Intro to James
This epistle is one of the most loved and influential books in the Bible, centering on true saving faith. The author of the book is thought to be James, the brother of Jesus, dated around 45 A.D. and is said to be composed in Jerusalem. We know that James, did not come to believe his older half-brother was the Messiah until after his Resurrection (Matt. 13:55). Yet, later James would rise up in leadership within the body of Christ becoming an Apostle and servant of the Lord Jesus.
The audience of the letter were Greek-Jew’s, meaning Jews converted to Christianity, who lived in the Roman Empire outside the Palestine territory “the 12 tribes in the Dispersion”, they would have spoken the language of their culture, Greek. Though no specific church was mentioned in this epistle we can assume that James knew these Jewish converts had real problems amongst themselves, letting the world have a greater influence on them, which was destructive on their understanding on living out their faith. This book is applicable to the present church today because we struggle with faith amongst ourselves and proclaiming our faith in the world. We must not only be hearers of the word but also doers, and this is why the epistle of James is most loved and most influential in the church today. One commentator said this about the Epistle:
“James provides clear, practical instruction through the letter. That is why so many people love this book. Of course, that is why so many people avoid it as well. We want practical advice, and we especially want the kind that agrees with what we already think. But James is not concerned about telling us what we want to hear. No, he lines up one truth, and then he lines up another; and then having his listeners just where he wants them, he delivers a third, hard-hitting truth right to their situation with all the force of the first two points behind it.” –Mark Dever
Sometimes the hardest thing to hear is the truth, believers must be willing to be vulnerable to receiving the truth of God’s word allowing it to change their way of think, way of living and the way they treat others. As you continue to read through this book allow the word of God to transform your inward being, creating an active faith produced by trusting and believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.