2023 study of the book of James


The Guy

Greek: Iakobos (Jacob in English)

Jacob is one of Jesus' half-brothers who became a leader of the Jerusalem church post-resurrection

The book of James is the legacy of this Jacob's wisdom which was heavily influenced by two things:

  1. Sermon on the Mount / Matthew 5-7
  2. Proverbs - expecially chapters 1-9


These are short challenging wisdom speeches full of metaphors and one-liners... Live in a wise way, submitting to Jesus

Chapters 2-5 teach about wholehearted devotion to Jesus - there are 12 teachings total

section summary source
2:1-13 favoritism vs love (Matthew 5:46-48)
2:14-26 genuine faith (Matthew 7:21-27)
teaching about words
3:1-12 the tongue (Luke 6:43-45)
4:11-12 fm condeming others (matthew 12:36-37)
5:12 telling the truth (Matthew 5:37)
4:13-17 arrogance of wealth (Matthew 6:28-34)
5:1-6 danger of wealth (Matthew 6:19-21)
5:7-11 peace and endurance (Matthew 24:13)
5:13-18 faith-filled prayer (Mathew 21:21-22)

Other 4 are in the poster about James on BP

Chapter 1 the introduction

2-4: life's trials produce endurance and can make us perfect and complete

perect is repeated 7 times in the book - it refers to "wholeness" and integrity.

We are all fractrued and inconsistent people

perfect: Hebrew: Tamim, Greek: Teleios

5-8: God gives wisdom to those who ask in faith

9-11: povety can force us tot rust on God alone; wealth will pass away

12-18: God is generous and gives us new birth through Jesus

19-27: Don't just listen to God's word but do it. It's the Torah of Freedom

Jan 21

James 1:1

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.

Dispersion: διασπορά - same word used by Peter to describe Jesus-followers as exiles

James 1:2-11

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

July 15

Missed several meetings due to unfortunate travel circumstances

James 3:13-18

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Jas 3:13–18). (2016). Crossway Bibles.

December 16

James 5:13-20

13 Is anyone among you suffering misfortune? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the elders of the church and they should pray over him, anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins ⌊he will be forgiven⌋. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous person accomplishes much. 17 Elijah was a human being with the same nature as us, and ⌊he prayed fervently⌋ for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the earth produced its fruit. 19 My brothers, if anyone among you should wander away from the truth and someone turns him back, 20 he should know that the one who turns a sinner back from the error of his way will save that person’s soul from death, and will cover over a great number of sins.

When to pray

  1. All circumstances of life
  2. Sickness
  3. Confession
  4. Working out the will of God
  5. Retrieving wandering souls

James ends his letter with prayer because it's an exhortation of the Disapora and a life of faith must revolve around prayer

For myself I think I pray in all circumstances, sickness, confession all ok. I do not pray for long periods of time, and don't feel very disiplined, but whenever anything happens, by the Lord's grace I am quick to turn my attention to Jesus, and hopefully turn the attention of my wife/kids to Jesus as well. Example: a person collapsed at the water park we went to this last weekend, Athalia and I were close-ish to that happening, so I told her we needed to stop what we were doing and pray that Jesus would intervene.

I confess sin to Jesus but I'm not sure what that should look like. I've taken a Brother Lawrence approach to try and quickly confess and move on, accepting grace, but I struggle with intentional sinning in this area... What is prayer if I knew what I was doing was wrong?

I am not more inclined to pray for suffering, but I think that's because I've very consciously been trying to pray in good circumstances more often because when we only pray in suffering that turns prayer into a Santa's wish list situation I think... yes we need the Lord in suffering, but we display our need for him NOT only in suffering, and if that is true then it begs the question, to me anyways, of whether or not the need is truly there

JC Ryle's quote

I disagree with the dude's quote about the requirement of prayer, but only because the message is given in a direction that makes prayer look like something I have to do to get/keep/maintain my salvation... Yahweh changes his children's hearts and orients them towards him through prayer - if someone doesn't then I think that just means Yahweh has not worked or has not chosen them, but them calling themselves a Christian is irrelevant, and no amount of forcing themselves to pray will change Yahweh's will.

Isaiah 1:6

From the sole of the foot and up to the head there is no health in it; bruise and sore and bleeding wound have not been cleansed, and they have not been bound up and not softened with the oil.

Psalm 23:5

5 You prepare before me a table in the presence of my oppressors. You anoint my head with oil; my cup is overflowing.

1 Kings 17:1-16

17 Elijah the Tishbite from Tishbe of Gilead said to Ahab, “⌊As Yahweh lives⌋, the God of Israel before whom I stand, there shall surely not be dew nor rain these years ⌊except by my command⌋.” 2 Then the word of Yahweh came to him, saying, 3 “Go from this place and turn to the east; you must hide yourself in the Wadi Kerith ⌊which faces the Jordan⌋. 4 It shall be that you shall drink from the wadi, and I have commanded the crows to sustain you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of Yahweh. He went and stayed in the Wadi Kerith ⌊which faces the Jordan⌋. 6 The crows were bringing bread and meat in the morning for him and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the wadi. 7 It happened ⌊after a while⌋ that the wadi dried up, because there was no rain in the land.

8 Then the word of Yahweh came to him, saying, 9 “Get up and go to Zarephath which belongs to Sidon and stay there. Look, I have commanded a woman there, a widow, to sustain you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath and came to the gate of the city. There was a widow woman gathering wood, so he called to her, and he said, “Please bring a little water for me in a vessel so that I can drink.” 11 She went to fetch it, and he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 She said, “⌊As Yahweh your God lives⌋, surely I do not have a cake, ⌊but only a handful of flour⌋ in the jar and a little olive oil in the jug. Here I am gathering a few pieces of wood, and I will go and prepare it for me and my son, that we might eat it and die.” 13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go and do according to your word; only make for me a small bread cake from it first, and bring it out to me. Make it for yourself and for your son afterward. 14 For thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel: ‘The jar of flour will not be emptied and the jug of olive oil will not run out until the day Yahweh gives rain on the surface of the earth.’ ” 15 So she went and did according to the word of Elijah; then both she and he ate with her household for many days. 16 The jar of flour was not emptied and the jug of olive oil did not run out, according to the word of Yahweh which he spoke by the hand of Elijah.