No James?


A Catholic friend and I last night somehow got on to people “cutting up” the BIble and she told me that none of the Protestants she’d ever met thought that James was divinely inspired, and none of them had it in their Bibles. I knew that Luther thought it was questionable, but in the experience I’ve had with Protestants of different denominations, James was considered Scripture, and when I went to a non-denominational Protestant school for a few years, we had James in our Bibles. I also own several different translations with the Protestant canon and IIRC, all of them have James. Protestants here: is she making **** up or do any of you not include it?


I think your friend is pulling your leg. While Luther thought James was “an epistle of straw” because it didn’t fit his theology, no Protestant/non-Catholic Bible has ever cut out James. They do remove certain Old Testament texts but no books have ever been removed from the New Testament. If your friend persists, tell her to prove it. The burden of proof is on her. I personally have never met any Protestant/non-Catholic that had James removed.


James belongs to a category of New Testament books classed as ‘antilegomena’, books of disputed apostolic origins. This is one of the main reasons that Luther was critical of the Book of James and proposed that it was out-of-character with the central message of the Gospel. His opinion of the book changed over the years. And, just as he questioned the canonicity of the Deuterocanonical Old Testament books but retained them in his translation of the OT, so also, he retained the ‘antilegomenae’ New Testament books albeit with reservations. See the following:

Hope this clarifies things. I simply do not know of any contemporary Protestant denomination which publishes a Bible that excludes the Book of James or any other NT book.


I’d say there’s been a surging evangelical interest in James. This may be because it is fairly difficult to deal with on some theological levels. But on “Reformation Sunday” I attended a “non-denominational” service with several bible-study-buddies of mine. The preacher went over the 5 Pillars of Protestantism (I coined that term): Sola Christo, Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, sola Deo Gloria (in no particular order or correct spelling). He made some naughty remarks about the Catholic Church and then went straight into the Epistle of James and how important it is to our understanding of “Saving Faith.” It was an interesting lesson.
In any case, James not in the bible? Nah!

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