Preaching the Law to Christians: Insights on the Parallels between the Sermon on the Mount and the Epistle of James.
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When one becomes well-acquainted with the scholarship on the book of James, it becomes clear that the epistle has an uncanny amount of similarities with the sayings of Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount in particular. These similarities are literary, vocabularic, thematic, and conceptual. In studying the parallels between these two sections of Scripture, it becomes clear that their existence can be attributed to more than just coincidence. This paper will examine the role of using the parallels in biblical interpretation. Because of differing genres and scopes, this paper concludes that both James and Matthew are early Jewish-Christian works of biblical literature which are independent from one another. This independence gives credence to a unified Scripture. In addition, because the works are independent, they are to be interpreted as such. Namely, the Epistle of James and the Sermon on the Mount are both beautiful expositions of preaching the Law to Christians. James primarily uses the Law as Mirror, whereas Matthew primarily uses the Law as Guide in the Sermon on the Mount.