Bible Query from
James

Q: In Jms, who is James?
A: James is the half-brother of Jesus Christ. This is not James, Jesus' disciple and brother of John, because James the disciple was killed
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.816 says James was written in excellent Greek. James may have written the book down himself, or he may have dictated it to a scribe.
 

Q: In Jms, since James is James the Lord's brother, and not one of the twelve disciples or Paul the apostle, why should we read the book of James?
A: We should read James for at least two reasons.
1. Jesus appeared especially to James in 1 Corinthians 15:7.
2. Paul referred to James as an apostle in Galatians 2:7-8. Hippolytus (222-235/6 A.D) refers to James the Lord's brother and the first bishop of Jerusalem and one of the seventy apostles in his On the Twelve Apostles. Origen (225-254 A.D. refers to Josephus writing about James in Origen Against Celsus book 1 ch.17 p.416.
 

Q: In Jms, when was this book written?
A: Josephus says James the Lord's brother was martyred in 62 A.D., so it would be before that. Some think this was one of the first New Testament books written.
 

Q: What does Josephus say about James?
A: We have two sources: Josephus' book itself (Antiquities of the Jews book 18. 100. 5 section 2.), and a second independent source, Origen (writing 225-254 A.D.) writing about what Josephus wrote. Here is what Origen Against Celsus book 1 ch.47 p.416 says: "For in the 18th book of his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus bears witness to John as having been a Baptist... Now this writer, although not believing in Jesus as the Christ, in seeking after the cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, whereas he ought to have said that the conspiracy against Jesus was the cause of these calamities befalling the people, since they put to death Christ, who was a prophet, says nevertheless - being, although against his will, not far from the truth - that these disasters happened to the Jews as a punishment for the death of James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus (called Christ), - the Jews having put him to death, although he was a man most distinguished for his justice."
 

Q: In Jms, what is a good outline of this book?
A: Many say that James is a difficult book to outline. Five different outlines of James are agreed on the "sub-chapter pieces", but the overall outline is different in each one. Here is a simple outline that is good for remembering the content of James.
Chap. Title
1. Persevere in the Word
2. Impartially Work
2a. Impartiality: Illustration, rational argument, and Biblical argument
2b. Faith and works: Illustration, rational argument, and two Biblical arguments
3. Speak Wisely
4. Humbly Submit
5. Share Patiently
 

Q: In Jms, what other parts of the Bible are similar to this book?
A: At first glance, James seems unique, but on closer inspection James is similar to four other books.
Proverbs contains many similar ethical commands.
The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-7:23) The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.818 gives 14 parallels.
1 John and James have striking parallels. See the New International Greek Testament Commentary on James p.26 for more info.
1 Peter and James also have parallels. (See the New International Greek Testament Commentary on James p.26 for more info.)
Finally, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.817 says the short letter of James alludes to passages in 21 Old Testament books.
 

Q: In Jms 1:1 and Jms 2:1, is James basically a Jewish work with minor Christian editing, as Spitta and Meyer claimed?
A: No. As Peter Davids points out in the New International Greek Testament Commentary on James p.14-15, James is a thoroughly Christian work for two main reasons in addition to James 1:1 and 2:1.
1. Similarities to other New Testament books, namely 1 John, 1 Peter, and the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew.
2. Christian concepts not found in Judaism, such as being saved through the word (James 1:18) and "elders of the church" (James 5:14).

Q: In Jms 1:1, who precisely is James addressing?
A: There are four views.
1. Jews, both Christian and otherwise, were the primary ones James was addressing. This is because he mentions the twelve tribes in the dispersion. About the only concept in the book of James that might be objectionable to a Jew is the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course if Jesus was our Lord (the one we are to obey), the rest of the Bible would imply that He was also our God, but this link is not spelled out in James. Also absent from the book of James is the concept that the Jews rejected the Messiah, or that the Gentiles are equal with the Jews in God's eyes. Even the language of the Lord's return in James 5 is vague enough not to necessarily refer to Jesus. Apparently James was only teaching them about Jesus being Lord before teaching them other things. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.819-920, and The NIV Study Bible (p.1879), and prefer this view. This view would tend to be favored among dispensationalist theologians.
2. All Christians, regardless of ancestry, were symbolically the twelve tribes here. All knew that Jews were dispersed throughout the Roman Empire. James was making the point that after the persecutions in Palestine, Christians are dispersed just like the Jews were. This view would tend to be favored by covenant theologians.
3. Both. Just as many other letters are addressed to the "elect", James is both to all who believe in Jesus and all who will eventually believe. James would be hopeful that many more Jews would come to Christ, too.
4. Deliberately ambiguous. This is almost the same as the third view, except with the recognition that while Christians would read this as referring to them, non-Christian Jews would read this as referring to them, too. James did not try to pass this off as a letter by a non-Christian Jew, for he mentions the Lord Jesus Christ in the first verse. Nevertheless, Jews reading this letter would not recognize that all who believe in God by faith would be Christians.
The address to "the twelve tribes in the diaspora" directly refers to all Jews, but the references to Christ and the general teaching of the book are not primarily evangelistic, but primary for those who already believe in Christ. However, the teaching in here is good for all who are spiritual descendants of Abraham, in other words, all believers. Perhaps James left this rather general because throughout his life he ministered to Jews and sought to bring Jews into the kingdom.
As Christians we should never lie, but it is OK to not answer some questions, and it is OK to sometimes be vague.
 

Q: In Jms 1:2 (KJV), why should we count it all joy to be tempted?
A: The Greek word is better translated "encounter various trials".
 

Q: In Jms 1:2, should we count trials as joy, or avoid temptations as Mt 6:13 says?
A: Trials are not temptations. While we are not to seek out trials, when they come, we should look beyond sometimes-difficult circumstances and count it all joy. Many people start well, but make sure you finish well too. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.693-694 and When Critics Ask p.525-526 for more info.
 

Q: In James 1:2-4, how is it a joy to have trials? Does this relate to life here on earth or later?
A: In heaven, we will be rewarded for trials that we bore with perseverance. On earth, we can still have a taste of the joy of knowing we are pleasing God.
 

