Introduction to the Epistle of James
How to use this Devotional
Welcome to this devotional on the book of James! This guided study will help you to know the contents, structure, and themes that are part of this important New Testament letter. It is a significant letter due to the fact that it describes faith that works. Whereas Paul the apostle’s emphasis was often upon the grace that saves through faith, James emphasizes what faith actually looks like in the lives of those who have truly believed.
James has been called “Practical James,” because this epistle is so practical in nature. As such, it is the book of Proverbs in the New Testament. James draws heavily upon the ethic taught by the Lord Jesus—making the teachings of Christ plain and down to earth, right where we live.
The translation that is used for the text is taken from the New International Version (NIV). But it is also possible to use other translations like the New American Standard and the New King James Version.
This devotional is intended to give you a complete tour of the book within a 40-day framework, one devotional per day. At the end of every five days, you’ll find summary pages. Use these pages to reflect upon the week. Here are the steps on how to proceed with this study.
Be sure to look at the big picture of James before you get into the specific passages.
Take a moment and actually read through all five chapters in one sitting. This is how the letter was meant to be read! This will help you to frame the book and see the “forest” before you start examining the “trees.”
Take some time to look over the background of James, the arguments, the topics, and the outline of the book. This will help you become familiar with the basic shape of this great
As you approach each lesson, begin by reading the portion of the passage that is listed above. Think about the passage and pay attention to some of the key ideas that are mentioned. Look for action verbs and notice repetition, contrasts, and comparisons. Read it again out loud to help you understand the passage. Then take some time to look at the interpretation notes which should aid you in understanding the passage.
Take time to go over the reflection questions and apply them to your own life. Please do this thoughtfully and carefully. Use the text as a mirror to your own heart as you think about the principles first and then how your life should reflect those principles.
Finally, pray over and meditate on the truth, and ask God to help you make it true in your own life. This will be crucial in order for you to internalize the devotional fully for that day!