Faith That Waits
Passage: James 5:7–5:12
Community Group discussion questions – James 5:7-12 “Faith that Waits”
Printing Instructions: To print these discussion questions for use in your Community Group or other study, you must first highlight the text, then right click and select "print" from the drop down menu that appears.Read James 5:7-12 aloud as a group and then work through the following questions:
- So much of life is about waiting. Brainstorm and make a list of 10 things that you are currently waiting for in your life right now, big things and small. Why is it so difficult to wait?
- Do you think it’s true that all of life is essentially “a waiting room”? How is this especially true for Christian believers?
- In verses 7-8, James tells his readers that they must wait patiently for the “coming of the Lord” which is “at hand.” What does it look like in our everyday lives as Christians to wait patiently for Jesus’ return? How does the farmer illustration James uses help us?
- Was James wrong that Jesus’ return was “at hand”? After all, we live 2,000 years later, and Jesus still has not returned. How would you explain this? (see 2 Peter 3:1-13 for a similar question, and some encouraging answers).
- In vs. 9, James tells us that we must wait graciously for the return of Jesus, treating one another well. Why is it so easy to “grumble against one another” when we’re under the stress of waiting? How does the presence of Jesus (“the Judge standing at the door”) give us incentive to treat each other well?
- Verses 10-11 instruct us to wait “steadfastly.” Review James 1:2-4 and 1:12 where James also spoke on this topic. Why are the prophets and Job great examples of steadfastness? Have you very met a Christian who modeled steadfastness for you? Describe them to the group – what was especially compelling about their life?
- Verse 12 revisits the topic of our speech, which James has spoken of several times in the letter so far. Here, addresses the swearing of “oaths” (invoking Gods’ name as a guarantee that you will keep your promise). The Old Testament encouraged swearing oaths in God’s name, as long as you kept your word (see 10:20, Lev. 19:12, Numb 30:2). However, by the time of Jesus, the Pharisees had developed an elaborate system of taking oaths where one could swear by things related to God’s name (swearing by the temple, the altar, Jerusalem, etc.) instead of God’s actual name. Depending on the object upon which you swore, the oath was considered more or less binding. This became an elaborate system for evading the truth, and making false promises (see Matt. 23:16-22). So, Jesus instructed his followers to avoid oaths altogether, and instead, to speak with complete honesty (see Matt. 5:33-37). James repeats Jesus’ instruction here, prohibiting personal, voluntary oaths designed to evade the truth. This teaching warns against telling white lies, making rash promises, acting falsely toward others, and backing up your words with phrases like, “I swear to God!” In today’s world, what forms of lying are most tempting for Christian believers, and why? How should honest speech set Christians apart from the surrounding culture?
Prayer suggestion: Share with the group a few areas where God is calling you to “wait” in your life right now. Pray for one another in the wait: for patience, wisdom, and perseverance.