Q: Since Jms 1:3 says if anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God, and God will give it, was it wrong for Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, allegedly to go in the woods to pray to God which religion was correct?
A: Four points to consider in the answer.
First you have to ask the right god. Joseph Smith prior to starting Mormonism was an occultist, involved in glass-looking. This is documented in a court record where he was convicted of this and fined. You have to be asking the true God.
Second, you have to compare what you think you heard with the Bible. Since Joseph Smith claimed that men can be just as God is now, he should have read Numbers 23:19 and 1 Samuel 15:29 to see that what he was told was not from the same source as the Bible. The popular Mormon account of the first vision was made up in part after Joseph Smith's death. There are at least three conflicting first visions.
Third, It is fine to pray to the true God about things such as which church to attend. However, we do not pray about things we know are unbiblical and wrong.
Fourth, following what God is saying is not "underhanded". Joseph Smith claimed he received a command to be polygamous, so he married a second wife. However, he did not tell his first wife for over a year.
When Cultists Ask p.288 mentions that prayer and feelings are not a test for religious truth. We should compare what we hear with Scripture as the Bereans did (Acts 17:10-12), and test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21). See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.335-336 for more info.
 

Q: In James 1:4, what exactly is perseverance, and how are we to cultivate it?
A: My pastor defined perseverance as: To persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking despite influences, setbacks, opposition, or discouragement.
Perseverance is the art of staying firm and constant in your faith and practice, even under persecution and suffering. You can be encouraged by hearing or reading the perseverance of others, but the only way you know you have it is by practice.
 

Q: In James 1:4, what is the difference between a young, obedient Christian on fire for the Lord, and a mature Christian?
A: A young, obedient Christian can be very zealous in a good way, but he or she might still need some wise guidance from an older believer. A mature Christian should have that wisdom both for herself and others, but should take care that her love does not start to grow cold, like Jesus rebuked the church in Ephesus for in Revelation.
 

Q: In James 1:5-6 why does James say to ask for wisdom? 1 Corinthians 12:8 differentiates between the gifts of wisdom and knowledge. What is the difference?
A: All Christians are to have some wisdom, and all Christians should get all the wisdom they need. Some of it they might have through their own walk with God and other times it might come through the wise counsel of others. Beyond this, some Christians have a special spiritual gift of wisdom, sometimes they learn things even as they are coming out of their mouth. Of course spiritual gifts are not for hoarding, but for sharing with others. The spiritual gift of knowledge is knowing what the Bible teaches, and God's will in general. The spiritual gift of wisdom is applying knowledge of God to the specific situation. Knowledge and wisdom often go hand-in-hand, but not always.
 

Q: In Jms 1:6, what does "double-minded" or "wavering" mean here and why is a this man like a wave tossed by the sea?
A: This refers to wanting to contradictory things. A person might have an alcohol or some other addiction, but want to follow God also. The person might not be reliable in following God. They might decide to follow God one day, but when an opportunity arises for their other desire, that takes over. God wants us to love Him with our whole heart, not just part of it.
Someone might desire illicit profit, yet still want to be considered an upright person. As one person put it, if you dance with the sinners on Saturday night, it's hard to get up and sing with the saints on Sunday morning.
Ultimately, most sin is double-mindedness, because people desire the sin but not the earthly and eternal consequences.
 

Q: In James 1:9 how should a poor man take pride in his high position?
A: He can know that the money or wealth he does no have does not matter one bit eternally. Actually he has nothing to be jealous of with respect to rich people, because having a heart of faith, and little finances, is better than having a lot of wealth, but no faith.
 

Q: In James 1:10-11 how should rich Christians take pride in their low position?
A: They too can realize that the wealth they have saved up for themselves does them no good when they are in heaven. But their riches can be of use on earth, as they give them away. They can feel good about lowering their position, in the world's eyes, as they give away their wealth.
 

Q: In James 1:12 how are we blessed under trial? Does this relate to life here on earth or later?
A: In heaven we are promised rewards in 1 Corinthians 3:10-14. On earth we are blessed in at least three ways. Persevering under trial builds our character, and we can know that we please God by bearing up under trial. Also, the witness we give to others can help draw them to the Lord to save them.
 

Q: In Jms 1:13, can God be tempted, since Ex 17:7; Num 14:22; Dt 6:16; and Ps 78:18,41,56; 95:6; 106:14 say people tempted God?
A: People in the Exodus and today can try to tempt God, if they wish, but God cannot be tempted. In the Old Testament passages, the Israelites tempting God means they sinned so much that they provoked God to anger. It would look like they were tempting God to destroy them. What are you going to give Him to tempt the Almighty? How are you going to fool the All-Knowing?
 

Q: In Jms 1:13, how is no one tempted by God, since many verses say God tested them? (The Muslim apologist Ahmad Deedat brought this up.)
A: There is a difference between tempting and testing, and between allowing a trial verses causing it.
No one is tempted by God: God will never lead or communicate to someone to do evil, or something that displeases Him.
God tests: God allows us to be in situations where we will be tempted, though He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. God allows Satan, demons, and others to tempt us, and put us through trials. Even though God Almighty could keep all of those things from happening, if He wanted to, God in His sovereign wisdom sees it as best that we go through those, in developing our Christian character and receiving rewards in heaven.
James 1:13 does not say God never tests us, but rather, God does not tempt us with evil. God tested Abraham in Genesis 22:1, and God allowed Satan to afflict Job, but God never comes to us bringing evil or temptation. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.694-696 for more info.
Testing is asking to do something; tempting is appearing as an evil being. In contrast to this, Allah does appear as an evil, idolatrous god to his faithful followers in the Bukhari Hadith. Here are the words:
"...and then only this nation (i.e., Muslims) will remain, including their hypocrites. Allah will come to them in a shape other than they know and will say, 'I am your Lord.' They will say, 'We seek refuge with Allah from you. This is our place; (we will not follow you) till our Lord comes to us, and when our Lord comes to us, we will recognise Him.' Then Allah will come to them in a shape they know and will say, 'I am your Lord.' They will say, (no doubt) You are our Lord,' and they will follow Him. Bukhari vol.8 no.577 p.375. Bukhari vol.9 no.532 p.395-396 says the same thing.
 

Q: In Jms 1:14-15, what is the process of temptation?
A: Temptation starts when a person has a desire for something. Either the thing is a bad thing, or they do not believe God will give it to them, or they want to get it in a bad way. then they start acting on that desire, to get what they want. After that, Satan wants them to suffer the consequence of their sin. Many times a sin does not have just one cause. As a fire can have three causes: air, fuel, and a spark, sin can have an atmosphere, a desire, and an opportunity. See the article on Overcoming Temptation at https://www.biblequery.org/Experience/Temptation/OvercomingTemptation.html for more info.
 

Q: In Jms 1:14, are we tempted by our own desire, or are we tempted by Satan as 1 Cor 7:5 and Acts 5:3 say?
A: Both are true. Just as a fire is caused both by a spark and by wood, Satan tries to light our desires, pride, greed, and fears to commit specific sins. Satan can entice us with "bait" to sin, but it is our responsibility to not take the bait but flee temptation. James 4:7 and 1 Peter 5:8-9 emphasize that we are to resist the devil. If we are walking close to God, our wood is being transformed to gold, and the remaining wood is wet with the water of the Spirit.
 

Q: In Jms 1:17, what does it mean that the Father has "no shadow of turning?"
A: This is somewhat of an obscure phrase in Greek. Apparently, the thought is that just as light does not cast a flickering and changing shadow, God and God's goodness does not change.
It is interesting that James uses the analogy of light. According to modern physics, unlike nearly every other velocity, the speed of light is constant regardless of the speed of the observer.
 

Q: In Jms 1:17 how is it that God does not change like shifting shadows?
A: God's character or attributes do not change. Numbers 23:19 and 1 Samuel 15:29 say that God does not change his mind, unlike people. However, God's revealed will for us can change when we change our mind on something. For example, when God told Pharaoh in Abraham's time, Abimelech, and later the Ninevites that they were going to be punished in various ways for their sin, and they repented, then the punishment was no longer going to come upon them.
 

Q: In Jms 1:18, how did God give us birth through the word of truth?
A: In one way, God gave us new birth through the word of truth of the gospel. But more fundamentally, Jesus is the Word, and the Truth, and we have new birth because of Jesus coming and dying on the cross for our sins.
 

Q: In Jms 1:18, how are we a kind of firstfruits of God's creatures?
A: Scripture does not specifically answer this. However, Scripture does tell us two things.
People in general: We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), God has a special purpose for us (Psalm 9:4-8)
God's children: It is an amazing truth that should be called the children of God (1 John 3:1), and we will reign with Christ (Ephesians 2:6-7), and people who once did not belong to God but now do (1 Peter 2:9-10). There are many others verses also, and being firstfruits is just one of a number of blessings.
 

Q: In Jms 1:18 and Rev 14:4 how are people firstfruits of God, since Christ is in 1 Cor 15:20?
A: Christ is the firstfruits of all humans who believe, since Jesus "opened the curtain" leading to our salvation. James 1:18 says we are a kind of firstfruits of all of God's creatures. The 144,000 in Revelation 14:4 are a firstfruits of those saved during the tribulation after the rapture.
 

Q: In Jms 1:19 to whom do you think we are to listen?
A: James 1:9 is speaking of listening in general and does not answer the question. But we are to listen to God first, and so our church leaders after that. We are to obey government leaders tool. However, 2 Timothy 3:5 specifically says we are to have nothing to do with people who turn away as lovers of pleasure instead of lovers of God. If someone is clearly not following God, then you have no business following them as a church leader.
 

Q: In Jms 1:19 since we are supposed to preach the gospel, why do you think we should be more quick to listen than to speak?
A: Even in preaching to others, it is good first to listen to where they are coming from. In your one-on-one conversations, it is fine if you listen more than you speak.
 

Q: In Jms 1:19, what things should we not speak about?
A: We should not share anything that God does not want use to share, so pray to God to show your heart when you should keep quiet. Here are the ABC's of a few things we should not speak.
Angering others, unless they should be angry about something.
Boasting or bragging
Confidential information that others told you, regardless of whether they should have or not
Disheartening or discouraging another person from righteousness, such as Job's wife did. (Discouraging them from sin is OK though.)
Exalting sin. (That time I got drunk at the bar, it was so great...)
False things or lies, including flattery
Glorifying others, putting them on a pedestal. (Honoring them is good though.)
Harmful or hurtful things to the other person or to others
Insulting things to put down the other person or others
Judging others, though it OK to say sinful actions are sinful
Knowingly speaking that others lose trust in your words
Long-winded, wordy, and verbose, giving more information than the person wants to here
Malicious misinformation to harm others or have fun at their expense
Non-public information about another person they do not want shared. (Regardless of whether you think that are right in not sharing it.)
Plagiarizing what another said, without giving credit. Don't steal others' words as your own.
Questionable accuracy (you are not really sure if it true or not)
Rehashing bad things the other person did, after you have already discussed it and forgiven them. Those things should be forgotten.
Secrets that could get an innocent person killed, harmed, or wrongfully jailed
Tempting to others. (That time I got drunk in this specific bar, where the drinks are half-off...)
Undisclosed information that you promised your employer, former employer, or customer you would not share.
Vilifying or slandering another person
Wicked people might use to their advantage
X-rated, erotic, indecent, or crude humor or information
You are not honoring God or fellow Christians
People should see your life in action, but you should not feel pressure to always have to say something.
 

Q: In Jms 1:19-20 why should we be quick to listen and slow to become angry?
A: It specifically says that people's anger does not bring about the righteousness of God. It does not say not to speak at all, but if we delay speaking, by listening first, we are less likely to say angry things that are not helpful and we will regret (or at least should regret) later.
Simply because God commanded it is all the reason we need. However, sometimes what God commands is good for us physically too. Dr. Julian Whitaker's Health & Healing magazine vol.10 no.8 August 2000 p.5 reports that people quick to anger are 2.7 times more likely to have a heart attack than people least prone to anger.
Also, when you speak, ask yourself why you feel the need to speak right now. Are we primarily speaking to make ourselves feel better, look better, or speak what God wants us to speak to best help others? James tells us that our anger specifically does not work towards the last choice. Try to make every word that comes out of your mouth what God would want you to say, and as for all the other words, just don't say them at all. It is far better to keep silent, than to say things you should not say.
 

Q: In Jms 1:19,21 as well as Jms 1:6 why does James relate the tongue and moral filth so readily?
A: While the tongue can say filthy things, more than that the tongue can be a gateway to communicating places to do all kinds of evil.
 

Q: In Jms 1:20, since the anger of man does not work toward the righteousness of God, is it ever OK to get angry?
A: It is OK to be angry with the anger God shares, but it is not OK to stay angry as Ephesians 4:26 shows. See the two questions discussing Ephesians 4:26.
As a side note, Proverbs 29:11 also mentions that we are to be slow to speak.
 

Q: In Jms 1:21 "therefore" can mean "in order to accomplish the previous", "do the previous to accomplish the following", or "the previous was an example for what to do now". Which sense do you think is intended here?
A: Looking at the question logically, if we call James 1:19 as "A", and James 1:21 as "B", is this telling us do "A" in order to accomplish "B", or do "B" in order to accomplish "A", or "A" was an example of doing "B"?
It is the second. Being saved is not talked about until James 1:21, and it is by the implanted Word (Jesus). James 1:19 is a command we are told to do, and 1:21 is necessary so that we can accomplish the previous in James 1:19.
 

