James



by Ken Cayce



Ken Cayce All rights reserved.


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James Explained





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Book of James Explained

Title: James, like all of the general epistles except Hebrews, is named after its author (verse 1).


Authorship: The author is identified only as James, and there are four men so named in the New Testament. Yet the evidence unquestionably favors one candidate.


Two that were insignificant in the early church were James the son of Alphaeus, called "the less" (Mark 3:18; 15:40), and a virtually unknown James (Luke 6:16). James the son of Zebedee and brother of John, though better known, also lacked prominence in the early church and was martyred at the early date of A.D. 44 (Acts 12:2).


The Epistle of James was probably written by the half-brother of Jesus. I say half-brother, because Jesus' mother was Mary and His Father was God. James' mother was Mary and his father was Joseph. Paul called him the Lord's brother in Galatians 1:19 "But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother."


James, the half-brother of Christ, possessed all the qualities of the author. First, he was the one James referred to by his name alone (compare Gal. 1:19 with 2:9, 12; Acts 12:2; with 12:17; and see Acts 15:13; 21:18; Jude 1), so was obviously well known to the scattered believers. Second, the language of this epistle echoes the speech of this James in Acts 15. Third, as a leader of the Jerusalem church, this James was a prominent figure among the dispersed Jewish Christians. The Jews regard him as " the James".


As a half-brother of Jesus, James grew up in a carpenter's home in Nazareth (Matt. 13:55), and later moved to Capernaum when Jesus began His public ministry (John 2:12). Like his brothers, he did not believe in Jesus as Lord until the end of Christ's earthly ministry (John 7:1-5). But after the resurrection of Jesus, James received a special, post-resurrection appearance of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:7), experienced Pentecost (Acts 1:14), and was a leader of the Jerusalem church throughout most of the history of Acts (15:13; 21:18). Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, records that James was martyred about A.D. 62.


Everything about the Epistle of James suggests that it was one of the first New Testament books written:


(1) Addressed to the 12 scattered tribes, it was written when the church was still primarily Jewish;


(2) Its many allusions to Christ's teachings, but independence from the Gospels, favor a very early date;


(3) Its emphasis on the Lord's return (while omitting other doctrines concerning Christ), also implies an early date;.


(4) The simple church structure described in James supports its probable antiquity. For example, bishops and deacons are not mentioned, only elders, who were part of the pre-church, Jewish structure. The Greek word for synagogue is used for the assembling of the church (2:2);


(5) There is no hint of a Jew-Gentile controversy, so James was probably written before (A.D. 49). A date in the early forties is commonly accepted.


Background - setting: The recipients of this book were Jewish believers who had been dispersed (1:1), possibly as a result of Stephen's martyrdom (Acts chapter 7; A.D. 31-34), but more likely due to the persecution under Herod Agrippa I (Acts chapter 12; ca. A.D. 44). The author refers to his audience as "brethren" 15 times (1:2, 16, 19; 2:1, 5, 14; 3:1, 10, 12; 4:11; 5:7, 9, 10, 12, 19), which was a common epithet among the first century Jews. Not surprisingly, then, James is Jewish in its content. For example, the Greek word translated "assembly" (2:2), is the word for "synagogue". Further, James contains more than 40 allusions to the Old Testament; and more than 20 to the Sermon on the Mount (Matt chapters 5-7).


James, the half-brother of Jesus was not known to Christianity, until after the resurrection of Jesus. He became the head of the church in Jerusalem, possibly because he was the brother of Jesus. Paul and James had a different view of Christianity. Paul looked at it from the mystical view, and James looked at it from the standpoint of the law. The primary difference was; Paul preached justification by faith in Jesus Christ, and James taught that we will show good works in our daily walk, if we are saved. In truth, there was no difference at all. James was just ministering to Jewish Christians, and Paul was ministering to Gentiles.


James would have been trained in the Jewish religion, because his parents were Hebrews. He would have been perfect to lead the Jews who had accepted Jesus as their Savior. The letter was actually written to Jewish Christians, which is still in character for this to be the half-brother of Jesus. The letter is even addressed to the twelve tribes of Israel. It is, however, useful to all Christians, as well as Jews.


It was written before 62 A.D. which is the year believed to be the year of death for James.


Historical - Theological Themes: The themes of faith and works surface repeatedly. And James presents these subjects not as conflicting values, but as complementary. For James, "faith" may be either saving faith or profession of faith (much like the usage today). For Paul, faith is faith; for James faith may be genuine or spurious (compare notes at 2:14-26). Hence, James demands that faith must demonstrate itself as real. Therefore, the theme of James is not merely faith and works, but faith that works.


