James 1:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

James 1:1, NIV: "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings."

James 1:1, ESV: "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings."

James 1:1, KJV: "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting."

James 1:1, NASB: "James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings."

James 1:1, NLT: "This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to the 'twelve tribes'--Jewish believers scattered abroad. Greetings!"

James 1:1, CSB: "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ: To the twelve tribes dispersed abroad. Greetings."

What does James 1:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Most conservative Bible scholars—but not all—agree that this letter was written by James, the half-brother of Jesus. Jesus, the Son of God, was born to Mary while she was still a virgin (Matthew 1:25), before she had ever slept with Joseph. This makes Joseph Jesus' stepfather, but not his biological father. Future children of Mary would then be Jesus' half-siblings.

John 7:5 tells us that even Jesus' own brothers did not believe in Him during His earthly ministry. It's likely James came to trust in Jesus as the Son of God either late in Jesus' ministry or after the resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15:7, Paul writes that after Christ was raised from the dead, He appeared to James.

James became one of the prominent leaders among the Christians in Jerusalem. While other Jewish Christians scattered to escape persecution, James remained to help lead the church there. Now he begins his letter by identifying himself as a bondservant, from the Greek word duolos, also meaning "slave," of both God and of Jesus Christ. He doesn't mention his unique family relationship to Jesus, only his role as Jesus' servant.

James' letter is written to all the scattered Jewish Christians, referred to as "the Dispersion."