Chapter 5 – The Book of James ~ A Bible Study for Families
(from The Message Translation)
By Allison T. Cain
Just in case you missed the past few weeks (Chapters 1-4) go back and start there – – – – Just a reminder: I have written this study using The Message translation to make it easier for children to comprehend. However, as you go along please read the text from your favorite and more traditional translation (we like the NIV). You can break this up by chapter or by verses. Do whatever is best for you and your family. I pray the lessons in the book of James will be absorbed in all of our hearts as we study it together.
Chapter 5 – Destroying Your Life from Within
1-3 And a final word to you arrogant rich: Take some lessons in lament. You’ll need buckets for the tears when the crash comes upon you. Your money is corrupt and your fine clothes stink. Your greedy luxuries are a cancer in your gut, destroying your life from within. You thought you were piling up wealth. What you’ve piled up is judgment.
What does arrogant mean?
It isn’t bad to be rich, but arrogance is wrong.
What are luxuries?
It isn’t bad to have luxuries, but greedy is wrong.
Why do you think James calls greedy luxuries a cancer?
4-6 All the workers you’ve exploited and cheated cry out for judgment. The groans of the workers you used and abused are a roar in the ears of the Master Avenger. You’ve looted the earth and lived it up. But all you’ll have to show for it is a fatter than usual corpse. In fact, what you’ve done is condemn and murder perfectly good persons, who stand there and take it.
Who do you think the Master Avenger is that James is referring to?
James is reminding us that the Lord Almighty hears the cries of the people we do terrible things to. He hears what we say and sees what we do to others. He stands up for the lowly and does not like it when we treat others badly or unfairly to get ahead. Just the same, God hears and sees when we are hurt or mistreated too.
How does it make you feel to know God is on your side when you are mistreated?
7-8 Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time.
Who is the Master we are waiting for?
How does a farmer have to be patient? When do you have to patient?
9 Friends, don’t complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know. The Judge is standing just around the corner.
Have you ever talked about a friend (gossiped) to someone else? Or has a someone you called a friend complained about you to others?
How did it make you feel?
What do Proverbs 11:13 and Proverbs 16:28 say about gossip?
10-11 Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God. What a gift life is to those who stay the course! You’ve heard, of course, of Job’s staying power, and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end. That’s because God cares, cares right down to the last detail.
No one in the Bible is perfect, except Jesus, but God used them anyway. Can you name some people from the Bible and qualities they have that you should model?
Name some good qualities God has given you that you think God could use to honor Him.
12 And since you know that he cares, let your language show it. Don’t add words like “I swear to God” to your own words. Don’t show your impatience by concocting oaths to hurry up God. Just say yes or no. Just say what is true. That way, your language can’t be used against you.
In Exodus 20 (The 10 Commandments), what commandment says we should not take the Lord’s name in vain?
Do you think this law is important to God? Why?
Prayer to Be Reckoned With
13-15 Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you’ve sinned, you’ll be forgiven—healed inside and out.
What should you do if you are hurting?
What if you feel great?
What about if you are sick?
Have you ever prayed for a sick friend?
What will happen if you have sinned?
16-18 Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.
James gives us a formula to practice daily.
1st we should C____________ our sins.
2nd we should P___________ for each other.
Where Elijah’s prayers answered? Check out 1 Kings 17 to read more about Elijah’s story.
19-20 My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.
Should we turn our backs on friends and family that have strayed from God?
What are some ways we can help them come back to God?
Make a list of friends or family you can pray for over the next year that have strayed from God.
Look up 1 Peter 4:8. Write it out on paper and illustrate it. Memorize this week.