A. Introductory Questions Author The book is attributed to James the brother of Jesus (HCSB p2296, Powell p 463). However this thought was questioned by the early church and still is debated by scholars today (Powell p 463, Douglas p54). Date If James wrote the book it is dated before 70 CE (HCSB p2269) possibly mid 50s CE (Powell p 466) and if not by James it could be 80-100 CE (Powell p 437) or maybe even early second century CE (Douglas p54). Audience “To the twelve tribes of the Dispersion” (1:1, HCSB p2270) or to the church in general (Powell p 465, HCSB p2270). Genre While labeled a Letter James is more parenesis (Douglas p54) or wisdom literature (HCSB p2270, Powell p464). It also has parts of “symbouleutic or advisory rhetoric” (Douglas p54, Powell p464).

B. Outline Diagram with Summaries

Introduction to Themes: Enduring Trials Trials are a joy (1:2) because through these believers gain endurance and maturity (1:3-4). Blessed is the believer that endures Temptation which comes from our own desires and not God (1:12-13). Rich and Poor The lowly are raised (1:9) as the rich are brought down (1:10). The sun scorches the flower in the field and causes its leaves to fall, and so it is with the rich (1:11). Doers of the Word Hearers of the word who do not do what the word says do not know what they look like (1:23-24). Those who do the word are blessed by doing it (1:25). Pure religion is to care for those who are held down (1:26-27)

Development of Themes: Rich and Poor If followers of Jesus show favoritism do we really believe in Jesus? (2:1) If we raise the rich and ignore the poor have we not judged and show evil thoughts (2:2-5). Love everyone and show no partiality (2:8-9) and remember “mercy triumphs over judgement” (2:13). Doers of the Word If a person is in need and you say to them “Go in peace and stay warm” (2:16) is that any good? Faith without works is dead (2:17, 2:26). You can not have faith without works (2:18-20). Enduring Trials As believers wait they must be patient (5:7-8). Believers need to not grumble against each other (5:9-10) and show endurance through the waiting, as Job did (5:11).

C. Interpretive Issues Faith versus works is an issue in James. James says faith without works is dead (2:17, 26). James also asks, “Can faith save you?” (2:14) This seems to be different than what Paul tells us that “a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law” (Romans 3:28). “Most scholars agree there is no real argument here.” (Powell p471). Paul and James are saying the same thing just in different ways. As Paul says, “faith working through love” (Gal 5:16) is really the same thing as James saying, “You see that faith was active along with (Abraham’s) works, and faith was brought to completion by the works.” (2:22, Powell p471)

D. Ministerial Application James is clear that status as seen by the world is not a way to judge members of the community. Rich or poor all are equal. And we show this not just by hearing the word but living it out. At Treehouse, we are an RIC ministry and work towards full inclusion of all in the community. We welcome everyone and strive to not elevate one member over another through allowing all to participate as they wish and looking for equity in leadership. Through this we help to show the A&M community that what society sees as important is not a part of the kindom of God.

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