fresco showing rich man eating at table with a poor man begging at his feet
The rich man is not working – as in “out of order.”

The Uniform Series (International Bible Lessons for Christian Teaching) for Sunday, February 4, is James 2:14-26. Here are some questions we might (or might not) find useful for reflecting on and discussing in class:

What does the author of the book of James (hereafter referred to as “James”) seem to mean by “faith”? Does this seem to be the same thing we mean by faith? Or something different from that? (What do we mean by faith?)

What does James seem to mean by “works”? Does he give any examples of “works”? What are they? How similar are those to what we today mean by “works”? (What do we mean by “works”?)

Why is “faith by itself, if it has no works” dead, according to James? What does this mean for a reader of this book today? Should we ask ourselves whether we have live or dead faith? Can we tell what James’ answer to us would be?

James compares faith and works to the body and the spirit. Does it make any difference in the way we read this passage if we think of faith as the “body” in this analogy, or as the “spirit”? What difference? Why?

What seems to be James’ “overall message”? Is that message still relevant to Christians today? Why?

In thinking about the significance of the demons and their alleged faith in one God, I came across an article specifically on that verse, by John F. Hart, at bible.org, “The Faith of Demons”. After reading that, I won’t ask us to wonder about the comparison between our faith and that of demons.