Summary: And introduction to the book of James, helping to answer the question, "Is There Profit in Trials?"
I. When you approach the letter of James, the first important question to consider is “Who is the author?”
A. The only real identification from within the letter itself lies in the authors statement in verse one. “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
B. But that is an extremely important statement.
II. There are only a few men by the name of James listed in scripture.
A. Christ has two disciples named James.
B. Perhaps it could be one of them.
III. The first was James, the son of Zebedee
A. This James was the brother of the Apostle John.
B. This James gets a fair amount of exposure in the gospels, however, most scholars believe he was martyred in AD 44, while the letter of James was probably written between AD 45 and AD 60, depending on which expert you believe.
IV. The second was James, the son of Alphaeus.
A. It is believed that he was the brother of Matthew, and he gets some mention in all the gospels except John, and once in Acts.
B. He is not believed to be the author of this letter however.
V. A third James of scripture is James, the father of Judas, not Iscariot.
A. He is probably not the author however, since his name was used primarily to differentiate Judas, not Iscariot from Judas Iscariot.
VI. A fifth James was James the Less who is mentioned in Mark 15:40 as being at the crucifixion, but is not considered as the author of James.
VII. There is one other James in the scripture.
A. This James was not an original disciple of Christ.
B. In fact, this James thought Christ might just be a little bit crazy, and at least during prior to the crucifixion John 7:5 states he didn’t believe in Christ at all.
C. Does anyone know who this James might be?
VIII. Most conservative Biblical scholars believe that the James that wrote this letter is in all likelihood, James; the brother of Jesus.
A. The time fits
B. The theme of the book makes sense,
C. Everything works to say that this James is most likely, James, the brother of Jesus, except for possibly one thing; verse 1.
1. If James is trying to encourage the followers of Christ
2. If he was attempting to spur believers in Christ on to holy living, in spite of imagined and real persecution, and temptation to sin why would he not say, “JAMES, the brother of Christ” in stead of “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ”
IX. At some point in time between about AD 30 and AD 60,
A. James, the brother of Christ
B. James, the one that didn’t believe his brother at all.
C. James, that may even have thought his brother a bit luny, becomes;
D. “James, a bond-servant, of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
1. A bond servant is a slave, but not a slave that was bought and paid for.
2. A bond servant is a slave that has willingly placed him or her self under the lord ship of a master.
X. The author of this letter has had a change of heart and mind about the Savior of the world.
A. James, or perhaps I should say God has demonstrated the impossible.
B. God has brought a total and complete skeptic into a new relationship with his family, his God, and even a world that would read his letter for generations to come.