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Practical Christianity

Questions to Discuss on

the General Epistle of James

James – Introductory Matters

Author: James, the brother of Jesus

The most reasonable identity of James seems to be that he was the brother of Jesus. The apostle James, son of Zebedee and brother of John had already been killed in Acts 12; James, the father of Apostle Judas and the apostle James “the Less”, the son of Alphaeus are relatively obscure and are not likely candidates. James the brother of Jesus rose to prominence in the early days of the church had a strong connection to Jewish law, and the language parallels that of the words from the Jewish council, Acts 15:23-29. Ref also: Acts 12:17, 15:13-21, 21:18. He was called a “pillar of the church” by Paul in Galatians 2:9, 12 and was a prominent leader in settling the controversy in Acts 15. Tradition also supports this theory.

Some have tried to argue for an even earlier date to make James, the brother of John, the author of this book before he was killed. (Acts 12:2)

I believe the author is James, the brother of Jesus. He does not identify himself as an apostle. He does simply say he is a servant of Jesus Christ. This is the same way another brother of Jesus, Jude, begins his book.

Date: 44 – 55 (more likely earlier than later – probably 45-48

It was written after the dispersion of Jewish Christians (Acts 8:4) and in a period in which the church may have been suffering from distress. So the time frame of writing was most likely between AD44 and AD55. Many believe this letter to be the earliest of the New Testament writings. Paul's first writing was about 52. This book was written about 5 years earlier.

To whom: Christians around the world

James is one of the “general epistles.” The term means that the letter is addressed to a broad audience, as opposed to letters addresses to a specific church, area, or individual. Some older commentaries and books refer to these as the catholic epistles. The word catholic means universal, and is not a reference to the Catholic Church. The other “general epistles” are 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, 3 John and Jude. They are general epistles because they are not addressed to a specific individual, church or territory.

The letter is addressed to Christians living outside the land of Palestine. The 12 “tribes scattered abroad” could address Jewish Christians who were in many nations of the world. Most believe it is addressed to the “spiritual” Israel, the church, thus Christians who were scattered during the persecution of Saul. See Acts 8:1-4 and Acts 11:19.

Purpose: Teaching practical Christianity

The purpose of writing seems to be to bolster a weak Christian’s faith by emphasizing the practical aspects of brotherhood. James stresses our need to receive the word, develop a working knowledge (wisdom), and make application (work). The attitude (meekness), the stamina (endurance), and the goal (salvation) of Christianity all are emphasized to encourage the Christian. It is truly a treatise concerning “faith” and a practical explanation of the pure religion. All Christians should consider it a manual for moving froward from the point of conversion to maturity in Christ.

This book is full of practical advice on topics of how to live the Christian life. Topics like:

  1. Prayer

  2. The tongue

  3. Anger

  4. Partiality and prejudice

  5. Wealthy vs. poor

  6. Wisdom (earthy vs. heavenly)

  7. Temptation

  8. Faith and works

  9. Dealing with doubt

  10. And many more

* Most of this introduction is from the study notes of Dan Williams, Winchester, Tennessee.



