Introduction To The Book of James

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1 1 Introduction To The Book of James

2 2 Introduction To The Book of James I. James deals with practical, ethical, applied Christianity. A. Matthew 12:33, Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by its fruit. B. James 2:14, But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. II. Author: A. James (Hebrew: Jacob), the brother of Jesus and Jude, appears to be the writer of this letter. 1. 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? 2. 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. B. James was a prominent leader in the Jerusalem church. 1. Acts 12:17, But he, 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.

3 3 2. Acts 15:13, 19-21, And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God. But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day. 3. Acts 21:17-26, And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present. And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: And they are informed of thee, that thou teacheth all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. What is it therefore? The multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them: Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing: but that thou thyself also walketh orderly, and keepest the law. As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from

4 4 fornication. Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, signifying the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them. 4. Galatians 2:6,9,12, but of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: 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. 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 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? III. Date of writing: A. Holloway places the date of writing between the time James became a leader of the church in Jerusalem (about A.D. 40) and his death (about A.D. 62.) IV. Where written and to whom written? A. James is said to be a general epistle addressed to believers where ever located.

5 5 B. The letter was likely written in Palestine, perhaps in Jerusalem. V. James is written in letter form and concentrates on Christian living, practical, ethical concerns. A. Appreciation is here expressed to Gary Holloway, The College Press NIV Commentary, James and Jude, page 19, Joplin, Missouri, 1996 for the comparison next given between James and Leviticus relating to holiness, Christian morality. B. James 2:1, My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, with respect of persons. Leviticus 19:15, Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgement: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour. C. James 2:8, If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well. Leviticus 19:18, Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord. D. James 2:9, But if ye have respect to persons, yet commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors... Leviticus 19:15, Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgement: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

6 6 E. James 4:11, Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, speaketh evil of the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. Leviticus 19:16, Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the Lord. F. James 5:4, Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. Leviticus 19:13, Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning. G. James 5:9, Grudge not one against another brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. Leviticus 19:18, Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord. H. James 5:12, But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea: and your nay, nay: lest ye fall into condemnation. Leviticus 19:12, And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord.

7 7 I. 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. Leviticus 19:17, Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. VI. James declared that faith without works is dead! A. Christians must live, act in keeping with our beliefs. B. We must let our light of good works shine to enlighten the world, darkened by sin!

8 8 Questions Introduction to the Book of James 1. deals with,,. 2. Identify the James who wrote this book. Who was he? 3. What was James position in the Jerusalem church and what important work did he do there? 4. Discuss the relationship as you perceive it to be between Paul and James? Were they always in harmony, some times in disagreement? Explain your answer. 5. Where was James written? When was it written? To whom was James written?

9 9 6. Give eight points of similarity between James and Leviticus 19 according to Holloway s outline. 7. without is. must, in keeping with our. 8. We must let our of to the by. 8. How were James and Jude related? 9. In view if the teachings of James, what areas of your life need the most improvement?

10 During the public ministry of Jesus his brothers did not believe in his divinity. What brought them including James to saving faith?

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