James, with its devotion to direct, pungent statements on wise living, is reminiscent of the book of Proverbs. It has a practical emphasis, stressing not theoretical knowledge, but godly behavior. James wrote with a passionate desire for his readers to be uncompromisingly obedient to the Word of God. He used at least 30 references to nature (e.g., "surf of the sea" (1:6); "reptile" (3:7); and "sky poured rain" (5:18); as befits one who spent a great deal of time outdoors. He complements Paul's emphasis on justification by faith with his own emphasis on spiritual fruitfulness demonstrating true faith.


Characteristics: The approach of James is practical rather than theoretical. It is the Proverbs of the New Testament, and the most Jewish of all New Testament books, containing little that is distinctively Christian. Even such basic doctrines as redemption through the death of Christ or His resurrection are absent. It seems like a commentary on the teachings of Jesus, incorporating many ideas and phrases from the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. Chapters 5-7). There are many obvious parallel references to the Gospels. Even James' frequent illustrations from nature correspond to Christ's parabolic teaching.





Chapters


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Chapters



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James 1
James 2
James 3
James 4
James 5


James 1


James Chapter 1

James 1:1 "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting."

James 1:2 "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;"

James 1:3 "Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience."

James 1:4 "But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

James 1:6 "But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."

James 1:7 "For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."

James 1:8 "A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways."

James 1:9 "Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:"

James 1:10 "But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away."

James 1:11 "For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways."

James 1:12 "Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him."

James 1:13 "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:"

James 1:14 "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."

James 1:15 "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

James 1:16 "Do not err, my beloved brethren."

James 1:17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

James 1:18 "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."

James 1:19 "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:"

James 1:20 "For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."

James 1:21 "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls."

James 1:22 "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."

James 1:23 "For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:"

James 1:24 "For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was."

James 1:25 "But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."

James 1:26 "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion [is] vain."

James 1:27 "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world."

James 2


James Chapter 2

James 2:1 "My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, [the Lord] of glory, with respect of persons."

James 2:2 "For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;"

James 2:3 "And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:"

James 2:4 "Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?"

James 2:5 "Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?"

James 2:6 "But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?"

James 2:7 "Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?"

James 2:8 "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well:"

James 2:9 "But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors."

James 2:10 "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all."

James 2:11 "For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law."

James 2:12 "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty."

James 2:13 "For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment."

James 2:14 "What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?"

James 2:15 "If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,"

James 2:16 "And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit?"

James 2:17 "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."

James 2:18 "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works."

James 2:19 "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble."

James 2:20 "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?"

James 2:21 "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?"

James 2:22 "Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?"

James 2:23 "And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God."

James 2:24 "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only."

James 2:25 "Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent [them] out another way?"

James 2:26 "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

James 3


James Chapter 3

James 3:1 "My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation."

James 3:2 "For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same [is] a perfect man, [and] able also to bridle the whole body."

James 3:3 "Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body."

James 3:4 "Behold also the ships, which though [they be] so great, and [are] driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth."

James 3:5 "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!"

James 3:6 "And the tongue [is] a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell."

James 3:7 "For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:"

James 3:8 "But the tongue can no man tame; [it is] an unruly evil, full of deadly poison."

James 3:9 "Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God."

James 3:10 "Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be."

James 3:11 "Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet [water] and bitter?"

James 3:12 "Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so [can] no fountain both yield salt water and fresh."

James 3:13 "Who [is] a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom."

James 3:14 "But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth."

James 3:15 "This wisdom descendeth not from above, but [is] earthly, sensual, devilish."

James 3:16 "For where envying and strife [is], there [is] confusion and every evil work."

James 3:17 "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy."

James 3:18 "And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."

James 4


James Chapter 4

James 4:1 "From whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members?"

James 4:2 "Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not."

James 4:3 "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts."

James 4:4 "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

James 4:5 "Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?"

James 4:6 "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."

James 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

James 4:8 "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded."

James 4:9 "Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and [your] joy to heaviness."

James 4:10 "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."

James 4:11 "Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of [his] brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge."

James 4:12 "There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?"

James 4:14 "Whereas ye know not what [shall be] on the morrow. For what [is] your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."

James 4:15 "For that ye [ought] to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that."

James 4:16 "But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil."

James 4:17 "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin."

James 5


James Chapter 5

James 5:2 "Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten."

James 5:3 "Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days."

James 5:4 "Behold, the hire of the laborer's 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."

James 5:5 "Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter."

James 5:6 "Ye have condemned [and] killed the just; [and] he doth not resist you."

James 5:7 "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain."

James 5:8 "Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."

James 5:9 "Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door."

James 5:10 "Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience."

James 5:11 "Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy."

James 5:12 "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and [your] nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation."

James 5:13 "Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms."

James 5:14 "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:"

James 5:15 "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."

James 5:16 "Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

James 5:17 "Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months."

James 5:18 "And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit."

James 5:19 "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;"

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."

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