Fun Facts about James

Well since my obsession/paper has consumed (perfect tense) and is consuming (present tense) my life. I have nothing to blog about except the paper itself. My paper has become such the focal point of my exsistence that Crystal said as we went out on our Valentine’s date, “do not think about your paper or you will ruin our night.” Well I made it through the night without thinking about my paper, probably because my wife is so hot and is so much fun to be with. But that night I dreamt about it, I had little participles dancing through my mind and carried on a conversation with myself about the proper outline of 2:14-26. So it turns out seminary is not where you go for your faith to die, it is just where you go to become crazy. With all that said here are some fun facts I have been learning about James.

1. Most likely (and the position I argue in my paper) James is the first book written of the New Testament. This can be seen by the developing Christology, and the informal ways in which he references the sayings of Jesus. The book was probably written between 44 AD and 48AD, just before the Apostolic Council in Acts 15.

2. James was writing to Jewish-Christians who were day laborers and landless, much like many of the illegal immigrants of our day. This can be seen in his opening to encourage them to endure trials in Chapter 1. Then the rebuke of favoritism in 2:1-13, and the rebuke of people not sharing their stuff in 2:17. The book is also littered with OT references and leads us to believe the audience, which was the Diaspora had a Jewish upbringing and mindset.

3. James and Paul are not at odds. Alright I am going to get a little Catholic here. Since Luther decided to bag on James the church has been guilty of reading James in light of what Paul wrote in Romans 4, in reality though, James wrote first and it is better to read him in light of what Jesus said, especially Matt. 24-25.

4. James was a pastor. His letter is best classified as a “sermon letter.” And one can see that he probably wrote it to encourage and edify many of his Jerusalem flock who he could not get to. His heart is constantly for people to be “doers of the word” and to truly love Jesus.

5. James was killed in 62 AD by Annus II. Was suspected of being part of a possible uprising of the Jews against their Roman masters.

So there you go fun stuff about James.

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3 Responses

  1. What say you about the people who seek to classify James as the Proverbs of the N.T.? Your description tends to point more towards a theological framework, than a series of whimsical truths.

  2. It is not. The definitive commentary written on James was by Martin Dieblus up until about thirty years ago. He was convinced that James had no structure but rather was a bunch of disjointed wisdom statements and classified it as paranesis. Since then and with much more study on the book in the last 30 years people have come to see that is a lot of structure to James. His argument unfolds much like a sermon with encouragement, exhorting, instructing, much like a sermon. Given the context and setting that James was writing to we begin to understand that he has a specific audience in mind.

  3. Well then, I have a nasty letter I should send to my New Testament Survey teacher. How would you describe the context, setting, and audeince. Also, that would be a long freaking sermon.

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