IN A NUTSHELL –James ends his letter at the same place he started it… dealing with suffering. No doubt it is one of the most common problems people deal with from day to day. Interestingly, at the end of James he demonstrates a relationship between man’s suffering and his tendency to sin. At the beginning of James he challenges us to ask for wisdom, at the end he challenges us to pray, confess our sins, call for the elders, and reach out to help deliver others from their sin and suffering. It’s an overarching concept of James, “You can’t say you believe in God and not face your struggles straight on with faith, perseverance, confession of sin, and resolve to rescue others from those same sins.”
Can you recall a time, that you can share, when you struggled with an issue silently for a long time and then one time it just seemed OK to talk about it. You did talk and things seemed to make more sense or at least did not seem so devastating?
CONNECTING TO THE TEXT
- How does James differentiate his advice regarding suffering and patience between Ja. 1:1-4 & 5:7-8.
- Does James’ admonition to not grumble seem misplaced in this discussion or profoundly appropriate? James 5:9-11 How about in light of 5:16-20
- What similarities can be found in Ja. 5:19,20; Ps. 51:12,13; 2 Cor. 1:3-5?
- How might the command “do not swear by heaven or earth” have anything to do with suffering and waiting for the Lord’s coming? Ja. 5:12-13
- How should “Hebrew wisdom Literature” be interpreted… as general principles to live by , or conclusive promises to claim? What is the difference between those views? See Ja. 5:15; Pr. 22:6
REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES
- How many of the more difficult struggles in your life have been complicated by disagreements with people you love?
- How many of the more difficult struggles in your life were also complicated by someone’s tendency to sin? Your tendency to confront their sin? Your sin?
- What individuals are used by James as illustrations for us to learn how to be patient amidst our struggles?
CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH
- How do some churches view verses 14-15 in light of the elders anointing with oil?
- Is it important to confess to one another… to a preacher (a priest)… or just to Jesus? What is the difference?
NEXT WEEK – “saturate” series 5 of 5 James 1:1-11, “your giving”
- What is the connection between James 1:5-8 and Matthew 7:7-11?
- How would you define “stewardship” in light of James 1:1-11; 22; 2:1-4; 2:5-7; 4:1-3; 4:13-17