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The Book of James

This is a five-week course taught by the late Dr. Stanley Toussaint. You will explore lessons in Christian maturity, including the importance of taming your tongue and considering the trials in your life as “pure joy.”

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Introduction and James 1:1–4

This week we will explore the background of the Book of James and the first verses.

Lesson Points

The majority of scholars believe this epistle was written by James, the brother of Jesus, who was the head of the church in Jerusalem.
The Book of James answers questions raised by churches throughout the region.
James was likely written around d. 47, making it the oldest book of the New Testament.
James 1:1 shows that all twelve tribes of Israel continued to exist through the time James wrote his epistle.
The Greek word dokimion in verse 3 means testing with approval. Passing the test is what builds endurance, not the test itself.

Worship Moment

One theme of the Book of James is the warning against being double-minded. As we begin our study of this book, let us commit to single-minded worship of the one true God!

Discussion Questions

James challenges believers with the command to care for the economically disadvantaged. Is it hard for you to care for people in need? Who are the economically disadvantaged in your community that you can commit to helping?
How do we know there was a time when James did not believe in Jesus’s message?
Dr. Toussaint states that a person cannot be spiritually mature without suffering. How has suffering helped you to become spiritually mature?

Further Study

James 1:1–4 (recommended)
Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary: James, 1 & 2 Peter (recommended)
Close

Session 2 – James 1:5–27

This week we will finish learning about testing and temptations.
We’ll also talk about receiving the Word of Truth.

Lesson Points

James commands us to ask for wisdom that we may see the benefits of suffering and know how to deal with suffering.
James emphasizes God’s sovereignty and makes it clear that God does not use His power to tempt us.
One day all of creation will belong to the Lord. We who have already been given new birth are the first fruits.
James calls us to live out the righteousness God has imputed on us.
We truly welcome God’s Word when we obey it, like someone who looks in a mirror and adjusts their appearance accordingly.

Worship Moment

Has anyone ever shared the gospel with you? This is the good news that Christ died as the perfect sacrifice to pay for our sins. By accepting Christ’s sacrifice, our sins are washed away and we have new birth. Praise God for this good and perfect gift!

Discussion Questions

Why is it better to interpret James 1:6 as commanding us to believe God can grant what we request through prayer as opposed to God will grant what we request?
Why does Dr. Toussaint exhort his students to constantly give the gospel as they are preaching and teaching the Bible? Do you have a ministry where you can teach others the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection? What would be a good way to share the gospel with someone you know?
James commands us to get rid of moral filth so that we may accept the Word of God implanted in us. In fact, sin in our lives will always make us reluctant to pursue the things of Christ. Has there been a time in your past when your spiritual life was stagnant over unrepentant sin?

Further Study

James 1:5–27 (recommended).
Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary: James, 1 & 2 Peter (recommended)
Close

Session 3 – James 2:1–20

This week we will examine the command against favoritism, and we will begin learning about faith and works.

Lesson Points

Our human tendency is to despise the poor, but God chooses them to be rich in faith.
When we show favoritism, we are failing to love our neighbors as ourselves.
James and Paul both teach that justification is by faith alone and that genuine faith results in good works.
The “someone” referenced in James 2:18 is probably a voice in support of James’s point about faith and deeds.

Worship Moment

In our passage today, James pleads with his readers to be merciful to others so that we will not be excluded from God’s mercy. How wonderful that God’s mercy toward us triumphs over the judgment we deserve. Praise God that He is a God of mercy!

Discussion Questions

Does society show favor for the rich and disgust for the poor? Are you tempted to do so as well? What practical steps can you take to make sure you are not falling into this temptation?
Why do some people say we must love ourselves before we can love others? What is the potential problem with this kind of thinking?
Our true beliefs are obvious to the world around us. (Dr. Toussaint describes his wife’s obvious belief in Vicks VapoRub!) What would your friends and neighbors say that you believe in? Do you have good deeds that demonstrate your belief in Christ?

Further Study

James 2:1–20 (recommended)
Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary: James, 1 & 2 Peter (recommended)
Close

Session 4 – James 2:21–3:18

This week we discuss faith and works as they relate to righteousness. We also study the tongue and wisdom.

Lesson Points

Deuteronomy 25:1 is a great illustration of justification. Judges do not make people innocent or guilty. They simply declare them so on behalf of society.
We must make sure we have the right kind of good deeds—the kind that come from the righteousness God has imputed on us.
Abraham and Rahab were justified by a faith that resulted in works.
Your tongue tells people what kind of person you are.
Wisdom is revealed by good behavior.

Worship Moment

At the end of today’s lesson Dr. Toussaint gave us a wonderful illustration of peace that sustains us despite the conflict that swirls all around. Praise God that He is peace. May He enable us to be peacemakers who sow in peace.

Discussion Questions

There is disagreement among scholars on whether or not works are the necessary result of faith. What is your view? How would you go about discipling a person who claims to have faith in Christ but has few works to show for it?.
How are you doing at taming your tongue? Let’s include the words you send out on social media. Will you have a lot of idle and careless words to give account for (Matthew 12:36)? Or are your words a benefit to those who listen to you (Ephesians 4:29)?
Do you know a pastor, teacher, or other Christian whose life exemplifies the meekness that comes from wisdom?

Further Study

James 2:21–3:18 (recommended)
Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary: James, 1 & 2 Peter (recommended)
Close

Session 5 – James 4:1–5:20

This week we cover worldliness, patience, and prayer.

Lesson Points

James warns against dual allegiances to God’s kingdom and the world.
The proper response to Satan’s temptations is to resist. Don’t retreat even an inch.
We are to love our neighbors and not have a critical spirit toward them.
James’s command not to swear is an appeal to tell the truth. We should not need an extra set of words to let our audience know we mean what we say.
The command to confess your sins to one another likely means we are to confess the problems we are having with each other so that our relationships may be healed.

Worship Moment

As you read through this book, did you notice how many times James addresses the brethren—his brothers and sisters in Christ? James does not paint an easy picture of the Christian life. There are trials, temptations, sufferings, and so many sins to avoid. However, James constantly reminds us that we are not on our own. Praise God that He has given us each other! May we encourage one another well as we each seek to serve His kingdom!

Discussion Questions

How can we maintain our allegiance to God’s kingdom even while we live and minister in the world? In what area are you most likely to drift over to “friendship with the world”?
Why does James command us not to boast about tomorrow? What attitude should we have instead?
What is one thing you learned from our study of James that will stick with you for a while?

Further Study

James 4:1–5:20 (recommended)
Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary: James, 1 & 2 Peter (recommended)
Close

Session 6 – James 4:1–5:20

This week we cover worldliness, patience, and prayer.

Lesson Points

James warns against dual allegiances to God’s kingdom and the world.
The proper response to Satan’s temptations is to resist. Don’t retreat even an inch.
We are to love our neighbors and not have a critical spirit toward them.
James’s command not to swear is an appeal to tell the truth. We should not need an extra set of words to let our audience know we mean what we say.
The command to confess your sins to one another likely means we are to confess the problems we are having with each other so that our relationships may be healed.

Worship Moment

As you read through this book, did you notice how many times James addresses the brethren—his brothers and sisters in Christ? James does not paint an easy picture of the Christian life. There are trials, temptations, sufferings, and so many sins to avoid. However, James constantly reminds us that we are not on our own. Praise God that He has given us each other! May we encourage one another well as we each seek to serve His kingdom!

Discussion Questions

How can we maintain our allegiance to God’s kingdom even while we live and minister in the world? In what area are you most likely to drift over to “friendship with the world”?
Why does James command us not to boast about tomorrow? What attitude should we have instead?
What is one thing you learned from our study of James that will stick with you for a while?

Further Study

James 4:1–5:20 (recommended)
Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary: James, 1 & 2 Peter (recommended)
Close

Introduction and James 1:1–4

This week we will explore the background of the Book of James and the first verses.

Lesson Points

The majority of scholars believe this epistle was written by James, the brother of Jesus, who was the head of the church in Jerusalem.
The Book of James answers questions raised by churches throughout the region.
James was likely written around d. 47, making it the oldest book of the New Testament.
James 1:1 shows that all twelve tribes of Israel continued to exist through the time James wrote his epistle.
The Greek word dokimion in verse 3 means testing with approval. Passing the test is what builds endurance, not the test itself.

Worship Moment

One theme of the Book of James is the warning against being double-minded. As we begin our study of this book, let us commit to single-minded worship of the one true God!

Discussion Questions

James challenges believers with the command to care for the economically disadvantaged. Is it hard for you to care for people in need? Who are the economically disadvantaged in your community that you can commit to helping?
How do we know there was a time when James did not believe in Jesus’s message?
Dr. Toussaint states that a person cannot be spiritually mature without suffering. How has suffering helped you to become spiritually mature?

Further Study

James 1:1–4 (recommended)
Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary: James, 1 & 2 Peter (recommended)
Close

Introduction and James 1:1–4

This week we will explore the background of the Book of James and the first verses.

Lesson Points

The majority of scholars believe this epistle was written by James, the brother of Jesus, who was the head of the church in Jerusalem.
The Book of James answers questions raised by churches throughout the region.
James was likely written around d. 47, making it the oldest book of the New Testament.
James 1:1 shows that all twelve tribes of Israel continued to exist through the time James wrote his epistle.
The Greek word dokimion in verse 3 means testing with approval. Passing the test is what builds endurance, not the test itself.

Worship Moment

One theme of the Book of James is the warning against being double-minded. As we begin our study of this book, let us commit to single-minded worship of the one true God!

Discussion Questions

James challenges believers with the command to care for the economically disadvantaged. Is it hard for you to care for people in need? Who are the economically disadvantaged in your community that you can commit to helping?
How do we know there was a time when James did not believe in Jesus’s message?
Dr. Toussaint states that a person cannot be spiritually mature without suffering. How has suffering helped you to become spiritually mature?

Further Study

James 1:1–4 (recommended)
Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary: James, 1 & 2 Peter (recommended)
Close

Introduction and James 1:1–4

This week we will explore the background of the Book of James and the first verses.

Lesson Points

The majority of scholars believe this epistle was written by James, the brother of Jesus, who was the head of the church in Jerusalem.
The Book of James answers questions raised by churches throughout the region.
James was likely written around d. 47, making it the oldest book of the New Testament.
James 1:1 shows that all twelve tribes of Israel continued to exist through the time James wrote his epistle.
The Greek word dokimion in verse 3 means testing with approval. Passing the test is what builds endurance, not the test itself.

Worship Moment

One theme of the Book of James is the warning against being double-minded. As we begin our study of this book, let us commit to single-minded worship of the one true God!

Discussion Questions

James challenges believers with the command to care for the economically disadvantaged. Is it hard for you to care for people in need? Who are the economically disadvantaged in your community that you can commit to helping?
How do we know there was a time when James did not believe in Jesus’s message?
Dr. Toussaint states that a person cannot be spiritually mature without suffering. How has suffering helped you to become spiritually mature?

Further Study

James 1:1–4 (recommended)
Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary: James, 1 & 2 Peter (recommended)
Close

Introduction and James 1:1–4

This week we will explore the background of the Book of James and the first verses.

Lesson Points

The majority of scholars believe this epistle was written by James, the brother of Jesus, who was the head of the church in Jerusalem.
The Book of James answers questions raised by churches throughout the region.
James was likely written around d. 47, making it the oldest book of the New Testament.
James 1:1 shows that all twelve tribes of Israel continued to exist through the time James wrote his epistle.
The Greek word dokimion in verse 3 means testing with approval. Passing the test is what builds endurance, not the test itself.

