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The Blue Letter Bible

Chuck Smith :: Study Guide for James

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v. 1 The author of this epistle is known as James the Great, not James the brother of John and the son of Zebedee. This is the James who had a major role in the leadership of the early Church. He presided over the council called to settle the dispute about the Gentile converts (Acts 15:13-29). He is considered by scholars to be the son of Joseph and Mary, a half-brother of Jesus Christ. "Servant" means "bondslave."

v. 2 "Divers temptations" means "various testings."

v. 3 Patience is developed in us through trials while we wait in faith for God to act.

v. 5 God doesn't chide us when we ask for wisdom; instead, He gives it to us freely (Proverbs 4:5-6).

v. 12 Revelation 2:10.

v. 17 God is immutable: He doesn't change.

v. 18 John 1:12-13.

v. 22 We need to obey God's Word when we hear it.

v. 27 True religion is evidenced in actions.


v. 9 "Convinced" means "convicted."

v. 13 We'll be judged according to the mercy we show others.

v. 18 Works don't save us, but they're the evidence of the faith we have.

v. 20 Faith manifests itself in action.

v. 26 The body without the spirit is the scriptural definition of death. The spirit doesn't die; the body does. Faith without works is like a dead body.


v. 1 "Masters" means "teachers." Teachers in the Church will be held account able for their teachings when they come before God.

v. 4 A helm is the wheel controlling the rudder of a ship.

v. 7-8 Only God can tame our tongues as we submit to the control of the Holy Spirit.

v. 13 "Conversation" means "manner of life" or "way of living."

v. 14-16 The wisdom of the world produces confusion, strife and evil works.

v. 17-18 The wisdom of God produces peace, harmony, and good works.


v. 2-3 Often we don't receive the things we ask of God, because the motivation in our hearts is wrong.

v. 4 James here addresses the Church as the Bride of Christ. He accuses her of spiritual adultery for her love of the things of the world.

v. 5 The Spirit of God wants our love and commitment for Himself exclusively. When He sees us devoting ourselves to the world and material things, He is jealous of our misplaced devotion.

v. 7 We don't have to succumb to the lure of worldly things when Satan holds them before us. God will protect us if we ask for His help.

v. 8 God wants us to be concerned with Him and with spiritual things. He knows that the worldly things which tempt us would only leave us dissatisfied.

v. 15 We should preface our plans with the condition, "If the Lord wills... "


v. 3 Many people are trying to protect themselves financially by hoarding gold and other valuables in these uncertain times.

v. 7 Though we continually see evil men afflicting and mistreating good men and going unpunished, James encourages the Church to wait patiently for the Lord's coming. He reminds us that God is also waiting patiently to gather the "precious fruit." The "early rain" refers to the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church after Christ's ascension into heaven (Acts 1:8, 2:4). The "latter rain" is the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit before the harvest is reaped. We're experiencing the latter rain now.

v. 10-11 The prophets are an example to us of the patience in enduring affliction.

v. 12 A person who habitually lies will often make an oath in order to convince people that he's telling the truth.

v. 13 Sometimes we're afflicted as the result of God's chastening in our lives. We should pray and ask God what He wants us to do when we're afflicted.

v. 14 There's a difference between sickness and affliction. We're to ask the elders to pray for us in our sickness.

v. 16-18 Elijah is an example of a righteous man whose earnest prayers brought results.

v. 20 Our sins are all put away from us when we're born again and become new creatures in Christ.

Used With Permission

© The Word For Today. We thank Chuck Smith, The Word For Today and Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for their permission to utilize this work.

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