Q: In Jms 1:21, is it the implanted word that saves our souls, or is it Christ, or is it Christ's blood or God's grace?
A: All of the above; these are different ways of looking at the same thing. God's loving grace is the ultimate reason we are saved, not our own merit. The "event" that was the cause of our salvation was Jesus' death and resurrection. Our life is sustained by the word implanted in us, which is Jesus, the Truth and the Word, living in our heart. This means by which this grace was poured out to us was through Jesus, according to Titus 2:6-7 and Hebrews 1:9. God's Spirit must dwell inside us, for us to belong to Christ, as Romans 8:9-11 says. Finally, we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:28), and the gospel message is of no value to us if we do not combine it with faith, as Hebrews 4:2 teaches.
 

Q: In Jms 1:22, what does it mean to deceive yourself?
A: People deceive themselves all the time. I once showed a Muslim college student proof that the Qur'an has been changed, and her response was "I know by faith that those things are not true." That was the end of the discussion; she did not want to consider the evidence.
Explicitly people can choose to believe things that are not true. They might do so, not because they are convinced in their mind, but they fear the consequences if they believe the other way. Similarly, they would see they would have to make changes if they believe the other way, and they are unwilling to make those changes. Sometimes a person sees a number of what they think are facts that support them believing one way, and they see other facts that contradict their belief. Rather than examining both sets of facts, or thinking that it is OK to alter their view, they just ignore facts that are inconvenient.
Implicitly people can see things that are fairly obviously true, and yet still claim it is unclear or doubtful. They are not dishonest enough to believe the other way, but they are not honest enough with themselves to affirm what they should.
If a person believes one way, and for whatever reason they see what appear to be true facts that contradict it, the first step towards truth but be simply to acknowledge that those other facts lend support to another view. When you read the Bible, and see things that are different from what you believe, instead of being unhappy about it; you can rejoice. You now have an opportunity before you to change, become wiser, and close in tune with God. As one person said, "I reserve the right to become smarter."
 

Q: In Jms 1:22, what does it mean to deceive oneself?
A: This means to reason in such a way that you can convince yourself of what is false. There are three instances in the Bible where it mentions that people deceive themselves.
James 1:22 Those who hear the word but do not do it. This truth is also echoed in Matthew 7:21-23.
1 Corinthians 3:18 Those who think they are wise, by the standards of this world. Colossians 2:8 also discusses trusting in secular wisdom, and Proverbs 3:7; 26:12; 28:11 also echo this truth.
1 John 1:8 if we claim we do not sin, this shows that the truth is not in us. Psalm 130:3 and Ecclesiastes 7:20 also discuss this.
 

Q: In Jms 1:22, who is listening to the true word and not doing what it says deceiving yourself? After all, the word is true.
A: When a building is burning down, telling a person they need to leave the building does no good if the person does not leave. Likewise hearing the true word does not good if the person does not want to believe and act upon it. James is speaking about people who do not have a good relationship with God. This can be both unbelievers who have no relationship with God, and hypocritical believers who need to go back to their first love and continue in their walk.
 

Q: In Jms 1:23-25, why is hearing but not doing like looking into a mirror, and going away and forgetting what you look like?
A: Before answering this question, let's talk about the concept of a mirror. While they did not have glass mirrors back then, they had shiny brass mirrors that could show the outlines, though the colors might not be the same. A mirror gives you an accurate impression of what you look like. It does not flatter, and it does not insult; it simply shows you what you are. As soon as you go away fro the mirror, all you have is a memory; you don't see yourself anymore.
God's word is great for giving us new information and truth, but it always serves a second purpose (if we let it). It is a mirror for our character. We can look into God's Word, and it shows us where we fail by falling short, and where we can grow by changing. In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul commands believers to examine themselves. The way we do that is not by any arbitrary, made-up standard of our own fancy, but rather by God's truth in His Word. But if you look into God's mirror, and don't want to do what it says, when you go away, you have only a memory, and no change was made.
 

Q: In Jms 1:25, what is the perfect law that gives freedom?
A: This is what we are supposed to follow today. This is not the Old Testament Mosaic Law, for the Old Covenant is obsolete according to Hebrews 8:13. But this law is to do what is pleasing to God. It can be summed up as "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself."
 

Q: In Jms 1:25 how are we blessed in our doing good?
A: We are not only blessed with reward in Heaven, but we are blessed now with a joy as we please God. This does not refer to material blessing, which we might or might not receive.
 

Q: In Jms 1:27, some Christians say that they don't want to be religious, they just want to love the Lord. From Jms 1:27 what is wrong with this statement?
A: Perhaps they had a bad experience with what might have been called Christianity, and so they think that religion and organized Christianity are to be avoided. Religion can be band and some religion is to be avoided. But James said that some is good. Also, if you are down on Christians in general, you are putting down Christ's bride.
 

Q: In Jms 1:27 says we are to keep ourselves unstained/unpolluted from the world. But the world and its influences are so polluting! TV, movies, internet, friends, so-called friends, How can we do this?
A: As one TV evangelist said, Step 1 to serving God is raising your finger. Step 2 is rotating it to turn off the V. As we voluntarily give up watching so much TV, movies, and internet, it will seem amazing how much free time we have not. It is not that TV, movies, and internet are wrong of themselves, but they can be wrong for you if you spend excessive amounts of time on them.
 

Q: In Jms 2:1, why should we show no partiality, since God shows partiality against unbelievers?
A: One totally adequate reasons is simply because God commands it. But beyond that truth, all of us are made in the image of God, and God shows no partiality to our material wealth, ethnic background, gender, or intelligence.
Impartiality towards wealth is not the same a blindness toward everything. James 2:1 is using the example of wealth, and Galatians 3:28 shows we are not to show partiality based on race or gender. However, we are to expel individuals from the church for unrepentant sins such as incest (1 Corinthians 5:2).
 

Q: In Jms 2:1-3 how does James' description of favoritism fit in many contexts today?
A: Favoritism can be overt if it involves a public position. It can also be more subtle if selection is based on favoritism.
 

Q: In Jms 2:4-9 what are four reasons James gives that we should not show favoritism?
A: Here are four reasons given.
1) Showing partiality makes you a judge with evil thoughts.
2) The poor can be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom.
3) It dishonors the poor man.
4) The rich oppress and blaspheme God.
 

Q: In Jms 2:5-7, why does James appear to make such stereotypes of the rich and poor?
A: James is not against all rich people, because he mentions with admiration Abraham (James 2:20-23), and Abraham was very wealthy, both by ancient standards and ours.
The point of this is that at that time, it was very hard to be both rich and honest. Many had to give and take bribes, and extort others to get their wealth and maintain it. Unfortunately, this is also the situation in some developing countries today.
 