Worship Moment

One theme of the Book of James is the warning against being double-minded. As we begin our study of this book, let us commit to single-minded worship of the one true God!

Discussion Questions

James challenges believers with the command to care for the economically disadvantaged. Is it hard for you to care for people in need? Who are the economically disadvantaged in your community that you can commit to helping?
How do we know there was a time when James did not believe in Jesus’s message?
Dr. Toussaint states that a person cannot be spiritually mature without suffering. How has suffering helped you to become spiritually mature?

Further Study

James 1:1–4 (recommended)
Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary: James, 1 & 2 Peter (recommended)
Close

Introduction and James 1:1–4

This week we will explore the background of the Book of James and the first verses.

Lesson Points

The majority of scholars believe this epistle was written by James, the brother of Jesus, who was the head of the church in Jerusalem.
The Book of James answers questions raised by churches throughout the region.
James was likely written around d. 47, making it the oldest book of the New Testament.
James 1:1 shows that all twelve tribes of Israel continued to exist through the time James wrote his epistle.
The Greek word dokimion in verse 3 means testing with approval. Passing the test is what builds endurance, not the test itself.

Worship Moment

One theme of the Book of James is the warning against being double-minded. As we begin our study of this book, let us commit to single-minded worship of the one true God!

Discussion Questions

James challenges believers with the command to care for the economically disadvantaged. Is it hard for you to care for people in need? Who are the economically disadvantaged in your community that you can commit to helping?
How do we know there was a time when James did not believe in Jesus’s message?
Dr. Toussaint states that a person cannot be spiritually mature without suffering. How has suffering helped you to become spiritually mature?

Further Study

James 1:1–4 (recommended)
Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary: James, 1 & 2 Peter (recommended)
Close

Introduction and James 1:1–4

This week we will explore the background of the Book of James and the first verses.

Lesson Points

The majority of scholars believe this epistle was written by James, the brother of Jesus, who was the head of the church in Jerusalem.
The Book of James answers questions raised by churches throughout the region.
James was likely written around d. 47, making it the oldest book of the New Testament.
James 1:1 shows that all twelve tribes of Israel continued to exist through the time James wrote his epistle.
The Greek word dokimion in verse 3 means testing with approval. Passing the test is what builds endurance, not the test itself.

Worship Moment

One theme of the Book of James is the warning against being double-minded. As we begin our study of this book, let us commit to single-minded worship of the one true God!

Discussion Questions

James challenges believers with the command to care for the economically disadvantaged. Is it hard for you to care for people in need? Who are the economically disadvantaged in your community that you can commit to helping?
How do we know there was a time when James did not believe in Jesus’s message?
Dr. Toussaint states that a person cannot be spiritually mature without suffering. How has suffering helped you to become spiritually mature?

Further Study

James 1:1–4 (recommended)
Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary: James, 1 & 2 Peter (recommended)
Close

Introduction and James 1:1–4

This week we will explore the background of the Book of James and the first verses.

Lesson Points

The majority of scholars believe this epistle was written by James, the brother of Jesus, who was the head of the church in Jerusalem.
The Book of James answers questions raised by churches throughout the region.
James was likely written around d. 47, making it the oldest book of the New Testament.
James 1:1 shows that all twelve tribes of Israel continued to exist through the time James wrote his epistle.
The Greek word dokimion in verse 3 means testing with approval. Passing the test is what builds endurance, not the test itself.

Worship Moment

One theme of the Book of James is the warning against being double-minded. As we begin our study of this book, let us commit to single-minded worship of the one true God!

Discussion Questions

James challenges believers with the command to care for the economically disadvantaged. Is it hard for you to care for people in need? Who are the economically disadvantaged in your community that you can commit to helping?
How do we know there was a time when James did not believe in Jesus’s message?
Dr. Toussaint states that a person cannot be spiritually mature without suffering. How has suffering helped you to become spiritually mature?

Further Study

James 1:1–4 (recommended)
Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary: James, 1 & 2 Peter (recommended)
Close
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