Mesenchymal stem cells have the capacity to give rise to multiple cell types, such as adipocytes, osteoblasts, chondrocytes, and myocytes. However, the molecular events responsible for the lineage specification and differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells remain unclear. Using gene expression profile studies, we determined that Scavenger receptor class A, member 5 (SCARA5) is a novel mediator of adipocyte commitment. SCARA5 was expressed at a higher level in committed A33 preadipocyte cells compared to C3H10T1/2 pluripotent stem cells. Gain- and loss-of-function studies likewise revealed that SCARA5 acts as a mediator of adipocyte commitment and differentiation in both A33 and C3H10T1/2 cells. RNAi-mediated knockdown of SCARA5 in A33 cells markedly inhibited the adipogenic potential, whereas overexpression of SCARA5 enhanced adipocyte differentiation in C3H10T1/2 cells. We also demonstrated that the focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and ERK signaling pathways is associated with the SCARA5-mediated response, thereby modulating adipocyte lineage commitment and adipocyte differentiation. Additionally, glucocorticoids induced the expression of SCARA5 in differentiating adipocytes through glucocorticoids response elements (GRE) in the SCARA5 promoter. Taken together, our study demonstrates that SCARA5 is a positive regulator in adipocyte lineage commitment and early adipogenesis in mesenchymal stem cells.