The Book of James, to whom is it written?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Brother Bob, Dec 25, 2006.

  1. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob
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    The book of James says it is to the twelve tribes of Israel, scattered abroad. The Jews were scattered when carried away unto captivity by the Babylons.
    Is it possible that James was still working on the First Commission given by Jesus "go ye to the lost sheep of the house of Israel". The ones he was addressing were not the saved, it seems to me like. It does not seem to be addressing a Church. He called them brothers because they were fellow Jews.

    I will appreciate your responses.
     
    #1 Brother Bob, Dec 25, 2006
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  2. HankD

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    Well apart from James 5:14 there is no mention of the "church" (Grk ekklesia).

    But this could be "assembly" as in Acts 19:39.

    Another passage might be:​

    KJV James 4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?​

    The NKJV has
    NKJ James 4:5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"?​

    The KJV translators apparently interpret "the spirit" - lowercase "s" - as the human spirit while the NKJV interprets "the Spirit" - uppercase "S" - as the Spirit of God heakening back to "I am a jealous God" (and grieve not the Holy Spirit of God).​

    If the sense here is the Holy Spirit yearning and being grieved then we have James speaking of the indwelling Spirit (although the indwelling Spirit was not entirely unknown on an individual basis under the Law, pre-Pentecost).​

    So, perhaps it is possible.​

    In any event:​

    KJV 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:​

    Of course we also have:​

    KJV 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.​


    HankD​
     
  3. Brother Bob

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    Oh, Hank D;
    I find no fault with the words written in James but its very important to who they are wrote to. Is it to the unsaved or is it to the saved. I find it hard to believe its to the saved. Anyway, if we are to believe who it says its to at the beginning then its to the lost tribes or twelve tribes of Israel, which is scattered abroad. If it is to the saved then they sure are a terrible bunch for they are just like Israel when God divorced them.

    James, himself being an Apostle of course had the indwelling spirit. If this is the Apostle James. There is question of whether it is or not by some because it reference is so much in OT.
     
    #3 Brother Bob, Dec 25, 2006
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  4. Martin

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    James was written to Jewish Christians...

    "to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad (Lit...in the Dispersion)..."

    who were scattered (diaspora) to different parts of the Empire probably due to the stoning of Stephen.

    "and on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles" -Acts 8:1

    New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg states...

    "Given the uniformly Jewish tenor of the letter there is no reason not to take the reference to "the twelve tribes scattered among the nations" in 1:1 entirely literally and to understand James's audience to be largely poor and exploited Jewish Christian day-laborers, probably in Syria, in an unspecified number of local congregations." -"From Pentecost to Patmos" pg390.

    As usual I tend to agree with Blomberg's understanding.
     
  5. Martin

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    ==The letter is written to Christians who Peter believes are saved. Please notice that he refers to them as "my brethren" in several locations and in 2:1 he states,

    "My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism"

     
  6. Brother Bob

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    But his audience wasn't even there, they were spread abroad.

    I thought God divorced the twelve tribes of Israel for the very things these people were doing, playing the harlot, and only those who accepted Christ came under the New Covenant.

    How do you bring Peter into it???

    Who were these 'twelve tribes' scattered abroad? Biblical commentaries often plead ignorance as to who these mysterious people were. For example, the new Serendipity Bible For Study Groups (Zondervan, Inc.), makes this statement: "It is not clear to whom James is writing." (1)
     
    #6 Brother Bob, Dec 25, 2006
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  7. HankD

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    Yes, Brother Bob, I definitely believe it is to the literal 12 tribes scattered abroad written by the Apostle James. I suppose it would be helpful to determine what baptism they had received as a way to determine what degree of knowledge they had (wisdom being another thing altogether).

    In the Book of Acts we have

    Acts 18
    24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.
    25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.
    26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.​

    Perhaps in a similar manner James is instructing the hearers in the "way of God more perfectly" or at least (humanly speaking) questioning their "faith" by observing their actions (testing the spirits if you will) and leaving the conclusion up to themselves per the individual.

