Brian Yeager's Outlines
Introduction to the Book of James

I. Author / Penman:

A. God is the author of all scriptures (II Timothy 3:16-17, John 16:13, and I Corinthians 2:11-13).
B. Man’s word accounts for nothing in the realm of spiritual things (Galatians 1:10-12).
C. James is identified as the author.
D. There are three James’ noted in the N.T. that have been considered as authors.
1. James the son of Alphaeus (Acts 1:13).
a. Little is written about this James making it highly unlikely that he would be the author of this book.
2. James the son of Zebedee (Matthew 10:2) and brother to John (Matthew 4:21).
a. Died in AD 44 (Acts 12:1-2).
3. James the brother of Jesus (Matthew 13:55), is the most likely candidate.
a. He was involved with Paul at Jerusalem (Galatians 1:18-19).
b. James was vocal in Acts 15:13-29 seemingly as an elder (Acts 15:6 and Acts 21:18).
c. This James is also the brother of Judas who penned the book of Jude (Jude 1).

II. Time Period and History of the Writing of This Book

A. The dating of this book ranges from 45-49 AD.
1. The dating of this book could mean that it was one of the first penned books of the New Testament.
2. It was addressed to Jewish Christians.
a. Notice the passages suggesting such by name or reference to Old Testament passages: (1:1; 2:11-12, 21-25; 4:5; 5:11, 17-18).
b. One cannot overlook that the Jews were the “first fruits” of the Gospel (Acts 2:1ff. and James 1:18).
B. Agabus prophesies a famine; Herod kills James of Zebedee and imprisons Peter; Herod is struck dead (Acts 10-12).
C. Herod Agrippa II rules Judea.
D. Paul's first missionary journey.
E. The messages in this book can be an indicator of what was going on with these Christians:
1. They were being tried, and needed to look to the Lord (1:2-18).
2. Not only hearing but doing, thus practicing pure and undefiled religion (1:21-27).
3. Respecting persons (2:1-13).
4. Faith AND works (2:14-26).
5. Teachers need to be concerned of the good and evil the tongue can bring forth (3:1-12).
6. Heavenly wisdom is superior to earthly wisdom (3:13-18).
7. Evil at work (4:1-6).
8. Various exhortations (4:7-12).
9. How brief life is (4:13-17).
10. Warnings to those of wealth (5:1-6).
11. Patience (5:7-12).
12. Prayer (5:13-18).
13. Restoring the erring (5:19-20).

III. Some Final Thoughts About James the Brother of Christ

A. He did not claim fame to who he was, but called himself a servant (James 1:1).
B. He doubted who Christ was prior to the Resurrection (John 7:5).
1. Of which he saw Jesus (I Corinthians 15:7).
C. He would have been taught that his fleshly relationship was less than his spiritual relationship to Christ (Matthew 12:46-50).
D. James and the rest of the physical family of Christ were present at the Ascension of Christ (Acts 1:13-14).

Click Here To Go to a Study in James Chapter 1

2003 by Brian A. Yeager may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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