James 1


The reading for this week is James chapter 1 (Right-click the link and select “Open in New Window” to keep this window open).

Tip: Start by praying that God will reveal Himself through His Word as you read it.

Background: This “James” was not one of the twelve Apostles, he was Jesus’ brother. He did not become a believer until after the resurrection. This relatively short book is chock full of guidance, challenges and promises to believers.

I must admit that when verse 2 says, “”Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds . . .” that I am tempted to put the book down and say, “I’m outta here!”
Pure joy? When facing trials? I tend to just think of enduring trials. But I can’t deny that persevering eventually does great things in my life. Nothing happens to us that God doesn’t make happen or let happen, so we can trust that it will be for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

Verse 5 (If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him) contains a major-league promise. We should all meditate on that verse to remind ourselves that God will give us wisdom during trials. All we have to do is ask. No strings attached. Wisdom is different than intelligence. There are intelligent people who make lots of bad decisions, and less educated people that make mostly wise decisions.

Verses 19-20 have timeless guidance: “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” Everything works out better when I follow this command.

Verse 26 always convicts me: “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” Ouch. It is easy to keep a tight rein on my tongue most of the time, but not always.

Please add your thoughts or questions. If you aren’t sure how posting works or aren’t comfortable posting online, just email me a neil@4simpsons.com.

P.S. My good friend Travis memorized all of James! I have about 3 verses down. Only 105 to go!

The reading for next week is James chapter 2-3.

Welcome!

What is the purpose of this blog? The idea is for everyone to get into God’s Word on a regular basis. I have talked with a couple of you around the country about doing an on-line Bible study and thought the blog format would work well. I also thought it would be a good exercise for me to work through once a week. I always learn the most when I am summarizing or teaching something.

I plan to post here at least once per week. I’ll pick 1-3 chapters and just write about what stuck out to me. It won’t be an exhaustive analysis. Feel free to add your own comments or just read along.

Click here for some Bible study tips. Regardless of how much you know about the Bible, you can get a lot out of it by reading as little as a chapter and following a few simple steps (I picked these up from a sermon by James MacDonald):

  • What portion stands out to you? Why? (Don’t just focus on what you don’t understand. Think about the things you do understand.)
  • Is there an example for me to follow or a duty to perform?
  • Is there an error for me to avoid?
  • Is there a promise for me to claim?
  • Is there a sin for me to confess?
  • Plan it – make a plan for how you will use it
  • Pray it – pray scripture back to God
  • Share it – it will help others and help you to remember it

General guidelines for comments: No mean stuff. No elitist stuff. Feel free to ask questions, offer opinions, etc. Write all you want, but keep in mind that most people prefer to read shorter posts. You get bonus points for being pithy.

The first reading I’ll post on is James chapter 1.

Come back soon!

We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.