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James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. James 1:1

Listen: James 1


The book of James is a small, powerful letter written to Christians scattered around Jerusalem. James was a prominent leader in the early church based in Jerusalem. The city eventually became so hostile to Christians they were forced to flee, and James writes a letter to encourage, challenge, and give hope. This letter circulated throughout the area to these discouraged and dispersed Christians. James doesn’t beat around the bush—he couldn’t. Those who would read the letter needed clarity and encouragement.

The early believers reading this letter had lives which were turned upside down. They were often living in places they were not used to and separated from friends and family. Their hopes and dreams were shattered. It’s in the midst of this difficult situation that James begins by challenging his readers to choose joy, trust God, and endure.

This week, we look at the opening section of James. We will look at our own hardships and how the wisdom of this pastoral letter (written almost two thousand years ago) applies to us. We will take the challenge of James to choose joy, trust God, and endure to the end.


James speaks directly to a scattered people who are in the midst of a very difficult time. He wants them to take an assessment of their heart. This week let’s do the same. With your hands open in humility, spend a few minutes praying that God would help you to assess your own heart. Pray for insight into how you respond to difficulty and ask God for the humility to learn from James and the early church.

Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.