A Study Of The Book Of JAMES

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1 A Study Of The Book Of JAMES page 1

2 Introduction To The Epistle Who wrote the book? Several men in the N.T. bore this name. James the son of Zebedee and brother of John is one. He was a fisherman and called by Christ in Matthew 4: He was killed by Herod in 44 A.D. (Acts 12:1,2). -- James, the son of Alphaeus is another James. He was also an apostle. (Matthew 10:3) Very little is known about this man. -- James, the father of Judas the apostle is even more obscure. His name is found in Luke 6: Finally we have James, the brother of Jesus. He is probably the author of this letter though James 1:1 only identifies the author as a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. We know that Jesus had a brother named James from Matt. 13:55. According to John 7:5 he did not at first believe in Jesus. Later he became a follower of Jesus. (Acts 1:14 and 1 Cor. 15:7) Who were the first recipients? According to James 1:1, the letter was originally written to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion. The twelve tribes probably refers to Jews living outside of Palestine who had been scattered (perhaps by persecution). The letter was written to Christian Jews. There are nineteen times that James addresses these people as brothers. Likewise the first recipients of this letter were poor and oppressed. What is the purpose of the epistle? James seems to have been written to help people overcome the problems in their lives which kept them from Christian maturity. 1. They were going through difficult trials. 2. They were facing temptations to sin. 3. They were hearers, but not doers 4. Favoritism existed among the people. 5. Improper page 2

3 use of the tongue was a problem. There are other problems or areas of concern that are mentioned, but all of them carry the common theme of the need for maturity. -- A technique James uses is to touch on subjects and then revisit them later, in either more depth or with further elaboration or application. Therefore, some themes will appear 3-4 times scattered throughout the book. Lesson 1 - Chapter 1:1-8 For Quick Comprehension: 1. How are Christians to regard the trials they experience? 2. Why can a Christian regard adversities this way? 3. How valuable is endurance (patience) to the Christian s life? 4. What does the Scripture say about wisdom to deal with all of this? 5. How is asking God for this wisdom conditional? 6. Will a double-minded man receive anything he asks of God in prayer? page 3

4 For Deeper Discussion: 1. What kinds of trial are common in life? 2. What should we hope to gain from the trials we face? 3. Why is the testing of our faith a good thing? 4. Our faith being tested brings about a determination to stay the course (patiently endure) which in turn makes us perfect or mature Christians. How & Why? 5. What is wisdom? How does it play a role in my enduring trials? 6. What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom? 7. How does God give wisdom? Is this a lesson in how we, as followers of God, ought to be givers? 8. Just how does God place the wisdom in our minds? 9. What part does the Bible have in obtaining wisdom? 10. What are some areas of life where we need wisdom? 11. What is meant by God giving wisdom without reproach or upbraids not? page 4

5 12. Describe what it means to ask in faith, not doubting. 13. What is double-mindedness? What causes a man to be this way? 14. Are any requests in prayer granted for an double-minded man? 15. What makes a man double minded and therefore unstable? Lesson 2 - Chapter 1:9-18 For Quick Comprehension: 1. How are lowly and rich Christians to esteem themselves? 2. How should the rich man regard his pursuits? 3. What is the reward for enduring temptations? 4. Who is never to blame when we are tempted? 5. Who is to blame? Describe the steps taken that lead to sin. 6. Who or what is the source of all good things? page 5

6 For Deeper Discussion: 1. What connection do the remarks about the rich and poor in verse 9-11, have with that of wisdom and enduring trials, mentioned earlier in the context? 2. In Christ a man s earthly status can be reversed. Explain how it is that a poor man is exalted and a rich man humbled. 3. Earthly wealth and fortune are to be viewed as transient and temporary. How does this mindset affect the way a prosperous man lives his life? 4. How can we know that temptation is not sin? (See Hebrews 4:15) 5. What temptations might be unique to the poor? 6. What temptations might be unique to the rich? 7. Is it harder to live for Christ as a rich person or as a poor person? (See Matthew 19:24) 8. Why should the rich view their life? 9. Who is rich? 10. What is significance of the expression for when he has been approved in verse 12? page 6

