Knot Questions

12 Weeks In James

"Knot" is a literary term for “a small, tightly packed group of people.” As we seek to grow to know, love, and follow Jesus together by His grace, it’s essential that we commit to knowing and being known by one another so that we may truly do the work of ministry, “building up the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:12-16)

With that as our goal, you will be provided with questions to discuss in your Knot each week. Feel free to take turns asking the questions in whatever way works best, but every person is expected to answer every question! As you do, please be praying that God will enable you to both give and receive the encouragement and challenge that come as you embody the grace and truth of Jesus Christ.

And as you grow together, our prayer for you is that your Knot will be just the beginning! 

  • We're praying that you'll pursue and be pursued.
  • We're praying that you'll serve and be served.
  • We're praying that you'll grow to know, love, and follow Jesus with His people. 
  • We're praying that this taste of Biblical community makes you hungry for more.

And now, "may the grace of our Lord Jesus, and the love of the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit abide with your spirits" in this new season of Gospel Community!

Week 1 | James 1:1-18

Knowing Jesus
  • What commands does God give us in this text? What promises does He hold out? How are they connected? 
  • According to v. 14-15, temptation reflects evil desire within us. How do we understand this truth in light of the complementary truth that Jesus "in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15)?

Loving Jesus
  • For you, is gaining wisdom worth whatever it may cost you to get it? What makes it hard for you to trust God's promise in v. 5?
  • How have you seen God use trials in your life to give you wisdom and deliver you from sin?

Following Jesus
  • In which area of life is it most difficult for you to be "steadfast" (v. 3-4, 12)?
  • Where is God calling you to joy in suffering (v. 2-3) and what's keeping you from it?

Week 2 | James 1:19-27

Knowing Jesus
  • What contrasts does James point out in this text? Why are these important?
  • What is the "perfect law, the law of liberty" in v. 25?

Loving Jesus
  • If "the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (v. 20), what does? How can we grow in this righteousness?
  • What are some practical ways you fight to love and live out the word of God?

Following Jesus
  • Where are you commonly tempted to be a hearer of the word but not a doer?
  • How are you in danger of "deceiving your heart" (see v. 26) in these things?  

Week 3 | James 2:1-13

Knowing Jesus
  • What forms does "partiality" (v. 1, 9) take in our culture?
  • What situations do we face that parallel the scenario James describes in v. 1-4?

Loving Jesus
  • How does the promised kingdom of God (v. 5) encourage you? How should it?
  • How has "mercy triumphed over judgment" (v. 13) in your life? Take time to celebrate the mercy of God and share stories of His grace.

Following Jesus
  • As you read this text, what individual(s) in your context do you tend to judge? How is God calling you to give mercy as you have received it?
  • In v. 10, James says that "whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it." How do you try to hide your weaknesses behind your strengths?

Week 4 | James 2:14-26

Knowing Jesus
  • How should we understand this text in light of Romans 3:21-31 & Galatians 2:15-16?
  • If "faith without works" is dead, useless, & cannot save (v. 14, 17, 20, 26), what does faith with works look like?

Loving Jesus
  • Finish the following sentence: "My faith is different than the faith of demons because ___________________."
  • Do you find more hope in the illustration of Abraham or Rahab? What's striking about the fact that he uses both?

Following Jesus
  • How is your faith incomplete (see v. 22)?
  • What needs to change & how is that change possible?

Week 5 | James 3:1-12

Knowing Jesus
  • List the metaphors used in this text. What is James' goal in using these?
  • Is James' view of the tongue positive or negative? Why?

Loving Jesus
  • When you speak sinfully to others, do you usually repent to: the other person, God, both, or neither?
  • In light of v. 2, what hope can we have of living holy lives?

Following Jesus
  • This week, ask 5-10 family members or close friends to honestly answer this question: "Do I honor Jesus and show love to you with how I speak?"
  • What do you think they'll say? Report back to one another as you get responses.

Week 6 | James 3:13-18

Knowing Jesus
  • Where else does Scripture teach the nature of true wisdom? What helpful new additions does James add to that picture?
  • What parallels do you see between the effect of wisdom and the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23)?

Loving Jesus
  • Compare v. 18 with Hebrews 12:11. How do these texts together help you keep the command of James 1:2?
  • How has selfish ambition pulled you away from Jesus? What draws you back?

