Home-Study Lesson: James 2–1 Peter 5 (Unit 29)

New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual, 2016


Preparation Material for the Home-Study Teacher

Summary of Daily Home-Study Lessons

The following summary of the events, doctrines, and principles your students learned as they studied James 21 Peter 5 (unit 29) is not intended to be taught as part of your lesson. The lesson you teach concentrates on only a few of these doctrines and principles. Follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit as you consider the needs of your students.

Day 1 (James 2–3)

From James’s teachings in these chapters, students learned that faithful disciples of Jesus Christ love all people regardless of their circumstances and that if we commit even one sin, we become guilty before God. They also learned that true faith in Jesus Christ is made manifest by our righteous works. As they studied James’s teachings about controlling our words, students discovered that learning to control what we say can have a great effect on our lives and that followers of God strive to use their language for righteous purposes, not to spread evil.

Day 2 (James 4–5)

As students studied these chapters in James, they learned the following truths: As we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. If we know to do good but choose not to do it, we commit sin. Through the prayer of faith and the power of the priesthood, the sick can be healed.

Day 3 (1 Peter 1–2)

In their study of Peter’s teachings, students learned the following truths: Although we experience trials, we can rejoice in Jesus Christ’s Atonement and in the future blessings God has promised to give us. Our faith in Jesus Christ is tested and refined as we faithfully endure trials. We are redeemed through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, He could offer Himself as a perfect sacrifice for us. Jesus Christ was foreordained to be our Redeemer. God calls His Saints to be separate and distinct from the world so that others can see their example and glorify Him. We can follow the Savior’s example in patiently enduring trials.

Day 4 (1 Peter 3–5)

From Peter’s encouragement to the Saints of his day, students learned that as followers of Jesus Christ, we should strive to always be ready to share and defend our beliefs with meekness and reverence. Students also learned that the gospel is preached to those who have died so that they may have the same opportunities as those who hear the gospel in mortality. Peter taught that Church leaders have the responsibility to care for and watch over God’s flock with love and by example.

Introduction

The Apostle James clarified some misunderstanding among the Saints about what true faith is. He also taught about the relationship between faith and works.

Suggestions for Teaching

James 2:14–26

James teaches the role of faith and works in our salvation

Invite students to suppose that a young man has recognized that he has sinned. He believes in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and in the Savior’s ability to save him. He says that all he has to do is believe and the Lord will forgive him, with no other effort on his part.

Ask students to consider whether this young man’s belief alone is sufficient for him to be forgiven for his sins.

Invite a student to read James 2:14 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what James asked the Saints about faith.

  • What did James ask the Saints about faith?

  • What type of works do you think James was referring to?

Remind students that as they studied the lesson on James 2 they learned that the Apostle James was correcting a false idea about faith. Some people had misunderstood faith to be simply a verbal expression of belief. In the context of James 2:14, James used the term works differently than the Apostle Paul had used it. When Paul used the word works, he referred to the works of the law of Moses. When James used the word works, he referred to acts of devotion or works of righteousness.

Explain that James used an analogy to illustrate the answer to his question in verse 14.

Invite two students to come to the front of the class. Ask one of the students to act as a beggar who is pleading for the food, clothing, and shelter he or she needs to survive. Invite the other student to act as someone who can help the beggar. Invite a third student to read James 2:15–16 aloud while the two other students act out what is described in these verses.

  • What is wrong with the response that was given to the begging student?

  • Would the other student’s response be enough to help a beggar?

Invite the class to read aloud or recite James 2:17–18 together, looking for what James taught about faith. Remind them that James 2:17–18 is a scripture mastery passage.

  • What do you think the phrase “faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (verse 17) means?

  • How does James’s analogy of the beggar help us understand what this phrase means?

  • According to verse 17, what truth did James teach about true faith in Jesus Christ? (Students may use different words but should identify a truth similar to the following: True faith in Jesus Christ is made manifest by our righteous works. Write this truth on the board.)

Invite a student to read James 2:19–20 aloud. Make sure the student also reads the Joseph Smith Translation of James 2:19 (in James 2:19, footnote a) aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the example James used to show that believing in God does not necessarily include having faith in God.

  • What example did James use to show that believing in God does not necessarily include having faith in God?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder David A. Bednar

“True faith is focused in and on the Lord Jesus Christ and always leads to righteous action. … Action alone is not faith in the Savior, but acting in accordance with correct principles is a central component of faith. Thus, ‘faith without works is dead’ (James 2:20)” (“Ask in Faith,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 95).

  • According to Elder Bednar, what is “a central component of faith”?

  • Why is it important to understand that faith in Jesus Christ means both believing in Him and acting according to correct principles?

Remind students of the young man in the scenario at the beginning of the lesson.

  • How might understanding that faith includes both belief and action help someone who seeks forgiveness for his or her sins?

Summarize James 2:21–26 by explaining that James referred to Abraham and Rahab as two examples of people whose faith in Jesus Christ was made manifest by their works. (The account of the courageous woman Rahab is found in Joshua 2:1–22.)

Invite students to use their class notebooks or scripture study journals to write about a time when they demonstrated faith in Jesus Christ through their works and how they were blessed for doing so. Encourage students to include their testimonies of the Savior and how they will demonstrate that belief through their actions. Ask a few students to share what they wrote with the class.

Invite students to prayerfully consider how they can more fully exercise faith in Jesus Christ by obeying Him. Encourage them to follow any promptings they receive.

Next Unit (2 PeterJude)

Ask students why they think people choose to sin even though they know it is wrong. Invite them to look for truths, as they study 2 Peter through Jude during the next week, that can help them answer the following questions: How can we avoid being deceived by false doctrine? What did John say will cast out fear? How should we express our love for God? What godly attributes must we develop to inherit eternal life? What warning was given about those we choose to associate with?