On Saturday 11th August, I held a Bible Book Club with my family. The book discussed was the book of James. We used the guidance notes provided by Bible Society:
We listened to James from The Bible Experience first:
And I went through, in brief, the guidance notes to take us up to the Book Club questions.
In preparation for this Book Club, Peter and I watched this video:
Before we started on the questions I asked everyone for any initial thoughts on the book:
- Andy - the analogy of the rudder of a ship and comparison to the tongue - still amazed that a rudder - something so small can control such large ships & pointed out that damage from the tongue takes a long time to undo/ recover from.
- Steven - This hit home - James 3:16: For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
- Andy - felt James, the whole book was too much to look at in one go.
- Nathan -didn't fully understand James 1:9-11: Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
- All agreed that the quote from Proverbs 3:34 in James 4:6 assisted our understanding of James 1:9-11:
- Andy - highlighted the need to help others - James 2:15: Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.
- Peter - We need to believe that God is going to give us stuff, like love, God will tell us if we are prideful about stuff. And all the bad stuff rots, all that is left is the christian.
Were there any parts of the book that you particularly liked which inspired you?
- Andy - Rudder of a ship - James 3:4 - in particular need to be careful what you say in teaching/ preaching - James 3:1 - relating to his own position as preacher & teacher in church roles.
- Nathan - James 4:6 - quoting Proverbs 3:34: But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.”
- Nathan - James 4:10: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
- Nathan - James 1:9-10 - All verses Nathan highlighted relating to being humble.
- Jo - James 1: 27: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
- Peter - People's money & clothes will rot, proofs God is real.
- Steven - wisdom from God in James 3:17-18: But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
Were there any parts of the book that you disliked or which troubled you?
- Nathan: James 1:9-11 as above
- Jo: James 3: 9-12 - I'm not inanimate object and have freewill
- Andy: James 1:9-11 - struggles with rich people or well educated or those with highly revered jobs - teachers, doctors etc - the way in which they are treated so favourably in churches compared to others. Also youth are revered in churches but children are disrespected.
- Peter is annoyed by people who respect some people and not others.
- Nathan: James 4:11-12: Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgement on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbour?
What did you think the book was about?
- Peter - It's about what happens to you when you don't do the right thing.
What did you think was the most powerful advice that James offered for Christian living? How might you put this in to practice in your life?
- Andy - Not living for tomorrow - James 4:13-14: Boasting About Tomorrow: Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
- Steven - submit to God - Resist the devil
- Nathan - not just what we say, how we say it, motivation behind what we say.
- Nathan: James 1:2: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds...
- Nathan: James 5:16: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
We discussed in brief the rest of the questions as we ran out of time.
Next Book Club will be on the book of Luke in late September.
Written by Jo Jo