Paul vs. James Review

Book Review: 

*I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Paul vs. James was written by Chris Bruno. Bruno is a assistant professor of New Testament and Greek at Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Apostle Paul said that we are justified by faith apart from works of the law, while James said faith without works is dead. Does the Bible have a contradiction as many skeptics and atheists think? In Paul vs. James, Chris Bruno tackles the debate that has gone on for centuries.

This book is broken up into three parts: The Life of James and Paul, The Letters of James and Paul, and The Legacy of James and Paul.

In The Life of James and Paul, Bruno gives brief biographies about the two men, and compares their lives. While not much is known about James, Scripture teaches he was the Lord’s brother (Gal 1:19, Mark 6:3, Matt 13:55). Paul was a Jew and a Roman citizen who studied under Gamaliel, and most likely had a Greco-Roman education. Both men rejected Jesus at first, but in the end they were used by God to spread the gospel. Both men were also martyred— James by Jewish rulers, Paul by Romans.

The Letters of James and Paul explores what both men said about Abraham in Genesis. James looked back at Genesis 22 and God’s covenant promises were confirmed by Abraham’s ongoing obience. Paul looked at Genesis 12 and 15 as works of faith. (It’s important to note that Abraham was declared righteous many years before the law was given to Moses.) If Abraham claimed to believe God but didn’t obey Him, then he would have proven his faith and justification were phony.

The Legacy of James and Paul wraps the book up with a little bit of church history on faith, works, and justification, faith and works in real life, and same sex marriage and racism.

Bruno does an excellent job explaining how James and Paul don’t contradict each other, and how they preached the same gospel as Peter, John, and the others… That we are saved by faith alone, and both Jews and Gentiles are united in Christ for forgiveness of sin, and made right with God.