We begin reading the Epistle of James on Tuesday, March 6, 2012. Below is the brief introduction I wrote for the Nexus Biblical and Theological primer.
James is traditionally attributed to Jesus’ half brother James, a younger son of Joseph and Mary. Matthew reports four brothers of Jesus: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas in Matthew 13:55. The traditional author is the same James who presided over the Jerusalem Council reported in Acts 15 and was identified as the head of the church in Jerusalem. If James was the author, the letter is dated in the AD 60’s; if not, it could have been written late in the first century. James is a “general epistle”; it is not written to a specific church or person but to the Christian movement as a whole. James is a practical document, not interested in theological speculation but in the practical application of the teachings of Jesus to a normal Christian life.Key Learning: Personal holiness must be lived out in social holiness. Faith without works is dead. Personal holiness that does not see and help people in the real world is not Biblical Christianity.