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 (James & 1, 2 Peter)
Faith and Works
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5: Faith and Works (Jas 2:14-26)

I.       The Basics

A.     Setting

The passage of this lesson continues and elaborates on the exhortation to be doers of the word. With examples and illustrations, James makes a strong argument that faith without works is dead.

B.     Key Verse

“Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?” (2:22).

II.    Observation

A.     Outline






III. Segment Analysis

A.     2:14-17

1.      According to James, what kind of faith is one that is without works?

2.      What does it mean?

3.      Explain the words, “Can faith save him?” Is James teaching that faith in Christ is not enough to save a person?

4.      What is the point of the illustration in 15 and 16?

5.      Think of examples in your life where your faith is found only on your lips rather than in your actions.

B.     2:18-20

6.      There are two views about where the quotation in verse 18 ends. The first view holds that there is only one speaker, whose words extend to the end of the verse. According to the second view, the man’s words end at “…I have works,” and the rest of the sentence is the author’s response. We will adopt the second view for the purpose of our study.

7.      What is wrong with the statement, “You have faith, and I have works”?

8.      What is the point of James’ response, “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works”?

9.      In your life, what criteria do you use to measure your faith?

10.  What kind of belief do the demons have in God? How is such belief different from a genuine faith?

C.     2:21-24

11.  Read Paul’s teaching on justification by faith in Romans 3:21-4:25. He insists that man was justified apart from his works. James, on the other hand, stresses that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. To explain the apparent contradiction, answer the following questions.

12.  According to Paul, at what point in his life was Abraham justified?

13.  According to James, when was Abraham justified by works?

14.  Does James deny that Abraham had been justified by faith earlier on in his life? Support your answer.

15.  Was Abraham’s offering of Isaac out of his faith in God’s promise? (cf. Heb 11:17-19)

16.  Now read Jas 2:22. Explain the words, “by works faith was made perfect.”

17.  What point in Abraham’s life is James referring to in 23? In what sense was “the Scripture was fulfilled”? When was the Scripture fulfilled?

18.  In conclusion, how is James’ use of the term “works” different from Paul’s use of the same term?

19.  In light of this passage, what characterizes Abraham’s faith? Do you also have the same faith?

D.     2:25-26

20.  Read Hebrews 11:31 about Rahab’s faith. What did she believe that led her to receive the spies? (cf. Josh 2:1-21)

21.  What does Rahab’s example illustrate?

22.  What does verse 26 teach about the relationship between faith and works? Explain this relationship in your own words.


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