About the Author:
The writer was not James the son of Zebedee; for he was put to death by Herod (Acts 12) before Christianity had gained so much ground among the Jews of the dispersion as is here implied. But it was the other James, the son of Alphaeus, who was cousin to Christ, and one of the twelve apostles, Mt 10:3. He is called a pillar (Ga 2:9), and this letter of his cannot be disputed, without loosening a foundation-stone. It is called a general epistle, because (as some think) not directed to any particular person or church, but such a one as we call a circular letter.
The time when this epistle was written is uncertain. The design of it is to reprove Christians for their great degeneracy both in faith and manners, and to prevent the spreading of doctrines which threatened the destruction of all practical godliness. It was also a special intention of the author of this epistle to awaken the Jewish nation to a sense of the greatness and nearness of those judgments which were coming upon them; and to support all true Christians in the way of their duty, under the calamities and persecutions they might meet with. (Matthew Henry Commentary)
Overview of Chapter One:
1. How to Deal with Temptation
2. How to Get Wisdom
3. The Right Attitude about Things
4. Importance of Practical Godliness
Read verse 1 – Who is James written to? Why?
List several things we are told to do in regards to temptation: v. 2-4, 12
Why should we be happy about temptation? Read verse 2 and 12
Where do temptations take place?
What do temptations do for us and in us? Verse 3, 4
Read verse 12-16 – Where does temptation come from? How does it work? What is the solution to not caving in to it?
Verse 5 – What is wisdom?
How do you get more of it?
If you don’t have wisdom, what is the result? Verse 6, 11
Read v. 8 – What is a double minded man?
Read verse 18. Where do our gifts come from and why?
If we realize where our things come from, how do we relate to others? Verse 9, 10
What is God’s number one tool for helping us? Verse 18
What are the principles of communication listed in verse 19?
Read verse 21. What does engrafted mean? What will the word do for you?
What difference does it make in our life and to God if we just know the truth of the word or if we are doers of the word?
What does a “doer” do?
What does the analogy of the mirror mean to you? What is God trying to tell you? Verse 23-25
Read verse 26. How does a person “seem to be religious”?
What is the difference between being religious and being spiritual?
What does a real spiritually religious experience look like? Verse 27
What is the main focus, other than God, of someone who has pure religion? Verse 27
Who do you know that could use a visit from you? Just to cheer them up or help them out.
In what ways are you being spotted by the world, and what do you need to do to keep yourself from it?
What are the main points from this chapter that God is telling you about your own life?