James Chapter 1

In this study of James chapter 1, we learn how Christians are to deal with trials and temptations that undoubtedly will come our way.  We also learn that we are to be not only to be hearers, but doers of the Word of God. 

Your learning comes from reading and studying the Bible.  After you've read the Scripture passage below, it's a good idea to answer the daily study questions.

God Bless and enjoy your study!  Oh, by the way check out the fun quiz at the bottom of the page.

James Chapter 1
(King James Version)

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. 

2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: 10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. 11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.

12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. 27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Choose Another Translation If You Wish


Some Background Information

In James chapter 1 verse 1 this epistle is addressed to “the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad.”  Various commentators provide insights on this point.  Probably the most insightful is that of D.J. Moo provided in the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary.

From that reference we learn that the "Twelve Tribes" might suggest that James is writing to an audience of Jews or Christian Jews.  However, Moo points out that this language had become symbolic of the  people of God and was probably was generally used of Christians. He summarizes that the language of the letter suggests a Jewish-Christian audience. But then Moo provides some interesting background information.

James is addressing Jewish-Christians who are living as exiles in areas near Palestine.  They're exiles because of their faith in Jesus Christ.  As exiles, they're facing the trials mentioned by the epistle; they are:

  • poor (5:1-11)
  • hauled into court by wealthy people (2:4-6)
  • oppressed by large landowners (5:5-6)

Moo points out these are the typical troubles exiles faced from Jews who were unhappy with their allegiance to Jesus as the Messiah.

ossuary of James

Lexham Press. Logos Bible Software Infographics. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2009.

Daily Study Questions

Day One

1.  James addresses his readers as the twelve tribes.  What are two other ways he addresses them here in James chapter 1?  

One's a term of affection and the other's a vision of what they should become.

2.  In James chapter 1 verse 2 we're told to consider it pure joy when we're surrounded by temptations.  

This isn't 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: 

   You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say

    every kind of evil against you because of Me.  

   Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven.

   For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.         

                                                                                  Matthew 5:11–12     

The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009.

We're 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? 

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's the power that allows these concepts to work together and what's the end result?

Click here to down load the chart as a PDF file 

Day Two

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?
  • Where else does the Bible talk about a crown of life?
  • In that passage, what trials are Christians encouraged to endure?

2.  Consider the instruction we receive in James chapter 1 verses 5 through 8.  Rewrite in your own words how one acquires wisdom based on this instruction. 

3.  What's the lesson of James chapter 1 verses 9, 10 and 11? How can one who's poor be proud and one who is rich be humble?

Day Three

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 doesn't it make sense to believe that one could be tempted of God?  
  • Why would someone wish to claim he or she was tempted by God? 

2.  Why can’t God be tempted? 

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're all tempted  away from fellowship with God by our own lust or desires which lead to sin.  What can we do to avoid sin?  What does God’s Word tell us to do?


Day Four

1.  What's meant by the term “first-fruits” in verse 18 of James chapter 1? 

2.  Why should we be swift to hear and slow to speak as James teaches us in James chapter 1 verse 19?  What're three things we can do to become “faster” hearers and “slower” speakers?

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.)

Day Five

1.  James chapter 1 isn't the only place God teaches us about our tongues.  Study these verses from the Book of Psalms. 

  • Psalm 5:9 - For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.
  • Psalm 10:7 - His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.
  • Psalm 50:19 - Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.
  • Psalm 52:2 - Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
  • Psalm 52:4 - Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue.
  • Psalm 109:2 - For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
  • Psalm 120:2 - Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.
  • Psalm 120:3 - What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue?

What are the concepts and whom is being spoken of with these references to evil or unbridled tongues (vs. 26).  Do you see any patterns? 

Day Six

1.  Study these verses below. 

  • Psalm 35:28 - And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.
  • Psalm 37:30 - The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.
  • Psalm 39:1 - I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
  • Psalm 51:14 - Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
  • Psalm 71:24 - My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.
  • Psalm 119:172 - My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.

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?

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