Skip to content

who wrote the book of james in the new testament

The book of James was written by a man named James, who was a brother of Jesus. The author is often referred to as “the apostle James” because he was one of the twelve apostles. In the book, he describes his relationship with Jesus and talks about how important it is to live your life according to what God wants for you.

The Book of James is one of the books in the New Testament. It was written by James, a brother of Jesus Christ, who was also a member of the twelve apostles.

It is believed to have been written between 50 and 55 AD. The content of this book is about how to live as a Christian and how to avoid sin. There are also some teachings about faith and doubt, prayer and fasting.

James was a brother of Jesus. He was the son of Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, and brother of John Mark (Mark). He may have been a relative of Jesus’ mother, as well as being Jesus’ half-brother.

He was one of the most important leaders in Jerusalem during the early years of Christianity. He was one of the 12 apostles chosen by Jesus Christ to continue spreading his teachings, and he helped establish the first Christian community in Jerusalem.

The question of who wrote the book of James is controversial. The traditional view is that James, the brother of Jesus wrote the book. There is nothing in the Book of James that does not resonate with what we know about James from the book of Acts and Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

James is one of the seven letters in the New Testament. It was written by a man named James, who was born in Jerusalem and died there. The other six letters were written by apostles: Peter (1 Peter), John (1 John), Paul (2 Corinthians), James (James), Jude (Jude) and Thomas (John 20:24). It was probably written sometime between AD 50 and 100, but has never been conclusively dated.

The New Testament contains two books that are often referred to as the canonical Gospels, Matthew and Luke—both of which are included in the Bible today. Matthew was written by an apostle named Matthew; Luke was written by Luke, an early Christian leader who accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys to locations such as Greece and Rome.

In my view, the letter is the best representative of Jewish Christianity in the New Testament. While I fully understand there were Jewish Christians in Jerusalem will into the third and fourth centuries, the Christian community was almost entirely Jewish until Paul’s missionary activity in the late 40s. The letter of James “fits” the historical context of Acts 1-12 better than the second century.

James is often seen as a companion book to the other Gospels because it contains many stories that appear in all four Gospels, including Jesus’ birth story, his baptism and temptation by Satan; his teachings about prayer; accounts of how people responded to him during his ministry; and how they responded after he died

The Book of james

There are scholars who doubt whether the book of Acts is useful for constructing the first thirty years of the church, but in the case of James’s role in the early church, Galatians and Acts confirm the picture of James as the leader of the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem as early as A.D. 50 and as late as A.D. 57. But the name James (Ἰάκωβος, Jacob) is very common in the first century and the author does not explicitly call himself the brother of Jesus in the letter. He is a “servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ” in verse one rather than “James the Just, Brother of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

There are a number of traditions that describe James as the first “bishop” of Jerusalem, although the use of that title in Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. 4.5.1-4) is anachronistic. An additional complication is that there are a bewildering number of apocryphal stories about James the Just and his leadership of the Jerusalem church. Some of these may contain historical memories of James, but they are buried in layers of polemic legend. Unfortunately they are not much help in either identifying the author of James or developing a profile for the “historical James.”

The letter of James is sometimes seen as a response to the growing dominance of Pauline theology in the early church. Robert Wall recently suggested James is a second century pseudepigrapha added to the canon to balance Paul’s theology. (Nienhuis and Wall, Reading the Epistles of James, Peter, John & Jude as Scripture, Eerdmans, 2013; read my review of the book here). He points out the collection of James, Peter, John and Jude contains letters from the “Pillars of the Church” and framed with two letters from brothers of Jesus. He therefore suggests James is a kind of introduction to a “pillars” collection developed in the second century to balance the Paul collection.

Challenges to the Traditional View

This traditional view that Jesus’ brother wrote the Book of James has been challenged for a number of reasons in modern scholarship. Most recently Dale Allison’s magisterial commentary on James in the ICC series weighs the evidence and concludes James is likely not the author. He points out there is there is no clear knowledge of James before the time of Origen (13). In order to evaluate this claim, Allison surveys many of the alleged allusions to James in early Christian literature, especially in Shepherd of Hermas. He concludes that “informed opinion is dramatically divided over the meaning of these parallels” (22). For some it is obvious James used Shepherd of Hermas (therefore not historical James and a later date for the book), for others James was the inspiration for Hermas (implying an earlier date and maybe the historical James).

Allison also points out that the letter of James seems to misunderstand the theology of Paul (20), something which would be remarkable given the contact between Paul and James according to both Acts and Galatians. This is a good point, but it seems to me to argue against a later date since a writer living in A.D. 150 is less likely to misunderstand Paul than one living a hundred years earlier. The later writer would have all of Paul’s letters available to him as well as knowledge of the controversial nature of Paul’s theology in the first decades of the church. If James was written before Paul wrote Galatians or Romans, then a misunderstanding is more understandable. On the other hand, one could argue a later writer deliberately misrepresented Paul in order to argue against him, creating a straw man argument.

Karen Jobes, on the other hand, points to the use of Q (rather than the canonical gospels) as evidence of an early date (Letters to the Church, 159). Q refers to the sources used by both Matthew and Luke. If James can be shown to use Q then perhaps this is evidence for an earlier date, before the canonical Gospels were written and circulated.

How would reading James as coming from the leader of the Jerusalem church writing before Acts 15 affect our understanding of the letter?

In the New Testament, the book of James is written by a man named James.

The letter was addressed to a church in Jerusalem, and it was written to encourage them to stay true to their faith. The book also includes sections about how to share the gospel with others, how to live with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, and how we should treat our neighbors.

The book of James was written during the time of Jesus’ life on earth, but it contains teachings that are still relevant today.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *