There were at least four prominent “James” in the New Testament. Most scholars believe that James, the half brother of Jesus, is the author.
James has been the recipient of a great deal of controversy. The great Martin Luther described it as theological “straw”. The problem is that James wanted to exhort Christians to have authentic faith, which is marked by works. It is easy to see how his emphasis was the “opposite side of the coin” to Paul’s emphasis on salvation by faith APART FROM WORKS. But the reality is this: James is a deep book. Chapter one deals with the growth that can come through endurance in trials; the need to ask God for wisdom; the true source of our temptations. All of that in just one chapter! Chapter 3 has the most complete and involved teaching regarding our speech (James uses the word “tongue”). Chapter 4 has insights about spiritual warfare.
Here is an outline for James:
I. Stand with confidence (chapter one)
II. Serve with compassion (chapter two)
III. Speak with care (chapter three)
IV. Submit with contrition (chapter four)
V. Share with concern (chapter five)