“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.