in the Scriptural records. The most likely candidate for the author of the Book of James is James who was brother of Jude and half-brother to Lord Jesus Christ. He was one of the most prominent disciples of all. Alternatively, some scholars have also suggested that the letter of Book of James is written by a pseudonymous author, mainly due to the extensive Jewish influence, the high level of Greek that what James, the brother of Jesus Christ could have come up with and lack of any reference to Christ Jesus himself. The Book of James was written sometime around 47 AD.
The Book of James or epistle is addressed to the twelve Jewish tribes who were dispersed or scattered abroad. However, there are some controversies as to who were referred to by the mention of these tribes. The popular theory regarding its audience is that it refers to a Jewish Christian community. It preaches the importance of perseverance and patience in troubled times characterized by trials, persecutions and temptations and condemns the indulgence to various sins, asking Christians to patiently wait for the Second Coming.
The writer of the Book of James asks his audience to observe the practical duties that are an integral part of Christian life. He asks his people to guard against vices such as formalism, fanaticism, fatalism, falsehoods, meanness, boasting, partisanship, evil speaking, and oppression. Instead of focusing on outward ceremonies, the people should try to cultivate purity of the heart and active love. Instead of throwing sins on God, one should take responsibility and change their habits. Instead of playing with words to get one’s way, people should listen and observe more, speak less but only speak true, meaningful words. The most important lessons that the writer is asking his audience to learn is the value of patience – patience while undergoing trials; patience under provocation; patience under oppression; patience while performing good tasks and patience while undergoing persecution. And from where people can derive such strength to master such patience? From the fact that the Lord will return once more to correct all wrongs and set everything in the right order.
James also advices his audience not to put too much importance on worldly wealth as it fades away too quickly. Christians should not be partial to the privileged and wealthy or be prejudiced or patronizing against the poor. Instead of hoarding wealth for the sake of wealth itself, the people should provide for the less fortunate. Sign up now to receive Bible Quotes delivered by email or text from the Book of James.