Why Rahab? (James 2:25-26)


Reading Acts

At the conclusion of his discussion of the relationship between faith and works, James uses Abraham as an example of a person who obeyed God and was declared righteous. He alludes to Genesis 22 and quotes Genesis 15:16 and concludes that a person is considered righteous because of what they do, not on the basis of faith alone (James 2:24). Usually scholars focus on the glaring clash between this verse and Paul’s argument in Romans 4 that Abraham was justified by believing in God (Gen 15) before he was given the rite of circumcision (Gen 17). For Paul, one is justified “by grace through faith not of works.”

I have written on this aspect of James before, but in preparing for a lecture on the ethics of James I wondered why James uses Rahab as an example in 2:25. Scholars often pass over this verse as if it was…

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