Summary: James is writing this book to Christians who have scattered out from Jerusalem. He covers multiple concepts throughout this book, but they can be boiled down to “being doers of the word and not just hearers” and “withstanding the trials”. Due to Christian persecution & poverty the church has broken into factions that are at odds with each other and is causing some to fail at putting their faith into practice.
(V. 1-7) The context in which James is writing this book is much like today. Partiality was a part of culture in that time. People were judged and classified based on things like ethnicity, nationality, and religious background. James reminds us that God designed us to be welcoming and open to all people regardless of differences, because of our common faith. When Christians act as God has called them to (in James’s time & ours) we stick out to the world and people know that God is the reason. This brings glory to His name and he is pleased.
(V. 8-13) We are not perfect people. We will never be able to keep the whole law, but that does not mean we shouldn’t strive to obey all of them. We are reminded here that we can not pick and choose which ones of God’s laws we want to follow. If we fail at even one of God’s commands then we will be judged as a failure of all of them. Luckily for us the grace of God in Jesus’s death will cover our shortcomings, but that love and grace we have been shown should drive us to want to obey that much more.
(V. 14-26) James is a “doer”. His love for Jesus has changed him from the inside out and given a passion for the works of Christ. We are reminded here that if someone has truly been changed, then they will work for the Lord. If we claim to have faith in Christ but continue to live and work for our own glory (ex. pouring ourselves into work, kids, sports, hobbies etc instead of using our resources and lives to share Christ with people) then we haven’t experienced the true Gospel. Our faith should drive us to a point of service for Christ. This is a great concept for us to use to evaluate our spiritual health.
How has your week been spiritually? / What is God teaching you?
What sins are you struggling with that you need to confess?
(V. 1-7) What are a few situations in which you showed unfair partiality & why?
(V. 1-7) What does our partiality teach us about our understanding of the Gospel?
(V. 1-7) How is God using impartial people to reconcile the world back to himself?
(V. 8-13) How do you explain verse 10?
(V. 8-13) Which commands do you tend to forget most often? How can you change that?
(V. 14-26) What does it mean for faith without works to be dead?
(V. 14-26) Do your works point back to the idea that the Gospel has changed you?