Following Jesus
  • Who in your life models the kind of wisdom James describes? How can you learn from them most effectively?
  • Who in your life needs you to model this kind of wisdom for them? How can you teach them most effectively?

Week 7 | James 4:1-12

Knowing Jesus
  • In what ways is James accusing us of trying to be God instead of submitting to God?
  • Why does James take us to the law in v. 11-12?

Loving Jesus
  • How does James describe our rebellion against God? Do you feel the weight of these truths or does it feel like he's being a little extreme? Explain.
  • How is God not like us and why should that give us hope?

Following Jesus
  • Re-read v. 7-10:
    • Where is God calling you to humility & repentance?
    • What power & promises does He offer to help you do this?

Week 8 | James 4:13-17

Knowing Jesus
  • What does this text teach us about God's will and our human will?
  • How does this kind of boasting expose the selfish ambition James was challenging in James 3:14-16?

Loving Jesus
  • Reflect on the past 10 years. Where has God turned your plans upside down?
  • In those times, what has God taught you:
    • About Jesus?
    • About you?

Following Jesus
  • With v. 17 in mind...do you find it more difficult to thank God for your past (no matter how hard it was) or trust God with your future (no matter how uncertain it feels)?
  • What gospel truth most directly speaks to your struggle?

Week 9 | James 5:1-6

Knowing Jesus
  • Is richness the sin confronted in this text? If not, what is the root issue?
  • What attribute of God is being highlighted here? (see also Luke 16:19-31).

Loving Jesus
  • How should it comfort us when God rebukes/warns those who sin against us?
  • Where do you need to hear these same rebukes/warnings yourself?

Following Jesus
  • For those who wouldn't consider themselves "rich," how should we apply this text to our own lives?
  • Where do you struggle more to trust God's justice: 
    • In His response to others?
    • In His response to you?

Week 10 | James 5:7-12

Knowing Jesus
  • In v. 7-8, how should we understand it when James tells us both to "be patient... until the coming of the Lord" and that "the coming of the Lord is at hand"?
  • How & why does James bring back themes he has already addressed in his letter?

Loving Jesus
  • Why does the certainty of Jesus' return give us good reason to establish our hearts (v. 8)?
  • What encouragement should we draw from Job's experience?

Following Jesus
  • In what ways are the difficulties of this present life threatening to take your eyes off the glorious future promised to you when Jesus returns?
  • What is one practical way you can fight to keep your eyes on Jesus when life is hard?

Week 11 | James 5:13-20

Knowing Jesus
  • What does God require of us in prayer?
  • What promises does God offer us through prayer?

Loving Jesus
  • What encouragement should we draw from the example of Elijah (v. 17-18)?
  • Why is confession of sin good for the soul (v. 16)? How have you experienced God's grace through the community of the church?

Following Jesus
  • What tools/weapons does God give us to fulfill the calling of v. 19-20?
  • How have you seen God use you in this way in the past? Where is He calling you to lovingly challenge/confront a brother or sister in the present?

Week 12 | Review & Apply

Key Themes in James (from ESV Study Bible)
  • God is seen as a gracious giver, the unchanging Creator, merciful and compassionate, a Judge, the one and only God, a jealous God, a gracious God, and a healing God.
  • Wisdom comes “from above” and enables one both to withstand trials and to bring peace rather than discord.
  • God allows tests and trials, but temptation comes not from God but from self and Satan. The required response is patient endurance.
  • The primary trial is poverty and oppression from the rich. The poor are the special focus of God’s care and must be cared for by his people and not shown prejudice or ignored. The wealthy are condemned for presumptuous pride and for stealing from the poor.
  • Apocalyptic themes deal with both future judgment and reward.
  • The power of the tongue to destroy or to bring peace dominates the middle section.
  • The ethical mandate to go beyond hearing the word to living it out in conduct is made explicit early on & is implicit throughout the letter.
  • Prayer is the proper response to trials, but it must not be self-seeking. It is to be central in life not only when afflicted or sick but also when cheerful. God has great power to heal, both physically and spiritually.
  • Faith, in its relationship to both works and justification, does not contradict but supplements Paul’s teaching. James and Paul are united in teaching that justification comes only by the grace of God through faith but will of necessity result in works. If there are no resultant works, there was no justification in the first place.

Discuss
  • What was new and/or challenging this session?
  • Where did God lead you to repentance?
  • How did you grow to know, love, & follow Jesus more?