Exegesis of James
The exegete of Holy Scripture in order to properly understand the full meaning of the passage must have a thorough knowledge of the background of the passage. It is important to know the author, intended readers and hearers, date, place of writing, occasion and purpose, and the literary genre of the passage. This paper will do all of these in a way that will give the reader a clear understanding of all that is necessary and important to know and understand about the background information on the epistle of James. Also, this paper will give an outline of James 4:1-10 , a paraphrase and exegetical notes on the passage.
The author of the book of James, Iakobos in the Greek, does not identify himself clearly. This leaves the task of sorting through the facts known to deductively decide the author of the book of James. There are four probable James in the New Testament. One James is James the son of Zebedee. This James was a brother to John and also one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. A second James is James the son of Alphaeus. Also an apostle, James the Son of Alphaeus, was mentioned only in the list of the apostles. Some equate this James with 'James the younger' in Mark 15:40 while others consider James the younger a separate man. A third is James the Father of Judas. This is not Judas Iscariot. This James is named as one of the twelve apostles in Luke 6:16. The fourth is James the Lord's brother. While Jesus was involved in his earthly ministry his brothers, including James, were not believers, but after Jesus death James quickly rose into prominent position in the Jerusalem church (Moo19-20; Lea519-520).
The most likely of the four James mentioned to have written the book of James is James the brother of the Lord. James, the son of Zebedee, is the only other that is likely to have written the epistle but he died in A.D. 44 and the epistle is dated by many around A.D. 48 or 49 (Moo 20).
Many Bible scholars believe that the book was written by the Lord's brother because of the references to the teachings of Jesus. There are different references especially to the Sermon on the Mount such as James 4:11 compared to Matthew 7:1-2 and James 1:22 compared to Matthew 7:24-27. In other places there are other references to the oral teachings of Jesus that help suggest that this book would be written by the brother of Jesus (Lea 520). There is external evidence also. The early church leaders such as Origen and Eusebius identified this James as the author of the epistle. This is partly because of the Jewish flavor of the book. The Jewish atmosphere of the epistle and the references of the Old Testament present the that the book was most likely written by someone with a Jewish background such as this James (Davids 14).
Intended Readers and Hearers
James addressed his letter to "the twelve tribes scattered among the nations"(1:1). This reference leads one to believe...