INTRODUCTION TO JAMES
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Before analyzing the test of any book of the Bible, it is well to learn the historical background.
Also, it is best to make a "skyscraper" view of its general contents. Accordingly, this first lesson is divided into two parts: background and survey
- Author. James, the half brother of Jesus. He was the son of Mary and Joseph, younger than Jesus. This his hotly reputed by Catholics which hold the belief of Mary's perpetual virginity. Other possibilities presented are: 1) James the brother of John and the son of Zebedee, and 2) James the son of Alphaeus, one of the twelve apostles. James, John's brother is not likely since he was martyred very early. (Acts 12:1-2) Little is known of James of Alphaeus, so he is not considered a candidate.
- Date Written. Sometime before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., but believed to be after 44 A.D. The exact date cannot be determined from the letter, but most believe it was the first letter to be written that ended up in the New Testament.
- Period Covered. None specified by the letter. It is a general letter to any believer of Jesus, the Messiah.
- Geographical Centers. Scholars believe this letter was written in Jerusalem by James, the pastor of the Jerusalem congregation.
- The letter is one of exhortation for practical Christianity. The author stated principles of conduct and then frequently provided poignant illustrations. The author's concerns were clearly more practical and less abstract than those of any other New Testament writer. No other New Testament book has received criticism to the extent encountered by this epistle. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
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