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Bible Commentaries

Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NT

James 4

Outline of Chapter Four

1. Dealing with conflicts

1. Source 1

2. Explanation 2-4

3. Choice 4-5

4. Resources 6-10

2. Humility / Self-exaltation 11-12

3. Self-reliance 13-17

1. Self-centered 13-16

2. Exhortation 17

Verse 1

Discussion Questions on Chapter Four

(The question numbers refer to the verse number.)

1. Why do nations fight wars?

Does this passage refer to personal “wars” and fighting? Could this verse refer to the internal battles in our heart and mind? Why would personal battles be caused by our desires? What kind of war takes place within ourselves?

Verse 2

2. Does lust always lead to obtaining? Why are murder and covet mentioned? Give a simple definition of “covet” in the New Testament. Why do we fight? Discuss: You do not have because you do not ask. Are there times that we fail to ask God for what we need? Why don't we ask God for the things we believe we need?

Verse 3

3. What are some ways that God responds to our prayers? Does God say “NO” in response to some of our requests? Are there times that God answers our prayers in ways we did not expect or anticipate? Are there situations were the answer seems to be delayed? Study Dan_10:1-14 - (esp. vs. 4 and 12). List some ways we can “ask amiss” in our prayers. Why is seeking to spend things for pleasure wrong? Are all forms of pleasure sinful?

Verse 4

4. Who are the adulterers and adulteresses in this verse? Are these words literal or use in a figurative sense? In what ways are we friends with the world? What should be the relationship of the Christian to the world? See Joh_17:12-18 . Is there a difference in being IN the world and being OF the world? What does the word “enmity” mean? How do we become the enemy of God?

Verse 5

5. Is there any “vain” passage of scripture? Are there sections of scripture that are “just filler” and of little value or importance to us? Explain: How does the Spirit dwell in us? When you were baptized, you were promised - remission of sins AND the gift of the Holy Spirit. What did you get at baptism? What does the Holy Spirit do in, to, and for the Christian? Is this verse talking about the Holy Spirit or our spirit? What is the jealousy mentioned here?

Verse 6

6. How does God give grace? What is grace, as it is used in this verse? Is this the grace that saves? ( Eph_2:8-9 ) Why do we “say grace” before we eat a meal? Who are the proud? What is the sin of pride? Define: Humble. How do the humble receive grace from God?

Verse 7

7. What does it mean to submit? Explain - how we submit to: Authority, law, government Husband, head of house Christ, head of church What power does Satan have? Can we resist the devil? How can we resist Satan? Do we have the power to resist? Discuss: Psa_119:11 . How can we hide the word in our heart? If we resist Satan, will he leave us alone?

Verse 8

8. List some ways we can draw nearer to God. How does God become nearer to us? Discuss the song I come to the garden alone - “He walks with me and talks with me” Discuss the song My God and I . How do we cleanse our hands? How can we purify our hearts? Explain how we can be double-minded. Is this the same as the double-minded man in Jam_1:8 ?

Verse 9

9. Why should we - lament, mourn and weep? Is laughter wrong? Why is laughter spoken against in this verse? Should Christians avoid joy and laughter? Are Christians to be filled with “gloom and doom” attitudes? Contrast the joy in Jam_1:2 and in this verse.

Verse 10

10. What is necessary for us to humble ourselves? How does God lift us up? How do we humble ourselves before God? How do we humble ourselves before men? How can one be more humble? If I wanted to be a more humble person, what would I need to do?

Verse 11

11. Does this passage deal with gossip and tale bearing? Is there ever a situation where evil about someone SHOULD be told? How is speaking evil the same as judging? Can gossip and tale bearing speak good about someone? Explain Jesus' statement in Mat_7:1 .

Verse 12

12. Who is the one Lawgiver? In what way does God have the power to save or destroy? Does God send people to hell? Why do we judge each other?

Verse 13

13. Is it wrong to plan for next year? Is it wrong to plan ahead of time? What is wrong with having long-range plans and goals? Is it wrong to plan to set up a business and make money?

Verse 14

14. Who knows what will happen tomorrow? We do not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future. TRUE or FALSE What is your life? Why is this question asked? How would you describe YOUR life? What is purpose to our lives? Explain the “vapor” of life. In what sense does life “vanish” away? Do we keep on living after death? See Mat_22:23-33 . Were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob alive or dead at the time of Jesus? In what sense is God the God of the living?

Verse 15

15. Why don't we say, “If the Lord wills” more often? In what way does the will of the Lord affect our plans? How do we know what the will of the Lord is in the decisions we make? Can we know the “will of the Lord” as we make choices in life?

Verse 16

16. Describe a person who is arrogant. Is ALL boasting evil? See 2Co_9:2-4 Discuss the boasting of Paul. Why does James say that boasting is evil?

Verse 17

What is the intent of this verse? List some “good” that we know to do. What happens if we list 100 good things and only get 60 of them done? Is NOT doing the other 40 things a sin? Give a definition of “good” in this verse. Are there good works for the world (federal government, city, county) which are NOT the work of the local congregation? Are there good works for the individuals that are not good works for the local congregation?

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Bibliographical Information
Luscombe, Manly. "Commentary on James 4". Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mlc/james-4.html. 2021.