  1. Introduction 1:1

  1. Trials and true religion 1:2-27

    1. The value of trials 1:2-11

      1. The proper attitude toward trials 1:2

      2. The end product of trials 1:3-4

      3. Help in adopting this attitude 1:5-8

      4. The larger view of circumstances 1:9-11

    2. The options in trials 1:12-18

      1. The ultimate end of trials 1:12

      2. The source of temptation 1:13-14

      3. The progress of temptation 1:15

      4. The goodness of God 1:16-18

    3. The proper response to trials 1:19-27

      1. The improper response 1:19-20

      2. The essential response 1:21

      3. The complete response 1:22-25

      4. The external behavior 1:26-27

  1. Partiality and vital faith 2:1-26

    1. The problem of favoritism 2:1-13

      1. The negative command 2:1

      2. The present improper practice 2:2-4

      3. The inconsistency of favoritism 2:5-7

      4. The Christian's duty 2:8-9

      5. The importance of partiality 2:10-11

      6. The implication of our own judgment 2:12

    2. The importance of vital faith 2:14-26

      1. James' assertion 2:14

      2. James' illustration 2:15-16

      3. James' restatement of his point 2:17

      4. An objection 2:18

      5. James' rebuttal 2:19-23

      6. James' final argument 2:24-26

  1. Speech and divine wisdom 3:1-18

    1. Controlling the tongue 3:1-12

      1. The negative warning 3:1

      2. The reason for the warning 3:2

      3. Examples of the danger 3:3-8

      4. The uncontrollable nature of the tongue 3:7-8

      5. The inconsistency of the tongue 3:9-12

    2. Controlling the mind 3:13-18

      1. The importance of humility 3:13

      2. The importance of graciousness 3:14-16

      3. The importance of loving peace 3:17-18

  1. Conflicts and humble submission 4:1-17

    1. Interpersonal and inner personal tensions 4:1-10

      1. The source of conflict 4:1

      2. The explanation of the conflict 4:2-3

      3. The nature of the choice 4:4-5

      4. The resources to choose right 4:6-10

    2. Self-exaltation 4:11-12

    3. Self-reliance 4:13-17

      1. The self-centered person 4:13-16

      2. The concluding exhortation 4:17

  1. Money and patient endurance 5:1-18

    1. Warnings for the rich 5:1-6

      1. The introduction of the problem 5:1

      2. The corrosive effect of wealth 5:2-3

      3. The misuse of wealth 5:4-6

    2. The proper attitude 5:7-12

      1. The exhortation to be patient 5:7-9

      2. Examples of endurance 5:10-11

      3. The evidence of patience 5:12

    3. The proper action 5:13-18

      1. The way of release 5:13

      2. The prescription for help 5:14-16

      3. The power of prayer 5:17-18

  1. The way back to living by faith 5:19-20


* The above outline is from “Notes on James, 2007 Edition” by Dr. Thomas L. Constable


Outline of Chapter One

  1. Temptation and Joy 2-4

  2. Wisdom 5

  3. Doubt 6-8

  4. Low Degree 9

  5. Temptation 12

    1. Lust

    2. Entice

    3. Conceive

    4. Sin

    5. Death

  6. Deceived 16

  7. Hear, speak, wrath 19-20

  8. The Word 21

  9. Doers 22

  10. Perfect Law 25

  11. Pure Religion 26-27

Discussion Questions on Chapter One

(The question numbers refer to the verse number.)

  1. Which James is the author of this book?
    What is a “bond servant”?
    Is this book addressed to Jews or Christians?
    Who are the “12 tribes” mentioned here?
    Where do they live?

  2. What is the meaning of the word “temptation”?
    Is “temptation” used in more than one way in the NT?
    Could temptation be a trial or a testing in this passage?
    What does 1 Corinthians 10:13 teach about temptations?
    How can temptation be a joy?
    Define: Joy
    What is the difference in joy and happiness?

  3. How is our faith tested?
    What is a definition of patience?
    How does faith produce patience?

  4. How does patience make us perfect?
    How does patience work?
    Does “perfect” mean without flaw or error?
    Can we say that we lack nothing?
    Does “nothing” include material things?
    Is this verse talking about having all spiritual needs met?

  5. What is wisdom?
    Can we get wisdom from God by asking for it?
    How do we receive wisdom?
    What part does experience and knowledge have in our wisdom?

  6. Why is doubt dangerous?
    List some reasons we begin to doubt.
    How do we ask in faith?
    Explain how we are like a ship tossed by the wind.

  7. Why do we NOT get what we seek from the Lord?
    Why would God not answer or prayer?
    Why do we not ask for what we need from God?

  8. What is a double-minded person?
    Why are we double-minded in some situations?
    How is the double-minded person unstable?

  9. Who is a lowly brother?
    Is there anything wrong with being poor?
    When is the lowly brother be exalted?
    How does exaltation come?

  10. Who is rich?
    How are the rich humiliated?
    Is there anything wrong with being rich?
    What is the point of the flower that passes away?
    Why is wealth said to be temporary?

  11. What is the message of this verse?
    Does this passage teach that beauty fades?
    How does this illustration apply to the rich?

  12. How do we endure temptation?
    What is the meaning of “temptation” in this verse?
    What is the crown of life?
    Who will receive the crown of life?
    When do we get this crown? (2 Timothy 4:8)

  13. What does “temp” mean in this verse?
    Does God tempt us?
    Why isn't it God's fault when we are tempted?
    If God does not tempt me, how am I tempted?
    Explain Genesis 22:1
    Can we tempt God?
    Compare with Deuteronomy 6:16 and Matthew 4:7.

  14. Define “lust”.
    How does lust draw us away?

  15. What is the definition of sin?
    Study 1 John 3:4; Romans 3:23; James 4:17.
    What are sins of “omission” and “commission”?
    How does lust give birth to sin?
    How does sin “grow up”?
    Why does sin result in death?
    In the Garden of Eden, did sin result in physical or spiritual death?
    What kind of “death” is meant in this verse?

  16. Why are we given a warning about being deceived?
    How are brethren deceived?
    Does this verse refer to the passage above OR the statement to follow?

  17. Where do all good things come from?
    What is “good” in this verse?
    Explain how God is the “Father of lights”?
    What is meant by the expression “no variation”?
    What is the significance of having no “shadow of turning”?

  18. How is our salvation the will of God?
    What is the “word of truth” mentioned here?

How are we the first fruits of his creatures?
What does “first fruits” mean in this verse?

Study 1 Corinthians 15:23 and Revelation 14:4

  1. Why should we be swift to hear?
    Hear what?
    What does the word “hear” mean?
    What is the intent of “slow to speak”?
    Why should we be slow to wrath?
    Is there a difference in wrath and anger?

  2. What are the results of wrath?
    Can one be filled with wrath and still live righteously?
    Is it
    always a sin to be angry?
    Was Jesus ever angry? (See Mark 3:5)

  3. What is meant by filthiness?
    Define: wickedness.
    What is meekness?
    Is meekness a sign of weakness?
    What is the implanted word?
    How is the word implanted?
    How does the word save our souls?
    What else “saves” us? Make a list of the things that save.

  4. Why are we to be doers?
    Are we saved by faith OR doing the will of God?
    How can we be hearers only?
    Explain how we deceive ourselves?

  5. What is the purpose of looking in a mirror?
    How can you identify a hearer only?
    How can you tell if one is a hearer AND doer?

  6. How do we forget what kind of person we are?
    Why do we try to forget what kind of person we are?
    In what way do we observe ourselves?
    Do we see ourselves differently that others see us?
    How does an anorexic see themselves?

  7. What is the perfect law of liberty?
    How can it be liberty and be law at the same time?
    What is required for us to “continue” in this law?
    What is implied about not continuing in the law?
    Why are we forgetful hearers?
    How are we blessed in keeping the law?

  8. Define – Religious
    Can we “seem” to be religious without it being genuine?
    Study Matthew 23:14.
    How do we bridle our tongue?
    Name some ways we deceive our hearts.
    Why is this person's religion useless?

  9. What makes religion pure?
    Explain how religion can be defiled.
    What does it mean to “visit” widows and orphans?
    What is an “orphan” in this passage?
    Study this word in John 14:18.
    Can we keep unspotted from the world?
    How can we live IN the world and not be spotted BY the world?


Outline of Chapter Two

  1. Favoritism 1-13

    1. Negative command 1

    2. Improper practice 2-4

    3. Inconsistency 5-7

    4. Our Duty 8-9

    5. Importance of partiality 10-11

    6. Matter of Judgment 12

  2. Living Faith

    1. Assertion 14

    2. Illustration 15-16

    3. Restatement 17

    4. An objection 18

    5. Rebuttal 19-23

    6. Final Argument 24-26

Discussion Questions on Chapter Two

(The question numbers refer to the verse number.)

  1. Who is addressed in this verse?
    How do we “hold” faith?
    What is partiality?
    Is partiality another word or prejudice?
    List some kinds or types of partiality in our world.
    Can we have faith in Jesus and be partial?

  2. What kind of partiality is illustrated?
    How should we treat those who come into our assemblies?
    How should we treat a person with expensive clothes and jewelry?
    How should we treat a person in dirty clothes?
    What is the difference in the soul of these two types of people?

  3. Should we pay attention to the wealthy person?
    Should we pay attention to the poor person?
    Why do we show some people more attention than others?
    Have you ever been on the other end – treated differently for some reason?
    List some ways we show distinction in how we treat people.

  4. How do we show partiality?
    How do we become judges?
    Is judging – right or wrong?
    Are there passages that teach judging is wrong?
    Read these verses: Matthew 7:1; Romans 14:10, 13
    Are there passages that suggest judging is right?
    Study these passages: John 7:24; 1 Corinthians 6:2-3
    How can you tell when judging is forbidden?
    In what areas are we to judge others?
    In what areas are we forbidden to judge others?

  5. Why does James tell us to listen?
    Why don't we pay attention as we should?
    Is our attention span as long as it should be?
    How are the poor chosen to be rich in faith?
    Is it better to be poor than rich?
    Name some rich men that God blessed.
    Name some poor men that God blessed.
    Name some poor men that God made wealthy.
    Who are heirs of the kingdom?
    To whom is the kingdom promised?

  6. How do we dishonor some people?
    What does the term “disrespect” mean as we describe how others treat us?

How do rich people oppress us?
Why does James say that the rich drag us into courts?
Is the legal system slanted toward the rich?

  1. What does the word “blaspheme” mean?
    Why do some think blasphemy is an unforgivable sin?
    What does Matthew 12:31-32 teach?
    How do the rich blaspheme?
    Whom do they blaspheme?
    What is the name we are called?

  2. What is the “royal law” in the Scriptures?
    What “scriptures” are intended here?
    Explain: Love your neighbor.
    Explain: As yourself.
    Who is my neighbor?
    Study Luke 10:25-37.
    Is our neighbor one who lives around us or one we can help?
    How can we fulfill this law of God?

  3. How do we show partiality to others?
    What ever happened to “sin” in our language?
    Why do avoid this word?
    Why do we use – mistake, goof, error in judgment – instead of SIN?
    Why is partiality a sin?
    What does the word “transgressor” mean?

  4. Who keeps the whole law?
    Was it possible to keep every precept in the Law of Moses?
    What does it mean to stumble?
    Have you ever “tripped” over some command in the Bible?
    Why is “one point” the same as violating the entire law?
    Why are we guilty of all the law by failing in one point?

  5. What law is quoted?
    What is adultery as used in the Ten Commandments?
    What is murder as used in the Ten Commandments?
    When does one become a transgressor of the law?

  6. How should we speak?
    Why will be NOT be judged by the Law of Moses?
    By what law will we be judged?

  7. Is God a God of mercy?
    Will there come a time when His mercy will end?
    What part does our showing mercy to others have in our judgment?
    How does mercy triumph over judgment?

  8. Can someone claim to have faith, but not be saved?
    How is the word “profit” used in this verse?
    What is meant by “works” in this section?
    Can faith save?
    Can faith without works save?

  9. How should we treat a poor brother or sister?
    What does the word “benevolence” mean?
    What does the word “destitute” imply?
    What about a widow who is destitute? (1 Timothy 5:5)

  10. Should we wish the poor well?
    Should our wishes be supported by our actions?
    Is there any value in well wishing without actual help?
    Are there some we should NOT help?
    Give a definition of the word – Help.
    Are there things we do that do NOT help?

  11. Can our faith be dead?
    Explain how faith saves.
    Are we saved by faith?
    What is faith by itself?
    What are the “works” mentioned in this verse?
    Can our faith go up and down, have highs and lows?
    Can our faith die?

  12. Can we separate faith from works?
    Can one have works without faith?
    Can one have faith without works?
    How do we demonstrate our faith?
    Explain how works show our faith.

  13. How many gods are there?
    Does Satan believe in God?
    Will Satan be saved? (Since faith saves, will Satan be saved?)
    What does the word “tremble” suggest?
    Why did Felix tremble in Acts 24:25?

  14. Who is a foolish man?
    Are men foolish or is it their actions?
    Is this information important to you?
    Does it make a difference if our faith is dead or not?

  15. Discuss: Abraham's faith.
    Was Abraham justified by faith OR by works?
    What did the sacrifice of Isaac show about the faith of Abraham?
    See Romans 4:1-12.
    Is there a contradiction between Romans and James?

  16. How does faith function together with works?
    How is faith made perfect by our works?
    See Galatians 5:6 - “faith working by love”

  17. What does Genesis 15:6 teach about Abraham?
    What does the word “accounted” (imputed in KJV) mean?
    Was Abraham righteous or was it just accounted as if he was righteous?
    Why was Abraham called the “Friend of God”?

  18. Is man justified by: a)faith, b) works, c) both, or d) neither?
    Explain the denominational teaching of “faith only.”
    How many times does this phrase occur in the New Testament?

  19. Who was Rahab?
    What was her “occupation”?
    Why is she always connected with it?
    How was she justified by works?
    What do the examples of Abraham and Rahab teach us?

  20. Explain the example of the body and the spirit.
    What is the spirit of man?
    What is the soul of man?
    What is the difference between spirit and soul?
    What does Hebrews 4:12 teach about spirit and soul?
    How is faith dead without works?


Outline of Chapter Three

  1. Control the Tongue 1-18

    1. Negative warning 1

    2. Reason 2

    3. Examples of danger 3-8

    4. Uncontrollable 7-8

    5. Inconsistency 9-12

  2. Controlling the mind 13-18

    1. Humility 13

    2. Graciousness 14-16

    3. Peace 17-18

Sermon outline on James 3:1-12 (no extra charge)

  1. Important tongue 1-2

  2. Influential tongue 3-4

  3. Inflamed tongue 5-6

  4. Impossible tongue 7-8

  5. Inconsistent tongue 9-12

Discussion Questions on Chapter Three

(The question numbers refer to the verse number.)

  1. How important is it to teach the truth?

What is implied in the phrase “stricter” punishment?
Will judgment be worse for those who teach falsely?
Why will judgment be stricter for teachers?
Does this passage suggest that we don't need teachers?

  1. List some ways we stumble.
    How do we “stumble in word”?
    Are any of us a perfect man?
    What is a bridle? What does it do?
    What would it take to bridle the whole body?

  2. Explain the use of a bit in a horse's mouth.
    How does this control the horse?
    Why does turning the head direct the whole body?

  3. What does the rudder do on a large ship?
    What is the point of the bit and rudder examples?

  4. What is the meaning of the word “tongue” in this chapter?
    The tongue (as used here) is: a) a muscle in the mouth; b) a language (English or Spanish, for example); c) the words uttered
    What does it take to start a large forest fire?
    How does this illustration compare with the tongue?

  5. How is the tongue a fire?
    How is the tongue a world of iniquity?
    How does the tongue defile the whole body?
    How is the tongue set on fire by hell?
    What is “hell” in this passage?
    What does the Greek word “gehenna” mean?
    What is the difference in the Greek words “gehenna” and “hades” in the New Testament?

  6. Name some animals that might be tamed.
    Name some animals that might be pets in your house.
    What animals are tamed in a circus?
    If we can tame tigers, why can't we tame the tongue?

  7. Why can't we tame our tongue?
    What kind of training will it take to control the tongue?
    Discuss: Companion in Malachi 2:14.
    How is the tongue an unruly evil?
    Why does James say it is full of deadly poison?

  8. How do we “bless” with the tongue?
    List some ways we use the word “bless” today.
    How do we “curse” with the tongue?
    Does this mean we use profanity or take God's name in vain?
    What is the contradiction mentioned in this verse?
    How are we made in the similitude of God?

  9. What is the point of this verse?
    Is it possible to bless and curse with the same tongue?
    What does James say should not be?

  10. Explain the illustration of the water from a spring.

  11. Explain the example of a fig tree and grapevine.
    What is the conclusion of these examples?

  12. Do you know any “wise” men?
    Is this the same as the wise men who visited the child Jesus?
    Discuss the wise men in Daniel 2.
    How would you define “wise” and “understanding”?
    What is meekness?
    Does having wisdom keep us from sinning?

