Category: A group of biblical books that have a similar literary genre or main themes and have been placed together as a major section of the Bible.
Sermon: An essay that was meant to be read aloud in the earliest Jesus communities in order to pass on the teaching of Jesus and the apostles.
Literary Style: A unique style of writing that follows recognized literary conventions and language patterns.
Prose Discourse: A speech that makes persuasive claims through a logical sequence of thought and clear patterns of rhetoric.
Letter: An ancient Jewish-Roman style letter, written to an individual or community, that seeks to persuade the readers to live consistently with the truths they have already embraced.
Wisdom: A type of Israelite poetry that persuades the reader to adopt a particular religious and moral outlook.
James combines the wisdom of his brother Jesus with the book of Proverbs in his own challenging call to live a life wholly devoted to God.
Watch our Read Scripture video on the book of James, which breaks down the literary design of the book and its flow of thought. There is one Read Scripture video dedicated to the book of James, which aims to help you see its unique contribution to the story of Jesus, but also how it works within the Bible’s overall framework.
Written by Jesus' half brother Jacob, the book of James shares sage wisdom for all the churches and followers of Jesus. It's influenced by Proverbs and frequently quotes Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.
The introduction summarizes the words and themes found throughout the book, which is filled with short, challenging wisdom speeches that are full of metaphors and easily memorized one-liners.
While James doesn't teach new theology, it does challenge believers on how they should live. Topics covered include words, favoritism, love, wealth and hardship. When believers listen to and obey God's word, they love Him and others. Their actions match their words, and their lives are made whole, complete and perfect.
Life is hard, but trials produce endurance, shape character, encourage trust and make believers whole and perfect (mentioned seven times in the book of James).
Jesus transforms believers into a new humanity that listens to and obeys God's word, the Perfect Torah that motivates us to love God and others.
Favoritism and Love
Believers who say they have faith in God will always obey Jesus' teachings and love others, not show favoritism or neglect the poor and needy.
Words Reveal You
James discusses words three times. The way believers talk about people shows their hearts and core values. Their words reveal the truth about their character.
God's kingdom community dismantles divisions created by wealth and social status. Instead, believers should live with patient hope for Jesus' return and say faith-filled prayers.