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Oct 24, 2014


James is jam-packed with wisdom for Christians who want to truly apply their faith to everyday life. James takes its readers through the whole letter, with a particular focus on this question: How might we apply the wisdom of Scripture to the way we behave in the modern marketplace? Twenty-four short studies, grouped into eight weeks or chapters, are perfectly suited to a workplace lunch-hour study group, a church group of workers interested in how to live out their faith from Monday to Friday, or as a personal pre-work devotion.

Oct 24, 2014

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James - William Messenger

Theology of Work, The Bible and Your Work Study Series: James (eBook edition)

© 2014 by Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, LLC

P.O. Box 3473

Peabody, Massachusetts 01961-3473

ebook ISBN 978-1-61970-653-8

Adapted from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary, copyright © 2014 by the Theology of Work Project, Inc. All rights reserved.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ The NIV and New International Version are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Scripture quotations marked (NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989, ­Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.

William Messenger, Executive Editor, Theology of Work Project

Sean McDonough, Biblical Editor, Theology of Work Project

Patricia Anders, Editorial Director, Hendrickson Publishers


Alison Gerber, James Bible Study

Kelly Liebengood and Al Erisman, The General Epistles and Work in the Theology of Work Bible Commentary

The Theology of Work Project is an independent, international organization dedicated to researching, writing, and distributing materials with a biblical perspective on work. The Project’s primary mission is to produce resources covering every book of the Bible plus major topics in today’s workplaces. Wherever possible, the Project collaborates with other faith-and-work organizations, churches, universities, and seminaries to help equip people for meaningful, productive work of every kind.

Due to technical issues, this eBook may not contain all of the images or diagrams in the original print edition of the work. In addition, adapting the print edition to the eBook format may require some other layout and feature changes to be made.

First eBook edition — October 2014



The Theology of Work

Chapter 1: Trust

Lesson #1: A Place to Start (1:1–8)

Lesson #2: It’s Not about You (1:9–12)

Lesson #3: The Goodness of God (1:13–18)

Chapter 2: What, Then, Shall We Do?

Lesson #1: Trust Leads to Obedience (1:22–25)

Lesson #2: What, Then, Shall We Do? (1:26–27)

Lesson #3: Finding Widows at Work (reread 1:26–27)

Chapter 3: Favoring the Wealthy, Ignoring the Rich

Lesson #1: What Does It Mean to Play Favorites? (2:1–4)

Lesson #2: Two Arguments against Favoritism (2:5–8)

Lesson #3: Favoritism Isn’t Love (2:8–13)

Chapter 4: Faith and Work(s)

Lesson #1: What Are Works? (2:14–17)

Lesson #2: Can Our Work Save Us? (2:14–26)

Lesson #3: Separating Faith and Work? (2:18–26)

Chapter 5: Speaking and Listening

Lesson #1: Learning to Listen Well (1:19–21)

Lesson #2: The Impossible Quest for Holy Speech (3:1–8)

Lesson #3: Rejecting Two-Faced Behavior (3:9–12)

Chapter 6: Me vs. You

Lesson #1: Wisdom vs. Peace (3:13–18)

Lesson #2: Ambition vs. Submission (4:1–10)

Lesson #3: Slander vs. Love (4:11–12)

Chapter 7: Two Warnings for the Wealthy

Lesson #1: We Don’t Control the Future (4:13–17)

Lesson #2: We Must Not Hoard Wealth (5:1–4)

Lesson #3: Watching Out for Self-Indulgence (5:5–6)

Chapter 8: A Few Final Words of Advice

Lesson #1: Have Patience (5:7–11)

Lesson #2: Speak Truth (5:12)

Lesson #3: Get Specific (5:13–18)

Conclusion: Watch for the Wanderer (5:19–20)

Wisdom for Using This Study in the Workplace

Leader’s Guide

The Theology of Work

Work is not only a human calling but also a divine one. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. God worked to create us and created us to work. The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it (Gen. 2:15). God also created work to be good, even if it’s hard to see in a fallen world. To this day, God calls us to work to support ourselves and to serve others (Eph. 4:28).

Work can accomplish many of God’s purposes for our lives—the basic necessities of food and shelter, as well as a sense of fulfillment and joy. Our work can create ways to help people thrive. Our work can discover the depths of God’s creation. Our work can bring us into wonderful relationships with co-workers and those who benefit from our work (customers, clients, patients, and so forth).

Yet many people face drudgery, boredom, or exploitation at work. We have bad bosses, hostile relationships, and unfriendly work environments. Our work seems useless, unappreciated, faulty, frustrating. We don’t get paid enough. We get stuck in dead-end jobs or laid off or fired. We fail. Our skills become obsolete. It’s a struggle just to make ends meet. But how can this be if God created work to be good—and what can we do about it? God’s answers to these questions must be somewhere in the Bible, but where?

The Theology of Work Project’s mission has been to study what the Bible says about work and to develop resources to apply the Christian faith to our work. It turns out that every book of the Bible gives practical,

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