The Epistle of James

The Epistle of James

Dear Daily Devotion

I hope the last 12 reflections on the ecological crisis we face helped you as we prayed for our world’s leaders who gathered in Glasgow to address the issues caused by climate change.  It remains to be seen if their fine words are turned into tangible actions which will slow and reverse the state we’re in.

We turn now to the Epistle of James.  We know very little about who wrote the Epistle of James nor when.  Some scholars think the letter was written by James, the apostle and brother of Jesus and that it dates before Paul’s letters, others think it was written after Paul’s work but still by James.  Some scholars think the letter was written using James name to add authority to it but by someone else, others still think a later editor reworked material by James.  The fact that James seems to have a developed ecclesiology – Elders of the Church for example are to pray for and anoint the sick – might mean it’s later than Paul.  Against a background of trials and temptations the author encourages readers to live the faith they’ve learnt.  James has particularly acute things to say about slander and wealth.  Following Luther (who struggled with the Epistle) Protestant thinkers have often been cool towards James, seeing it as undermining, to an extent, the idea that salvation is through faith alone. 

I hope you find the reflections useful as we think about what we can learn from these lessons sent to early churches.

with every good wish


The Rev’d Andy Braunston
Co-ordinator, Daily Devotions from the URC

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New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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