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The book of James Bible study for kids is written with children in mind. It teaches the truths that are based on an understanding of the nature, character and work of God. These lessons help your child build positive Biblical habits and value what they’ve been taught as they prepare to enter adulthood.

The Bible is one of the greatest, most readable books ever written. It’s full of adventure, courage and inspiration. But it can also be difficult to understand. That’s where this book comes in. The Book of James Bible study for kids explains what the Bible teaches us about Jesus, faith and life. It’s a fun and thought-provoking guide that builds understanding through simple explanations and activities.

The Book of James Bible Study for Kids is an interactive study that brings the timeless teachings of James to life for young hearts and minds. Through coloring pages, interactive questions, and fun activities, children will learn how they can be doers of the word, not just hearers only. They’ll also hear why Christians must be patient, kind and merciful, how to resist temptation and make right choices in life.

This is the perfect study guide to go with the Book of James in the Bible. If your children love the Book of James, but don’t know how to understand it, this is just what they need. We’ve taken what is known as “The School Of The Ruler” and translated it into child-friendly terms. It’s very relevant to their lives today, and each lesson is backed up by scripture. The lessons are designed for an entire week of fun learning!

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James is a book written to help Christians take their faith to a higher level. Based on the text, it’s written to people who already have a faith in Christ, possibly of Jewish heritage, and who understand the fundamentals of Christianity; but they’re having problems putting it into practice. James spends little time on things like Christ’s deity, baptism, or the nature of the church. Rather, this is a letter about putting faith into action. It speaks to what Christian living looks like in practice. It’s about owning our faith and making it a part of who we are — not just a name we wear.

In this and following articles, I’m going to go chapter by chapter, but it’s always best to read each epistle in one sitting. James and the other New Testament writers didn’t include the chapter breaks or verse numbers we use today. Useful as they are for study purposes, they can also make it easy to take things out of context — adding meaning or removing it from larger thoughts.

As a note, I’m working from the Christian Standard Bible.

Verses 1–18: Trials and Maturity

Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

James 1:2–4

James opens with an unexpected theme — maturity through trials. Right after his greeting, James says to his readers that they will endure challenges as Christians. He goes so far as to say these challenges are a good thing because they will result in greater maturity. He then address two seemingly unrelated topics: wisdom and humility. Verses 5–8 say we should ask God for wisdom with confidence, and verses 9–11  tell us we should value humility over riches. In the context, it makes sense that we’d seek wisdom from God in our trials; it’s the eternal question of, “Why is this happening?” Wisdom helps us see past the events of the moment to God’s greater purpose.

Additionally, our trials can challenge us financially. For early Christians, persecution could include the loss of business relationships and even personal property. James reminds us these things don’t matter in the big picture, that we are exulted in humility. Instead of letting trials beat us down, our relationship with God and the love of our fellow Christians can help us emerge with a stronger faith. When we face challenges, persecution, and temptations in this life, we have an opportunity to grow in Christ.

Don’t be deceived, my dearly loved brothers. Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. By His own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the first-fruits of His creatures.

James 1:16–18

James concludes this thought by reminding us that all goodness comes from God. That should be our focus in trials.

  • When persecuted we should look beyond the pain of the moment to remember God’s love for us, and those who persecute us should see that love and hope in our conduct under pressure.
  • When facing temptation, we should remember the promises of God are better than the passing pleasures of sin.
  • When facing personal tragedy or challenges, we should lean on the goodness of our God and our fellow Christians to help carry us past the pain and back to our hope in Christ.

Verses 19–27: Hearing and Doing

But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror. For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works — this person will be blessed in what he does.

James 1:22–25

James introduces a couple of ideas in the second half of chapter 1 that he will come back to later in his letter. The first is that we should watch our speech, and the second is that a complete faith takes action. Verses 19–21 tell us we should be quick to hear but slow to speak in anger. In this direct context, James says we should rid ourselves of “moral filth.” Sometimes, we think nothing of the words we use online and in other public spaces, but this passage equates those angry words with trash. Verse 26 goes on to say that anyone who claims to be a Christian but does not control their tongue has a useless faith. Hateful, cruel, or impulsive speech has no place in a mature Christian’s walk.

