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James 1:1-12 - Joy in Trials

Kevin Finkenbinder

James 1:1-12

James 1:1

The New Testament uses 5 different words for slave/bondservant:  ὑπηρέτης is the closest to what we think of as slaves…translated as under-rowers, they were the ones chained to the oars in the bottom of the ship and were seen as nothing more than machinery to use until it died.  διάκονος were are those who are under the authority of someone else, but have the freedom to do the job in the way they see best.  οἰκέτης were the ones working inside the house as a houseslave, they were the cooks, maids and butlers of the Greek world.  θεράπων were the people hired to do a job for a short period of time, until the job was done…a day laborer.  Finally, a δοῦλος, the word used here, is a person permanently in subjection.  Like a ὑπηρέτης or οἰκέτης, they were generally a permanent part of the house, but they were treated above servants, but below the children of the house.  Often they were adopted into the as children, at which point they were given an inheritance as the rest of the family.

  1. When James uses the term “to the twelve tribes” do you think he was only referring to Jews. Why or why not?  Can it still apply to us?

James 1:2-4

  1. How is joy different than happiness?
  2. In PHYSICAL sports, how do athletes develop endurance? Why do teams with an “easy schedule” rarely win the championship games?
  3. How can the lesson of athletes apply to our spiritual walk?
  4. What does James mean by “so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”?

James 1:5-8

  1. How does the concept of lacking wisdom connect with the idea of rejoicing in trials and developing endurance? Do wise people avoid developing endurance?
  2. How can we be double minded in approaching our trials and challenges? (Hint, a person who exercises every day is stronger than a person who does it once every week or two.)

James 1:9-11

  1. How does eternity put perspective on our wealth and poverty?
  2. How does the temporary nature of life put perspective on our wealth and poverty?

James 1:12

  1. What does it mean to be blessed?
    1. Genesis 2:3
    2. Exodus 20:11
    3. Numbers 6:22-27
    4. Deuteronomy 2:7
    5. Psalm 32:2; 34:8; 40:4; 84:5
    6. Matthew 5:3-11
    7. Romans 4:7-8
    8. 1 Peter 4:14

In Greek, there are two words for crown… στέφανος and διάδημα.  The diadem is the royal crown made of Jewels and gold.  Alternatively the stephanos is made of woven vines like a wreath or garland.  It is given as an award to the winner in athletic games.

  1. What do you think is the crown of life a diadem or a stephanos?
  2. The word is stephanos, how does this change your understanding of “crown of life?”