Did Little James In The Bible Have A Disability

In the New Testament, Little James was mentioned briefly in the book of Mark. Though Little James was mentioned briefly, his story was quite impactful. After Jesus had been transfigured, Little James and two of Jesus’ other disciples were told not to tell anyone until after Jesus had been resurrected from the dead.

The identity of Little James is unclear, but there is a strong possibility that he was the apostle James, the son of Alphaeus and the brother of Matthew.

There is also the possibility that Little James was a young disabled person, who was on a journey to meet Jesus when he encountered the three disciples. This is backed up by various ancient accounts which describe him as being unable to walk properly and in need of assistance.

So, did Little James indeed have a disability? There is very limited information on the matter, but there is evidence to suggest that he did. In the Gospel of Mark 9:35–37, Jesus is described as reaching out and taking Little James’ hand.

That could suggest that Jesus knew Little James was physically impaired, which means he likely had a disability. Jesus then tells him, “Don’t be afraid; just keep trusting me.” That could suggest that Jesus was affirming his disability and letting him know he was valued and not excluded from the group.

If Little James did indeed have a disability, this could speak to Jesus’ attitude towards disability and inclusion. Little James was allowed to follow Jesus and disciples, something which may not have been the norm in society at the time. This could have been particularly meaningful to those in the disabled community in the early days of Christianity.

Furthermore, scholars have argued that Jesus’ actions could have been seen as a “miracle”, in that he was able to facilitate disability in a way that was believed to have only been possible through divine intervention.

This highlights the importance of our attitude and mindset towards disability. We need to strive to create a society in which everyone is valued and embraced regardless of their abilities or disabilities.

Different Interpretations

The limited number of mentions of Little James in the Bible has meant that there are many interpretations about the nature of his disability. Some scholars have proposed that Little James may have had a mental disability such as schizophrenia, or a physical disability such as Down Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy.

These interpretations are, of course, speculation. But it’s important to think about the implications of these interpretations. It would mean that Jesus not only accepted and included those with disabilities, but that he actively sought them out.

It also raises questions about how we view the people with disabilities around us. Do we view them as “other” or as equals? Can we learn something from Jesus’ attitude towards disability? These are questions we should all be asking ourselves.

Furthermore, Jesus’ actions in regards to Little James could be seen as a challenge to society’s attitudes towards disability. Jesus was challenging societal norms and calling on us to do the same today.

Church Practice

Little James is a reminder of Jesus’ attitude towards disability. Churches can take this message to heart, by actively seeking to include and serve those with disabilities in the church community.

The church can do this in a number of ways. It can provide physical resources such as ramps, lifts, and hearing aids to help those with disabilities access the church premises and services. It can also provide social resources such as outings for those with disabilities, or mentoring programmes for disabled young people.

The church can also provide spiritual resources such as support groups, counselling, or Bible studies tailored to those with disabilities. Finally, the church can provide education to other members of the church community on disability, seeking to create an inclusive atmosphere.

The church can also play an important role in the wider community, by advocating for the rights of those with disabilities, campaigning for accessible resources and services, and providing support and advice to those with disabilities in the local community.

Impact On Members

Little James highlights Jesus’ inclusive attitude towards those with disabilities, and this is an attitude the church should replicate. Such an attitude can have many benefits for disabled members of the church community.

It can provide them with a sense of belonging and inclusion, knowing that they are respected and valued by the church. It can also provide a sense of hope, knowing that they can overcome their disability and lead a full and meaningful life.

It can provide a sense of meaning, knowing that they have a role to play in the church and in the wider community. Finally, it can provide a sense of purpose, knowing that their disability is not a source of shame or exclusion, but something that can challenge and enrich the lives of others.


Though Little James’ identity and disability is not known for certain, it is clear that Jesus’ attitude towards disability was one of acceptance and inclusion. Churches can take this attitude to heart, by actively including and serving those with disabilities in the church community.

Furthermore, this attitude can have a profound impact on members of the church community with disabilities. By creating an inclusive atmosphere, churches can provide disabled members with a sense of belonging, hope, meaning, and purpose.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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