In the midst of talking about our speech, James says we need to do more than listen to God’s word. We have to put it in action. It’s a stern warning about our speech that he puts this exhortation right here. He’s essentially saying, “Watch your words. Don’t just listen to God’s word; put it into action, or your words will invalidate your faith.” There are many ways we put faith into action and let God’s word change us, but the direct context here is in our language. If we study God’s word and then we cannot control our own words, then we’re like this person who forgets their own face in the mirror.

Miscellaneous Thoughts & Conclusion

  • Verse 13 should caution us against attributing tragedy to God. I’m talking specifically about statements like, “I guess God needed another angel in Heaven,” or “Well, God has His reasons.” These statements may mean well, but they do not correctly reflect the nature of God as presented by James.
  • In verse 14, James is making the case that God cannot be tempted. In doing so, he presents the path to sin as an equation — desire + temptation = sin. Remove one, and Satan loses his power. He can’t tempt you with something you have defeated desire for, nor can your desires overwhelm you if you don’t invite the temptation in.
  • Verse 25 says Christians are under the law of freedom (or liberty, depending on translation). Consistently, the New Testament writers only speak of spiritual freedoms in Christ. They put no stake in the freedoms of this world, and we too should be careful how much emphasis we place on the civil freedoms we enjoy.
  • The number of times Jesus, James, and other New Testament writers make a point about what we say and how we say it should give us pause when listening to, praising, or repeating public personalities who “tell it like it is” in harsh, vulgar, or otherwise mean-spirited ways.

In James 2, we’ll look at applying the perfect law of liberty to how we treat prejudice, and we’ll study some more about how faith and action compliment each other.

book of james bible study for youth

We are excited to announce the release of new curriculum on Rooted Reservoir this summer. In addition to the curriculum already available, now you will find six new offerings: Genesis, Exodus, James, 1 Peter, 123 John, and Jude. Whether you’re a parent who wants to study the Bible with your family, or a youth minister looking for curriculum for your small groups, large groups, or Sunday school teaching, we’ve built this flexible curriculum to help you disciple the teenagers in your life.

Martin Luther famously ranted, “St James’ epistle is really an epistle of straw, compared to these others, for it has nothing of the nature of the Gospel about it.” Yikes.

Now, normally, I am not one to contradict Martin Luther, but in this case, I can’t help but push back, with a few hundred years of scholarship on my side. Spoiler Alert: not only has the book of James persevered as an integral letter in the New Testament, but it remains one of the most pragmatic and relevant books of the Bible. Addressed to Christians scattered across the Mediterranean, James—one of the pillars of the early church and the brother of Jesus, no less—wrote what has been called the “Proverbs of the New Testament,” a letter littered with practical wisdom and instruction for Christian living.

While James does place significant emphasis on works accompanying or reflecting faith, he remains true to the heart of the gospel of grace. Given this balancing act between works and grace (more on that later), the wide array of subjects addressed, and James’ tendency to be blunt—the ESV Study Bible notes that “there are over 50 imperatives in the book’s 108 verses”—James can be an intimidating book to tackle. However, as a book written to Christians struggling with internal divisions in the midst of a hostile culture, James is chock full of wisdom for students. Here are just three timely nuggets:

Endurance Through Trials  

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4) 

By design, James begins and ends his letter by offering hope and encouragement in the midst of trials. As Christians, facing trials is not optional (i.e. when you meet trials), and his audience was all too familiar with living amidst persecution and poverty.

