The Book of James

The book of James is one of the seven general epistles (James to Jude in the New Testament). It was written, it is believed, by James, the half-brother of Jesus, about A.D. 48 to A.D. 50 most likely in Jerusalem. It was written to Jews, who had scattered around the Roman Empire (James 1:1).

The book is very Jewish in character and was written early undoubtedly when the church was still mostly Jewish in membership. It doesn't seem to reflect any of the issues one typically finds in the Pauline letters.

James became an early leader in the Jerusalem Church (Acts 15:13; ICor.15:7; Acts 21:18; Gal. 2:9, 12). He played a key leadership role in the Council of Jerusalem and the decision to more clearly define what it means to be Christian.

The writing itself contains five chapters. It is profoundly practical, demanding not just faith-words but faith - actions to demonstrate the authenticity of one's personal faith in Jesus. James wrote like a prophet of the Old Testament - telling it like it is. He warns and exhorts. Clearly, his desire is to have believers who are genuinely Christians and not just a lot of talk.