James wrote to Jewish Christians who had been scattered throughout the Mediterranean world because of persecution. In their hostile surroundings they were tempted to let intellectual agreement pass for the true faith. This letter can have rich meaning for us as we are reminded that genuine faith transforms lives. We are encouraged to put our faith into action. It is easy to say we have faith, but true faith will produce loving actions toward others.
Written by the Apostle James, “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1). The name in Greek was Iakobos (Jacobus/Jacob). But was translated as “James” in the KJV and other early English translations. This James was identified as “the Lord’s Brother” (Galatians 1:19). A leader in the Jerusalem church, written from Jerusalem.
During the Great Scattering described in Acts 8-12 (A. D. 40s). Probably around A. D. 49, prior to the Jerusalem council held in A. D. 50
To Whom Written:
To the leaders (ekklesias – out-positioned) of the “twelve tribes which are scattered abroad.” First Century Jewish Christians residing in Gentile communities outside Palestine, and all Christians everywhere.
The purpose of this epistle was to address the leaders (ekklesias) of those who are scattered during the Great Scattering, the second period of Acts, following the Great Unity. It was written to deal with issues that the believers were facing, such as personal trials of faith, the conflict between rich and poor, and the hypocrisy of those who said they had faith and yet did not act upon it.
To download a PDF outline of James click here.
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