  13. What is envy?
    What is bitter envy?
    Why is self-seeking (selfish ambition in KJV) included here?
    What is boasting?
    Why is boasting wrong?
    Is it ever OK to boast?

  14. What is the difference in earthly wisdom and heavenly wisdom?
    Why is earthly wisdom called sensual?
    What does James mean by calling this wisdom demonic?

  15. What is “every evil thing”?
    Study 1 Thessalonians 5:22.
    What is the confusion mentioned here?
    How do envy and self-seeking lead to evil things?

  16. How would you describe wisdom that is from above?
    How is it pure?
    How is it peaceable?
    How is it gentle?
    How is it willing to yield?
    How is it full of mercy?
    How does it bear good fruit?
    How is it without partiality?
    How is it without hypocrisy?
    Where can you buy this kind of wisdom?

  17. What is the fruit of righteousness?
    Name some kinds or types of peace.
    How can we have peace with God?
    How can we live in peace with others?
    How can we find internal peace?
    Did Jesus come to bring peace?
    Compare – Luke 2:8-14 and Matthew 10:34.


Outline of Chapter Four

  1. Dealing with conflicts

    1. Source 1

    2. Explanation 2-4

    3. Choice 4-5

    4. Resources 6-10

  2. Humility / Self-exaltation 11-12

  3. Self-reliance 13-17

    1. Self-centered 13-16

    2. Exhortation 17

Discussion Questions on Chapter Four

(The question numbers refer to the verse number.)

  1. Why do nations fight wars?

Does this passage refer to personal “wars” and fighting?
Could this verse refer to the internal battles in our heart and mind?
Why would personal battles be caused by our desires?
What kind of war takes place within ourselves?

  1. Does lust always lead to obtaining?
    Why are murder and covet mentioned?
    Give a simple definition of “covet” in the New Testament.
    Why do we fight?
    Discuss: You do not have because you do not ask.
    Are there times that we fail to ask God for what we need?
    Why don't we ask God for the things we believe we need?

  2. What are some ways that God responds to our prayers?
    Does God say “NO” in response to some of our requests?
    Are there times that God answers our prayers in ways we did not expect or anticipate?
    Are there situations were the answer seems to be delayed?
    Study Daniel 10:1-14 – (esp. vs. 4 and 12).
    List some ways we can “ask amiss” in our prayers.
    Why is seeking to spend things for pleasure wrong?
    Are all forms of pleasure sinful?

  3. Who are the adulterers and adulteresses in this verse?
    Are these words literal or use in a figurative sense?
    In what ways are we friends with the world?
    What should be the relationship of the Christian to the world?
    See John 17:12-18.
    Is there a difference in being IN the world and being OF the world?
    What does the word “enmity” mean?
    How do we become the enemy of God?

  4. Is there any “vain” passage of scripture?
    Are there sections of scripture that are “just filler” and of little value or importance to us?
    Explain: How does the Spirit dwell in us?
    When you were baptized, you were promised – remission of sins AND the gift of the Holy Spirit. What did you get at baptism?
    What does the Holy Spirit do in, to, and for the Christian?
    Is this verse talking about the Holy Spirit or our spirit?
    What is the jealousy mentioned here?

  5. How does God give grace?
    What is grace, as it is used in this verse?
    Is this the grace that saves? (Ephesians 2:8-9)
    Why do we “say grace” before we eat a meal?
    Who are the proud?
    What is the sin of pride?
    Define: Humble.
    How do the humble receive grace from God?

  6. What does it mean to submit?
    Explain – how we submit to:
    Authority, law, government
    Husband, head of house
    Christ, head of church
    What power does Satan have?
    Can we resist the devil?
    How can we resist Satan?
    Do we have the power to resist?
    Discuss: Psalm 119:11.
    How can we hide the word in our heart?
    If we resist Satan, will he leave us alone?

  7. List some ways we can draw nearer to God.
    How does God become nearer to us?
    Discuss the song I come to the garden alone – “He walks with me and talks with me”
    Discuss the song My God and I.
    How do we cleanse our hands?
    How can we purify our hearts?
    Explain how we can be double-minded.
    Is this the same as the double-minded man in James 1:8?