7 11. How can we wrongfully blame God for our temptations? Why doesn t James say to blame Satan? 12. If God does not tempt man, how do you explain His testing of Abraham in offering up Isaac? 13. To be tempted is to sin. True or False? Explain. 14. How do temptations draw us into sinning? 15. How can sin be said to become full-grown before death takes place. Isn t death immediate? 16. Why and/or how is it so easy to be deceived along these lines? (vs. 16) 17. Why is there such a desire to blame someone else for our sin? 18. Who do people try to blame for their sin? 19. Why is sin so dangerous? 20. How can we stop the progression of sin before we reach death? 21. Describe the blessing we find when we read that in the Father there is no variation or shadow due to change. 22. What is the word of truth? (See also John 17:17) page 7

8 23. James 1:18 calls those who have been brought forth by the word of truth a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. What does this mean? Lesson 3 - Chapter 1:19-27 For Quick Comprehension: 1. Why is the wrath of man so dangerous? 2. What is said to save our souls in verse 21? 3. Is hearing God s word enough to please Him? 4. What is said to make our religion useless in verse 26? 5. What makes it pure and acceptable? (v.27) For Deeper Discussion: 1. What is the context of James remarks about being slow to speak, swift to hear, etc.? 2. What is the danger of anger and what does anger often produce? (vs 20) 3. Is it ever right to be angry? page 8

9 4. Where does God s word have to be implanted? 5. How does one deceive themselves when they are hearers and not doers? (1:22) 6. In what way is God s Word like a mirror? (1:25) 7. What three things are required in verse 25 to produce the blessing? Define blessed. 8. What is meant by the perfect law of liberty? 9. Describe what it means to bridle the tongue. 10. What makes the religion of one who does not bridle his tongue worthless? 11. What is involved in the instruction to visit orphans and widows? 12. What is meant by keeping oneself unstained from the world? 13. How come these to are highlighted? page 9

10 Lesson 4 - Chapter 2:1-13 For Quick Comprehension 1. What are Christians not to do? 2. How might it be seen in their assemblies? 3. Typically, how did the rich treat Christians? 4. What is to be the guiding principle in the way we view others? 5. What is showing partiality said to be in verse 9? 6. Is it as terrible a sin as murder and adultery? 7. What is needed by the Christian (v.13)? For Deeper Discussion 1. What does it mean do not hold the faith with partiality? 2. What are some other words for partiality? 3. Other than rich/poor discrimination, what are some other ways Christians differentiate between their brethren and thus show partiality? page 10

11 4. How could Christians, even in their church meetings, so blatantly show respect of persons? Don t they know better? Don t they realize God is no respecter of persons and neither should they? 5. Why do we show preferably treat people who are dressed nice? 6. Why do we treat with less respect a person who is poor? 7. Why could James so generalize his description of rich and poor people in vs. 5-7? Isn t it wrong to broad-brush people, making stereotypical remarks? 8. How else might partiality be seen in assemblies? 9. How does James 2:4 describe the person who shows favoritism? 10. Did James expect the law of loving neighbors to apply to visitors to church? 11. How is a person guilty of one sin, guilty of all? 12. What does the remarks of verse 11 say about me regarding others worse sinners than me? Rather, what should I show them? 13. By what law will we be judged? (2:12) What do you make of this? 14. How is it that mercy triumphs over (glories against) judgment? page 11

12 Lesson 5 - Chapter 2:14-26 For Quick Comprehension: 1. Can faith without works save a man? 2. How does James illustrate this principle in verses 15-16? 3. What is faith without works? (v.17) 4. What demonstrates that you have faith? 5. Who are pictured as at least having faith in verse 19? 6. Was Abraham justified by faith only, or faith that worked? 7. Who else does the writer give by way of illustration? For Deeper Discussion: 1. Are these things spoken primarily to Christians or non-christians? What does that say about the application of these remarks about faith and works? 2. Many religious people believe we are saved by faith only. How does that harmonize with what we read here? page 12

