James was possibly the first New Testament book written, probably penned in the very late 40’s AD. It is generally accepted that the book was written by James, the leader of the Jerusalem Church, also known as James the brother of Jesus.

From the very first, some people objected to having James in the New Testament. Martin Luther pushed for its exclusion (as well as some other books) because he thought it crossed some Protestant doctrines. However, history shows that God intends for James to be included in sacred Scripture.

Perhaps some of the controversary around the book can be ended if people are willing to accept the book for what it is, and not try to force it to be something it is not. We get a quick look at what it is by looking at the first verse: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad.”

James was the leader of the Jerusalem church, but was not one of the original apostles. His letter shows that he is a strong, experienced leader whose purpose is to guide Jewish Christians about how to live as Christians in various countries and cultures. He accomplishes his purpose.

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King Solomon is reputed to be the wisest man who ever lived. While this may have been true for a period of his life, he also acted as foolishly as any man who ever lived. Through his five hundred wives and three hundred concubines, he introduced and instilled idol worship in Israel, which became the initial impetus for the nation’s downfall and destruction.

From the writings of King Solomon, it is undeniable he had knowledge of what constituted wisdom and what constituted foolishness. Whenever he acted foolishly, it was by his own informed choice, and as his distant relative, James almost certainly knew all of King Solomon’s writings and actions.

One of James’ biggest problems was the persecution of the Jerusalem church by the Jewish leaders. He surely wished they had taken Gamaliel’s advice to leave the church alone, since it would flourish if God wanted it to and would perish if it was human-based. If they persecuted the church, they might be fighting God, which was a foolish thing to do.

One of the outcomes of the foolish behavior of the Jewish leaders was that it inadvertently helped spread Christianity. James may have recognized it as a bittersweet thing, since it shrunk the size of the Jerusalem church and led to many Christians giving up under the stress of persecution.

Watching the many members of his church, James surely became an expert in the wide variety of things people can do to be foolish. But no matter how foolishly they behaved, he possibly thought he had no room to criticize them. After all, he was around Jesus his entire life and was unable to recognize Jesus as the Messiah until after his death.

King Solomon
Primary Scriptures:
James 1:6-16; 2:1-7; 3:14-16; 4:1-17; 5:1-6
Story Summary:
Verses with content about foolishness
Kingdom of Judea (Israel)
Circa 50 AD