“James is addressing poor Christians who are employed as farm labourers forwealthy landowners. A few rich may be included among his Christian readers(cf. 4:13–17), but James is primarily concerned with the poor. His statementsdenouncing the rich (especially 5:1–6) are among the strongest in the NT.”Wessel (2002:n.p.).1.2 The Literary Context in James1.2.1. The structure of JamesConcerning the structure of the epistle of James, it is a very different book tothe Pauline epistles, it is noted that James doesn’t start his book withsalutations and doesn’t end it off with the normal benedictions. Instead wesee that this book isn’t quite a dogmatic book when it comes to the majortheological themes. Strange enough James didn’t focus as much on JesusChrist and what He has done for us, the book of James only mentions thename of Jesus twice and doesn’t mention His sufferings, death or resurrectionat all,Wessel (2002:n.p.).Another visible fact is that James wrote from apractical point of view on active Christianity, which of some examples is originof temptation; law and ethics; real faith and faith vs. works; wisdom and alsojudgement. 1.2.2. The use of figurative language in the bookWessel (2002:963) states that the author "uses words and phrases in good literary Koinestyle". Further he comments that he seems to be fond of compounds and picturesquewords. He employs technical terms and phrases, without using then in their stricttechnical sense. 2
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Deissman (in Wessel 2000:963) stated, "The epistle of James will be understood in theopen air beside the piled sheaves of a harvest field". Its vocabulary "reflects the localcolor of the country side". "Numerous words are drawn from agriculture". "Words used forfishing are also employed". Another example is how James makes a portrait of God,beginning by painting a robust creator who rules (1:17) and promises a new cosmic order(1:18) (Wall 2000:np).1.2.3. The figurative of speech in James 3:4 - 5Metaphors and similes are methods of comparison, speaking of one thing interms of another. James employs these figures from all areas of life:a. Rural LifeHe speaks of earthly prosperity as a flower that withers (1:10), speech as aspring and a tree (3:11), righteousness as fruit (3:18), life as a fog that is soongone (4:14), etc.b. Marine Life & AstronomyA man who cannot make up his mind to trust God is compared to a wave of the sea (1:6). God, the source of good gifts is unchanging as the sun (1:17). etc.c. Domestic LifeThe development and result of sin is likened to conception, birth, growth, and death (1:15). The careless listener is likened to the man who doesn't look into the mirror very well (1:23). In 4:4 unfaithfulness is compared to adultery. etc.d. Public LifeThe future bliss of believers is compared to receiving the victor's "crown" (1:12).
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