The Epistle of James

Written between 52 A.D. and 62 A. D. the Epistle of James is regarded as the “How to” book for Christians. Written either by the half brother of Jesus or the brother of John the Baptist, this epistle is meant to help Christians grow as servants of Jesus Christ.

The target audience of this letter were Jewish Christians scattered throughout the land. Much like we are today, early Christians mentioned in this epistle were challenged, tempted and tried. James invites readers to rely on the Holy Spirit for strength and wisdom as we fulfill God’s mission for our lives.

As we dig deeper in the word through the Epistle of James, let us first look at the probable authors of this letter.

James the Great, one of the original 12 apostles, the son of Zebedee and brother of John the Baptist was a fisherman. “21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.” (Matthew 4:21-22)

Because of their impulsiveness, Jesus nicknamed James and John “Sons of Thunder”. “17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder).” (Mark 3:17)

James was killed by Herod around 44 A.D. “1 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.”

The second probable author of this letter was the half brother of Jesus, James the Just. “55 Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?” (Matthew 13:55)

Though initially not a believer, after Jesus’ resurrection James became a disciple and leader of the church in Jerusalem. “9 James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews.” (Galatians 2:9)

James is believed to have been martyred around 62 A.D.

With an emphasis on prayer, this epistle focuses on spiritual maturity or lack thereof among the church. Inspiring believers to reply on the power of prayer and that of the word of God, James writes about the following:

Perseverance, “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)

Service, “14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” (James 2:14)

Self control, ” 26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” (James 1:26)

Patience, “7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” (James 5″7-8)

Prayer, “17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” (James 5:17-18)

As a disciple of Jesus Christ, where do you find yourself when faced with trials, with challenges or exposed to temptation brought on by evil? Do your strengths include perseverance, service and self control? Have trials allowed you to build patience as a virtue? Do you have deeds known only to God, works that are building up your wealth in heaven? Are your prayers in tune with your level of spiritual maturity?

In the weeks ahead we will examine the Epistle of James in depth and God willing, we will abide by the word and allow ourselves to grow spiritually as we fulfill our mission to serve our Lord and King. I invite you to read ahead and familiarize yourself with the first chapter of the Epistle of James so next week’s message flows through you like a cool stream down a mountain side… Let’s pray.

Father God;
We thank you for your forgiveness in our sins
And for your inspiration in our lives,
We thank you for your all mightiness
And for your strong hand in directing us.

Lord father we ask that you continue to shine your light bright,
Upon us, our families and all those who seek you
And help us serve you and lead others to you in this life
So we all can rejoice with you in the next.

God strengthen us and lead us from temptation
Guiding our footsteps each and every day,
Help us patiently follow the way everlasting
Through prayer, perseverance, self control and love.

God we thank you for all that you bless us with each day!

Praise God,

This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre

Posted in Bible Studies.

Daniel St.Pierre