Scripture reading – James 1-5
Regarding the human author of today’s Scripture: The book of James is a letter, bearing the name of its author who introduces himself and his intended recipients in the opening verse:
James 1:1 – James, a servant [a slave or bondservant] of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes [Jewish believers of the Tribes of Israel] which are scattered abroad [dispersed], greeting [rejoice; be glad].
With humility, James introduces himself simply as “a servant,” a slave to “God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (1:1). There are several men we might identify as James in the New Testament; however, this James did not feel the need to introduce himself, perhaps because he needed no introduction. By the time this epistle was penned, the apostle James, brother of John and the son of Zebedee, was martyred (Acts 12:2), thereby eliminating him as the writer.
Most scholars are in agreement, and identify the author as James, the half-brother of Jesus (Galatians 1:19), being born of Joseph and Mary. James and his siblings were not followers of Jesus until after His crucifixion, death and resurrection (John 7:5). Acts 1:14, however, identifies “Mary the mother of Jesus” and “his brethren” among those who were assembled in “an upper room” after He ascended to heaven.
This same James is also identified as a leader of the church in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:9). Also, when Paul and Barnabas were giving account to the believers in Jerusalem, it was James who addressed the assembly (Acts 15:13) that consisted of the apostles and elders. James is also mentioned by name again with the leaders of the church in Acts 21:18.
Regardless of who we might believe the author is, we know the epistle was addressed to the twelve tribes that had been scattered by persecution (1:1b), and is wonderfully practical, insightful, and convicting as it addressed a reality of life that all believers face: trials and temptations.
James 1:2–4 – 2 My brethren, count [regard; judge] it all joy [i.e. a cause for rejoicing] when ye fall [stand in the midst of] into divers [various] temptations [trials]; 3 Knowing this, that the trying [testing] of your faith [what you believe] worketh[performs; works out; produces] patience [steadfastness; endurance]. 4 But let patience [steadfastness; endurance] have her perfect [maturing; complete] work, that ye may be perfect [mature] and entire [complete], wanting nothing [i.e. lacking not one thing].
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith