A on-line Bible study group … you are welcome to join us


Today we begin a study of the Book of James, to some scholars, the oldest book in the New Testament. It was probably written around 45 AD, prior to the Council of Jerusalem in 50 AD. Actually the Book of James is a letter (s0metimes called an epistle) similar to Philippians, whose study we have just completed.

James learning from his father Joseph

James was written by James the Just, who was the brother of Jesus. (See Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:5). James was not a believer (John 7:3-5) until after the resurrection (Acts 1:4, 1 Corinthians 15:7, Galatians 1:19). He became the head of the church in Jerusalem. The first mention of him as one of the church’s formative leaders is found in Galatians 2:9.  According to the historian Josephus, James was martyred in 62 AD.

Key Verses: James 1:2-3 –  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

James 1:19 – “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

James 2:17-18 – “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.”

James 3:5 –  “Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”

James 5:16b – “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

As we begin, here are two questions upon which we invite you to reflect:

1. What do you think it would have been like growing up as a younger brother of Jesus?

2. Which of these verses above have been especially meaningful to you?



  1. I want to respond to Steve’s question–what would it be like to be the younger brother of Jesus. This is a personal request to pray for me over the next several days. I will try to explain. Sounds confusing, doesn’t it.

    Jesus surely was a good loving brother. He probably was an industrious hard working carpenter, pleasing to his parents and perhaps the “favorite” son. We do not know much about his early years but at age 12 or into his teens he was quoting scripture. Later at about age 30 he was the focus of the Jewish world. The younger brother must have felt awkward or in an inferior state. The focus was on Jesus, not James.

    Now to my personal situation. I have committed myself to repair a relationship with my younger brother who has reluctantly given me permission to visit with him within the next few days. He has always felt inferior. I made the team, he did not. I liked sports and the activities of woodsmanship like my father. My brother would draw or write, not like my father, I had a better paying job than my brother, etc, etc.

    So James probably grew up in the shadow of his brother Jesus. Please do not think that I am equating myself with Jesus because I am not. I am just trying to draw an analogy of two brothers. I do not really know how to repair my relationship with my brother, it is not my failure or his but I want to mend things as best that I can.

    Will you pray for me to do and say the right things during the course of the next few days.

    Thank you.


  2. Mark, thank you for sharing this reflection. It is just the kind iof APPLICATION that makes this Bible study for than an information gathering, knowledge increasing “class.” We will be delighted to pray for you. I look forward to what God will do in and through you because of your obedience in this matter.

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