There are three prominent people in the Bible named James, and their profiles are shown below:
• James, the Apostle, son of Alphaeus
• James, the Apostle, son of Zebedee
• James, the Epistle writer
James, the Apostle, son of Alphaeus
James (son of Alphaeus) One of the 12 Apostles. He is named in the list of Apostles in Matthew 10:1-3, Mark 3:14-19, Luke 6:13-16, and Acts 1:13. His mother's name was Mary and she was one of the women who went to the tomb of Jesus, and found that it had been opened. James was also called "James the Less" and "James the Younger."
Because the Apostle Matthew also is the son of a man named Alphaeus, it has been thought that he and James were brothers. But the two were never referred to as brothers, whereas Peter and Andrew, and James (a different James) and John, were consistently referred to as being brothers. Nothing else is known about James except he was among those who went to the upper room to pray after the Ascension of Jesus.
James, the Apostle, son of Zebedee
James the Apostle was one of the 12 original apostles. He was the son of a man named of Zebedee and the older brother of John the Apostle. James was a fisherman, as was his father and brother. He was one of the first apostles to be called by Jesus. Jesus gave John and James the surname of Boanerges, which means "sons of thunder." Together with Peter and John, James was a close confidant of Jesus, being present at many important events, including the resurrection of the daughter of Jairus, Jesus' transfiguration, and the agony in Gethsemane. James was killed by King Herod Agrippa (Acts 12:1-2).
James, the Epistle writer
The Epistle of James is the 20th book of the New Testament. He identifies himself as "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ." Of the several New Testament people named James, it is possible, perhaps logical, that this James is "The Lord's Brother" (Galatians 1:19), the leader of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13, 21:18). He was a well-known figure of the church and martyred in 62 AD. His book may be the earliest of the New Testament writings.
His book shows the difficulties that were troubling the people of the early church, such as pride, discrimination, greed, lust, hypocrisy, worldliness, and backbiting. James writes to correct these evils by showing that "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:26), that is, mere profession of faith is not enough. He rebukes the rich in (James 5:1-6), tells us to be patient and take courage (James 5:7-11), not to swear (James 5:12), the effectiveness of prayer (James 5:13-18), and turning a fallen Christian back to Christ (James 5:19-20).
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