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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1 James, a servant1 of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:
Greetings.

Historically it is accepted that James, brother of Christ, was the author and that the book was the first of our NT writings.
It is written to Jewish believers, Christians who had been dispersed from Jerusalem through persecution that had come upon them because of their faith.

Let's expand the discussion and cover the persecutions so that we can have a good understanding of the context from which James addresses these Brothers and Sisters.

Then we can delve into the verse and break down the Salutation.

lc
 

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LC, could you elaborate a little during this study about the persecution ? I'm curious about the physical part if info is available.
 

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The early church was Jewish for the most part. The Jewish Christians thought that Christ came to save Jews alone. They rejected the salvation of the Gentiles as not to be allowed.
Therefore: Paul.
Blessings
 

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Those converted to Christianity on the Day Of Pentecost and afterwards (Acts 2) were primarily, if not totally, Jewish. This new "sect" of the Jews was tolerated for a few years, then the Temple heirarchy began to persecute them. In Acts 8, a disciple of the Sanhedrin named Saul of Tarsus was the pointman for this persecution.

It appears that at least some of those recognized as the Apostles remained in Jerusalem, along with James, brother of Christ, who was the most likely author of the Epistle, and the leader of the Jerusalem church.

Perhaps this is the source of the persecution mentioned by James?
 

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Are believers also Jewish, having been grafted into the Jewish fold and if so are we appointed unto a tribe of Israel?
If so, is the Book of James written to everyone that is a believer?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm not strong on the historical data of the early church. Hopefully someone will contribute a look into the persecution.

Reliquary, can you expand on the persecution a bit?

I look at the book of James as being written to the early Christians who happened to be Jewish. This is where the church started.
It had immediate impact on those specific Jewish Christians. It appears that some scholars have considered James a Sermon which was to be read aloud in the churches.
I don't believe that our being Christians makes us Jewish. The Jewish nation was a symbol of the Spiritual nation, all believers who would be children of Abraham
through the promise of faith rather than birthright. Paul states in Romans? that Spiritual Israel is the True Israel, people of the promise through the gift of Faith is how I read this.

Had Paul been fully accepted by the Apostles in Jerusalem at the time of the Dispersion?

lc
 

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The Bible doesn't exactly say what forms the persecutions(of James' time-frame) took. In Acts 7, Stephen was stoned to death. In Acts 8:3, Saul was putting Christians in prison. In Acts 9:2, he was on his way to Damascus to arrest them and bring them back to Jerusalem for unspecified punishments. My guess is, since the Jewish ruling council had jurisdiction over doctrinal and legal squabbles of Jewish citizens, and could prescribe flogging, lashing, shunning, and excommunication, that it took those forms. Remember, this is orthodox Jews against Jewish Christians. Secular history says that the religious persecutions cropped up several times and culminated with James' expulsion from the Temple and death by stoning in AD 62.

Herod's son got involved in it (Acts 12) and brought the weight of the Roman legal system into it; the main ones of those are the persecutions of the Caesars...particularly Nero through Domitian.

Saul became Paul, and it appears that he may have never been fully accepted. If we take the writing of James as ~AD 50, then that roughly corresponds with Acts 14-16, and Paul was "accepted", or even "appointed" as the missionary to the Gentiles (nonJews) by that time. Many in the Jerusalem church continued to see him as the enemy, and tried to kill him the last time he was in Jerusalem (beginning in Acts 20).

Someone else's turn now.. :)


We are adopted into the family of God through faith in Jesus (many verses). Galatians 3:7 says we are sons of Abraham through that faith as well, but we don't physically or legally become Jews through that faith. Certainly we're not adopted into any of the tribes.
 

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The persecution of early Jewish Christians (the Way) was by those of their own brotherhood.
Rome did not want to crucify the Christ, the Jews did.
The jews stoned Stephen.
Outside of Israel there was little persecution of Jewish believers from the Jews.
Blessings
 

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I have a question. Is James the brother of Christ the author of James? If so how do you know?
James would have known Christ longer than any person on earth outside Mary and Joseph that would have given him great insight into Christ's life. No better reason to study his words.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I believe that James, Christ's brother, was one of the main pillars of the Church in Jerusalem. It seems that scholars feel that the authority with which this James writes confirms that he is Christ's brother.

Do we then assume that some Christians stayed in that vicinity while others fled for safety? I picture the civilians in WWII that tried to get out ahead of the fighting that overwhelmed their areas.
These people must have faced some pretty significant persecution to leave all behind.

lc
 

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We don't know for certain which "James" it was who wrote the epistle. The best intentions of first century-second century historians identify him as such. Paul describes "James, the Lord's brother" as being in Jerusalem with the apostles (Galatians 1:19), but, again, he is not absolutely identified as the author of the epistle.

Josephus doesn't describe the persecutions, that I can find. I just browsed his "Complete Works", for that time period.

The persecutions described in Acts 6-8, and later, were selective. The apostles and James remained in Jerusalem (8:1; chapters 14-16). Others were run out of town (8:1, 4). It looks as if the more Pharasaical of the Jewish Christians were allowed to stay on as part of the Temple crowd (21:17-30) under the leadership of James.

