The Book of James

I. Title

        The title comes from the name of the author of this letter.

II. Author and Setting

        According to James 1:1, the letter was written by James:

        James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
        To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:
        Greetings.

        Questions arise as to the identification of this James. Tradition holds to this being James the Apostle, that is, the brother of Jesus (Mark 6:3), who was the ruling elder in the Jerusalem church before his martyrdom AD 62. A date prior to the council of Jerusalem of AD 48/49 (Acts 15) is very possible, making this the oldest book in the New Testament.
        The other possibility, that it was written by James son of Zebedee, is unlikely, since he was martyred about AD 44, which was probably too early for a letter like this to have been written.
        The book falls into the category or genre of wisdom literature. For more information on wisdom literature, see the discussion on Proverbs.

III. An Outline of James

I. Introduction 1:1-27
II. Piety and poverty 2:1-26
III. Speech and Spirit 3:1-4:12
IV. Test and result 4:13-5:6
V. Conclusion 5:7-20

Questions on James

1. Compare and contrast James' use of Abraham in James 2:20-24 and Paul's use in Galatians 3:6-14 and Romans 4. Is there a contradiction?
2. Is James advocating salvation by works? Why or why not?
3. Discuss James' teaching on the tongue.