In the past sixteen months alone, our students have gone through the wringer. They’ve endured a gauntlet that has included a pandemic, racial injustice, quarantine, a divided nation, economic downturn, a rising death toll, a bizarre election season, a draining school year, and so much more. Though it’s hard to appreciate the short and long-term ramifications of these life-altering trials, perhaps more than any living generation, students today have been battle-tested. And in all likelihood, more upheaval is on the horizon.

Because hard times are a given in life, and because our students have already been forced to reckon with things that challenge most adults, James’ instruction on trials is especially pertinent to young people. Yes, we can expect trials to come. But we can trust that our faithful perseverance in the face of adversity is actually a part of becoming more like Christ (v.4). We know that God will equip us with all that we need to endure (v.5-8), and that there is reward waiting in heaven when we have finished the race (v.12). Moreover, James encourages us to practice patience, to “establish your hearts for the coming of the Lord” (5:8). Ultimately, he prepares us to faithfully and patiently endure trials by living with a heavenly mindset.   

Quick to Listen

“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20)

In our current political and cultural climate, the voices that shout the loudest drown out responsible and patient listeners. We’re setting a terrible example for young people about how to have open and productive conversations with people who disagree with them. Even the most rudimentary principles of communication etiquette are being re-written by the rise of social media. And while social media is not inherently bad (I’ll holster those takes for another post), Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. tempt even disciplined users to post without thinking, rewarding bold, brazen behavior with likes and retweets.

In a soundbite culture, we only listen for what we want to hear—if we listen at all—and we make up our minds about people and ideas before we hear them out. Shouting, shaming, and “cancelling” our opponents has become the new normal,. Not only is this detrimental to our society, but it sets an incredibly un-biblical example for students.

For teenagers—allegedly not the most mature demographic in the world—the opportunity to instantly and effortlessly post comments, rants, pictures, videos, and yes, memes, opens the door for bullying, immaturity, foot-in-mouthing, and all kinds of harmful and regrettable behavior.

Again, this is not to say that students should flee social media, but simply that we need to help them build a biblical framework for how they interact with others, both in person and online. The early churches were being torn apart by “speaking evil against a brother” and by proud people who used words to tear each another down (James 3:1-12; 4:11-12). James reminds us that we are neither the law nor the judge of others, for there is only one “Judge, He who is able to save and destroy” (4:12). Humbled before God rather than eager for the “gotcha!” moment, students can learn how to listen before they speak and to think before they post.

Living Faith

“What good is it, my brothers, if a person says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?…So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:14, 17)

Finally, James’ primary concern for Christians remains as relevant as ever. As Christians, we cannot simply say we believe and behave as we wish. Upon hearing God’s Word, we are to be transformed and spurred into action (1:22-24). If we say we believe but do not care for the physical needs of those around us, we deceive ourselves and show our faith too be empty (2:14-17). Faith that is alive leads us to “visit orphans and widows in their affliction,” and to care for those who have been oppressed, marginalized, and treated unjustly.

Despite this emphasis on our works, James draws us back to the truth of the Gospel: we can only be saved by God’s grace. Our good works are not the means of our salvation. He reminds us that “whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it,” and therefore all are guilty and condemned under the law (2:10). Using Abraham as an example, he reminds us that Abraham first “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6). Then, Abraham “completed” and “fulfilled” his faith with his willingness to obey God at all costs (Gen. 22; James 2:21-24).

As such, James properly understood leads us away from legalism and back towards God’s grace, but he offers an important reminder that our faith should be fruitful. In a time when cries for justice need to not only be heard but acted upon, James offers a powerful reminder to our young people. What if we raised a generation of Christians who didn’t just proclaim belief in Christ as King, but who lived like it? Who said “I will show you my faith by my works” (2:18) and fought for justice and for the marginalized and for all of God’s people?

James is by no means a cakewalk of a book, and it’s easy (and tempting) to get lost in the weeds. Still, the short letter is brimming with wisdom for our students. You can check out Rooted’s Bible Study Curriculum on the book of James here on Rooted Reservoir, and I encourage you and your students in your study!

book of james sunday school lessons

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