    When my children were at home and I was not pleased with something they did, I would often ask this rhetorical question

    "Is this how a Christian should behave?".

    I believe this is the general intent of the Book of James.

    It is my belief that they were Jewish believers in Jesus Christ.
    But babes, carnal and not well instructed in the doctrine of grace and faith.

    They had not yet "overcome" such things as the priviledged classes of Judaism (priest, Levite, Pharisee, Saducee) as opposed to the priesthood of all believers, our Liberty in Christ, as opposed to the mosaic Law, etc among many other dogmatic conlicts of law and grace, the Old Covenant vs the New.

    KJV Luke 5:36 And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.
    37 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.
    38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.
    39 No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.​


    HankD
     
    #7 HankD, Dec 25, 2006
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  8. Martin

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    ==They were scattered abroad.


    ==Since the readers of Peter's letter are assumed to be Christians, and since God will save people from "every" tribe and nation, I assume these Jewish Christians were from the twelve tribes.
     
  9. Jerome

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    Besides referring to the elders of the church in chapter 5, in 1:3 James tells the brethren "that the trying of your faith worketh patience," and in 2:1 he refers to "the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ" in addressing them."

    In Acts 21, we learn that James was concerned when he heard that Paul was teaching Jewish believers abroad to forsake their Jewish culture:
    17 And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 18 And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present. 19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: 21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. 22 What is it therefore?...
     
  10. Brother Bob

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    Hank;
    Don't you believe this would of been the message the Apostles preached to the Twelve tribes of Israel when Jesus sent them first to the "lost sheep of Israel". Also, this was a time of transition and because Jesus sent them into all the world when He arose, did that mean they quit going to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel". I never thought of it this way, but why would they stop. They would only have one thing to add and that is that the Gentile also is accepted now.
    I believe his message was to the lost or those who had not accepted Christ that was among them, which I am sure were the greater number than those who had accepted Christ.
    I have found since starting this subject that this is a great question among many. These people do not sound like all of them were the saved and that was who mostly the message was to.
     
  11. Jarthur001

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    I agree with all of this post.

    James was not wrote to Jews, but to Jewish believers. What helps to understand James more then anything is the time which it was wrote. Next to Peter who was the early Jewish Christian leader was James. James is called "james the just" and "the bishop of Jerusalem" by post-apostolic writers. James, Peter, and John were the leaders of the new sect. Yes in the beginning Christians we just viewed as a sect of Judaism.

    I just got called by my wife So I need to cut this short... :)

    I believe James the Just wrote the book arond 46ad-59ad. This was before the council of Jerusalem forn in Acts. At the council of Jerusalem, is where Paul and Peter decide if the Gentlies need to follow Jewish Law. James had input with this as will. The book of James was the 1st book wrote in the NT. This came before the council of Jerusalem when the new sect was mainly Jews. Paul then comes and says...we are to go to all the world. James is killed around 69ad in Jerusalem...by Jews.

    Much more to say...I'll try to address it tonight. But Pauls writings come after James...and they do not disagree with each other.



    In Christ...James
     
  12. Brother Bob

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    What about this?

    1: From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
    2: Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
    3: Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
    4: Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

    This is not what the Book of James says:

    James, chapter 1

    1: James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

    Do you know that in the entire NT there is only 5 times The twelve tribes are mentioned and 4 of them are plainly the Twelve Tribes of Israel and this one you want to make the believing Christians?

    Mat 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

    Luk 22:30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

    Act 26:7 Unto which [promise] our twelve tribes, instantly serving [God] day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.

    Jam 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

    Rev 21:12 And had a wall great and high, [and] had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are [the names] of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

    Why would they disagree, Paul was an Israelite also and was trying just as hard as James to get his people saved.
     
    #12 Brother Bob, Dec 25, 2006
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  13. Brother Bob

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    Question;
    You may be right but either way James was trying to get whoever he was talking, to stop sinning.

