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Article 2019-12 James Versus Paul

Chapter 60: James Versus Paul?


Inevitably, some second-generation believers display lukewarm attitudes. These issues are addressed by James, the Lord’s half-brother, who was also an apostle. Sometimes people wrongly perceive a contrast between Paul’s and James’ teaching.

Scripture reference

Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? (Matt. 13:55)

I saw none of the other apostles – only James, the Lord’s brother (Gal. 1:19)

Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born (1 Cor. 15:7,8)

The story

Paul was imprisoned in a rented house in Rome, getting used to life in the capital. We revisit him later, but return to Jerusalem for now. The church there still faced much opposition from the Jews who chose not to believe in Jesus the Messiah. James led the church, but dark clouds hovered over his head. Apart from the external opposition he faced the church’s internal problems of a second generation of believers. When he heard from Jewish Christians that visited Jerusalem from other countries, that they faced similar problems, he resolved to write to the Jewish Christians in those countries.
Before we look at his letter, let’s look at who James was.  Why did he write? Was there indeed a controversy between his teaching and Paul’s, as some Christians believe? Why was there such confusion over his letter in history?

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