2: Testing of Faith (Jas 1:1-18)
James begins his
epistle by discussing the testing of faith—a subject that will serve as the
underlying principle for his subsequent exhortations on faith and works. The
testing of faith comes in the form of outward circumstances or inner
temptations. With a matured faith, we will rejoice in various trials and be
victorious over temptations.
“Every good gift and every
perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom
there is no variation or shadow of turning” (1:17).
Did You Know…?
“Greetings” (1:1) is translated
literally as “rejoice.”
Temptation/Trial (1:2,12-14): The Greek word peirasmos
has two basic meanings. If its purpose is positive, peirasmos
is translated as “trial,” as in verse 2.
If it is evil in origin and leads to sin, it is translated as
“temptation” (12-14; cf. Lk 4:13).
means “proving” (the process) or “approval” (the outcome).
What are the two different
types of trials? How do they differ?
Pick out some sets of contrasts
in this passage.
Record all the teachings about
God in the passage.
How does James identify
himself? What does this imply about his relationship with the Lord Jesus
If the term “twelve tribes” is
interpreted literally, who would it refer to? What if it is interpreted
What do the words “scattered
abroad” suggest about the believers’ circumstance?
Have you been in a situation
where various trials seem to all take place at once in your life?
What should be our attitude
when various trials come upon us? Why?
What makes us complain in
trials? What enables us to rejoice?
What does it mean to “let
patience have its perfect work?”
What does it mean to be “perfect
and complete, lacking nothing”? (cf. Eph 4:13; Col 4:12).
In view of verses 2-4, what
kind of wisdom is verse 5 referring to?
Are there circumstances in your
life right now that require you to pray for wisdom?
Why does James remind his
readers that God gives to all liberally and without reproach?
In light of verse 6, how are
trials in our lives a testing of faith? What serves as a measure of our faith
in trying times?
What kind of prayer is offered
by a double-minded person? Have you ever offered such prayers?
What “exaltation” and
“humiliation” do you think James has in mind in 9-10?
Why should the lowly brother
glory in his exaltation and the rich in his humiliation?
How is the rich man like the
grass and flowers?
What is the
main teaching concerning trials in this paragraph?
Considering your present
pursuits in life, how important is material wealth to you? What do you learn
from James’ teaching here?
Who will receive the crown of
Based on the context of this
paragraph, how do we demonstrate our love for the Lord?
Why would a person say, “I am
tempted by God”?
Record the progression of
temptations based on 14-15.
Knowing the nature of
temptations, what is the effective way to guard against spiritual death?
What is the emphasis of this
What assurance can we have from
knowing that God is “the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or
shadow of turning”?
How has God “brought us forth
by the word of truth”? Why is this a good and perfect
What does James mean by “a kind
of firstfruits” of God’s creatures? (cf. Ex 34:22; Lev 23:10; Rom 8:23)