What is the book of Jacques about? Bible study


What exactly is the book of Jacques about? What did James write it for?

Who was Jacques?

The Book of James is what many consider to be “wisdom literature” because there is so much wisdom in it. The author of this epistle (or letter) is James who most believes to be the half-brother of Jesus Christ who did not come to believe in him until after his death and resurrection. James is also referred to as James the Righteous and even “Old Camel Knees” because he was a man of prayer and spent so much time on his knees and they were most likely callused, so it’s no surprise that ‘there is a lot about prayer in this book. James wrote this to encourage the church which at the time was experiencing the greatest persecution. They lost their jobs, their families denied them, their property was confiscated and many were martyred. James wrote specifically “To the twelve tribes of the Scatter(James 1: 1b). The Scattering was where the Jews were scattered throughout the Roman Empire and expelled from Rome and even expelled from Jerusalem due to the severe persecution of the church, which as you may know was mainly composed of Jews at the time of writing James. .

The wisdom of God

Just as Solomon could have asked for riches and riches, but instead he asked for wisdom, James insists that we can also ask God for wisdom as he wrote “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who generously gives to all without reproach, and it will be granted to him.(James 1: 5). There is no reason why God should not grant such a prayer request. He also wrote “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom“(James 3:13) for”wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere(James 3:17).

The prayers of the saints

As much as James wrote on wisdom he also wrote a lot on prayer that we should “ask in faith, without doubt, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea which is swept away and tossed by the wind“(James 1: 6) and if anyone was sick”Let him call the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up(James 5: 14-15). Since God never changes, he is the same God who answered Elijah’s prayer and set his example by writing “”The prayer of a righteous person has great power because it works. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth bore fruit”(James 5: 16b-18).

Clamp the tongue

Jesus once said that it was not what entered the stomach that polluted a man (or a woman) but what came out of the mouth that defiled him (Mark 7: 14-23) so the half-brother of Jesus James also focuses on language, writing that “the tongue is a small member, but it boasts of big things“(James 3: 5a) and”As a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire” for example “language is a fire, a world of injustice. The tongue is put among our limbs, staining the whole body, igniting the whole course of life, and ablaze with hell(James 3: 5b-6). Unfortunately, what James writes is true that “no human being can tame the language. It is a stirred evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come the blessing and the curse(James 3: 8-10).

The suffering of the saints

Much of the reason James wrote this book (letter) was to encourage Christians who were going through severe persecution. James considered suffering to be normal for the believer and wanted them (and us) “Count everything with joy, my brethren, when you encounter trials of all kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And that firmness has its full effect, so that you are perfect and complete, lacking nothing(James 1: 2-4). Those who suffer are truly blessed if they stay “unshakeable in trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him“(James 1:12) and admonishes us”As an example of suffering and patience, brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed ones who have remained steadfast. You have heard of Job’s steadfastness, and you have seen the Lord’s purpose, how gracious and merciful the Lord is(James 5: 10-11).


A pastor might spend a year reading verse by verse in an explanatory sermon in the Book of James because it contains so much wisdom; so much about how to pray in faith; so much to tame the language; and a lot about why God allows suffering. James also wrote extensively on the relationship between faith and works and that faith without works is not the real thing because works necessarily accompany faith. This is why I think the Book of James deserves a good study, because you will find divine wisdom there.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is the pastor of Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the senior editor of What Christians Want To Know, whose mission is to equip, encourage and energize Christians and answer questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon.


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