Q: In Jms 2:10, how is breaking one point of the law mean we are guilty of breaking all of it?
A: 1 John 3:4 answers this. Everyone who breaks the law is a lawbreaker. If you break one point of the law, you are not someone who has kept the law.
 

Q: In Jms 2:12, what exactly is the "law of liberty"?
A: James 2:12 is not describing all law as bringing liberty. Rather, the law of liberty frees, while the old law is of bondage.
 

Q: In Jms 2:12, does law bring liberty, or bondage as Gal 4:24 says?
A: 2 Corinthians 3:6-18 and Romans 7:6 answer this. The letter of the law kills, but the spirit brings life. Obeying a set of rules is not just bondage, but rather a person's failure to obey the rules illuminates the bondage to sin they are in. However, the law of love, where we live to please God instead of just following rules brings liberty. See the previous question and When Critics Ask p.526 for more info.
 

Q: In Jms 2:14-25, how are we justified by works as well as by faith, and not by faith apart from works as Paul said in Eph 2:8-9?
A: A sound theology should not just be able to explain both these verses, a sound theology should require both these verses. Even Martin Luther, known for his stand on faith, said "It is impossible, indeed, to separate works from faith, just as it is impossible to separate heat and light from fire."
Three points about both Paul and James.
1. Both said nothing to minimize the role of faith as the means of God applying Christ's justification to us.
2. Both said nothing to minimize the role works in the daily life of a Christian.
3. Neither said that we can merit God's grace and mercy, either by all the works in the world or the greatest faith in the world.
4. Both show that works were an inseparable outward expression of faith. If people do not want to do good works for God, that is evidence they do not have faith and are not saved.
5. Just as God used different Gospels to accent different parts of Christ's character, God used Paul and James to accent different aspects of justification. Paul emphasized more that we cannot merit any part of our salvation, we can only call upon the Lord in faith. James emphasized more that true faith is not mere intellectual assent, but a life-trusting decision that is accompanied by works.
In summary, works have no role in meriting our salvation, but works have an essential role in expressing the faith through which we are saved.
Historically, outside of the Bible the first instance we can find this view is in the letter of Clement to the Corinthians, (97/98 A.D.) Chapter 31 speaks of why Abraham was justified. Chapter 32 says, in part "And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men;' to whom be glory for even and ever. Amen.
What shall we do, then, brethren? Shall we become slothful in well-doing, and cease from the practice of love? God forbid that any such course should be followed by us! ..." (Ante-Nicene Fathers volume 1 (Roberts & Donaldson editors, 1994) p.13)
It is kind of neat to see that this theology, (of not saved by serving but saved to serve), was echoed and taught as Biblical truth by the early Christians even before the book of Revelation was written and the New Testament was completed. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.696-699 and The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.188-189 for more info.
 

Q: In Jms 2:19 since demons believe in Jesus, should they be saved, since all one needs to do is believe in Jesus in Acts 16:31 and John 3:16?
A: No. Hebrews 2:16 and James 2:19 answer this with two different, but complementary answers. Hebrews 2:16 says it is not angels (fallen or unfallen) Christ helps, but men. The point of James 2:19 is that mere intellectual understanding and agreement is not saving faith. It can be a little confusing in English, but the Greek had two words for faith. One word was mental agreement, while the other was a trusting with your whole life.
 

Q: In Jms 2:21, was Abraham justified by works, or justified by faith in Rom 4:1-4 and Rom 3:28?
A: To loosely paraphrase the quote from Martin Luther in the previous questions, just as you cannot separate heat from fire, you cannot separate works from faith.
James 2:21 only says that "Was not Abraham justified by works". Abraham's works demonstrated to the world, and all of Heaven and Hell, that Abraham was justified by God. However, it was still God who justified Abraham, not Abraham himself. See Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions p.241-242 and When Critics Ask p.527-528 for more info.
Clement of Rome, writing to the Corinthians in 97/98 A.D., said about Abraham, "For what reason was our father Abraham Blessed? Was it not because he wrought righteousness and truth through faith?" (Ante-Nicene Fathers volume 1 (Roberts & Donaldson editors, 1994) p.13) See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.189-190 and When Cultists Ask p.289 for more info.
 

Q: In Jms 3:1 (KJV), why do "masters receive greater condemnation?"
A: This King James Version expression means that teachers are judged more strictly. See the next question.
 

Q: In Jms 3:1, how are teachers judged with greater strictness?
A: -In at least four ways:
Speech: Proverbs 10:19 says that when words are many, sin is not absent. Matthew 12:36-37 says that we are judged for every idle word we speak. You can sin less by not talking so much; but teachers need to talk. If you are teaching wrong things, or even if you are teaching your own opinions as the Word of God, then you sin when you teach.
Others: All Christians are to be salt and light to the world (Matthew 5:13-16; Philippians 2:14-15) and leaders are to be examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:3). Elders who sin are to be rebuked publicly (1 Timothy 5:19-20).
God: Most important, God judges people based on what they know. Christians do not have anything to be anxious about at the Great White Throne judgment, because the blood of Jesus paid the price for their sins. However, Christians have a second judgment, often called the Bema-seat judgment, mentioned in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, where God will judge each Christian's works and reward him or her appropriately.
Self: Teachers can have a temptation to think, "because I have learned so much, it is OK for me to slack off on other things, such as prayer, holiness, or love for others. However, knowing a great number of facts does not necessarily mean a great love for God, and obedience to Him.
1 Corinthians 8:1 warns us that knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
 

Q: In Jms 3:6, does the "course of nature" refer to reincarnation, as some in false religions teach?
A: This verse talks of the persuasive power of human language. Nothing in this verse has suggested this novel interpretation of reincarnation to anyone in history until modern times. While resurrection was known in the Old Testament, there was no concept of reincarnation among the Old Testament Jews or early Christians, with the exception that they wrote that some false religions believed in reincarnation. Hippolytus 222-235/6 A.D., in particular mentions reincarnation as a belief, not of Christians, but of the "Brachmans" of India. See When Critics Ask p.528 and When Cultists Ask p.290 for more info.
Other Pre-Nicene Christians who knew of Brahmins/Brachmans as a false religion were Theophilus of Antioch (161-181/188 A.D.), Tertullian (198-220 A.D.), and Origen (225-254 A.D.).
 

Q: In Jms 3:6, how does the tongue set our members on fire?
A: Scripture does not explicitly say how, but we can see a couple of ways.
1. Many of the temptations we have come to us by means of what others say.
2. People often communicate and commit the intentions to sin through words. People can hurt others' feeling and slander others with their tongue.
 

