James is described as a practical book. It seems to be guidance for the converted – preaching for the choir. Some, including Luther, have had difficulty with James and specifically where we find the Gospel.
J. A. Motyer has the insight that the first chapter of the book is aimed at the individual (see the pronouns) and then later he deals with issues of life in community: wealth, words, favoritism, the needy.
With that in mind, the first chapter is preparation for the wisdom journey he wants us to travel. It includes a reminder of the Gospel – without spelling it out.
“He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.” If this were merely about natural birth in the world, then who are the “we” and are they distinct as first-fruits? He is speaking of the redeemed – those who have heard and received the “word of truth”. So we are saying the word of truth is the Gospel.
Is it not reasonable to think that James, speaking to believers does not spell out the “word of truth” because his audience knows it.
Isn’t it this below, my take on John 3:16? Yes the verse Tebow had on his football eyeshadow at U of Florida and which the rainbow wig guy held up in the end zone for years:
God, the creator of all things, including the heavenly lights, so loved the world, even though it is sick with sin, and all the people in it, even though we argue, rebel and ignore him, that he sent his only begotten son, Jesus, who was with him at the creation of all things, and was born to Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem in Judea. He did this so that whoever believes in him, that is to say, whoever trusts in him, knows that he is the Son of God and Savior and relies on him totally for the ability to receive Gods life, will not perish, as a consequence of our sin and stubbornness, but will have eternal life, which starts at the moment of faith and lives on beyond the projected 5 billion life span of our solar system into the light of eternity.