James draws heavily from the teachings of Jesus, especially from the Sermon on the Mount. If you were to write a letter to your city, what wisdom from Jesus would you make sure to include?
Are there times when you’ve experienced tough circumstances or challenges that have actually ended up changing you for the better? How did you witness God at work in these moments?
James writes that beauty perishes and wealth passes away. In what ways are you tempted to find your security in riches or things that are beautiful? If these things truly are fleeting, what should our relationship with them be?
James warns against the dangers of favoring the wealthy and powerful over the poor or needy. In what ways do you unconsciously favor people who have beauty, wealth, and power? Why does James say this kind of partiality is problematic?
What does it really mean to love your neighbor? Who are the people you have an easy time loving as yourself? Who are the people for whom that is difficult?
What stuck out to you about the reading from this week? Was there a verse or idea that was particularly meaningful or challenging for you?
James argues that a true test of our faith is how well we love our neighbors. What should the relationship be between what we believe and how we live our lives?
Take a moment to think about how you’ve used your words so far this week. Can you think of times when you’ve used your words for good? What about times you’ve used your words in potentially hurtful or negative ways?
What are some practical ways we can begin to be intentional about the way we use our words to bless others, rather than harm them?
Where do you find yourself relying on your own wisdom, rather than submitting to God’s wisdom? How do we even know what God’s wisdom is? Where can we find it?
How do we live as people who hope for the future return of Jesus? What does this truth change about how we are able to respond to challenges or trials?
What passages or teachings from James are sticking with you as we finish our study of this letter?
What does it mean to you to live in eager anticipation of the return of Jesus?
The book of James is all about what it looks like to live in Christian community. This week, make a list of characteristics you think are important for this type of community – and get specific! Consider what you believe to be the marks of an authentic Christian community. What would it look like to practice creating this community where you are currently planted? Think about your neighborhood, your work environment, your church community, etc.