Search The Scriptures —Study 3 — James 2:1-13

Study 3 From the Book of James is: James 2:1-13

  1. Verses 1-7. On what five grounds (three general and two particular) does James condemn the snobbish conduct described in Verses 2, 3? With verse 4, cf. 4:11. We, too, believe in the ‘Lord of glory’. Are we free from the preoccupation with what people have rather than what they are? Do we love and learn from ‘the rich in faith’?
  2. Verse 8:13. ‘This partiality business is just a minor matter.? How does James deal with this sterile objection? Why, in a life which may otherwise appear to be law-abiding, is one form of sin, like partiality, so serious?

Notes

  1. Verse 12. Our freedom is not freedom from the obligations and moral law; it is freedom to fulfill (verse 18) the just requirements of the law.
  2. Verse 13b. Mercy triumphs over (not justice but) judgement. The same word is translated. ‘condemnation’ in 5:12. Mercy will finally triumph because when the merciless are condemned, the merciful will be forgiven.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 2 — James 1:19-27

Study 2  From the Book of James is: James 1:19-27

It is characteristic of James to pass from one paragraph to another by repetition of a key-word. Here, having spoken of God’s word in regeneration (verse 18) he goes on to speak of the place God’s word—as expressing His will—should have in the believers’ life.

  1. What are the possible hindrances and dangers which may prevent God’s word from taking root and bearing fruit in our lives?
  2. ‘Meekness’ (verse 21) is not to be confused with inactivity. What lessons does James’ illustration enforce concerning our reaction to God’s word and His law? With verse 25, cf. Lk 8:15. How does your religion stands up to James practical tests (verse 26f)?

Notes

  1. Verse 25. ‘Looks into’: literally ‘peers closely at’; cf. Jn. 20:5, 11; 1 Peter 1:12. ‘The law of liberty’: cf. Rom. 8:2. The Christian gospel is a ‘law of liberty’ because God’s spirit creates within the hearts of those who receive it the will and power to obey God. So, God’s law becomes an inner constraint and is no longer chiefly an internal restraint.
  2. Verse 27. ‘Religion’: the world means the outward expression of faith. This is the ritualism which God loves’ says James ‘to visit orphans…’

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Search The Scriptures —Study 1 — James 1:1-18

Study 1 From the Book of James is: James 1:1-18

A distinction is drawn in this passage between ‘trials’ (verse 2, 12), which may have positive effects (cf 1 Pet. 1:7), and ‘temptation’ (verses 13f.) which is the enticement to evil conceived within the human heart.

  1. Verses 2-7, 12. What is our mental attitude to trials to be. What is their purpose and goal? In trying situations wisdom (cf. 3:17) us be necessary. How in particular is this wisdom to be obtained?
  2. Verses 13-15. What is the origin of temptation, and what are the inevitable products of yielding to it? How can we avoid being deceived, and gain strength to overcome?
  3. Verses 9-11, 16-18. Contrast the impermanence of men, poor and rich alike, with the changeless consistency of God our Father. What also is God’s will for us, and what means does He use to fulfil it? How should these truths influence our attitude to life?

Notes

  1. Verse 17b. The eternal Source of light is not, like the heavenly bodies, subject to variation or eclipse.
  2. Verse 18. ‘A kind of first fruits’: the first fruits were evidence that the harvest had begun, and promise of more to follow.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 0 — Introduction of James

Study 0  From the Book of James is: The Introduction of  the Book of James

It is generally believed that this letter was written by James, the brother of our Lord. During Christ’s life on earth he was an unbeliever (Jn 7:5), but was converted when Jesus appeared to him after His resurrection (1 Cor. 15:7). He was austere in disposition and practical in character. In the book of Acts (see 12:17; 15:13-21; 21:18 and also Gal. 2:9) he appears as leader of the church at Jerusalem. He was killed by the Jews about AD 61.

The letter addressed to the ‘twelve tribes in the dispersion’ (1:1), that is, to fellow-Jews living outside Palestine. It is terse and forceful, yet vivid and dramatic in style. It begins and end abruptly, to encourage those who were passing through a period of trial and suffering; but at the same time rebukes such failings as profession of faith without the practice of it, sins of speech, strife and envying, eagerness to take the positions of teachers, and lack of steadfast endurance. He urges his readers to the ‘doers of the word, and not hearers only’, to express their Christian faith not in outward formality and barren profession, but by seeking to obey from the heart God’s perfect law of liberty in the manifold relationships of life.

The central thought is that ‘faith apart from works is barren’ (2:20). Justification is by faith, but the faith that justifies is a living faith which, by an inherent irrepressible necessity, must produce good works, or express itself in active self-committal and obedience.

Search The Scriptures —Study 3 — Malachi 3:7 – 4:6

Study 3  From the Book of Malachi is: Malachi 3:7 – 4:6

With this lesson, we end the book of Malachi and tomorrow we start with the book of James

  1. Of what are the people accused in 3:7-15? What must we make our chief concern if we wish to obtain God’s promised blessings? Pr. 3:9, 10; Mt. 6:30-33; 16:25; Lk. 6:38. In what practical ways ought I to respond to this call?
  2. Two different classes of people are described in 3:13-16. To which do you belong? The wicked may seem to have the best of it, but God says here that, in contrast to present circumstances, He is going to make a day (3:17 and 4:3) in which the righteous and the wicked shall be openly distinguished and justly recompensed. How will this be effected? Cf. 4:1, 2 with 2 Thes. 1:7-10; 1 Jn. 2:28; 3:2; Rev. 6:15-17.

Note 3:11 ‘the devourer’ i.e., the locust.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 2 — Malachi 2: 10-3:6

Study 2  From the Book of Malachi is: Malachi 2: 10-3:6

  1. 2:10-16. Although the people wept before the Lord, they found He would not regard their offerings. Why not? What particular sin was coming between them and God, and what ‘heart condition’ underlay it? Cf. Heb. 3:12, 13.
  2. How is 3:1-6 and answer to the people’s complaint in 2:17? What similes are used to describe the day of the Lord’s coming? What must be put away? And on what must my heart be set, if I am to be ready to welcome Him at His appearing? Cf. 1 Thes. 3:12, 13; 1 Jn. 3:2, 3.

Note 2:10, 11. ‘Profaning the covenant of our fathers’: i.e., by marrying wives of other nations. Cf. Ex. 34:10-12, 15, 16. ‘ The daughter of a foreign god’ means a foreign woman of another religion.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 1 — Malachi 1:1-2:9

Study 1  From the Book of Malachi is: Malachi 1:1-2:9

  1. 1:1-5. The people of Judah, lolling upon their condition and circumstances, were depressed and murmuring against God. What proof did the prophet adduce to show that God did love them as a nation? Cf. Pss. 34:15, 16; 73:26-28.
  2. Of what particular sins were the priest guilty? With what will God punish them if the remain impenitent? What was the root of their failure?
  3. What, by contrast, do we learn should be the quality and objectives of our service as messengers of the Lord of host? Cf. 2:5-7, and cf. 2 Cor.6:3; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Pet. 4:10, 11.

Notes

  1. 1:2-4. The Edomites were the descendants of Esau.
  2. 1:5. ‘ Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel’: the people had too small a conception of their God and this the prophet seeks to correct. Cf. verses 11, 14b
  3. 1:8. Perfect, unblemished sacrifices were demanded (Lv. 1:3), and not the ‘rejects’ from the flock.

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