Q: In Jms 3:6, how is the tongue set on fire by Hell?
A: Scripture does not say. However, we can see that the tongue is one of the most effective tools Satan can use for deceiving and tempting people.
 

Q: In Jms 4:3, does this go against the promise that God will answer our prayers?
A: No, but it qualifies it. See the discussion on Matthew 7:7-11 for the answer.
 

Q: In Jms 4:4, why did James call the Christians he was writing to adulterers and adulteresses?
A: Unfortunately, even Christians sometimes try to serve two masters, such as God and the world. Jesus said you cannot serve both God and money in Matthew 6:24.
Generalizing on this, sometimes Christians need strong rebuke. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.699-701 for more info.
 

Q: In Jms 4:5, how does the spirit that lives within Christians make them envious, since Jms 3:16, says there is evil work where there is envying and strife?
A: James 4:5 does not says that the Spirit is evil or envious, but knowledge of the fact that the Holy Spirit lives inside Christians can lead to pride and feelings of self-righteousness, which are evil.
 

Q: In Jms 4:11, since we are not to speak evil against one another, why did Paul [allegedly] do so in Titus 3:2?
A: He didn't; Paul was not speaking morally evil things. Rebuking others and warning the church is different from maliciously and falsely speaking evil of others. See the discussion on Titus 3:2 for more info.
 

Q: In Jms 4:13-15, is it OK to plan for the future?
A: Yes, as long as you realize that all plans are contingent on God's will.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower was involved in planning the largest invasion of all time: D-Day in Europe. He said, "plans are useless, but planning is essential." Our plans are always changing, but we accomplish more when we have a plan then when we have nothing.
Proverbs 14:22 says that those who plan good find love and faithfulness. Proverbs 16:3 says to commit to the Lord whatever we do, and our plans will succeed. Yet we should realize as Proverbs 21:30 says, that no plan can succeed against the Lord.
 

Q: In Jms 4:13-15 and Prov 27:1, is it OK to say what we plan to do tomorrow?
A: Yes, as long as we realize that all we do is subject to God's will. Both James and Jesus in Luke 12:16-21 (the rich man with barns) object to people pridefully stating what will happen in the future without acknowledging God's sovereignty. Proverbs 29:23 and Proverbs 25:14,27 also speak of boasting.
 

Q: Why is Jms 4:17 important not to ignore?
A: It is obvious to Christians that we are not to do things that displease God. However, when there is a good thing that needs doing, and there is nobody else to do it, we can rationalize not doing it by saying it is not our calling, or similar. Think of the parable of the Good Samaritan. Thinking "I need more time to think about what God wants me to do" is valid if you genuinely do not know about strategic directions for your life, but not for meeting immediate needs.
 

Q: In Jms 5:1-6, does God hate wealthy people?
A: Not at all. Abraham was very wealthy, and James mentions him approvingly as a righteous man in God's eyes in James 2:20-23. God is not expressing hate here, but a strict warning toward those who love wealth. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.701-704 for more info.
 

Q: In Jms 5:1-6, is wealth a curse, or a blessing as Prov 15:6 and Ps 112:3 imply?
A: Wealth in and of itself is neutral, neither good or bad. It depends on how it is used. However, greed and the love of money is always evil. Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, you cannot serve both God and money. Hebrews 13:5 does not say we should not love money too much. Rather, it says we should be (completely) free from the love of money. Christian elders in particular should not be lovers of money according to 1 Timothy 3:3.
It may seem a terrible malady of the modern church that some alleged Christian leaders might be dishonest with the church's money, but this happened with Judas the disciple of Jesus, too. Polycarp, disciple of John the apostle and bishop of Smyrna (155 A.D.), in his letter (11:1-4) speaks of a similar scandal at Smyrna. As Polycarp put it, he was "exceedingly grieved" that a presbyter named Valens and his wife "forgot" he was a presbyter and took some money. However, the church of Smyrna had nothing to be ashamed of; Valens and his wife were the ones to be ashamed.
 

Q: In Jms 5:12, Hosea 4:2; Mt 5:34-37, are oaths bad, or can they be good as Gen 21:24; Dt 6:13; Rev 10:5-6 show?
A: Oaths can be good or bad. Oaths are bad if you
1. Commit to do evil.
2. Do not keep your oath (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6; Matthew 6:33).
3. Pridefully believe you can know for certain what you will do tomorrow (James 5:12).
4. Swear by Heaven, earth, or other things, versus just letting your yes be yes. (Matthew 5:34-37).
Given the preceding caveats (cautions), it is fine to make promises, and it is good to make a vow to God and keep it, as Hannah did in 1 Samuel 1:10-11.
Peter Davids in the New International Greek Testament Commentary on James p.189-191 shows the similarity in Greek between James 5:12 and Matthew 5:34-37. Based on his analysis, Davids says neither James nor any Jewish or Christian sources touch on official oaths, such as in courts. Rather, James prohibits all use of oaths in everyday activities to prove a Christian is telling the truth. Yes or no is sufficient.
Haley's Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.243-244 has an interesting discussion of frivolous Jewish practices of oaths according to the Jewish Medieval philosopher Maimonides. If a Jew swore by heaven, the sun, the earth, his head, the prophets, or a book of scripture, the it was not actually his oath, (and he did not have to keep it). Against these tricky phrases, Michaelis said the peoples around the Jews pejoratively called these "Jewish oaths" See also When Critics Ask p.529 for more info.
 

Q: In Jms 5:12 and Mt 5:33-37, should we never swear an oath, even in a courtroom?
A: While a few Christians have thought so, most Christians see that it is OK, because there is a difference between swearing by something, which James condemns, and simply making a promise, which is fine. Covenants involved a vow, also.
It is wrong when your vow is "by God's throne", "by Heaven", "by earth", or by the Bible", meaning that your vow rests on those things. It is also wrong if you mean that your vow would not be as great if you did not mention these things.
It is fine, to place your hand on the Bible, and to say that you desire God's help to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
See Now That's a Good Question p.559-560 for more info.
 

Q: In Jms 5:14, exactly why were the sick to be anointed with oil?
A: Christians have two interpretations of this verse.
Special anointing: This interpretation says that this is similar to anointing a priest with oil or laying hands on an elder: the purpose is to ask for God's special blessing.
Medical practice: This interpretation says anointing with oil was mentioned because it was the standard medical practice of the time, especially in dry desert environments.
See Now That's a Good Question p.481-482 for more info.
 

Q: Does Jms 5:14 support the Roman Catholic practice of "unction" or "last rites"?
A: It does not support it as one of the seven main sacraments of the church. However, unless you think anointing with oil was just a medical practice, it does support anointing gravely ill people with oil, just as elsewhere in the Bible prayer and fasting are taught.
 

