The Berean Expositor
Volume 49 - Page 21 of 179
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other apostles that the epistle embodying the council's decisions was sent to the churches
in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia and this, incidentally, is the first epistle of the N.T.
There are certain linguistic resemblances between James' speech and the epistle of
James which have been noted by Bible scholars and this helps to confirm his authorship,
but it must be said that such similarities can be found in other epistles. There is no doubt
that James, the Lord's brother, has the strongest claims for the authorship of the epistle
we are about to study and there is certainly nothing in the N.T. that directly militates
against it.
There have been other theories by scholars, but we do not think it profitable to
consider them.  Those who desire to do so can consult Dr. Donald Guthrie's New
Testament Introduction. Some have mentioned that it was unlikely that a simple Galilean
could write such good Greek, but no less an authority as Dr. A. T. Robertson writes, "the
incongruity of such a small piece of Greek as the epistle of James being written by a
Palestinian Jew like James vanishes when we consider the bilingual character of the
people of Palestine" (A Grammar of the Greek New Testament, p.123).
If the authorship of James, the Lord's brother, is accepted, the date of writing could be
any time just before (between) 50 to 60A.D. According to Josephus and Eusebius James
was martyred in 62 or 68A.D. If written in the early part of this period then (with the
exception of the letter from the Jerusalem conference) it was the first of the N.T. epistles.
There is no mention of the fall of Jerusalem in 70A.D. and the social conditions described
in chapter 5: concerning rich land owners did not apply after the destruction of the city.
The meeting place of the church is called a `synagogue' (2: 2 R.V.) and the stress upon
the imminent coming (parousia) of the Lord, a feature of all the epistles written during
the Acts period, and the general Israelitish character of the epistle strongly suggests an
early date.