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James: The Title Kurios in James

The word kurios has a range of meaning in G and the NT, ranging from owner (e.g., the owner of a vineyard) to a divine title that translates the name Yhwh in G. In James kurios is always used as an authoritative title, referring either to God the Father or to Jesus.

The 14 uses of the title “Lord” in James may be categorized in the following groups:

Clear References to God the Father
  • Jas 1:7: “For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.” 
  • Jas 3:9: “With it [the tongue] we bless the Lord and Father.” 
  • Jas 4:10: “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.” 
  • Jas 4:15: “Instead you should say, ‘If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that.’”
  • Jas 5:4: “the cries of the harvesters have reached the Lord of hosts.” 
  • Jas 5:10: “Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.” 
  • Jas 5:11: “you have seen the purpose of the Lord, because ‘the Lord is compassionate and merciful.’” 

Clear References to Jesus

  • Jas 1:1: “James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • Jas 2:1: “My brothers, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ambiguous References
  • Jas 5:7: “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.”
  • Jas 5:8: “Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
  • Jas 5:14: “they should pray over him and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord.”
  • Jas 5:15: “the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up.”

As discussed in detail in the notes to specific verses, James’ use reveals his implicit belief that Jesus shares the divine name, and thus divine authority, with God the Father.