The Book of James Bible Study

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James 1

The writer of James - James 1:1

Purpose of Trials and Temptations - James 1:2-4

Asking for Wisdom - James 1:5-8

The Christian's Attitude in the Midst of Trials - James 1:9-11

The Crown of Life in the Midst of Trials - James 1:12

The Birth of Temptation - James 1:13-14

Disobedience and Death  - James 1:15

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The Christian's Bible - James 1:16-26

Purpose of Trials and Temptations

BACKGROUND: Trials and temptations  come from the same word in Greek; the context determines the meaning. Trials come from outside circumstances while temptations arise from the heart.

James understood that being a Christian is difficult. Besides having to earn their living, pay taxes, raise their families, and care for their health, believers must also reckon with neighbors who think them strange and antisocial for their beliefs and lifestyles. Many of the early Christians were driven from their homes and possessions.

Pressures in our technological age are too great for many people. They cannot cope with the difficulties they meet from day to day. They seek to escape from the treadmill of trying incidents that confront them. Escape in many instances is impossible, especially when people cannot control these incidents.

It is not a matter of “if” Christians face trials and temptations but a fact of life—“whenever”— in the first or twenty-first century. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers” blurts James. Is James out of touch with reality? Does his elevator go to the top floor? Where does James get this kind of thinking? From his brother, Jesus:

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:11-12).

PURPOSE OF TRIALS AND TEMPTATIONS: One of the best tests of Christian maturity is
tribulation. When God’s people go through personal trials and temptations, they discover what kind of faith they really possess. Trials and temptations not only reveal our faith; they also develop our faith and Christian character. That’s why James, Peter and Paul insist that our Christian response to all kinds of trials, temptations or tribulations is “to consider it pure joy” and “rejoice.”

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings [tribulations], because we know that suffering
[tribulations] produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope (Romans 5:3-4).

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all
kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes
even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed (1 Peter 1:6-7).

James insists that the testing of our faith, develops our perseverance, brings us to maturity and
completeness, and proper handling of tests bestows wisdom. Peter holds that all kinds of trials prove faith genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor; Paul adds character development, hope.

A sense of hopelessness, despair, panic, or depression is often the result of a person without genuine faith. Such doubters tend to view themselves as victims of their circumstances, rather than participants in the life and program of God, who can control or overrule our circumstances for good.

How did all kinds of trials, temptations and tribulations perfect Job, Abraham, Joseph, and David? Do you think these men would have agreed with the apostle Paul?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

Next Section - Asking for Wisdom

Bible Studies by Bob Conway

Unsealing Revelation

Experiencing Exodus

Decoding Daniel

Life and Passion of Christ

The Holy Spirit

How to Study the Bible

Romans Salvation

Life of the Apostle Paul

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