3 occurrences in 3 dictionaries

Reference: James, Epistle Of


(1.) Author of, was James the Less, the Lord's brother, one of the twelve apostles. He was one of the three pillars of the Church (Ga 2:9).

(2.) It was addressed to the Jews of the dispersion, "the twelve tribes scattered abroad."

(3.) The place and time of the writing of the epistle were Jerusalem, where James was residing, and, from internal evidence, the period between Paul's two imprisonments at Rome, probably about A.D. 62.

(4.) The object of the writer was to enforce the practical duties of the Christian life. "The Jewish vices against which he warns them are, formalism, which made the service of God consist in washings and outward ceremonies, whereas he reminds them (1:27) that it consists rather in active love and purity; fanaticism, which, under the cloak of religious zeal, was tearing Jerusalem in pieces (1:20); fatalism, which threw its sins on God (1:13); meanness, which crouched before the rich (2:2); falsehood, which had made words and oaths play-things (3:2-12); partisanship (3:14); evil speaking (4:11); boasting (4:16); oppression (5:4). The great lesson which he teaches them as Christians is patience, patience in trial (1:2), patience in good works (1:22-25), patience under provocation (3:17), patience under oppression (5:7), patience under persecution (5:10); and the ground of their patience is that the coming of the Lord draweth nigh, which is to right all wrong (5:8)."

Justification by works, which James contends for, is justification before man, the justification of our profession of faith by a consistent life. Paul contends for the doctrine of "justification by faith;" but that is justification before God, a being regarded and accepted as just by virtue of the righteousness of Christ, which is received by faith.

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1. The author claims to be 'James, a servant of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ' (Jas 1:1). He is usually identified with the Lord's brother the 'bishop' of Jerusalem, not a member of the Twelve, but an apostle in the wider sense (see Jas 3). The name is common, and the writer adds no further note of identification. This fact makes for the authenticity of the address. If the Epistle had been pseudonymous, the writer would have defined the position of the James whose authority he wished to claim, and the same objection holds good against any theory of interpolation. Or again, if it had been written by a later James under his own name, he must have distinguished himself from his better known namesakes. The absence of description supports the common view of the authorship of the letter; it is a mark of modesty, the brother of the Lord not wishing to insist on his relationship after the flesh; it also points to a consciousness of authority; the writer expected to be listened to, and knew that his mere name was a sufficient description of himself. So Jude writes merely as 'the brother of James.' It has indeed been doubted whether a Jew of his position could have written such good Greek as we find in this Epistle, but we know really very little of the scope of Jewish education; there was every opportunity for intercourse with Greeks in Galilee, and a priori arguments of this nature can at most be only subsidiary. If indeed the late date, suggested by some, be adopted, the possibility of the brother of the Lord being the author is excluded, since he probably died in 62; otherwise there is nothing against the ordinary view. If that be rejected, the author is entirely unknown. More will be said in the rest of the article on the subject; but attention must be called to the remarkable coincidence in language between this Epistle and the speech of James in Ac 15.

2. Date.

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This was written to the twelve tribes which were in the dispersion, viewing them as still in relationship with God, though it was only the Jewish remnant, now become Christians, who professed the faith, which the Spirit gave, in the true Messiah. The moral measure of the life presented is the same as when the Lord was here among His disciples: it does not rise up to the position and principles of the church as found in Paul's epistles. The believers being in the midst of the Israelites, some of whom merely professed faith in Christ, accounts for the apostles address to the mass and the warning to professors. The epistle belongs in character to the transitional time in the early part of the Acts, when the believers went on with the temple worship, etc., before Paul's testimony came in. In some Greek MSS this epistle follows the Acts, preceding Paul's writings.

Referring to the various temptations into which saints fall, the apostle bids them count it all joy, inasmuch as the proving of faith works endurance. But this last must have her perfect work that they might be lacking in nothing. If wisdom be lacking, it should be sought in faith from God. The man who doubts will get nothing.

The poor and the rich had both that in which they could glory; the one in his exaltation, the other in his humiliation, being able rightly to judge of that which is but for a moment. The crown of life is for him who endures trial