The Book of James

1 Book of James

Summary of the Book of James

2 Book of JamesThe book of James is a General Epistle (Apostolic Letter). James the half-brother of Jesus wrote it approximately 48-49 A.D. It was likely the first New Testament book (letter) to be written.

The key personalities of this book are James and Persecuted Christians. James wrote this book to Jewish believers to encourage them to endure and live bold Christian lives.

James is a book about practical Christian living that reflects a genuine faith that transforms lives. In many ways, it is similar to the Old Testament book of Proverbs.

Chapter 1 – James teaches believers to test their faith and

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (1:22).

James encourages believers to put their faith into action, and to be servants of Jesus Christ.

Chapters 2-3 – James describes the relationship between faith and works. He teaches that a person of faith without works demonstrates useless faith.

What good is a person’s faith if they don’t present it to the world? A believer’s good works are evidence of their faith in Jesus Christ.

3 What a strange character
What a strange character James is! There is no indication that he followed Jesus at all during Jesus’ earthly lifetime.
After the resurrection, however, he is one of the leading figures in the church.

I suppose this makes sense. After all, it would be hard for any of us to be convinced that our big brother is the creator of the world.

On the other hand, if he rose from the dead it might spark a change in us!

However, James is odd in other respects. Unlike the twelve, he never left Jerusalem.

History says he was appointed as overseer there by the apostles. Acts, though, leaves us with the impression that he carried as much or more authority than the apostles who appointed him!

What James says here can appear to contradict what Paul says in the Book of Ephesians:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2:8-9).

But what they both say are true.  You don’t have to do anything to get to heaven, aside from having faith in Jesus Christ.  But God would like you to prove your faith also, not to Him, but to the world.

For example, this blog I do is showing the world that Jesus is my one and all. 

Or, you don’t have to wear a wedding ring to be married, but wearing it shows that you are.

James not only wants you to prove your faith, but to also be faithful to Jesus, not to be a false or half-ass teacher (Peter, in his books that follow, warn us of that and also losing your salvation).

For example, let us say you gain weight so you blow up from a 32” waist to a 38” waist.  Don’t swap the labels on the clothes and say you have a 32” waist.

He also teaches that everyone is a sinner and that if one of the 10 Commandments are broken, than that person is guilty of breaking every one of them.

“For whomsoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in nit, he is guilty of all” (2:10).

Chapters 4-5 – James gives wise instruction to believers. He said,

“Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (4:7).

A faithful believer will desire to follow hard after God in service, obedience, and prayer.

In the last chapter James stresses the weight and magnitude of prayer for every believer. He uses the word “Prayer” seven times, signifying its importance.

In the final verse of his book James expresses the magnitude of living faith in action saying:

“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;

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” (5:19-20).

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