The Berean Expositor
Volume 49 - Page 22 of 179
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The structure of the epistle, largely based on the one given in The Companion Bible is
as follows:
A | a | 1: 1-4. Patience.
b | 1: 5-8. Prayer.
B |  c | 1: 9, 10-. The law exalted. The rich made low.
d | 1: -10, 11-. Life likened to grass.
e | 1: -11. The end of the rich.
C | 1: 12-16. Lust.
D | 1: 17. Good gifts from above.
E | 1: 18-27. God's Word and its effects.
F | 2: 1-7. The faith without partiality.
G | 2: 8. The royal law.
H | 2: 9-11. Moses' law--one offence breaks it.
G | 2: 12, 13. The law of liberty.
F | 2: 14-26. Faith without works.
E | 3: 1-14. Man's word and its effects.
D | 3: 15-18. The wisdom from above.
C | 4: 1-5. Lusts.
B |  c | 4: 6-10. The proud resisted. The humble exalted.
d | 4: 11-17. Life likened to a vapour.
e | 5: 1-6. The end of the rich.
A | a | 5: 7-12. Patience.
b | 5: 13-20. Prayer.
To whom was the epistle addressed? This is clearly stated in the first verse as `the
twelve tribes in dispersion', disapora being a technical term for Jews living outside the
land of Palestine. The recipients of the epistle were evidently Hebrew believers from the
twelve tribes comprising Israel and whose home was outside the land. Peter's epistles
and the epistle to the Hebrews are addressed to a similar group of believers from Israel,
all of whom were evidently being tested by suffering and loss. These epistles were
written to encourage them to `go on to perfection' (or maturity) no matter how severe
their trials were, the goal being a `crown' or reward given by the Lord for faithfulness
and endurance.
The epistle commences with greetings to its readers:
"James, a servant (a bond-servant) of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve
tribes which are of the Dispersion, greeting" (1: 1, R.V.).
Although he was the leader of the Hebrew church at Jerusalem, James does not
mention his office, but humbly describes himself as a `bond servant' in the same way as
his brother Jude (verse 1). What is quite clear in the N.T. is the fact that early converts
were soon put to the test by trials and sufferings. Satan gave them no respite, hoping to
overwhelm and crush their faith at the very beginning. So James makes it clear that this
experience was normal for the believer and once the overruling of the Lord could be seen
in it, then it was not a thing to be shunned but rather welcomed: