James – Session 4 (James 2:1-13)
James has dealt with external trials (1:2-11) and internal temptations (1:12-18), urging Christ-followers to seek out God’s Word as we follow Him through both (1:19-27). Some in the Church were wanting to follow another standard, another set of common rules. These rules and customs were being set by the rich who sought to join their assembly. James argues something different in 2:1-13. We live by a different Authority who has set a different Standard.
The Study: Here are some questions to think through as you process this passage for this coming Sunday:
- How does James address his audience in 2:1?
- How does James describe Jesus in 2:1?
- How does he describe the actions of the rich in 2:2-3?
- How does he describe the status of the poor in 2:5?
- Do the rich look qualified to lead the Church according to 2:6-7? Why or why not?
- What standard does James ask the Church to fulfill instead in 2:8?
- What are the final commands in this section James gives in 2:12?
- Why does James end with these final commands?
As the Lord leads, read through James 2 this week. Mediate on James 2:1-13, thinking through the passage slowly and purposefully. The memory verse this week is James 2:10.
The Memory Verse: James 2:1-13, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.”
The Passage: James 2:1-13 (ESV)
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.  For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in,  and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,”  have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?  Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?  But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court?  Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?
 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.  But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.  For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.  For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.  So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.  For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.