The Epistle of James Essay

The Epistle of James Essay

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The epistle of James (named after its author, just like other epistles) addresses the Jewish believers that are scattered abroad as seen in James 1:1. Other than the authorship of this epistle, its apostolic credentials, the main reason of dispute in regards to its canonicity is the fact that James addresses works and its relationship with faith. With Paul’s teachings that focused on salvation that rest on grace alone and that which is gained without works, James here tries to give a lot of significance to “works.” Douglas quotes Martin Luther from the reformation, calling the writing, “an epistle of straw” as it speaks against Pauline theology of “Justification of Faith” in his view. Even though there are some scholars who argue about the contrast between Paul’s views of justification versus that of James, here in this paper we are going to discuss and dissect the two views and see if it contradicts or complements each other.
James reaches out to his fellow Jewish believers about practical living in this epistle. James calls his readers not just to be hearers of the word but to be doers of the word (1:22). He gives a few different kind of admonition on how our speech should be. How we shouldn’t be boasting (3:5, 14), cursing (3:9), slandering (4:11), grumbling (5:9), etc. but his biggest concern was the fact that how the speech is divided between its “claims and reality”2. In other words James is concerned about the fact that the same tongue that curses people is also used to praise God (3:9). According to him a soul that yields sweet and bitter water at the same time produces the wrong kind of fruits (3:10-12). Therefore James is burdened with the unhealthy division between word and deed.
This burden is clearly seen in chapter...

... middle of paper ...

... Commentary. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1985.
Dowd, Sharyn E. Faith that works: James 2:14-26. Review & Expositor 97, no. 2: 195-205. ATLASerials, Religion Collection, EBSCOhost, 2000.
Thielman, Frank. Theology of the New Testament: A Canonical and Synthetic Approach. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2005.
Ginzberg, Louis. The Legends of the Jews - Vol. I: From the Creation to Jacob. New York, Cosimo, Inc.1909.
Maxwell, David R. Justified by works and not by faith alone: reconciling Paul and James. Concordia Journal 33, no. 4: 375-378. ATLASerials, Religion Collection, EBSCOhost. 2007.
Walvoord, John F., and Roy B. Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, Ill: Victor Books, 1983.
Davids, Peter H. Theological Perspectives on the Epistle of James. Journal of Evangelical Theological Society. JETS 23:2, 1980.

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