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Life Lessons - James 1:1-4
Book Of James
Welcome to a study on the Book of James.
I am excited to share some very simple steps to encourage you to open God's word and see all the many treasures it holds. The Bible is God's word and the message comes from God himself. Intimacy with the one who created you and knows how you tick is greater than anything you can imagine.
I do not claim to be a Bible expert. But as a child of God, I eagerly seek truth and study God's word for nuggets of wisdom I apply to my life. In this series I will present some tools that, I believe, will make your study of God's Word interesting, meaningful and life changing.
If you are on this page and have not read the Introduction, I encourage you to begin at the beginning. I pray that as you join me that a flame of curiosity and interest will begin to flicker in your mind and heart. I also pray it will be a flame that grows into a raging fire of desire to know your Maker and the lover of your soul.
This study will in no way uncover all of the truths abiding in the book of James ... truths yet waiting to be discovered. God's word is living ... and because it is God's word it is active and alive. You can go back to the same passage time and again and discover even more hidden treasures.
I encourage you to share what God shows you in the comments below. We are called to encourage one another in the Faith, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing" I Thess 5:11. I look forward to being encouraged by you and how God has spoken into your life.
Simple Bible Study Guide
Here are the steps I will use to guide me as I dig in deep to uncover the truths God wants to teach me.
Step 1: Write or type the Bible verses you will study. Read it over thoughtfully and prayerfully.
Step 2: Give the verses a Title
Step 3: State who is involved (as it applies)
Step 4: Put the verses into your own words and write out what you think about it.
Step 5: Personalize it: What does it mean to me.
Step 6: Consult a reliable Commentary to learn more from respected Bible teacher.
I think hear some groans. Do these steps seem cumbersome? Give me a chance to show you just how user-friendly this process really is.
Pray before you begin. We need the Holy Spirit to give us eyes of understanding as we open God's Word. Ready? Let's get started.
Joy in the Midst of Trials and Temptations
STEPS One and Two
- TYPE BIBLE PASSAGE: James chapter 1 verses 1-4. "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
- Give Portion a Title - Listed above as Joy in the Midst of Trials and Temptations
The Who's of James
Step 3: Who is involved:
If you are not a detail person this section may seem to drag - but it is a necessary step in understanding the context of the Bible. Know that step 4 will snap you back into the action. :)
James is the author of this Book and he is writing to the twelve tribes. Let us begin by taking a closer look at the who's of James.
James 1:1: To gain further understanding about the 'Who's' in verse one I utilized Cross References which led me to other places in the Bible where the 'Who's' are discussed.
Who Is James:
He is Jesus' brother: "Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?" Matthew 13:55
He is an Apostle: "But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother." Galatians 1:19
Who Are the 12 Tribes - LIsting some verses that when put together give you a clearer picture of who Paul is addressing his letter to.
Twelve Tribes of Israel are the: "Twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel." Exodus 24:4
They are the scattered Jewish Believers Prophesied in the Old Testament - Deuteronomy 4:27: "The LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the LORD will drive you."
Many Jewish believers, the residents of Jerusalem fled the city because of persecution. Acts 8:1.
Acts 11:19 says that some went as far as Cypress and Antioch. In fact, Saul's journey to Damascus in Syria was to arrest some of these Jewish believers who had fled to this Gentile city for safety.
It was to these scattered tribes and displaced Jewish Christians, whose land was confiscated, that James addressed his letter, The book of James. It was to this same group Paul wrote the book of Hebrews, warning them not to abandon Christ. I gathered this Information from Christian Church Today forums.
Paraphrase and "Think about it"
Step 4: Paraphrase the verses, put them into your own words and then write out what you think about it.
The italics are how I put the verse in my own words. The rest are the thoughts I have about it. How would you paraphrase and what would your thoughts be on these verses?
James 1:1 "James calls himself a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ," Though James was the brother of Jesus, He calls himself a servant of His. James obviously knew Jesus was way more than his earthly brother. James exhibits a rare humility when he states that he is God's servant and the Lord's servant.
James is writing to the twelve tribes that are scattered among the nations: James purpose is to greet the twelve scattered tribes and to impart words of wisdom. He will be sharing a mystery with these special people - and to us as well. As you read this letter; understand God's truth is truth - it's truth is broader than to just the twelve tribes - these truths apply to you and to me as well.
2 "I am to consider it pure joy, when I face trials of many kinds," I am told to count it pure joy when I go through hard things in life. This seems a mystery and the opposite reaction of my human nature. Here is the mystery: The ability to *choose (yes we can choose) a godly, though unnatural, internal response to difficulty. The fleshly or natural response to trials would be confusion, anger, fear, feelings of abandonment etc. These natural reactions are opposite of the way God says I am to respond.