Q: Does Jms 5:15-16 support "faith-healers" today?
A: Not really. James 5:15-16 says that any believer can pray for the sick, and God can choose to heal them. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.704-706 and When Cultists Ask p.290-291 for more info.
 

Q: In Jms 5:16 it says, "The effectual prayer of a righteous man avails much," while Romans 3:10 says, "There is none righteous, no, not one." If none are righteous, then why say, "The effectual prayer of a righteous man?"
A: Many times in the Bible the same word can have different meanings depending on the context. For example, in most places theos means the true God, while in other contexts the same word is used to refer to idol gods. In Philippians 3:12-13 Paul states he was not attained everything and is not perfected. Yet in Philippians 3:15 Paul speaks of those of use who are perfect. (Though the Greek words are different, Paul is still giving us balancing thoughts here.) We have not yet arrived, we are not sinlessly perfect (1 John 1:8), and no one is righteous as David said in Psalm 14:3. On the other hand, if we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior we have "crossed the divide" and we are in the process of attaining perfection, and becoming righteous, this sanctification being completed when we die. On the "third hand", God pronounces us totally righteous and justified today in a judicial sense, and David even said he was upright in heart (righteous) in Psalm 7:10.) Paul explicitly comments on the truth of David's incongruous paradox in Romans 4:6-9, commenting that God "calls those things which do not exist as though they did" (Romans 4:17b NIV).

Q: Does Jms 5:16 support the Roman Catholic practice of confession to a priest?
A: No. It says to confess your sins to your brothers, not just to a priest. As a side note, Proverbs 28:13 also speaks of confessing to others.
 

Q: In Jms 5:16, if a Christian died and forgot to ask God to forgive her of every single sin, would she still go to Heaven?
A: Yes. God even forgives us of sins of forgetfulness. It is not our asking that produces the forgiveness, but the payment made by Jesus for our sins 2,000 years ago.
 

Q: In Jms 5:16, are we to make a detailed public confession of every sin to someone else?
A: No. James 5:16 says to "confess" not "catalog". It is proper for us to confess our sins to a Christian. However, we do not need to go into "GSD", that is, gross sin detail. We also should not confess to certain people and in certain ways that might make them stumble or tempt them. See When Cultists Ask p.291 for a complementary answer.
 

Q: In Jms 5:16, are we to confess our sins to others today?
A: Yes. James 5:16 does not say it is wrong to confess to a full-time minister or priest, but we can confess to any mature Christian. See also Now That's a Good Question p.359-361 for more info.
 

Q: In Jms 5:20, how does us saving a sinner from death cover over a multitude of sins?
A: See the discussion on 1 Peter 4:8 for the answer.
 

Q: In Jms, what about the claim that they found an ossuary [bone box] contains the bones of James the Lord's brother?
A: Oded Golan, the antiquities dealer who produced this also has produced an 8th century B.C. stone tablet of temple repairs very similar to the account of Joash in 2 Kings. He was arrested by the Israeli police on suspicions of antiquities counterfeit and fraud. A panel of Israeli archaeologists ruled that the both of these are counterfeits; recent text had been added to ancient stone remains. Laboratory tests show that the "patina of age that supposedly covered the ancient script had been applied only recently," Christian News July 29, 2003 p.1,24. Microscopic analysis of the box showed that the inscription lacked the same aged oxidative coating as the rest of the box. Daniel Eylon, a materials scientist at the University of Dayton, called the forgery "obvious" according to USA Today 6/19/2003 p.8D.
 

Q: In Jms, why should this book be in the Bible, since Martin Luther had such a low opinion of it?
A: Luther never denied that James should be in the Bible. However, in 1520, when there was discord between Luther and the reformer Andreas Karlstadt, who was then teaching out of the book of James, Luther downplayed the importance of James, saying that compared to Paul's writings, James was an epistle of straw. Luther never rejected the book of James, but he did put it at the very end of the Bible.
Luther's de-emphasis is not so much a commentary on the book of James, but rather a commentary on some excesses of Luther's theology. Luther compared us with Christ as snow-covered dung. By nature we are ugly, but Christ covers us. This is all good and true. However, Luther left out the fact that Christ is performing a work to sanctify us. God does not only cover over our sinful "dung", and make us sinless in heaven, but He is in the process of refining us as gold right now.
 