13 3. Harmonize these verses with Ephesians 2: What needs were seemingly present amongst the first Christians? (vs. 15) 5. Tie in the discussion of faith and works with relieving needy saints. What are his points? 6. Does it appear that man will get any credit for having faith alone? 7. What does it mean to say that demons believe and shudder? (James 2:19) 8. How does James address the person who thinks he can exhibit faith without works? (James 2:20) 9. What do works do for our faith? (v. 22) Are we then justified by perfect works or perfect faith? 10. When Abraham obeyed God, the passage was fulfilled that said he God. Can we then say that when we do what God says we are believing Him? And vice versa? 11. In verse 26 we can see the basic meaning of the word death. What is it? 12. Describe the faith that does not produce works of obedience and service. (James 2:26) page 13

14 Lesson 6 - Chapter 3:1-12 For Quick Comprehension: 1. Are many Christians to become teachers? 2. What will a Christian be if he avoids stumbling in word? 3. What three illustrations does James use to describe the power of the tongue, though a small thing? (3-5) 4. Generally, what course of action does our tongue take? 5. Can you ever perfectly tame your tongue, where it will always speak right? 6. What is said to often come out of the same mouth? 7. What two illustrations does the writer use to make this point? For Deeper Discussion: 1. Is the Bible discouraging Christians from becoming teachers? (v. 1) Aren t all Christians to be teachers? (Hebrews 5:12; II Timothy 2:2) 2. Does the comments about teachers tie in with his subsequent remarks about the tongue? How? page 14

15 3. Why the serious warning about clamoring to teach? 4. Do all men stumble? In how many ways? 5. How do you understand the statement about being a perfect man and bridling the whole body, if we do not stumble in our speech? 6. In what ways is the tongue like bits in the mouths of horses or the rudder on a whip? (James 3:3-5) 7. In what way can the tongue be compared to a fire? (James 3:5-6) 8. Why is taming the tongue so difficult? 9. What is an example of cursing men (v. 9)? 10. Why would a Christian use his tongue to bless God and curse men? 11. According to James, why should we refrain from cursing men? (James 3:9-12) 12. Name some ways that are inappropriate for a Christian to speak. page 15

16 Lesson 7 - Chapter 3:13-18 For Quick Comprehension: 1. How would the wise and understanding Christian be known? 2. Is bitter envy and selfish ambition compatible with walking in the truth? 3. How is the wisdom from above described in verse 17? 4. Christians are to be peaceable and make peace with others. T or F? For Deeper Discussion: 1. Describe someone you consider wise. Why do you have this view of them? 2. Describe some characteristics of those who you are unwise. 3. In your own words, what is verse 13 saying? 4. How can we determine when ambition becomes selfish and envious? 5. What words does James use to describe the wisdom that does not come from above? (James 3:15) 6. What makes this kind of thinking so destructive? (James 3:16) page 16

17 7. Can purity be compromised to achieve peace? (17) 8. Discuss the other facets of heavenly wisdom. 9. Write a thought for each of these beautiful words that describe heavenly wisdom. A. Pure-- B. Peaceable-- C. Gentle-- D. Open to Reason-- E. Full of Mercy -- F. Good Fruits -- G. Impartial -- H. Sincere What comes from being a person of wisdom and peace? (James 3:18) 11. How are wisdom and peace related? page 17

18 Lesson 8 - Chapter 4:1-10 For Quick Comprehension: 1. When strife comes between brethren, what is its origin? 2. Why do we sometimes not receive what we want? 3. Can we be a friend of the world and a friend of God at the same time? 4. God resists the, but gives grace to the. 5. What will the devil do if you resist him? 6. What must we do before God draws near to us? 7. Before being lifted up by God, what must we do? For Deeper Discussion: 1. Do you think the wars and murders and adultery spoken about in chapter 4 are literal or figurative? How could this describe the relationship between Christians? 2. Why does James refer to the passions within his readers as a war? 3. Why does James say these Christians did not have what they needed? (James 4:2) page 18