3 How can I respond this way? Because I know that through the testing of my faith I will develop patience and perseverance." The only way to respond with God's perspective is to look beyond the trial to what that trial will produce. Rather than being stressed, depressed, anxious or fearful; I am to know that the results of the testing of my faith is perseverance. In order to shed more light on the word perseverance, I used one of my favorite sites to look up some synonyms for it: persist, hang in, hang on, hold on, continue, uphold, carry on, bear on, preserve.
4 "I am to allow (an action on my part) perseverance to do it's work inside of me so that I will grow up and be complete, not lacking anything." If I keep my eyes on God and trust Him implicitly I will persevere through any and all trials. I can do that because - Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
The natural, human response to hardship is to fight it; to murmur, groan and complain rather than quietly trust (persevere). When we allow perseverance to complete its work in our lives we experience a new level of maturity. We find ourselves content and complete! We will not lack one thing. In Philippians 4:11b-13 we read that the Apostle Paul lived out perseverance .. He wrote this while in a dirty prison chained to another prisoner: Here is what Paul says: 11b " I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength."
In the end, if I endure through hardship, I will experience completeness and be content right in the midst of the storm.
Bible Study Tip
I cannot always remember where a verse is found or exactly how it is worded. This is what I do: I type the word Bible with a comma and then I type the words that I do remember into a search engine like google search. I always find the verse and reference using this method.
Application - What Does it Mean to Me?
Joy in the Midst of Trials
Step 5: Application - What Does it Mean to Me? The extra verses that I have included in my application are verses God brought to my mind as I was meditating on the passage and writing it out.
What Does It Mean to Me:
James 1:1 "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ," There is no room for even a spec of pride in light of Jesus sacrifice and His holiness. James could have taken some pride in being related to Jesus - but he understood that Jesus was no ordinary man. He knew Jesus was God's son sent to Earth to become his Savior.
I must never believe that anything good in me has come from my own efforts. I must never boast about anything I possess, any attributes, gifts, abilities, character quality etc. as if it comes from my own hard work. "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:7
My heart attitude must be grounded in true humility and deep gratitude for the gifts that come from Father God. Not only must I remember that there is nothing in me that I can brag about but there is nothing I can do that will earn me brownie points.
2 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds," I have failed miserably through the years to understand and apply this mystery James speaks of. I could have saved myself a lot of stress and pain had I understood that trials produce patience and thanked God for it rather than wallowing in self pity. God has been faithful to reveal His constant presence and working in my life right in the midst of my hardest trials. He has shown me that there are some lessons that can only be learned through going through the fire and sometimes the wilderness.
3 "because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." When my heart is filled with trust in God my response will be to bow humbly before Him and thank Him for what He is doing in me through the trial. Paul says - "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 He has, in the past and will continue, in the future to work all things together for my good. He uses it all - the good, the bad and the ugly stuff of life - to shape me and prepare me for the Glory of Heaven.
4 "Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." As I look back I see the evidence of this verse in my life. I realize that It has been by going through the deep deep waters and feeling like I would surely drown that I came to the end of my own resources. The only thing I could do is look up. When I allow perseverance to be my experience, Jesus speaks to me and teaches me, over and over, patience and trust.
His message is clear, Release it, draw near to me, I love you, I am Jehovah Jirah, I will never leave you or forsake you, I have a plan for your life, this trial will make you stronger, firmly grounded and totally contented.
The most recent journey of trials, for me, seemed to me to be infinitely long but the reward was greater than I could have imagined. Some of those rewards were specific answers to my cries. I can truly say that I have great Joy because of what God produced in my life as a result of many circumstantial nightmares.
It's Your Turn
Now it's your turn to dig in and see what God has to say to you. Use the five steps above to get you started in your time with God. Allow God to speak directly to you through His word. Feel free to share something (in the comment section below) that God revealed to you as you studied these four verses in James.
God Bless you my friend. We are all pilgrims on this Earth-place. Those of you who have trusted in Christ and in Him alone for your salvation are my brothers and sisters. Isn't it cool to know that someday we will meet face to face - it is the hope that lies within us.
It is Well with my Soul
Bible Study Tools
Here is the list of extra tools I used in my study of James 1:1-4.
- Cross-References - To compare Scripture to Scripture
- Christian Forum - Used to get others' interpretations and insights.
- Google Search - Used to look up references to Verses God led me to in the study process.
- Synonyms - Enhance your understanding of words.
- Commentary - Dig in deep and learn from John MacArthur
What Did You Learn?
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Lessons From the Book of James
What do we need when we find ourselves in the midst of many trials? I hope you will join in on our next study on just four more verses: James 1:5-8 titled NO DOUBTING
I look forward to your input in the following days as we open the sacred pages of God's word to uncover the truths and lessons found in the Book of James.