  8. Why should we – lament, mourn and weep?
    Is laughter wrong?
    Why is laughter spoken against in this verse?
    Should Christians avoid joy and laughter?
    Are Christians to be filled with “gloom and doom” attitudes?
    Contrast the joy in James 1:2 and in this verse.

  9. What is necessary for us to humble ourselves?
    How does God lift us up?
    How do we humble ourselves before God?
    How do we humble ourselves before men?
    How can one be more humble?
    If I wanted to be a more humble person, what would I need to do?

  10. Does this passage deal with gossip and tale bearing?
    Is there ever a situation where evil about someone SHOULD be told?
    How is speaking evil the same as judging?
    Can gossip and tale bearing speak good about someone?
    Explain Jesus' statement in Matthew 7:1.

  11. Who is the one Lawgiver?
    In what way does God have the power to save or destroy?
    Does God send people to hell?
    Why do we judge each other?

  12. Is it wrong to plan for next year?
    Is it wrong to plan ahead of time?
    What is wrong with having long-range plans and goals?
    Is it wrong to plan to set up a business and make money?

  13. Who knows what will happen tomorrow?
    We do not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future. TRUE or FALSE
    What is your life?
    Why is this question asked?
    How would you describe YOUR life?
    What is purpose to our lives?
    Explain the “vapor” of life.
    In what sense does life “vanish” away?
    Do we keep on living after death?
    See Matthew 22:23-33.
    Were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob alive or dead at the time of Jesus?
    In what sense is God the God of the living?

  14. Why don't we say, “If the Lord wills” more often?
    In what way does the will of the Lord affect our plans?
    How do we know what the will of the Lord is in the decisions we make?
    Can we know the “will of the Lord” as we make choices in life?

  15. Describe a person who is arrogant.
    Is ALL boasting evil?
    See 2 Corinthians 9:2-4
    Discuss the boasting of Paul.
    Why does James say that boasting is evil?

  16. What is the intent of this verse?
    List some “good” that we know to do.
    What happens if we list 100 good things and only get 60 of them done?
    Is NOT doing the other 40 things a sin?
    Give a definition of “good” in this verse.
    Are there good works for the world (federal government, city, county) which are NOT the work of the local congregation?
    Are there good works for individuals that are not the work of the local church?


Outline of Chapter Five

  1. Money 1-6

    1. Warnings for the rich 1-6

    2. Dangers of wealth 2-3

    3. Misuse of wealth 4-6

  2. Attitude 7-12

    1. Patience 7-9

    2. Endurance 10-11

    3. Evidence of patience 12

  3. Action 13-18

    1. Release 13

    2. Prescription 14-16

    3. Power of prayer 17-18

  4. The way back 19-20

Sermon Outline – Patience is:

  1. A farmer – Waiting – for the rain

  2. A Prophet – Suffering – in the name of the Lord

  3. Job – Enduring – hardship, suffering, pain, loss

Discussion Questions on Chapter Five

(The question numbers refer to the verse number.)

  1. Why does James say the rich are miserable?

Why should the rich weep and howl?
What miseries will come to the rich?
How miserable would you like to be?
Why is wealth a burden which causes such pain and misery?

  1. How are riches corrupted?
    Why are the garments moth eaten?
    Explain: With wealth, why would the garments be worn and moth eaten?

  2. In what way is the gold and silver corrupted?
    How is that corrosion a witness against the rich?
    Is it wrong to save? Have a bank account? Buy stocks?
    Is it OK to have insurance? Health insurance? Life insurance?
    Why is heaping up treasures condemned?
    When are the “last days” coming?
    How will we know when the last days are coming?
    Study 1 John 2:18.
    See 1 Peter 1:20.

  3. Is the laborer worthy of his hire?
    Is it wrong to withhold wages from the workers?
    What is fraud?
    When do the laborers cry out against the fraud?
    Is it fraud to under pay or withhold pay from workers?
    Explain: Lord of Sabaoth.
    What is the difference in Sabbath and Sabaoth?

