book of james

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 4: James 2:1-13

Summary of James 2:1-13:

James tells believers bluntly not to show favoritism because Jesus didn’t. Favoritism is discriminating and passing judgment on others (Jesus’ job, not ours). God judges the heart, not appearances. God chose the poor to be rich in faith and yet the people (you) insult them. The rich often sin against you (the people) in their quest for money.

If you show favoritism you sin. Even if you stumble and break just one law you are guilty of breaking them all. We are not to choose which laws are more important. We are called simply to obey.

We are free to show favoritism or not but out of mercy we must choose not to for this mercy will then be shown to us on Judgment Day and mercy is greater than judgment.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 4: James 2:1-13

9) Basically when you are showing favoritism, you are discriminating against others and judging others, which is Jesus’ job. You have also insulted those whom you have not favored. You have sinned and broken the law.

10a) Similar to James’ example. By judging others on appearance, promoting people based off whether they like them rather than who’s the best for the job, and even favoring certain kids over others.

b) Then you will treat everyone the same.

11) Personal Question. My answer: He has shown me mercy in so many ways that it would take forever to recount. One, He has shown me mercy in still having a job in the coronavirus. He has shown me mercy with my intelligence, drive, and perseverance so we are financially better than others. I have a great, healthy family. That is merciful.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 4: James 2:1-13

Great lesson since not judging others by appearances and not showing favoritism is really hard in this world. Great reminders, too.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 4: James 2:1-13

James 2

James used strong words to refer to Jesus Christ: The Lord of glory. Moffatt comments: “The Christian religion [is here called] more explicitly belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the divine Glory – a striking term for Christ as the full manifestation of the divine presence and majesty. The Jews called this the shekinah.”

This is especially significant because James is widely (and properly) regarded as one of the first letters of the New Testament written (perhaps somewhere between AD 44 and 48). This means that the earliest Christians considered Jesus to be God, and said so in strong, unmistakable words.

James wrote to a very partial age, filled with prejudice and hatred based on class, ethnicity, nationality, and religious background. In the ancient world, people were routinely and permanently categorized because they were Jew or Gentile, slave or free, rich or poor, Greek or barbarian.

Jesus broke down these walls that divided humanity and brought forth one new race of mankind in Him (Ephesians 2:14-15).

In the ancient Greek, the word assembly is literally synagogue, the name of the meeting place for Jews. The fact that James calls a Christian meeting place a synagogue shows that he wrote before Gentiles were widely received into the church. At the time James wrote, most all Christians came from a Jewish heritage.

Fun Fact: This is the only place in the New Testament where an assembly of Christians is clearly called a synagogue.

“As Christians have no church-buildings at this period, their place of meeting was usually some large room in the house of a wealthy member or a hall hired for the purpose (Acts 19:9), where outsiders were free to attend the ordinary services… They were to be welcomed, but welcomed without any servility or snobbery.” (Moffatt)

“In Roman society the wealthy wore rings on their left hand in great profusion. A sign of wealth, rings were worn with great ostentation. There were even shops in Rome where rings could be rented for special occasions.” (Hiebert)

don't judge by appearances

The Dangers of Favoritism or Partiality

  • To show partiality shows that we care more for the outward appearance than we do upon the heart. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). God looks at the heart, and so should we.
  • To show partiality shows that we misunderstand who is important and blessed in the sight of God. When we assume that the rich man is more important to God or more blessed by God, we put too much value in material riches.
  • To show partiality shows a selfish streak in us. Usually we favor the rich man over the poor man because we believe we can get more from the rich man. He can do favors for us that the poor man can’t.

Since riches are an obstacle to the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24), there is a sense in which God specially blesses the poor of this world.

Remember that Judas appeared to be much better leadership material than Peter.

God also never calls for partiality against the rich. If one must judge in a dispute between a rich man and a poor man, they should let the law and the facts of the case decide the judgment instead of the economic class of those in the dispute.

Our King Jesus put special emphasis on this command (Matthew 22:36-40) from the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:18). James is reminding us that the poor man is just as much our neighbor as the rich man is.

James here guards us against a selective obedience, the sort that will pick and choose which commands of God should be obeyed and which can be safely disregarded.

The whole law must be kept if one will be justified by the law.

The mercy we show will be extended to us again on the day of judgment, and that mercy triumphs over judgment.

James is relating another principle of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount: For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you (Matthew 7:2).

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 4: 1 Peter 2:4-12

Summary of passage:  Peter says Jesus is the living stone who was rejected by men and chosen by God and precious to him and so are we (Christians) living stones being built into spiritual houses and holy priesthoods.  The stone (Jesus) is precious to believers as our cornerstone but unbelievers reject the stone and is now the capstone and a stone that causes those who disobey the message to stumble.

We are a chosen people, royal priesthood, holy nation, belonging to God, and called into the light from the dark. We are God’s people out of His mercy and aliens and strangers in this world.  Abstain from sinful desires and live such good lives that the pagans will glorify God.


9)  living, chosen, precious, cornerstone, capstone.  Living is eternal life, not death.  Chosen is preordained, not a randomness; planned out.  Precious is highly valued and esteemed; of high price and cherished.  Corner and cap are the descriptive terms attached to stone, which mean they are the key part.  The cornerstone forms the base of the corner of the building and the rest of the blocks depend on it in order to stand.  The capstone is a stone affixed on top of a building to cap it off; the final touches, achievement, stroke or culmination of the building.  So here Jesus is both the foundation on which the building stands and its crowning achievement at the top.

I don’t like the use of the word rightly here.  It implies there is a wrong way to respond, which if your heart is sincere, there isn’t.

10)  Christ causes men to stumble because they disobey the message.  It’s why we all stumble:  we turn our backs on Jesus, God, and His word and follow our will instead of His will.  Everyone trips up and falls but it’s whether we have Christ or not that determines if we are able to get back up and back on the right path–His path.  Or if we will keep stumbling our entire lives.

11)  Chosen people, royal priesthood, a holy nation, belonging to God, called into his light, people of God, received mercy.  They are all important but I like holy nation because being holy allows me to be with God, righteously.

12a)  If you are walking in Christ’s footsteps, you are living every day as an alien and stranger in this world for our home is in heaven, not on earth (see discussion HERE). We are God’s chosen people, separate from unbelievers, set aside for eternity.  The Holy Spirit lives within us; therefore, we are different and our lives should reflect that.  We live according to God, not others.  Thus, we should live in every way as an alien and a stranger.

b)  My missionary friend who truly walks with God every day.  She shines with God and inspires me to do the same.

Conclusions:  This lesson was only blase for me.  We just got done studying this in my other bible study and I see nothing new here.  It’s repetitive, which I know the Bible does a lot of so we mere humans get it, so it’s important.  But could be my mood today.  I guess I was hoping for more swords and shields rather than building analogies (I’m more of an action person rather than one who has the patience to design intricate buildings).