The epistles of James, Peter, John and Jude have been called Catholic Epistles since the time of the church father Origines (around 185 to 254 AC). This expression is to express that these epistles are not addressed to a certain assembly, nor to certain Christians neither to individuals but to the Christians in general (catholic meaning general). This expression however is partially correct only. The Epistle of James specifically mentions addressees, and so does the First Epistle of Peter as well as Second and Third of John.

In the course of time many a suggestion has been made regarding the author of the Epistle of James. Some have thought of James being a pseudonym of an author who lived later on. Others have thought James to be an allegoric hint to Jacob the progenitor of Israel who wrote to his twelve sons, that is to the twelve tribes.

Others again want to see James the apostle, brother of John and son of Zebedee who was killed as a martyr by the sword (Acts 12:2). Some even thought of James son of Alphaeus. But James son of Alphaeus is mentioned for the last time in Acts 1:13. James mentioned in Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13 and father or brother of Jude is not known otherwise.

The first certain traces of the epistle are found around 200 AC in the east of the Roman Empire in Egypt and Palestine. Both the church fathers Origines (around 185 to 254 AC) as well as Eusebius (around 263 to 339 AC) mention the epistle. The epistle does not yet appear in the Muratori Canon which is a partially preserved enumeration of the NT writings from the end of the 2 nd century.

James’ teaching of justification is only apparently in contraction to Paul’s teaching in the epistles to the Romans and Galatians. With this however Martin Luther especially had a problem. But as Paul in Romans 3:28; Romans 5:1 and Galatians 2:16 speaks of justification by faith he speaks of the relationship between man and God . No man can be justified by good works or by works of the Law before God. As sinner man is not able to fulfil one single good work before God. Faith in the Lord Jesus only can be the way to justification before God. This justification is of God .



Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

James 1:2‭-‬6 RSV

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