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James and Jude Overview

What do James and Jude have in common?

Both are Jesus’ half-brothers, brothers who went from being skeptical about Jesus being the Messiah to fully embracing His Lordship after His resurrection from the dead!

“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t His mother called Mary, and His brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?”  -Matthew 13:55

“Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon?”         -Mark 6:3

Read I Corinthians 15:3-8


James is the 59th book of the Bible; the 20th book of the New Testament; the 2nd of the General Epistles.

This is not James the Apostle, John’s brother, Zebedee’s son, who is martyred in Acts chapter 12.

This is James the Chair of the Elders in Jerusalem (see Acts 15:13, Acts 21:18).

It is possible James became the leader in Jerusalem around the time of Peter’s arrest, miraculous deliverance, and leaving Jerusalem in Acts 12:11-19.

The book of James was written in AD 45-50. It is often regarded as the earliest book of the New Testament.

It was written primarily to Jewish believers, not mentioning their relationship to Gentile believers.

James uses the word for synagogue in 2:2, the word for church in 5:14.

Simple church: teacher in 3:1, elders in 5:14 – like synagogues. 

Josephus the Jewish historian writes that James was stoned to death at the instigation of the high priest Ananus in AD 61.

A box of bones has been found by Archaeologists that says, “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.”

Theme: Real faith is seen in a lifestyle of good works. 

Faith is not merely assent to the correct doctrines; it is obedience to the living God.  -Dr. Harry Adams

James encourages the scattered disciples to view trials as opportunities for spiritual growth.

What teaching of Jesus is the book of James very much like?

The sermon on the mount, Matthew 5-7.

See chart on James and the Sermon on the Mount.

Which Minor Prophet has James been compared to, and why?

Amos, because of his concern for ethical integrity and justice.

James has been called “the Amos of the New Testament.”

James has 54 imperatives (commands) in his 108 verses!

Outline:      Dr. Harry Adams

The purpose of testing                                 1:1-18

The test of obedience to God’s Word         1:19-27

The test of partiality                                    2:1-13

The test of one’s works                                2:14-26

The test of the tongue                                  3:1-12

The test of ambitions                                   3:13-5:6

The test of patience and prayer                  5:7-20

There is a major point people miss in the faith and works discussion, when they try to pit James 2 versus Paul’s teaching on justification by faith alone.

Many times people discuss what James says about faith and works in chapter two without placing it in the context of what he has already said in 1:18.

By His own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the firstfruits of His creatures. -James 1:18

James 1:18 shows James understood salvation as a sovereign work of God, aligning him with what Paul, Peter, and John write elsewhere.

Ephesians 2:8-10             I Peter 1:3-5           John 1:12-13

All of these writers were concerned that the truly saved go on to express their God given faith by obeying the Lord’s teaching and bearing fruit (good works) in His name.

Some may wish to equate James 2 with the Judaizers side of the Acts 15 argument, against Paul’s teaching in Galatians…

Paul’s statement in Galatians 2:12, “before certain men came from James,” could be taken that way.

But James doesn’t have in mind true faith expressing itself in being circumcised and obeying Old Testament law as interpreted by the Pharisees. He has in mind faith expressing itself in acts of love done in Jesus’ name.

Acts 15 has this same James giving the final word in support of Paul and Peter. 

Galatians clearly teaches that works don’t save a person, they are justified by faith. James clearly teaches that saved people will be zealous to do good works, so faith without works is dead, it is not true faith! 

Put together, the New Testament doctrine is this:

Works don’t save a person, but after salvation a true Christian will do good works!

Galatians is a clear rebuke of legalism; James is a clear rebuke of antinomianism.

A Closer look at James:

1:1     To the 12 tribes in the Dispersion

1:2     Consider it a great joy, when you experience various trials!

1:5     If you lack wisdom, ask of God!

1:8     A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

1:12   The crown of life

1:13-15        Temptation

1:17   Father of lights!

1:18   The New Birth

1:22   Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only!

1:26   Bridling the tongue

1:27   Pure religion

2:1     No favoritism

2:10   One sin is enough to be guilty before a holy God

2:11-13        Love mercy!

2:17   Faith without works is dead

3:1     Stricter judgment for teachers!

3:13   Show me!

4:1-3  You either don’t ask, or you ask with wrong motives (corrective to wrong understanding of praying in Jesus’ name)

4:4     Friendship with the world

4:7-10          Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you!

4:15   Submitting our plans to God’s will

5:4     Pay your laborers!

5:7-8  Wait and look for the Lord!

5:13-16        The effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much

5:19-20        He that converteth a sinner.


Jude is the 65th book of the Bible; the 26th book of the New Testament; the 8th and last of the General epistles.

Theme: Beware of false teachers and their false message. They will be judged! 

Written in mid to late 60’s AD.

Has amazing similarities to 2nd Peter, so the two must have influenced each other!

What are we to make of verse 9 and verses 14-15?

In both cases, these are events not recorded in the Old Testament.

Verse 9 comes from the Apocryphal Assumption of Moses.

Verses 14-15 come from the Apocryphal First Enoch.

The Jews, Christ, and the apostles did not view these as parts of the Bible.

Of course Paul quoted from Pagans:

“In Him we live and move and have our being.”     -Acts 17

“Cretans are always liars.”                                       -Titus

Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Where there is a kernel of truth, Christians have tried to use it to build bridges with their audience.

Some suggest Jude is using them in the sense a modern preacher would, as an illustration of the Biblical truth he has presented.

Others insist Jude regarded them as scripture. Roman Catholics regard the Apocrypha as scripture.

The first two options seem more likely than the third.

Many New Testament letters deal with false teachers. Jude is as passionate as any in his denunciation of false teachers. 

Outline of Jude:

The need to contend for the faith                v. 1-4

Description of apostates                              v. 5-16

Exhortation to believers                              v. 17-23

Benediction                                                   v. 24-25

A Closer Look at Jude:

1:3     Earnestly contend for the faith which was delivered to the saints

1:16-19        Beware those who walk after their own lusts

Apparently they used the grace of God for a cover of their lustful practices – and encouraged others to do the same.

Paul says some of the same things in Acts 20 to the Ephesian elders; Peter says some of the same things in 2 Peter. 

1:20-23        Build yourselves up!

1:24-25        To Him who is able…