Personal Journey

James Bible Study: Chapter 1

Are you guys so pumped to walk through James with me?!


We are going to go through the book of James together, one post for each chapter of James. James is only 5 chapters, so if you’re worried about a big commitment to a bible study, you’ll be fine with this one. I am going to try and post a study on each chapter, one a day (which might end up being once every other day), for the next 5 (or so..) days.

A [free] Bible Study_ James Ch. 1-2.png


Keep in mind, I’m no expert with this. It’s just my personal take and interpretation on each specific chapter.

First things first, take out your bible (physical or mobile) and turn to James chapter one.


Go ahead and read through the entire first chapter on your own, and I will point out things that stuck out to me.


Done reading? OK! Let’s get started. I’m going to type out each section that we are focusing on and I will highlight the specific parts of each section that I found important to discuss.


Starting with James 1:2-4 …

[2] Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, [3] because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. [4] And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing

Now, most of us wouldn’t consider it joyful to go through trials, right? Usually trials involve emotions such as anger, sadness, confusion, and frustration. But God tells us not to sulk in our sadness, but to be joyful that we have experienced trials! At first this part really confused me, why would I want to be joyful that God put me through a trial? Shouldn’t I be upset that He let that happen to me? Well, I suppose not. That way of thinking isn’t putting focus on the right thing. Here is what we should focus on when we hear that. We should be thankful (& joyful) during our sufferings because He loves us so much that He joins us in our darkest moments. The focus isn’t that He’s testing us, but rather that He meets us in the dark and walks us to the light, proving to us that we can make it to the other side if we endure through the darkest of dark.

Fast faith ≠ endurance

Endurance = real faith


[5] Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God — who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly — and it will be given to him. [6] But let him ask in faith without doubting, for the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. [7] That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord, being double-minded and unstable in all his ways.

Ask God for his wisdom, but don’t only ask him. Expect to receive it from Him. The problem that most people have with this is they focus on a prayer for wisdom for a week or so and haven’t gotten any results, so they essentially give up and move onto something else. Faith is slow. God knows what is best for you, but he wants you to realize it and ask Him for it before giving it to us so that we can grow from it and not just be given it. We’d be pretty spoiled if we asked and immediately received. That would also require no faith in him either. You’d be given things without even going through the steps of realizing that you need them, and even more important, Him.

If you don’t expect Him to do wondrous things and answer your prayers, then you are doubting that your prayer is even being heard or you’re doubting that He is generous to you. He tells you not to doubt Him, but to follow Him with your whole heart and your whole mind.


[9] Let the brother of humble circumstances boast in his exaltation, [10] but let the rich boast in his humiliation because he will pass away like a flower of the field. [11] For the sun rises and, together with the scorching wind, dries up the grass; its flower falls off, and its beautiful appearance perished. In the same way, the rich person will wither away while pursuing his activities.

The point that stuck out the most to me here was that God doesn’t want us to idolize earthly things. He wants us to be thankful and content with what we have.  It’s not saying you can’t want more of something — just don’t praise it. Verse 9 is saying that even in his humble circumstances (poor, lowly) he is made new because of his spirit with the Lord. For didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith? (See James 2:5).

A side note on the first two verses. Many of you may think of it as weird that God is telling us to boast because is seems un-Christianly. But in fact He tells us clearly that we should boast, but if you choose to boast, boast about the Lord (See Jeremiah 9:24, 1 Cor. 1:31, 2 Cor. 10:17).


[12] Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. [13] No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God,” since God is not tempted by evil and he himself doesn’t tempt anyone. [14] But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire. [15] Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.

We see here again the idea of enduring trials and how important that is. We are reminded that God will see us through our trials. We also see that God doesn’t tempt us through evil, or test us through evil- God is only good. It’s not everyone who suffers through trials that is blessed; but instead (s)he who has patience and constancy to go through all difficulties with a constant faith in Him. It’s so easy to get mad at God when things go wrong, when in reality He’s not the cause but rather the love that will get you through it.


[16] Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. [17] Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. [18] By his own choice, he gave us birth by the word of truth so that we would be kind of first fruits of his creations. 

We see here that by God’s own choice — meaning HIS OWN CHOICE.. He WANTS to — He gives us the Word of truth. God WANTS us to know Him. He is a personal God who wants us to know him on a personal level. In addition to that, it says that we are a kind of FIRST FRUITS of His creation — this means that we are made in His image and nothing else. We are the first fruits, meaning we are his first choice and his first priority. He loves us more than all else.


[19] My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, [20] for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. [21] Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, humbly receive the implanted work, which is able to save your souls. [22] But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. [23] Because if anyone is a hearer of the world and not a doer, he is like someone looking at his own face in a mirror. [24] For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he was. [25] But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who works — this person will be blessed in what he does. [26] If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, his religion is useless and he deceives himself. [27] Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

The first part of this is so easy, yet so many of us fail to follow it. We need to be able to hear others before shouting out our own opinions and arguments. We need to not only hear, but we need to listen — meaning process and understand — before speaking. This is why we need to be slow to speak and we need to be careful of what we say to others. Having the ability to listen to others and slow to speak is not only good in the biblical sense, but also a worldly sense. Being slow to react helps prevent conflict because you aren’t reacting irrationally and suddenly. I feel like this section just reiterates what we’ve all learned as children — listen, and if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say it at all.

The part about the mirror is trying to tell us that we need to let our words be reflective in our actions and vice versa. We need to let our actions speak louder than our words. We need to not only hear that God wants us to endure through our trials and have faith in Him, but we also need to have endurance during these difficult times and remind ourself constantly that He is there guiding us through the worst parts of life.


 

I hope you enjoyed going through James 1 with me and I hope that you’ll be back for the remaining 4 lessons! Use my contact form below if you have any input that wasn’t already mentioned here, because I know for a fact that I didn’t cover it all! After the 5 lessons have concluded, I am going to make a follow-up post on the things that others have shared with me so that their wisdom can not only be shared with me but with you also.

 

P.S. Thanks to Trevor, my amazing and wonderful boyfriend, for helping me find these conclusions.

 

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