Ever wonder which of all the James’s in the Bible wrote the book of James? The author of James is most likely the James that we meet in the New Testament as the ‘brother of Jesus’. The author of James, is the brother, or more accurately the half-brother, of Jesus Christ.
This James is not the James, brother of John, who was one of the Twelve. Nonetheless, presumably after Jesus’s resurrection, this James recognised that his half-brother was the Son of God, James calls himself in 1:1 the “slave of God and the Lord Jesus Christ”. Jesus was James’ Lord, James submitted to Jesus his life.
James is quite a familiar person to us. In Acts 12 Peter is miraculously released from prison and instructs the believers to tell James and the other believers what had happened. Why did Peter specifically mention James by name? Perhaps it was because James was in many ways the most prominent Christian leader in Jerusalem. Peter, Barnabas, and Saul who became Paul, were prominent leaders too, but they were sent across the Roman Empire as church-planting missionaries. James, it seems, remained in Jerusalem to shepherd the believers who had not scattered because of the persecution.
According to Gal 1:19 Paul returned to Jerusalem once to find only James left with all the other apostles having left for different parts of the world. In Acts 15, at the first Christian council in Jerusalem, it is James who acts as the spokesman in regard to the discussion about the Gentiles’ participation in the Gospel. This council was heavily influenced by both the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul, but James must have distinguished himself as a man of spiritually gifted wisdom and understanding – a good candidate to write this NT equivalent of Proverbs. According to Gal 2:9, Paul calls James a “pillar” of the church together with Peter and John. James was therefore perhaps the best known Christian leader of the beginning years of Christianity.
For a book written to Jews all over the empire, one would expect James to give a little bio of himself so they know who wrote this book, but he simply introduces himself as ‘James.’ No doubt, with his prominence, it was sufficient for all who read the letter to know exactly where this letter came from.
Thank the Lord for the more famous churchmen of your own era who by their personal faithfulness are serving many accross the world.