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 (James & 1, 2 Peter)
Testing of Faith
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2: Testing of Faith (Jas 1:1-18)

I.       The Basics

A.     Setting

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.

B.     Key Verse

            “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).

C.     Did You Know…?

1.      “Greetings” (1:1) is translated literally as “rejoice.”

2.      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).

3.      Testing (1:3,12) means “proving” (the process) or “approval” (the outcome).

II.    Observation

A.     Outline







III. Key words/Phrases

A.     General Analysis

4.      What are the two different types of trials? How do they differ? 

5.      Pick out some sets of contrasts in this passage.

6.      Record all the teachings about God in the passage.

IV.  Segment Analysis

A.     1:1

7.      How does James identify himself? What does this imply about his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ?

8.      If the term “twelve tribes” is interpreted literally, who would it refer to? What if it is interpreted symbolically?

9.      What do the words “scattered abroad” suggest about the believers’ circumstance?

B.     1:2-4

10.  Have you been in a situation where various trials seem to all take place at once in your life?

11.  What should be our attitude when various trials come upon us? Why?

12.  What makes us complain in trials? What enables us to rejoice?

13.  What does it mean to “let patience have its perfect work?”

14.  What does it mean to be “perfect and complete, lacking nothing”? (cf. Eph 4:13; Col 4:12).

C.     1:5-8

15.  In view of verses 2-4, what kind of wisdom is verse 5 referring to?

16.  Are there circumstances in your life right now that require you to pray for wisdom?

17.  Why does James remind his readers that God gives to all liberally and without reproach?

18.  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?

19.  What kind of prayer is offered by a double-minded person? Have you ever offered such prayers?

D.     1:9-12

20.  What “exaltation” and “humiliation” do you think James has in mind in 9-10?

21.  Why should the lowly brother glory in his exaltation and the rich in his humiliation?

22.  How is the rich man like the grass and flowers?

23.  What is the main teaching concerning trials in this paragraph?

24.  Considering your present pursuits in life, how important is material wealth to you? What do you learn from James’ teaching here?

25.  Who will receive the crown of life?

26.  Based on the context of this paragraph, how do we demonstrate our love for the Lord?

E.     1:13-15

27.  Why would a person say, “I am tempted by God”?

28.  Record the progression of temptations based on 14-15.

29.  Knowing the nature of temptations, what is the effective way to guard against spiritual death?

F.      1:16-18

30.  What is the emphasis of this paragraph?

31.  What assurance can we have from knowing that God is “the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning”?

32.  How has God “brought us forth by the word of truth”? Why is this a good and perfect gift?

33.  What does James mean by “a kind of firstfruits” of God’s creatures? (cf. Ex 34:22; Lev 23:10; Rom 8:23)


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