1. James addresses his readers as the twelve tribes. What are two other ways he addresses them here in James Chapter 1? One is a term of affection and the other is a vision of what they should become.
1 - brethren, as in these four verses:
2 - A kind of Firstfruits of God’s creation, as in verse 18
2. In James Chapter 1 verse 2 we are told to consider it pure joy when we are surrounded by temptations. This is not a new idea at all for Christians. Paul said in Romans 5:3 that we should glory or be joyful in our tribulations. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said:
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matthew 5:11-12
We are not talking here only of our choices here, but of our attitudes and mindset toward the inevitable temptations we face in life. From the readings of Matthew 5:11-12, Romans 5:1-5, and James 1:2-4, how can we be joyful when we are tempted?
We can be mindful and patient (as in James 1:2-4 and Romans 5:3-5) for our reward in heaven (as Jesus reminds us in Matthew 5:12) which can give us great hope and joy because of the love of God which is manifest in us through the Holy Spirit
3. If you were to flowchart or map the words or concepts of James Chapter 1 verse 3 and Romans Chapter 5 verses 4 and 5 that are related it could look something like the chart below.
Fill in the blank with the concept keywords from the verses as they build upon one another from left to right. What is the power that allows these concepts to work together and what is the end result?
The love of God and the Holy Spirit is the power that allows these to work together (Romans 5:5). The end result is that we may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:4).
1. James Chapter 1 verse 12 brings up the topic of trials or temptations we saw in verses 2, 3, and 4. The types of temptations and trials we face as Christians are either self-imposed or brought about by others. They can be in the form of persecutions by others for our faith; trials of our circumstances in this life such as poverty, sickness or disease; temptations to sin against God by thinking, saying or doing things that are contrary to His Word; or simply choosing to please ourselves rather than the God who created us and loves us.
Here in James Chapter 1 verse 12 James tells us that some Christians who are tempted will receive a crown of life.
Which Christians receive the crown from the Lord?
Christians who endure receive the crown of life
Where else does the Bible talk about a crown of life?
In that passage, what trials are Christians encouraged to endure?
Christians are encouraged in Revelation 2:10 to endure trials and tribulations of prison and of death
2. Consider the instruction we receive in James Chapter 1 verses 5 through 8. Rewrite in your own words how one is to acquire wisdom based on this instruction.
If you lack wisdom, ask God for it. But when you ask, don’t waver in your believing that He will provide it, because God freely gives to all and doesn’t fault you for asking. Be confident that God will deliver, or you will receive nothing.
3. What is the lesson of James Chapter 1 verses 9, 10 and 11? How can one who is poor be proud and one who is rich be humble?
Jeremiah Chapter 9, verses 23 and 24 helps us to understand this:
23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
Jesus tell us in Mark Chapter 10 that if you trust in riches it will be hard for you to enter into the Kingdom of God:
17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
Jesus also tells us in Luke Chapter 12 the parable of the fool who laid up treasures on earth but who was not rich toward God:
16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
1. From a reading of James Chapter 1 verses 13 through 18, James was addressing a doctrinal error that stated that one is tempted by God to sin. Why does it not make sense to believe that one could be tempted of God? Why would someone wish to claim that he or she was tempted by God?
God cannot both want us to abide by His will and tempt us to not follow it by tempting us to sin or go against His will by yielding to temptation
When someone claims they are tempted of God, then they are trying to say that it’s OK for them to sin because they were tempted of God
2. Why can’t God be tempted?
God does not have a sin nature like we do, He is holy and perfect. The devil cannot entice God to want what he (the devil) has because what the devil has is nothing compared to God, remember the devil wants to be as God and not the other way around.
As Albert Barnes notes in his commentary, with God:
3. The two possible consequences of our temptations as provided here in James Chapter 1 are a crown of life (verse 12) and death (verse 15). In James Chapter 1 verses 14 and 15 we learn that we are all tempted away from fellowship with God by our own lust or desires which lead to sin.
What can we do to avoid sin?
We can avoid sin by knowing the Word of God and relying on it to guide our preparations for and reactions to sin as Jesus Christ did in Matthew 4
What does God’s Word tell us to do?
God Word tells us to pray for strength to resist temptation as Jesus told his disciples – God tells us in I Corinthians 10 that we will not be tempted above that which we are able to overcome
1. What is meant by the term “first-fruits” in James Chapter 1 verse 18?
From Vincent’s Word Studies:
A kind of indicates the figurative nature of the term. Time figure is taken from the requirement of the Jewish law that the first-born of men and cattle, and the first growth of fruits and grain should be consecrated to the Lord. The point of the illustration is that Christians, like first-fruits, should be consecrated to God. The expression “first-fruits” is common in the New Testament.
See Romans 8:23; Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 1 Corinthians 15:23; Revelation 14:4
2. Why should we be swift to hear and slow to speak as James teaches us in James Chapter 1 verse 19? What are three things we can do to become “faster” hearers and “slower” speakers?
We should be swift to hear and slow to speak because it will promote peace and understanding in our relationships with one another. We want peace because, as verse 20 says, an angry man does not bring about or work the righteousness of God. It is better to esteem others before ourselves (Philippians 2:3).
To become a faster hearer:
To become a slower speaker:
3. Why is the analogy of the man in the mirror such an appropriate comparison of a hearer of the Word only?
(see James Chapter 1, verses 23 and 24)
One Man’s Opinion:
It is a great analogy because the idea carries with it the concept of identity. When you are a doer of the Word you are, by your actions, deliberately identifying yourself as a believer. We act on our beliefs because we believe. If you don’t believe the Word you won’t do what it calls you to do.
If you believe the Word of God, the Holy Spirit lives in you and inspires you to live the Word, to be a Word doer. After you are born again, you are not your own and don’t live for yourself, you live for God and therefore you DO for God. You are a doer of the Word and not merely a hearer.
1. James Chapter 1 isn't the only place God teaches us about our tongues. Study these verses from the Book of Psalms to fill in the concepts and whom is being spoken of with these references to evil or unbridled tongues (vs. 26). Do you see any patterns?
You can easily see a pattern of deceit and lies by evil and wicked men.
1. Study these verses below. What are some ways we can use our tongues, our ability to speak, our mouths, and ability to communicate that are in alignment with the Word of God?
As we read in Romans Chapter 10, verses 9 and 10, the greatest thing we could ever do in our lives is to confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord in our lives.
When we confess Him as our savior, we become righteous and we are born again, saved from eternal death and receive eternal life.
If you haven't confessed Jesus Christ as Lord,
why don’t you do it today?
James and Jude Bible Commentaries
We offer a free commentary on the Books of James and Jude. This 123 page free resource is a great Bible Study aid for the Books of James and Jude. It is authored by Dr. Bob Utley and offered to you through our partnership with Bible Lessons International.