Outine of the Book of James
The Theme Introduced (1:2–18)
The theme is that believers should meet trials and temptations with faith and wisdom. If
we do this, we will respond to trials by:
1. Counting it “all joy” as a divine means toward growth (1:2–4)
2. Asking for wisdom from God to face them (1:5–8)
3. Learning from them the value of humility (1:9–11)
4. Believing that they hold the prospect of eternal reward (1:12)
5. Being vigilant to the deception of sin they occasion (1:13–15)
6. Being thankful that God will use them for good (1:16–18)
The Outline Suggested (1:19–20)
“Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” The “every man” here is
one among “my beloved brethren,” and is parallel to the “every man” of Col 1:28.
I. Be Swift to Hear in Trials (1:21–2:26)
A. Let your hearing lead to doing (1:21–27)
B. Let your hearing be impartial and merciful (2:1–13)
C. Let your hearing lead to faithful action (2:13–26)
II. Be Slow to Speak in Trials (3:1–18)
A. Because no man can tame the tongue (3:1–12)
B. Because there are two kinds of wisdom (3:13–18)
III. Be Slow to Wrath in Trials (4:1–5:6)
A. Because wrath is worldly and divisive (4:1–5)
B. Because the wrath of man requires repentance (4:6–10)
C. Because the fruit of wrath is judging (4:11–12)
D. Because the source of wrath is arrogance (4:13–5:6)
The Theme Summarized (5:7–20)
A. Faithful endurance in trials is rewarded (5:7–12)
B. Faithful endurance is gained by effective prayer (5:13–18)
C. Faithful endurance may deliver others who are wavering (5:19–20)
The Greeting (1:1)
I. The Author: James, the Half Brother of Jesus
James identifies himself as “a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” This
immediately shows his humility as he might well have said, “the earthly brother of Jesus Christ.”
But James knew it was his spiritual, not physical, relationship that counted. The few things we
can say of James are:
A. James did not believe in Jesus as his Savior during his earthly life (Joh 7:5).
B. On at least one occasion, James mocked Jesus’ claims (Joh 7:2–4).
C. Jesus declared that physical relation had no claim on Him (Mat 12:48–50).
D. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to James (1Co 15:7).
E. According to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, James was martyred by being cast down from
the pinnacle of the temple, and afterward—being still alive—was beaten to death,
even while he prayed for his persecutors, interceding that “they know not what they do.”
II. The Recipients: “My Brethren”—Fellow Believers
These are of the multitude, which were scattered by persecution after the death of
Stephen (Act 8:1-4). The word “scattered” in Act 8:1, 4 and Act 11:19 is the same used
here. Again, it means “to sow seed.” Consider the “seed” God sows.
A. Jesus is the “seed” that God has sown in the field of this world (Joh.12:24).
1. He is the “seed of the woman” (Gen 3:15).
2. He is the “seed” of Abraham (Gen 22:18; Gal 3:16).
3. He is the “seed” of David (2Sa 7:12; Psa 89:3-4, 29, 36; 2Ti 2:8).
4. He is the virgin-born seed (Isa.7:14; Mat.1:21–23).
B. Then, Jesus sows the seed of the Word (Luk 8:11).
C. In order to sow the Word, God then sows the saints (Act 8:1-4; 11:19).
The Theme Introduced: Endure Suffering by Faith (1:2-18)
The theme as we have seen is that, as believers, we should meet our trials and temptations
with faith and wisdom. We might say faith receives the Word of God in humility (1:21), and
wisdom applies the Word of God to the situations of our daily life.
What we should do in time of trial (1:2–12):
I. “Count it all joy” (vv. 2–4).
The word “count” means “add up the facts and come to a conclusion.”
A. Based on what we know—the testing of faith produces patience. “Knowing” here
speaks of the convictions from biblical teaching. We know that testing is a path to
development of Christian character (Rom 5:1–5; 1Pe 1:6–9).
II. Ask God for wisdom (1:5–8).
Trials reveal our need for divine guidance and strength.
A. Trust that God will hear and provide
B. Do not doubt—the duplicitous soul is always unstable.
C. Rejoice in humility (1:9–11).
D. See trials as a path to blessings and reward (1:12).
E. Be vigilant to the temptation to sin inherent in them (1:13–15).
F. Be thankful that God will use trials and temptations for good (1:16–18).
STRESS : FIVE FASCINATING FACTS
1A Stress is Predictable: James 1:1-2
2A Stress is Problematic: James 1:2
3A Stress is Paradoxical: James 1:2-4
4A Stress is Purposeful: James 1:3-8
5A Stress is Profitable: James 1:9-12
trials can come to us through several means and with several purposes in mind.
They test the strength of our faith.
They humble us lest we think more confidently of our spiritual strength than we should.
They wean us off of worldly things and
They call us to a heavenly hope.
They reveal what we really love. trials also serve a very important purpose because
They teach us to value the blessing of God.
They enable us to help others in their suffering
They develop enduring strength for greater usefulness