19 4. Why didn t these Christians receive those things they requested from God? (James 4:3) 5. In what way is friendship with the world unfaithfulness to God, making me His enemy? (James 4:4) 6. What is meant by being a friend of the world? 7. Why is it impossible to be both a friend of God and a friend of the world? 8. What is the meaning of verse 5? 9. James gives the following six instructions in overcoming worldliness. Identify and comment. A. In James 4:7... yourselves to God. B. Also in 4:7... the devil. C. In James 4:8... near to God. D. Also in 4:8... your hands and your hearts. E. In 4:9... and and. What does this type of reaction demonstrate? F. In James 4:10... yourselves before the Lord. What promise comes with this instruction? page 19

20 10. Why does the devil flee when you resist him? 11. What are some practical ways in which we might draw near to God 12. Why must we put our best foot forward before God responds to us? 13. What is the mourning and laughter about in verse 9? Lesson 9 - Chapter 4:11-17 For Quick Comprehension: 1. In speaking evil of a brother, what are we doing? 2. In planning for future events, what must we always keep in mind? 3. If we know to do good and do not do it, what is it? For Deeper Discussion: 1. What is so harmful about slander or criticism? (See also Proverbs 22:1) 2. How is it that I speak evil of the law when I speak evil of a brother? 3. Why is God alone worthy of being judge? (James 4:12) page 20

21 4. Is there a condemnation in verses of planning financial ventures in advance? 5. What does James 4:14 teach us about our lives? 6. What is meant by the phrase, If the Lord wills in James 4:15? 7. In James 4:16, how does James describe the attitude of one who takes tomorrow for granted? 8. How is it that omitting something good is sinful? Lesson 10 - Chapter 5:1-12 For Quick Comprehension 1. Were riches going to save a man from the miseries about to come? 2. How had many of the rich lived? 3. What are Christians urged to do when mistreated? 4. Who were they to recall as examples of patience while suffering? 5. Were they to engage in swearing to affect there yes and no answers? page 21

22 For Deeper Discussion 1. Riches have a way of doing what to the owners? 2. Riches are often acquired through abuse of workers. Is this still true today? 3. How do we determine the meaning of rich? How much money or possessions does it take to be considered rich? 4. How might riches or possessions cause one person to neglect or mistreat another? 5. Why do employers sometimes seem to be unconcerned about their employees? 6. James is writing to a first-century audience. Do we see this same type of abuse of wealth and power today? If so give examples. 7. What does James 5:2-3 teach us about our possessions? 8. Describe some ways in which people put their hopes in their money or possessions? 9. How can the pursuit of money become a trap? Why does this happen? 10.How can money or possessions cause us to neglect God? page 22

23 11. Twice the Lord s coming is mentioned as being at hand. Explain. 12. What might the outcome be of brethren grumbling against one another? 13. Primarily, what is meant by patience in this text? 14. How is the lack of patience and grumbling related? 15. How long must we be patient? 16. How should we react to those with whom we disagree when we know that we are right? 17. Are we ever impatient with God? If so, how is this impatience expressed? 18. James 5:7 says to be patient until the Lord s coming. What do we know about the nearness of the Lord s coming? 19. A failure in patience is often reflected in our speech; with this in mind, what is the meaning of James 5:12? 20. What was the end accomplished by God in the sufferings of Job? page 23

24 Lesson 11 - Chapter 5:13-20 For Quick Comprehension 1. How were they to respond to suffering, cheerfulness, and sickness? 2. Why were they encouraged to confess their trespasses to one another? 3. How effective can prayer be? 4. If a brother wanders away from the truth, what should someone do? For Deeper Discussion 1. Is the healing of sickness under consideration in verses only physical? 2. What are the elders to do for the one who is sick? (James 5:14) 3. What can prayer do for the one who is sick? (James 5:15) 4. What two instructions are given in James 5:16? 5. What purpose would be served by confessing sin to one another? 6. What makes prayer so powerful? page 24

25 7. Are we to understand from verse 17-18, that we could pray and it not rain today? 8. What can be concluded about the condition of a Christian who has wandered away from the truth, if he is not turned back? 9. What does it mean to wander from the truth? (James 5:19?) 10. What is the danger in wandering from the truth? (James 5:20) 11. How can we go about helping someone who is wandering from the truth? page 25

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