Who wrote the Epistle of James in the Bible?
The author of the book, who calls himself "a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ", could not have been James, the brother of Jesus or he would surely have stated this, rather than simply calling himself a "servant" of his own brother. Nor could he have been either of the disciples called James, because he never, even once, wrote about the teachings or miracles of Jesus, always relying on the Old Testament for the authority behind his message. While it is possible the book may have been written by a person called James, we do not know who this James was. The author is unknown.
James, the half brother of Jesus wrote the Bible book that bears the name James.
James was eminently qualified to write a letter of counsel to the Christian congregation. He was greatly respected as an overseer in the Jerusalem congregation. Paul speaks of �James the brother of the Lord� as one of the �pillars� in the congregation along with Cephas and John. (Gal. 1:19; 2:9) James� prominence is indicated by Peter�s sending immediate word to �James and the brothers� after his release from prison. And it was James who acted as spokesman for �the apostles and the older men� when Paul and Barnabas journeyed to Jerusalem to request a decision regarding circumcision.
As with all books in the NT, all the Authors are anonymous, except perhaps Acts, which was attributed to Paul. But the style of writings suggest two different authors.
UnknownLike most of the Books in the New Testament, the author of Book of James is unknown.
In his introduction in The Complete Gospels, Donald Rappe notes the following on the unity of Secret James: "There are abrupt changes and inconsistencies between major sections of Secret James. Three theories, all of them plausible, have been advanced to explain this feature of the book. The first regards the letter (1:1-7) and the secret book as originally separate. The unity of the two sections, therefore, would be the work of a redactor, who in the process of editing embellished the material by enhancing the position of James. Another considers the passages on martyrdom (4:1-5:6) and prophecy (6:1-4) as secondary additions; their omission leaves a conceivably earlier document consisting of shorter sayings. A third theory views the document as the work of one author, for both the letter segment and the secret book use a rare grammatical feature, the beatitude with the verb in the future tense (1:4; 7:3; 8:3, 9). However, this could also be the work of a redactor attempting to harmonize the two sections."
AuthorshipThere is no question about the fact that this letter was written by someone named James. The problem lies in determining which James is referred to. Some assume that the author of the letter is the brother of John and the son of Zebedee, whom the Lord called to the apostleship early in his ministry (Matt. 10:12). He, together with Peter and John, formed the first presidency of the early church. This James, however, was the first apostolic martyr of the early church. He was "killed with the sword" (probably beheaded) by Herod in a wave of persecution against the church (Acts 12:1,2). Most scholars fix the date of his execution at A.D. 44, five or six years before the great Jerusalem Council. With these facts considered, some scholars believe that the epistle of James was written by James, the Lord's brother.
James the Son of ZebedeeLesson in Rightly Dividing:
What to do with James?
James, James, James... what to do with James?
First off, the Rightly Divider (RD) will notice that James is a Gospel of the Kingdom Epistle and especially a Great Tribulation Epistle.
Secondly, and more to the point I wanted to make, this was written by James - who was killed in Acts 12 by Herod ( a great type of son of perdition in Acts 12). I know that all the bestest scholars all agree and all that that James wasn't written by this James - instead most choose the other James which shows up in Acts 15 preaching grace, but that's why it can't be him. Its too late to be him - he's preaching grace now and one thing for sure -- James doesn't preach grace!
There's especially one passage that I'd like to draw your attention to:
Jas 2:14 ¶ What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Note the terms here -- faith and works -- not Grace!
This point is significant for it must have been before Acts 15 when the Doctrine of Grace was then settled in Jerusalem as that of the day. This is clearly for those who are in Tribulation or getting ready for the Great Tribulation!
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Compare that with this:
Mt 25:31 ¶ When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
It meets it exactly! It fits like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and we don't have to pound the pulpit to make the square peg fit into the round hole.
So when people give you "faith and works" just tell them that we don't preach the gospel of the Kingdom we are in the Dispensation of Grace which is inbetween the Gospel of the Kingdom.
End of answer:
The writer calls himself simply "James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ." (Jas 1:1) Jesus had two apostles named James (Mt 10:2, 3), but it is unlikely that either of these wrote the letter.
One apostle, James the son of Zebedee, was martyred about 44 C.E. This would be very early for him to have been the writer. (Ac 12:1, 2) The other apostle James, the son of Alphaeus, is not prominent in the Scriptural record, and very little is known about him. The outspoken nature of the letter of James would seem to weigh against the writer's being James the son of Alphaeus, for he would likely have identified himself as one of the 12 apostles, in order to back up his strong words with apostolic authority.
Rather, evidence points to James the half brother of Jesus Christ, to whom the resurrected Christ evidently had made a special appearance, and who was prominent among the disciples. (Mt 13:55; Ac 21:15-25; 1Co 15:7; Ga 2:9) The writer of the letter of James identifies himself as "a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ," in much the same way as did Jude, who introduced the letter of Jude by calling himself "a slave of Jesus Christ, but a brother of James." (Jas 1:1; Jude 1).
Furthermore, the salutation of James' letter includes the term "Greetings!" in the same way as did the letter concerning circumcision that was sent to the congregations. In this latter instance it was apparently Jesus' half brother James who spoke prominently in the assembly of "the apostles and the older men" at Jerusalem.-Ac 15:13, 22, 23.
James the son of Zebedee wrote the General Epistle of James, the book in the Holy Bible.
Primary sources profess that the General Epistle of James is ascribed to James the son of Zebedee, borne out by his subscription and superscription being on early editions, according to the Law and custom - Jeremiah 32:10.11.12.
Primary Sources for James the son of Zebedee being the writer of The General Epistle of James:
Beza - preface to the Syriac version subscribed to James son of Zebedee who witnessed the transfiguration.
Codex Corbeiensis - subscribed to James son of Zebedee.
Widmanstadt - subscribed to James son of Zebedee who witnessed the transfiguration.
Tremellius - subscribed to James son of Zebedee who witnessed the transfiguration.
Erpenius - subscribed to James son of Zebedee bearing the moniker brother of the Lord - James' Apocalypse; Acts of Philip.
The early church at Antioch - subscribed to James son of Zebedee as the writer of the Epistle of James - for the extant Syriac versions are copies of the General Epistle of James within their original first century New Testament.