James has been called the ‘Proverbs of the New Testament’. Indeed, much of the book is taken up addressing Christian behaviour, rather than doctrine. It is thus a very practical book, and will help us to think about how we live out our faith in practice. Hence the title of these studies, ‘Faith in Action’.
Let me encourage you to try and spend at least half of your allotted time in the application questions. James encourages us to be ‘doers’ of the word and not ‘hearers only’. And so don’t let your head be a bottle-neck to your heart. That is, let what James has to say influence not just your thoughts but how you behave as well. Let your faith lead to action.
Finally, remember that James is speaking to a community of believers. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that James is addressing your personal relationship with God. Fight against western individualism. Instead, think about how God is calling you lo live out your faith in community.
Before you begin
Read through the book of James two or three times (It’s only five chapters). If you have access to more than one translation that’s even better! Make a note of any questions you may have. Jot down some key themes as you make your way through the book. Write down what you think is the main purpose of the book.
Chris Ramsbottom – March 2019