James is a common name in New Testament times. It is an anglicized version of Jacob, one of founding patriarchs of the Jewish people. Two of the apostles are named James. There is a James called “the brother of the Lord.” And there is the author of the Epistle of James. (The Greek in the epistle is very sophisticated which makes it doubtful that a Galilean peasant, like the three Jameses names above, could be the author.) The epistle weaves into the gospel proclamation the ethical values of Judaism. The epistle starts: Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. I am not one who considers trials to be a joy. If I had my druthers I would avoid trials and have everything go well! But James’ point is that trials force us to rely more on God than on our own efforts — always a good lesson.