v. 1. James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
Unlike the salutations which characterize the opening of Paul's letters, this address is very brief, exactly in the style which was employed in those days in writing letters. The Apostle James calls himself a servant, which includes the ideas of both worshiper and minister. Of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ he is a servant, the two persons of the Godhead being altogether on the same level in divinity and authority. To the twelve tribes this letter is addressed, the expression being a synonym, not only for the entire Jewish race, but also for the true Israel, the spiritual people of the Old Testament, the sum total of those that had expected the Messiah in firm faith and had now acknowledged Christ as the promised Messiah. These believers, these Christian Jews, were scattered abroad, were living in the Dispersion, in the countries outside of Palestine, and especially outside of Judea. In many cases they formed the majority of the congregation, and the entire policy of the congregation was guided by them. To all of these James sends his greeting in the customary form of salutation.