    My question is, after the resurrection of Christ and when He sent them into all the world, were the Apostles forbidden to keep preaching to the lost sheep of the House of Israel or were they to continue to preach to them to believe in Jesus?

    Is Bloomberg supposed to be the answer to this question or is there scripture? There are plenty that disagree with Bloomberg including Bible studies.
     
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  14. Martin

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    ==Blomberg was simply cited for his statement. As for "Bible studies" disagreeing with Blomberg, I have no idea what that means. Bible studies can be good or bad depending upon the person leading them.

    ==While that is certainly true I am not sure that has anything to do with who he was writing to.

    ==Considering the fact that James clearly states he is writing to people who are Christians (Jms 2:1, etc) I am not sure why you are asking that question.
     
  15. Brother Bob

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    James 2:1 {MY BRETHREN,} {NOT} {WITH} {RESPECT OF PERSONS} {DO HAVE}{THE} {FAITH} {OF OUR LORD} {JESUS} {CHRIST, [LORD]} {OF GLORY;}

    1 My brethren, ye cannot have the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, and yet have respect to persons.
    (remember he was talking to his Jewish brethren.)


    Maybe we can get some Greek knowledgable fellows in on this?


    (Greek/English Interlinear (tr) NT) James 2:1 | adelfoi <80> mou <3450> {MY BRETHREN,} mh <3361> {NOT} en <1722> {WITH} proswpolhyiaiV <4382> {RESPECT OF PERSONS} ecete <2192> (5720) {DO HAVE} thn <3588> {THE} pistin <4102> {FAITH} tou <3588> kuriou <2962> hmwn <2257> {OF OUR LORD} ihsou <2424> {JESUS} cristou <5547> thV <3588> {CHRIST, [LORD]} doxhV <1391> {OF GLORY;}
     
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  16. Jerome

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    What Bible version is this?
     
  17. Brother Bob

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    not a version I don't think, just someone's translation from Greek

    But original Greek is close.

    James 2:1 {MY BRETHREN,} {NOT} {WITH} {RESPECT OF PERSONS} {DO HAVE}{THE} {FAITH} {OF OUR LORD} {JESUS} {CHRIST, [LORD]} {OF GLORY;}

    If you remove the "My Brethren" part, which he was talking to his brethren Jews, then It would almost be identical with the version.

    I think it would have a lot to do with it if they were worshiping idol Gods and playing the harlot, God put Israel away for that

    reason and James was talking to Israel according to Chapter 1. Nowhere in the book of James does it say he was talking to

    the remnant of the Twelve tribes. Also, in the whole NT, it speaks of the Twelve Tribes 5 times and there is no dispute

    whatsoever on 4 of them that it was Israel. For reason I think I know, this time its the remnant, even though it don't say it. If

    it was talking to the unsaved then what would they do that say we have not faith until we are regenerated and have our

    heart changed. So, yes they will fight hard for their theology stands of falls on who was James talking to.


    Best I can translate it is :

    Brother my not with respect of persons have the faith of our was we Jesus Christ this honor Glory.

    "not respect of persons" for sure comes before faith in Jesus Christ, not after.
     
    #17 Brother Bob, Dec 25, 2006
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  18. Brother Bob

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    How can you take away and add to at will?

    I mean we go from the Twelve Tribes to "Largely poor and exploited Jewish Christian day-labors, probably Syria??????? How could any human on earth know that?
     
  19. Martin

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    ==There is a whole context, chapter, to his remarks that I cannot copy. He makes a good argument that that is where/who these Jewish Christians were. This is the reason I gave the reference note. He is not adding or taking away "at will" his remarks are based on historical/Biblical evidence.
     
  20. Martin

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    ==Well since we know every person in the tribes did not believe in Christ he must be talking to those among the twelve tribes who did become believers in Christ. These are Jewish Christians in the dispersioin.

    Really I am not sure that I am following your argument...


    ==James is telling these who have faith in Jesus not to do so with favoritism. Don't just look at the wording of verse one, look also at the following verses.
     

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