IN A NUTSHELL – James is a book heavy on the “do factor” and light on the “why” or “how.” Some have even suggested that it’s been adapted from a Jewish historical writing and then a later redactor entered the only two references to Jesus. If you want to know what a person should look like, act like, think like then James is a great study. One could say that it describes what a person will be like if he is committed to “saturate” his life with the SPIRIT of Christ. You will notice that “what fills your heart will lead your life.”
Describe the most selfless act/ministry you have ever personally witnessed by another human being.
CONNECTING TO THE TEXT
- What does James say is a “pure” religion? 1:18-27
- In contrast, what might be regarded as a "worthless" religion? Is. 58:1-11 Ro. 2:17-24
- Is James 1:27 a contradiction of Matthew 25:34-40
- If James 1:19 – 27 were grouped under one theme/topic/category of points how would you describe it?
- What are some interesting facts about the Epistle of St. James that might emphasize this month’s theme: “saturate- what fills your heart will lead your life”?
- How would you gather the principles taught in Matthew 5:2-12; Isaiah 1:16,17; 1 John 3:17-19 to James 1:27 into a good summary of what God expects from a Christian? The God of a Pure Religion
- What does it mean to keep oneself “unspotted” from the world? James 1:27; 1 John 2:15-17; Col. 3:1-3; Rom. 12:2
REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES
- When someone describes a friend you don’t know as “a real religious person” what do you imagine they act like?
- What are some signs that you might be an immature Christian too caught up with a worldly faith? (Check out these websites for some starters: A Carnal Christian; George Barna's description
- ‘How would you describe an “impure” religion?
- From your experience of helping people, why do you think the widows and orphans are identified in James as an indication of a person that is committed to a pure religion?
- How many of the "worthless" religion tendencies do you see in your life?
- Do you sense that you are “spotted” by the world? What should you do?
CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH
- How can this CARE group come in contact and help someone like a widow or orphan? Helping the Poor...
- How might being "an active part of the church" help one remain unspotted from the world? What does it mean to be "an active part of the church?"