In the Bible, there are three characters named James. Two of these characters were Jesus’ disciples, James of Zebedee and James of Alphaeus (James the Less). Some biblical scholars believe that James of Alphaeus is the same character as James, the brother of Jesus. However, the majority disagrees with this argument. After reading each group’s point of view, you might be left wondering, which James was Jesus’ brother?
James, the brother of Jesus, was not one of the 12 Apostles. Like his siblings, James did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. However, he was the first person Jesus appeared to after His resurrection. Witnessing Jesus’ resurrection made James a believer. He became a pillar in the early Church, and due to his strong influence, the Pharisees saw him as a threat and stoned him.
What does the Bible say about James Jesus’ brother? Was James the brother of Jesus, one of the 12 apostles? Did James, Jesus’ brother, write a book in the New Testament? Did James have a family? How did James, Jesus’ brother die? Keep reading to learn more!
What does the Bible say about James Jesus’ brother?
James, Jesus’ brother, is mentioned severally in the Bible. He is Jesus’ stepbrother, the biological son of Joseph and Mary. In Mathew 13:55-56 and Mark 6:3, the names of Jesus’ male siblings are mentioned. They are James, Joses, Simon, and Judas (Jude). James’ name appears first in both passages, indicating that he was likely the 2nd born.
Besides these two passages, James is mentioned indirectly in the four Gospels. For instance, John 7:5, John states that Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Him. This includes James, who did not believe that his brother, Jesus, was the Messiah early during His three years of ministry.
Also, James might have been one of Christ’s brothers who tried to intrude on His work. As stated in Mark 3:31-35 and Matthew 12:46-49, while Jesus is preaching to people, His mother and brothers stand nearby and request to speak with Him. However, Jesus continued preaching and stated that His mother and brothers were His disciples. He states that those willing to do as His Father command qualify to be called His mother, sister, and brother.
Although James did not believe that his brother, Jesus was the Messiah early on during His Ministry, he had a change of heart. After Jesus’ crucifixion, James was one of the first people that met and witnessed His resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15:7.
After Jesus’ resurrection, the next time James is mentioned in the Bible, he is a minister in the early Christian Church. According to Acts 1:14, he was part of the early believers who prayed to God to send them the Holy Spirit as their guide. Therefore, biblical scholars state that James must have been part of the 1st Pentecost. After this event, James becomes one of the pivotal characters in the early Church.
Paul talks several times about James in his letters. For instance, in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Paul states that James was the first people who Jesus appeared to after His resurrection. In Acts 15:13-21, James gave the final remarks when the Council of Jerusalem met to decide the rules that Gentile Christians were supposed to keep. James’ speech shows that he referenced the Scripture and focused much on grace over the law. Also, although his ministry focused more on the Jewish Christians, he cared for the gentile believers.
James, Jesus’ brother, is the author of the Book of James. He wrote the epistle between 50 and 60 A.D. In the epistle, James refers to himself as a servant of God and Christ but not as Jesus’ brother. The book places much emphasis on the outworking of faith. The book focuses more on Christian ethics than Christian theology.
After Peter relocated from Jerusalem, James became the leader of the oldest Christian Church until his death. He is said to have been stoned to death in 62 A.D. However, the Bible does not mention anything about his death. However, there are rumors that he was stoned to death. Although he died a painful and shameful death, he will be remembered forever for his contribution to the Christian course.
Was James the brother of Jesus, one of the 12 apostles?
James, the brother of Jesus, was not one of the 12 apostles. Among the twelve apostles are two apostles named James, who people often confuse with Jesus’ brother. One of the two apostles named James is James, the son of Zebedee. The other James is James, the son of Alphaeus. As I mentioned, James, the brother of Jesus, most likely became a believer after witnessing the resurrection of Jesus.
However, some people believe that James, the son of Alphaeus (James the Less), was Jesus’ brother. However, most scholars state that James of Alphaeus is not the same person as James Jesus’ half-brother.
Did James, Jesus’ brother, write a book in the New Testament?
James, Jesus’ half-brother, is the author of the Book of James. As I mentioned, James, the brother of Jesus, was not one of the followers of Jesus. However, after witnessing Jesus’ resurrection, he became a believer. Due to his huge contribution to the growth of the early Church, James was eventually made the leader of the Church in Jerusalem.
He writes the general epistle between 50 and 60 A.D. In the epistle, James refers to himself as a servant of God and Christ but not as Jesus’ brother. The book places much emphasis on the outworking of faith. The book focuses more on Christian ethics than Christian theology.
Did James have a family?
The Bible does not state whether James, the brother of Jesus, married and had his own family. However, his mother, father, and siblings were his family. Also, the Church was part of his family. As I mentioned, he was the leader of the Church in Jerusalem until when the Pharisees stoned him.
How did James, Jesus’ brother die?
As the leader of the Jerusalem Church, James’s influence grew so strong that the Pharisees and scribes saw him as a threat to their rule. They hatched a plan to get James to discourage people from believing in Christ by force. He was to address the people at the pinnacle of the Jerusalem temple during Passover. James agreed with their plan, but when the day came, he pointed out that Jesus was seated on the right hand of God and would soon return. This infuriated the Pharisees, who threw him from the pinnacle of the temple and proceeded to stone and beat him to death.
bibleask.org. (2021). What does the Bible tell us about James, the brother of Jesus? (2021). Retrieved January 23, 2023
christian-history.org. (n.d.). Death of James, Jesus’ brother. Retrieved January 23, 2023
GotQuestions.org. (2005). Who were the twelve (12) disciples / apostles of Jesus Christ? Retrieved January 23, 2023
insight.org. (n.d.). James. Retrieved January 23, 2023
kingjamesbibleonline.org. (n.d.). Official King James Bible online. Retrieved January 23, 2023
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