  4. Is it wrong to live in pleasure?
    Does this verse condemn living in luxury?
    Which are the following – luxury or necessity?
    Cell phone Microwave
    Running water Air conditioning
    Two cars Computer
    Define: luxury.
    How have the rich fattened their hearts?

  5. How have the rich condemned the poor?
    In what way have they murdered the poor?

  6. What is patience?
    Why do we want or need patience?
    Is there a difference in patience and long suffering?
    Why is long suffering part of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22?
    Have you ever prayed to be more patient?
    How do farmers learn patience?
    During years of drought what can we learn about being patient?
    What do they have to be patient for?
    What is the importance of the early and latter rains?

  7. Why should be be patient?
    Should we be patient for the 2
    nd Coming?
    What does “at hand” mean?

  8. Why do we grumble?
    Why is our grumbling against one another?
    Why would we be condemned if we complain?
    List some things the Israelites complained about in the wilderness.
    Study 1 Corinthians 10:1-11.
    List some things that WE gripe and complain about.
    Where does James describe the Judge as standing?

  9. How are the prophets an example of suffering and patience?
    What is a prophet?
    Are there prophets today?
    List some suffering of the prophets.

  10. What is the blessing of endurance?
    Is the Christian race a sprint or a long distance run?
    What is required for us to endure?
    How long must we endure?
    See Revelation 2:10
    See 1 Corinthians 13:4
    After love has suffered long – what should it do next?
    What did Job suffer?
    What did Job endure?
    How does endurance teach us patience?
    Why is Job known for patience?

  11. What is meant by “swear” in this passage?
    Why is swearing condemned?
    Is it wrong to swear in court, in official documents?
    What does James mean about our Yes be Yes?
    Should Christians take oaths – like the oath of office?
    Should our word be our bond?

  12. Why do Christians suffer?
    Why is there suffering in our world?
    Discuss: If God is love, why does He allow such suffering?
    What should we do – if we are suffering?
    How will that help?
    What should we do – if we are cheerful?
    Does singing psalms have any impact on our attitude?

  13. Why is there sickness, disease, illness among us?
    If a Christian is sick – does that mean we are sinful?
    What does James say should be done if we are sick?
    Why call for the elders?
    What is the purpose in their prayers for the sick?
    Should they literally “anoint” him with oil?
    What is the “oil” mentioned here?
    What was oil used for in New Testament times?
    Did oil have any value in time of injury or illness?
    Why did the Samaritan put oil on the man's wounds in Luke 10:30-37?

  14. Is there power in prayer?
    Can prayer help the sick to get well?
    How does God answer such prayers for the sick?
    Is there any relationship between sickness and sin?
    Does God use providence to answer prayers?
    Define: Providence
    Does God still work miracles today to answer prayers?
    Why does James mention forgiveness of sins?

  15. Explain: Confession of sins.
    When, to whom, and how are sins to be confessed?
    Should we confess sins to a priest?
    When is it important for the sin to be confessed in a public way?
    Must one come to the front of the church to confess sins?
    To whom should confession of sins be made?
    Explain the difference in confession of faith and confession of sins.
    Can we receive forgiveness of sins, if we refuse to confess them?
    What makes a prayer effective?
    What does “fervent” mean?
    What makes a prayer fervent?
    Who is a “righteous” man?
    How does prayer avail much?

  16. Discuss: Elijah.
    Why did Elijah pray that it NOT rain?
    For how long did the drought last in Israel?
    What would happen here if there was no rain for that long of a time?

  17. Why did Elijah pray for rain?
    Did his prayer help?
    Was the prayer answered immediately?
    Read 1 Kings 18:41-46

  18. Can a Christian leave God and be lost?
    Does the Bible teach – once saved, always saved?
    List some reasons people leave the church.
    What is our responsibility to those who leave?

How does one “wander” from the truth?
How do we bring them back?
What would cause YOU to quit the church?
What could others say to bring you back?

  1. What is the result of bringing a sinner back to God?
    How have we saved a soul from death?
    Explain how that covers a multitude of sins?


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