Book of James

Introduction to the Book of James

Book of James
Mary Fairchild

The book of James is a concise, how-to guide t​o being a Christian. Although some Christians interpret James as proving that good works play a role in our salvation, this letter actually says that good works are the fruit of our salvation and will attract non-believers to the faith.

Author of the Book of James

James, a major leader in the Jerusalem church, and the brother of Jesus Christ.

Date Written

About 49 A.D., before the Jerusalem Council in 50 A.D. and before the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D.

Written To:

First century Christians scattered throughout the world, and future Bible readers.

Landscape of the Book of James

This letter on spiritual themes gives practical advice for Christians everywhere, but especially for believers feeling pressure from society's influences.

Themes in the Book of James

Faith that is alive is demonstrated by a believer's conduct. We should act out our faith in constructive ways. Trials will test every Christian. We become mature in our faith by facing temptations head-on and conquering them with God's help.

Jesus commanded us to love one another. When we love our neighbors and serve them, we imitate Christ's servant character.

Our tongue can be used to build or destroy. We are responsible for our words and must choose them wisely. God will help us control our speech and our actions as well.

Our wealth, however much or little, should be used to advance the Kingdom of God. We should not favor the wealthy nor mistreat the poor. James tells us to follow the advice of Jesus and store up treasures in heaven, through charitable works.

Key Characters in the Book of James

The book of James is not a historical narrative detailing the acts of specific people, but a classical letter of advice to Christians and early churches.

Key Verses:

James 1:22
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (NIV)

James 2:26
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (NIV)

James 4:7-8
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. (NIV)

James 5:19
My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. (NIV)

Outline of the Book of James

• James instructs Christians on genuine religion - James 1:1-27.

• True faith is demonstrated by good deeds done for God and others - James 2:1-3:12.

• Authentic wisdom comes from God, not the world - James 3:13-5:20.