An Outline

1. Background

  • Most commentators agree that the James who wrote this epistle was one of the earthly half brothers of the Lord Jesus 
  • I Cor 15:7; Acts 15:13-21; Gal. 2:9
  • Tradition has it that he was martyred in 62 AD.

2. Message

Throughout history there have been arguments as to the value of this book; because of its message many say that it contradicts Paul’s teaching on justification by faith. Since James is part of scripture it cannot contradict another part, but can only supplement and/or complement the other passages.  The scriptures in the table below are  examples of how Paul and James agree demonstrating that there is no contradiction at all.

Knowing this that the trying  
of your faith worketh  patience.
Knowing that tribulation worketh patience.
Count it all joy when ye fall into
divers temptations,  
Jms. 1:2          
We glory also in tribulations
Rom. 5:3
 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
Jms. 1:6
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
When he is tried, he        
shall receive the crown of life.                     
Jms. 1:12
There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness
II Tim. 4:8
 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Jms. 1:15
 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covett  But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
Rom. 7:7-8
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Jms. 1:18
 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Rom. 8:23
 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
Col. 3:8
 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Jms. 1:22
For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
Rom. 2:13
 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
Jms. 2:5
 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
I Cor. 1:27


3. Key verse

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Jms.  2:17

4. Outline

The Faith of Jesus worked out

Faith Shown by:
Response to temptations
a) the purpose of: vv2-11
b) the profit of: v12
c) the portal of: vv13-14
d) the path of:  vv15-16

Being doers and not just hearers
a)  do not err vv17-21
b)  do not be deceived vv22-27
  see also   Mtt 7:21-27
Not showing partiality
a) with respect to  people vv1-7
b) with respect to the law vv8-13
see also: Rom.14:8-14
Having works
a)  declared   vv14-17
b)  defended   vv18-20
c)  demonstrated  vv21-26
see also  Phil. 2:12-13  & Eph.chs 4-5 etc.
3:1 -4:17
Not offending
a)  in word   3 :1-18
b) in worldliness  4 :1-10
c) in not judging   4: 11-17

a) in waiting for  the coming of the Lord vv 1-9
b) in suffering vv 10-12
c) in prayer  vv13-20