THE LESSON BACKGROUND. Most Bible scholars agree that the writer of the book of James was Jesus’ half brother (see Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Galatians 1:19). Mary’s younger children didn’t believe in Jesus during His earthly life (see John 7:5), but they joined Jesus’ followers after His resurrection (see Acts 1:14). It’s very possible that James was converted by the risen LORD (see I Corinthians 15:7). He also became the leader of the Jerusalem church (see Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18; Galatians 1:19; 2:9, 12). James wrote to the “twelve tribes which are scattered abroad” (see James 1:1). This refers to Christian Jews. After the death of Stephen (see Acts 7:58-8:1-3), the persecution of believing Jews increased and believers in Jerusalem were scattered throughout the Roman Empire. Since these early believers in Jesus Christ didn’t have the support of established churches, James wrote to them as a concerned leader, to encourage them in their faith during those difficult times.
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