I received the following question:
Hey so I’m going thru a Beth Moore book studying James. I’m absolutely loving it and enjoy the group of women I get to study it with. I’ve learned so much already and we’re only in week two. There’s a video that goes along with the book for each week. One thing she mentioned was the James was possibly the first book of the N.T written so if so then Jesus’ originally doubting half-brother broke the 400+ years of God’s silence?!!?!?! Thoughts?
I don’t try to determine I, II, and III John versus James. They are written at about the same time, and there is no real way to determine which one(s) were written first. I would say they are written at about the same time, and during the Great Scattering period. I John is written to those scattered in the scattering, whereas James is written to those leaders in the new gatherings of believers started by them. This could perhaps point to John being first. Yet John also seems to be writing to his former students as being current leaders, so the new groups of believers had been set up. Ultimately, then, I don’t think there is any way to tell which is first.
It is crazy to think that James, the one who didn’t believe during the Lord’s ministry, was the first to write a book of the Bible after the hundreds of years of silence following Malachi and Chronicles. Very cool thought!