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 (James & 1, 2 Peter)
Lesson 02
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Lesson 2



Greetings to the Twelve Tribes (1:1)

Rejoice in Various Trials (1:2-4)

Asking in Faith (1:5-8)

Trials for the Poor and the Rich (1:9-12)

Source of Temptations (1:13-15)

God as the Source of All Good Gifts (1:16-18)

Key words/Phrases

Joy, various trials, testing, faith, patience, perfect, lacking, ask, no doubting, glory, pass away, temptation, approved, desires, drawn away and enticed, sin, death, good gift, Father of lights, word of truth, firstfruits.

General Analysis

1. Trials can come in the form of outward difficulties, such as persecutions or loss of material wealth, or in the form of inner temptations. While we tend to avoid outward difficulties because of the pain involved, we are lured by temptations because of the pleasure they offer. Outward difficulties are morally neutral and may even benefit us spiritually, but inner temptations are innately evil because they come from a desire that is contrary to God’s law and result in sin.

2. Joy and trials; faith and doubt, the lowly and the rich; exaltation and humiliation; life and death; evil and good.

3. See verses 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 18.

egment Analysis

1.      James considers himself as a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (1). The word “servant” means slave. As a slave submits to his master in everything, James is obedient to the Lord. In the same way a slave belongs to his master, James belongs to the Lord, both body and soul.

2.      The literal meaning of “twelve tribes” would be Jewish Christians. If interpreted symbolically, the term refers to spiritual Israel—those who by faith have been baptized into Christ and become the children of Abraham (cf. Rom 9:6-8; Gal 3:7-9, 26-29; 6:16; Php 3:3)

3.      Whether the scattering alludes to the Diaspora—the dispersion of Jews among the Gentiles after the Babylonian captivity, or to the dispersion of believers after the stoning of Stephen (Acts 8:1), the believers who lived abroad were often living in adverse conditions. As aliens in foreign lands, many of them suffered religious or social oppressions.

4.      We should consider it all joy (verse 2; “all joy” means “complete joy”). The reasons for such joy are found in verses 3 and 4.

5.      A person would naturally complain if he is not prepared to suffer (cf. Acts 14:22; 1Thess 3:3; 1Pet 4:12) and does not see the purpose of his suffering. As Christians, we can rejoice in trials because we know that we can develop spiritual character and that our faith may be tested and approved through suffering (Rom 5:3-5; Jas 1:12; 1Pet 1:6,7; 4:1,2,12,13).

6.      We need to endure to the end.

7.      It means reaching spiritual maturity, not lacking any Christian character.

8.      The wisdom to understand the purpose of trials. The wisdom to see our shortcomings and where we can grow. The wisdom to handle life’s various trying circumstances.

9.      Since God does not rebuke us for our insufficiency but generously provides for our needs, we can pray to him and ask for wisdom with full confidence and assurance.

10.  Whether we can still pray to the Lord with unwavering faith when we face trials will indicate whether our faith in God is genuine.

11.  An example of a double-minded prayer is one where we seek for God’s help on the one hand while devising a “backup plan” in case God does not answer our prayers.

12.  Considering the context, both exaltation and and humiliation refer to trials in believers’ lives.

13.  The lowly brother should glory in exaltation because trials of faith is an honor bestowed by the Lord (Acts 5:41; 1Pet 4:13,14). The rich should glory in his humiliation because trials of faith remind him that life and material abundance are fleeting.

14.  Just as the grass withers and the flowers fall under the burning heat, so the rich man is humbled when going through fiery trials.

15.  Trials put both the poor and the rich believer on equal footing. They make us realize that our lives are weak and fragile, and that we should not depend on or boast of our material possessions (cf. 1Tim 6:17).

16.  Those who love the Lord (12).

17.  If we relate verse 12 to the previous verses, we understand that those who love the Lord are those who withstand trials and learn to look lightly upon material pursuits. They choose to love God rather than Mammon (Mt 6:24). In other words, they serve the Lord wholeheartedly without being enticed by selfish ambitions.

18.  A person may attribute temptations to God in order to justify his sin.

19.  Drawn away by desires and enticed > desire is conceived > gives birth to sin > sin is full-grown > brings forth death.

20.  Since the power of sin keeps growing stronger until it takes control of us, we must subdue our evil desires even before they are conceived. We need to flee youthful lusts (2Tim 2:22) and put to death the misdeeds of the body (Rom 8:13). Let our hearts be filled with God’s word and God’s Spirit so that there would be no room for evil.

21.  God is the author of everything that is good and perfect. There is not the slightest evil in Him (1 Jn 1:5).

22.  God is trustworthy. Therefore, we can always depend on His goodness and pray to Him without fear of being disappointed (Lk 9-13; Rom 8:31,32).

23.  We have been born again through the word of God (1 Pet 1:23). By hearing the gospel and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have the best gift from God—eternal life (Rom 6:23).

24.  While the whole creation eagerly awaits the day of final redemption, we who have received spiritual redemption become the first to have a foretaste of that glorious moment.


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