5: Faith and Works (Jas 2:14-26)
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.
“Do you see that
faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made
According to James, what kind
of faith is one that is without works?
What does it mean?
Explain the words, “Can faith
save him?” Is James teaching that faith in Christ is not enough to save a
What is the point of the
illustration in 15 and 16?
Think of examples in your life
where your faith is found only on your lips rather than in your actions.
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
What is wrong with the
statement, “You have faith, and I have works”?
What is the point of James’
response, “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith
by my works”?
In your life, what criteria do
you use to measure your faith?
What kind of belief do the
demons have in God? How is such belief different from a genuine faith?
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.
According to Paul, at what
point in his life was Abraham justified?
According to James, when was
Abraham justified by works?
Does James deny that Abraham
had been justified by faith earlier on in his life? Support your answer.
Was Abraham’s offering of Isaac
out of his faith in God’s promise? (cf. Heb 11:17-19)
Now read Jas 2:22. Explain the
words, “by works faith was made perfect.”
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?
In conclusion, how is James’
use of the term “works” different from Paul’s use of the same term?
In light of this passage, what
characterizes Abraham’s faith? Do you also have the same faith?
Read Hebrews 11:31 about Rahab’s faith. What did she believe that led her to receive
the spies? (cf. Josh 2:1-21)
What does Rahab’s
What does verse 26 teach about
the relationship between faith and works? Explain this relationship in your own