My cynical nature says that the ones who were run out of town were the out-of-towners who stayed there after the Day of Pentecost, waiting for the return of Jesus, and those who natives of Jerusalem who weren't legalists or politically/financially connected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
James refers to himself as a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is no superiority shown in this statement. He does not lord over those to whom he is writing.
Servant is from this Greek word:

G1401 δοῦλος doulos (dou`-los) n.
1. (involuntarily) a slave
2. (of necessity) a bond-servant
3. (figuratively) a voluntary, fully devoted servant

James establishes his authority as subjection to the lordship of God and Christ. We see humility here. Not a person who sees himself as having been given dictatorial powers. Therefore, the power of what he is saying is not of his intellect but from what he is given to say as one who has submitted himself to God and through whom God is speaking.

James defines his servitude to God and Christ.
The Greek noun for God: Theos
Lord Jesus Christ: Lord; kurios- 1supreme in authority 2 controller 3 master
Jesus; Iesous- Jesus
Christ; Christos- 1anointed 2"Christ" 3 the messiah 4 the redeemer
5Jesus, yeshua

We see two distinct personalities being pointed out. The Holy Spirit is not mentioned. How do we view this omission?

lc
 

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Being a Jew is not an ETHINIC question but rather a faith based question. With that said, I will let the discussion continue. It is looking good so far, and some good points need to be extended by some. There are some knowledgeable people here.[/color]
 

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Dee...I agree completely about the family thing versus the ethnic thing.

LC...procedural question: are we going to go verse by verse or by topic, or what do you have in mind? I agree ahead of time with whatever you decide to do as the study director, just want to know how to prepare myself.

My main study topic for the past few years has been church history, and I've been working on a series of classes on the chronology of Acts, to help me put the New Testament writings into order. It has helped me to understand "what may have been" the driving forces behind the writings.

Remember that it's written that James had a personal audience with Jesus (I Corinthians 15:7). Couple that with his familial relationship to Jesus, and it gives him a unique insight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
reliquary said:
Dee...I agree completely about the family thing versus the ethnic thing.

LC...procedural question: are we going to go verse by verse or by topic, or what do you have in mind? I agree ahead of time with whatever you decide to do as the study director, just want to know how to prepare myself.

My main study topic for the past few years has been church history, and I've been working on a series of classes on the chronology of Acts, to help me put the New Testament writings into order. It has helped me to understand "what may have been" the driving forces behind the writings.

Remember that it's written that James had a personal audience with Jesus (I Corinthians 15:7). Couple that with his familial relationship to Jesus, and it gives him a unique insight.
I like the idea of unfolding the scripture verse by verse.

I've been reading James quite a bit over the last few years but haven't done an in depth study. Having said that, I've only been serious about study of scripture for about 3 years so I have much to learn. I'm not holding myself out as a teacher, my intent is merely to direct the flow and participate.

As Dee said, there are many here with much knowledge. It is great that you have been focused on history. That is a wonderful addition to this particular book study. Please, go crazy with the historical side as it will help us understand the early church, what they went through and how this particular writing relates the them an then to us.

I'd really like to set that basis before going further into the text. However, if you guys feel that we have exhausted the particular verse(s) subject of any thread we'll move on. We can always go back to the previous thread and continue that particular discussion as new thoughts arise.

lc
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
To add to the thought of James' humility and devotion to God it is written that he was called "Camel Knees" because of the callouses on his knees from time spent praying.

lc
 

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Like America, Israel, was/is, both a religious & ethnic nation. The Jews are/were Jews of the flesh--some were of the flesh only & some were of the flesh and spirit.
It was disturbing for the cultural Jews who in essence worshipped father Abraham, to come to terms that God could/would EVER consider a Gentile worthy of salvation.
It must also be recognized that the concept of salvation, by them, was the restoring of Israel. Like the Sadducee's, theirs was a world view.
The Jews---wheather they were cultural/flesh or spiritual held to a Jews only concept of salvation. They tried to put down this revolt.
Blessings
 

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While it always seems inevitable that someone will start the debate of whom was running things, and whom was a believer of this, or that, and was he Jewish or something else, much is ignored in scripture, where all the answers actually lay, sans speculation.[/color]

[/color]Mathew Chapter 8 starting in verse 5[/color], a ROMAN CENTURION, contacted Christ as he came into Capernaum, and told of a sick servant of his. Christ healed that servant because the ROMAN OFFICER was a believer and most obviously a follower of Christ. [/color]

Christ HIMSELF went on to say in these scriptures [/color]Verse 11[/color]: [/color]That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN[/color].[/color]

My point is: Rather than study and speculate on whom was in charge of any one church, why not try and learn the meaning of the scriptures as they pertain to you, and each other. The [/color]Book of Mathew[/color] was written primarily to the Jew, but this one verse ([/color]11[/color]) clearly states that many people from different walks were beginning to fall into the teachings of Christ. They most likely didn't care whom was running what, or whom was in charge of what. They were looking for salvation, as we should be.[/color]
 
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