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James 1:12-18

Lesson Focus: James longs for us to have the wisdom to know from where our temptations come and to know from which direction help at overcoming them might arrive.

Lesson Outcomes: Through this lesson, students should:

  1. Understand the general aim of James’ letter.

  2. Be encouraged to seek God’s wisdom in knowing where temptation comes from.

  3. Be encouraged to seek God’s wisdom in overcoming the temptations that come from our disordered desires.

Catch Up on the Story There has been much debate about who is the writer of James. There are several options, and to lay them out all before you would be tedious, so I am not going to do that. It will suffice to say that the author of James, and we’ll call him James, is someone with authority and credibility within the early church movement.

Additionally, we don’t know much about the occasion for this letter. Unlike most of Paul’s letters, we only get a short description of who the letter is to, “the twelve tribes in the Dispersion.” James intends that this letter be read wherever there might be gatherings of those who believe. At this time in the ancient world, Jews were living all over the known world as a lasting consequence of the Exile. Christians were also forced to de-centralize due to persecution from both Jewish religious leaders and civil authorities. There is also significant debate on the style and form of James’ letter. Some believe that it isn’t a letter at all.

At the same time, others see the letter as a collection of disjointed wisdom sayings. Though, many will argue for an inner coherence to the letter. This is the view I will take as we explore what James has to say. To choose to focus on only one of the themes that present itself in James’ letter would be too restrictive. So, as we move through the letter over the next few weeks, we’ll curiously examine all of what James has to say.

This week, we’ll jump ahead to verse 12 in chapter 1. To this point, James has offered a greeting, encouraged the faithful to find joy in the trials that they will inevitably face, ask God for wisdom, deeply contempl