By Sarah Morrison
Staff Writer for The Daily Grace Co.
The Christian life can be hard. There’s no getting around it. Sin ensnares us, suffering hurts us, and fleshly desires follow us. Praise God that He has given us His Word, filled with truth that applies to our everyday life. The book of James is no exception; it is filled with the knowledge of God and His desires for us.
The book of James is a letter written by the half-brother of Jesus. Considering this connection, this letter is penned with a hand that has grown up with the Christ. James’ thoughts have been steeped in the teachings and knowledge of Jesus for his whole life, both before James believed Him to be the Son of Man and afterwards. James’ words are filled with authority, conviction, wisdom, and we would do well to pay close attention to them.
The book of James is an exhortation to live a godly, steadfast life. In the very beginning of this letter, we read James’ encouragement to those in the midst of suffering: consider the sufferings of this life to be joy. This opening sets the tone for the rest of James’ writing. The Christian life, though it be not easy, is filled with joy. Amid persecution, suffering, and pain we are offered abundant joy through the knowledge of Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
As this letter continues, James offers practical and proverbial wisdom on how we ought to live and behave and followers of Jesus. When we follow Christ, our tongues, thoughts, and actions are all impacted. We no longer ought to speak poorly, we no longer ought to hoard our resources, we no longer ought to live foolishly. Instead, our lives are filled with edifying speech, abundant giving, wisdom, prayer, and joy. The impact of our conversion should be unmatched, urging us to live in holiness and affection toward God.
This study is a seven week look at the book of James. In it, you’ll find infographics, charts, and other tools to help you glean a better understanding of the text. Each week consists of 5 days of study with a sixth day of reflection. On the study days you’ll find a commentary of a given text, and a series of reflection questions. The sixth day contains six questions/prompts to guide you in meditation and reflection of what you’ve learned that particular week. This study is available for both men and for women and is a great way to get started in studying the Word of God!
Study Suggestions—at the beginning of this study, you find a list of suggestions to help you as you study and make the most out of your time in the Word of God.
Outline of James—This infographic aids your time in the book of James by providing a visual flow of thought through the book. To help your understanding even further, there are verse addresses to help you follow along.
Who was James?—This infographic allows you to have a fuller context as you dive into the book of James. By understanding some basic, biographical information, you’ll be better equipped to read and study this letter.
Wisdom Literature and James—The words of James are closely tied to verses throughout the wisdom literature in Scripture. This chart provides you with verse by verse cross references to help you see the close ties of these books and the influence they had on James’ writing.
The Sermon on the Mount and James—Just like the wisdom literature, James was heavily influenced by the Sermon on the Mount. This chart helps you to see the carry-over of these themes side-by-side.