Bible Study Discipleship Pastoral

James Preface and 1:1

James, the Lord Jesus’s half-brother, writes a pastoral letter to the Jewish Christians scattered to various places due to persecution.
My translation and notes on James 1:1 with introductory notes.
B1 Author—Holy Spirit
B2 Writer—James the Lord’s half-brother and leader of Jerusalem church.
C1 It is questioned by some as pseudepigrapha (The pseudepigrapha are the books that attempt to imitate Scripture but that were written under false names—Got Questions). Some of the reasons can be found here.
C2 It is unquestioned by others.
D1 As the solution of this question of the history of the canonicity of the Epistle depends chiefly on the testimony of the ancient Fathers, it remains to be seen whether it is quoted by them as Scripture. (a) In the Latin Church it was known by St. Clement of Rome (before A.D. 100), the Pastor Hermas (about A.D. 150), St. Irenæus (125?-202?, 208), Tertullian (d. about 240), St. Hilary (d. 366), St. Philaster (d. 385), St. Ambrose (d. 397), Pope Damasus (in the canon of about A.D. 382), St. Jerome (346-420), Rufinus (d. 410), St. Augustine (430), and its canonicity is unquestioned by them. (b) In the Greek Church, Clement of Alexandria (d. 217), Origen (d. 254), St. Athanasius (d. 373), St. Dionysius the Areopagite (about A.D. 500), etc., considered it undoubtedly as a sacred writing. (c) In the Syrian Church, the Peshito, although omitting the minor Catholic Epistles, gives that of St. James; St. Ephraem uses it frequently in his writings. Moreover, the most notorious heretics of Syria recognised it as genuine. Thus, we find that Nestorius ranked it in the Canon of Sacred Books, and James of Edessa adduces the testimony of James, v, 14. The Epistle is found in the Coptic, Sahidic, Ethiopic, Arabic, and Armenian versions. Although, therefore, the canonicity of the Epistle of St. James was questioned by a few during the first centuries, there are to be found from the very earliest ages, in different parts of the Church, numerous testimonies in favour of its canonicity. From the end of the third century its acceptance as inspired, and as the work of St. James, has been universal, as clearly appears from the various lists of the Sacred Books drawn up since the fourth century. (Source)
D2 Also see Epistle of St. James (PDF) by Joseph Mayor, and many others.
D3 Some argue that James was an illiterate fisherman. Unlettered in Scriptures refers to not having attended Rabbinical schools. Jesus, the half-brother of James, could read (Luke 4:16-30 and see Was Jesus Illiterate? Part Three).
B3 Time and place—45-60 CE and Jerusalem. I hold to the early view.
B4 Main topic—The life of faith including worldview, lifestyle, and rules. James Cole (source) writes:
One of the popular TV shows when I grew up was “Dragnet,” starring Jack Webb as Joe Friday, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. Joe Friday was a no-nonsense cop. His famous line was, “Just the facts, Ma’am.” He didn’t want to hear anything irrelevant to solving the case. If somebody went off on a tangent, he cut to the quick with, “Just the facts, Ma’am.”
James is the Joe Friday of the New Testament. He cuts to the bottom line without messing around. He’s not really interested in hearing your profession of faith. He wants to see your practice of the faith. Several writers refer to James as the least theological epistle in the New Testament, except for Philemon. It’s not that James discounts the importance of sound doctrine, but rather that he wants to see that doctrine affecting how we live. Talk is cheap; James wants to see results. Of the 108 verses in the book, 54 (half) contain imperative verbs. James is like a crusty sergeant barking orders at the troops. He wants to see some action!
Salutation—James 1:1
The Christian life—difficulties and temptations—James 1:2-18
The Christian life—listening and actions—James 1:19-27
The Christian life—no socioeconomic prejudice—James 2:1-13
The Christian life—the relationship of faith and works—James 2:14-26
The Christian life—speech—James 3:1-12
The Christian life—wisdom—James 3:13-18
The Christian life—placing ourselves under God’s authority—James 4:1-12
The Christian life—not assuming—James 4:13-17
The Christian life—Dangers of Riches—James 5:1-6
The Christian life—Suffering—James 5:7-12
The Christian life—Prayer—James 5:13-20
James Chapter 1
Believers Should Ask God for Wisdom
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes, which are scattered abroad, greeting.
[James is writing specifically to Jewish Christians who have been scattered to many areas as the result of persecution (Acts 8:1-4). James may have known a number of these people personally. James is more concerned, as any pastor should, that the believers do not slip back into a Jewish worldview and lifestyle but continue in a Christian worldview and lifestyle as taught by the Apostles. Theological concerns are addressed rarely probably because of the good teaching these believers received before leaving from persecution. James may have had a report of the believers or questions concerning the Christian worldview and lifestyle and so wrote to address these issues. Compare Mark 4:18-20, Matthew 7:16-20, and John 15:4-16. Compare the danger in Revelation 3:1-6].

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