James - The Marks of Spiritual Maturity

  • It was written by James (1:1). Possibly it was the first New Testament book to be written.
  • James was the half-brother of Jesus Christ (Matthew 13:55-56; John 7:2-5; I Corinthians 15:7; Acts 1:14). He did not become a follower of Jesus until after Jesus rose from the dead.
  • He was a key leader of the Jerusalem church (Acts 21:15-19; Galatians 2:9; Acts 12:16-17).
  • He moderated the first church conference (Acts 14:27-15:33). This council approved Gentiles becoming a part of the church.
  • It was probably written prior to the Jerusalem council held in A.D. 50.
  • It was written to scattered Jewish believers living outside Palestine (1:1-2). Many of the Jewish believers were being persecuted for their faith in Christ.
  • These Jewish Christians were having problems in their personal lives, and all of these problems had a common cause: spiritual immaturity. James wrote to them about how to face their difficulties and live the Christian life.
  • Because these scattered people were believers in Jesus Christ, they had been rejected by their nation and their own Jewish families. They were also rejected as foreigners in strange lands with strange gods.
  • This letter could be considered a how-to book on Christian living, confrontation, and challenge, as well as a call to commitment.
  • What James had to say is very practical. He emphasized that Christianity is a living faith-a faith that works (2:14-26). A good question for us to ask ourselves each day as we read the passage is, “If we say that we believe as we should, then why do we behave as we shouldn’t?"
  • James encouraged his readers to patiently endure the sufferings of this present life in view of the future prospect of the coming of the Lord (5:7-12).

The marks of a spiritually mature Christian are covered in this outline:

  1. He is patient in testing (chapter 1).
  2. He practices the truth (chapter 2).
  3. He has power over the tongue (chapter 3).
  4. He is a peacemaker (chapter 4).
  5. He is prayerful in troubles (chapter 5).