Q: In Jms, how do we know if what we have today is a reliable preservation of what was originally written?
A: There are at least two reasons.
1. God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 55:10-11; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24-25; and Matthew 24:35.
2. Evidence of the early church. Here are the writers who referred to verses in James.
Clement of Rome (97/98 A.D.) quotes James 4:6 (same as 1 Peter 5:5b; Proverbs 3:34) 1 Clement ch.30 vol.1 p.13. Elsewhere he also alludes to James.
Epistle of Barnabas (100-150 A.D.) ch.19 p.149 alludes to James 1:8.
Shepherd of Hermas (115-140 A.D.) quotes half of James 4:12 in Similitude 9 ch.23 p.51. It also refers to part of James 5:19-20 in Similitude 10 ch.4 p.55
2 Clement (c.150 A.D.) ch.15 p.255 alludes to James 2:19-25.
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) refers to 3 verses in James.
quote: James 2:23 Irenaeus Against Heresies book 4 ch.13.4 p.478 "Abraham ... and so became 'the friend of God.' But the Word of God..." In Isaiah 41:8b God says "or descendants of Abraham my friend".
quote: James 2:23b "and he was called the friend of God" This exact phrasing is found only in James 2:23b. Irenaeus Against Heresies book 4 ch.15.1 p.481
The Muratorian Canon (c.170-210 A.D.) does not mention James.
Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.) quotes James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:6 in Stromata book 3 ch.6 p.390 and book 4 ch.17 p.428-439
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) alludes to James 1:13. "but far be the thought that the Lord should seem to tempt, as if He either were ignorant of the faith of any, or else were eager to overthrow it." On Prayer ch.8 p.684
Origen (225-254 A.D.) (225-254 A.D.) quotes James 4:17 in de Principiis book 1 ch.3.6 p.254
Anonymous Treatise Against Novatian (254-256 A.D.) quotes half of James 4:6 p.661
Dionysius of Alexandria (246-265 A.D.) quotes part of James 1:13 in The Gospel According to Luke p.116. He also quotes half of James 1:13 in An Exposition of Luke 22. 46. etc. p.119
After Nicea
1/2 Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History
(323-326 A.D.) book 2 ch.23 p.128 says that James and Jude are said to have written the letters that bear their names, though this is disputed. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series vol.1 p.128
Hilary of Poitiers (355-367/268 A.D.) quotes from James
Athanasius (367 A.D.) does not refer to any specific verses in James, but he lists the books of the New Testament in Festal Letter 39 p.552
Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae (350-370 A.D. or 5th century) mentions James as part of the New Testament. It quotes all of James 1:1.
Synod of Laodicea (in Phrygia) (343-381, 363 A.D.)
Cyril of Jerusalem (c.349-386 A.D.) mentions James in the "Seven Catholic Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude" in Lecture 4.36 p.28
Gregory of Nanzianzen (330-391 A.D.) alludes to James
Amphilochius (-394 A.D.) Iambi ad Seleucum
Didymus the Blind (398 A.D.) quotes James 1:12,2:3 as by James. Commentary on Zechariah 6 p.129-130.
Didymus the blind (398 A.D.) quotes James 1:27 as by James. Commentary on Zechariah 7 p.138
Epiphanius of Salamis (360-403 A.D.) mentions the four gospels, 14 letters of Paul, James, Peter, John, Jude, Acts, Apocalypse of John, Wisdom of Solomon and Sirach (=Ecclesiasticus).
Rufinus (374-406 A.D.) refers to James as Scripture
John Chrysostom (392-407 A.D.) quotes the last third of James 2:18 as "it says". Homilies on the Gospel of St. John Homily 72 on John 13:20. vol.14 p.267.
John Chrysostom (392-307 A.D.) quotes three-fourths of James 2:13 in Homilies on Philemon Homily 3 verse 25 vol. p.556
Chromatius (died 407 A.D.)
Jerome (373-420 A.D.)
Orosius/Hosius of Braga (414-418 A.D.)
Council of Carthage (393-419 A.D.)
John Cassian (419-430 A.D.) quotes half of James 1:12 in the First Conference of the Abbot Isaac ch.23 p.395
John Cassian (419-430 A.D.) quotes half of James 2:13 in the First Conference of the Abbot Isaac ch.22 p.395
John Cassian (419-430 A.D.) quotes half of James 1:19 in the First Conference of the Abbot Nesteros ch.9 p.439
Jerome (373-420 A.D.) discusses the books of the New Testament. He specifically each of the four gospels, Paul writings to the seven churches, Hebrews, Paul wirting to Timothy , Titus, and Philemon. Jerome then discusses the Acts of the Apostles. Then he discusses the seven epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude. Finally he discusses the Apocalypse of John. Letter 53 ch.9 p.101-102.
Augustine of Hippo (388-430 A.D.) mentions the apostle James and refers to three-fourths of James 2:13 in The City of God book 19 ch.26 p.419
Socrates' Ecclesiastical History (c.400-439 A.D.)
Cyril of Alexandria (444 A.D.)
Hesychius of Jerusalem (-450 A.D.) (pronounced HESS-us) (later) refers to James 2:3
Eucharius (ca.424-455 A.D.) Instructiones
Speculum (fifth century)
Pope Leo I of Rome (440-461 A.D.)
Prosper of Aquitaine (425-465 A.D.) refers to James 1:17 as by the Apostle James.
John of Damascus (706-749 A.D.) "...seven Catholic epistles, viz. one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude..." Exposition of the Orthodox Faith book 4 ch.17 p.90
Among Spurious books
Pseudo-Peter of Alexandria (306,285-311 A.D.) alludes to James 3:2. The Genuine Acts of Peter p..258
3. Earliest manuscripts we have of James show there are small manuscript variations, but no theologically significant errors. Here are some of the manuscripts prior to the 8th century.
p20 (=papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1171) 3rd century. James 2:19-3:2; (6 out of 96 letters of 3:3); 3:4-9) A photograph of this manuscript is in The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.96. This book also mentions that the handwriting on the manuscript is very similar to the P. Egerton 4 manuscript of 2 Chronicles and p27, a manuscript of Romans. Alexandrian text
3rd century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament does not mention 3:3.
3rd century - 1998 - Aland et al. fourth revised edition
p23 Urbana (early 3rd) (=papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1229 (James 1:10-12, 15-18) A photograph of this is in The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.102.
Beginning of 3rd century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
p54 5th-6th century. (James 2:16-18, 2:21?; 2:22-26; 3:2-4) Agrees with Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Ephraemi Rescriptus
5th/6th century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament does not have 2:21.
p74 (=Bodmer 17) Acts 1:2-5,7-11,13-15,18-19,22-25; 2:2-4; 2:6-3:26; 4:2-6,8-27; 4:29-27:25; 27:27-28:31; James 1:1-6,8-19,21-23,25,27; 2:1-3,5-15; 18-22, 25-26; 3:1,5-6,10-12,14,17-18; 4:8,11-14; 5:1-3,7-9,12-14,19-20; 1 Peter 1:1-2,7-8,13,19-20,25; 2:6-7,11-12,18,24; 3:4-5; 2 Peter 2:21; 3:4,11,16; 1 John 1:1,6; 2:1-2,7,13-14,18-19,25-26; 3:1-2,8,14,19-20; 4:1,6-7,12,16-17;5:3-4,9-10,17; 2 John 1,6-7,13; 3 John 6,12; Jude 3,7,12,18,24 (7th century)
7th century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament has James 2:4 and 1 Peter 1:12
7th century - 1975 - Aland et al. third edition
6th century - 1998 - Aland et al. fourth revised edition
p100 (=papyrus Oxyrhynchus 4449) James 3:13-4:4; 4:9-5:1 (3rd or 4th century)
Vaticanus [B] (325-350 A.D.), Sinaiticus [Si] (340-350 A.D.), and Alexandrinus [A] (c.450 A.D) have all of James.
Bohairic Coptic [Boh] 3rd/4th century
Sahidic Coptic [Sah] 3rd/4rth century
Ephraemi Rescriptus 5th (James 1:1-4:2)
0166 5th century. (James 1:11)
0173 5th century. (James 1:25-27)
Armenian [Arm] from 5th century
Georgian [Geo] from 5th century
Ethiopic [Eth] from c.500 A.D.
Peshitta Syriac [Syr P] 375-400 A.D.
Philoxenian Syriac 507/508 A.D.
Harclean Syriac [Syr Her]
Palestinian Syriac [Syr Pal] (James 1:1-12)
According to the New International Greek Testament Commentary on James p.59-60, there are no "western family" texts of James, only Alexandrian and Byzantine.
Other notes are that the Muratorian Canon (c.170 A.D.) did not include James, Hebrews, 1 and 2 Peter, or the third letter of John
 
See www.BibleQuery.org/jmsMss.html for more on early manuscripts of James.
 

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