Thirty Days in James 1, Day 6: The Main Message

James is direct and to-the-point.

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“To the twelves tribes in the Dispersions.”


He doesn’t waste any words, does he?  The opening formalities are out of the way, so he dives right in.

“Count it all joy, my brothers…”

We’ve already noted that James’ letter is packed with imperatives or commands. Faith without works is dead, he will say later in this letter. We can’t just say we believe. We show that we believe, so he describes what real faith lives like.

On Day 4 we underlined all the imperatives in Chapter 1. Today we’re going to look a bit more at those commands as a group. Later we’ll consider each one separately in more detail.

Assignment: Pray, asking God for wisdom and thanking Him for the promise that He will gladly give it to us. Thank Him for this letter of James and for its practical relevance to your life.

  • Then look at your marked copy of James 1.
  • Read the entire chapter. As you read, copy into your notebook each of the commands you have underlined.
  • After you have made your list of commands, read back through what you have written.
  • With a red pen, circle in each command the one word you feel best summarizes its theme or topic. For instance, for verse 2, I have written, “Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kind.” I circled the word trials.
  • After you have chosen a word in each command, make a list of all those words.
  • Then meditate on that list. What do all these words have in common? If someone asked you what James 1 was about, how would you describe it?

There is no one right answer to this question, so don’t worry about getting it “right.” We’re simply looking at the variety of topics James addresses in this chapter and trying to find any common thread that ties them all together.

  • Write a short sentence that summarizes the overarching message of this chapter as you see it.

After we study these commands in more detail, we’ll revisit this question at the end of our study.

For your children:

You will need a package of 3 x 5 cards, or a stack of writing paper (cut this paper in half, if desired) for this and upcoming lessons.

The book of James needs to be memorized! If we and our children take these words that describe the practical outworking of our faith and commit them to memory, we will be better equipped to not just hear God’s Word, but to do it.

Copying the words of this chapter will also imprint them more deeply in our hearts, and will help us memorize them.

For children who are old enough to do this, we are going to begin copying James 1 today.

  • Have each child copy verse 1 on one card or sheet of paper.
  • Then copy verse 2 on another card or paper.
  • When everyone has finished, read the cards for verse 1 together. Read them again. Read them a third time.
  • Then turn the card over and see how much people can say for memory without looking at the card.
  • Keep working until everyone can recite verse 1.

For younger children, simply help them memorize verse 1 without copying it.



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  1. Summarizing has never been easy for me but as I mulled over this first chapter of James this is what stood out—God requires much, yet He gives ALL we need to obey. This is not for our glory but for His. What a gracious Father we have!

  2. I loved doing this. All the verses, which seemed to stand separately on their own in past readings, suddenly became connected. My summary is this:
    Remain joyfully steadfast and unstained through trials relying confidently on God’s wisdom and Word.

  3. Agreed that summarizing is not the easiest, but a good exercise nonetheless….here is mine.
    Let your faith/salvation be worked out and SEEN in your daily living – grounded in your faith in Christ as Lord and the truth found in Scripture.

  4. Thank you for this exercise! I’ve always been a “can’t see the forest for the trees” person, so detailed I can’t ever get the big little. This made it possible to come close to some sort of summary. Here’s mine: Find your joy in God and humbly serve others.

  5. I really struggle with summarizing also, but I thought these 2 verses were a great summary:
    v.12 “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.”
    v.25 “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets bu a doer who acts, he will be blesssed in his doing.”

  6. SO, I am usually pretty good at summarizing, but this was a big challenge for me. It has taken me a few days. I very much appreciate the other ladies’ insights, because what I came up with was just a picture of Churchill saying, “Never give up. Never give up. Never.”