“November 13–19. James: ‘Be Ye Doers of the Word, and Not Hearers Only,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2023 (2022)
“November 13–19. James,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2023
Record Your Impressions
Sometimes just one verse of scripture can change the world. James 1:5 seems like a simple bit of counsel—if you need wisdom, ask God. But when 14-year-old Joseph Smith read that verse, “it seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of [his] heart” (Joseph Smith—History 1:12). Thus inspired, Joseph acted on James’s admonition and sought wisdom from God through prayer. And God did indeed give liberally, giving Joseph one of the most remarkable heavenly visitations in human history—the First Vision. This vision changed the course of Joseph’s life and led to the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth. All of us are blessed today because Joseph Smith read and acted on James 1:5.
What will you find as you study the Epistle of James? Perhaps a verse or two will change you or someone you love. You may find guidance as you seek to fulfill your mission in life. You may find encouragement to speak kindly or to be more patient. You may feel prompted to make your actions align better with your faith. Whatever inspires you, let these words “enter … into every feeling of [your] heart.” And then, when you “receive with meekness the … word,” as James wrote, be a doer of the word, not a hearer only (see James 1:21–22).
It is generally believed that the author of the Epistle of James was a son of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, and therefore the half brother of the Savior. James is mentioned in Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18; and Galatians 1:19; 2:9. It appears from these scriptures that James was a Church leader in Jerusalem and had been called as an Apostle (see Galatians 1:19).
After reading James 1:2–4; 5:7–11, what would you say was James’s main message about patience? It might help to ponder what Elder Jeremy R. Jaggi’s family learned about patience from these verses (see “Let Patience Have Her Perfect Work, and Count It All Joy!,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2020, 99–101). What is the “perfect work” of patience? (James 1:4). How can you show the Lord that you are willing to be patient?
How do you know if you have faith in Jesus Christ? How do your works demonstrate your faith in God? Think about these questions as you study James’s teachings about faith. It might be interesting to also read about Abraham and Rahab, two examples James mentioned (see Genesis 22:1–12; Joshua 2). How did they show that they had faith in God?
Among the rich imagery James used throughout his epistle, some of his most vivid language is found in his counsel about language. Consider making a list of all the ways James described the tongue or mouth. What does each comparison or image suggest about the words we speak? Think of something you can do to bless someone with your words (see Doctrine and Covenants 108:7).
James warned the Saints specifically against favoring the rich and despising the poor, but his warning can apply to any biases or prejudices we may have toward others. As you prayerfully study James 2:1–9, search your own heart and listen for the Holy Ghost’s promptings. It might help to replace phrases in these verses, such as “a poor man in vile raiment” (verse 2), with other words or phrases that describe someone you might be tempted to judge unfairly. Do you sense any changes you need to make in the way you treat or think of others?
After reading James 1:5, your family could summarize the account of the First Vision (see Joseph Smith—History 1:8–20) or watch the video “Ask of God: Joseph Smith’s First Vision” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org). Invite family members to share their testimonies of the Prophet Joseph Smith and experiences when Heavenly Father answered their prayers.
Consider watching the video “True Christianity” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org). Then read James’s definition of “pure religion” in James 1:26–27, and discuss ways your family can make your practice of religion more pure.
James 3 includes many images that could inspire memorable object lessons to help your family remember to speak kindly. For example, you could build a fire together and talk about how a small, unkind word can cause a big problem (see verses 5–6). Or you could serve something sour in something that is usually used for sweet food—such as lemon juice in a honey jar. This could lead to a discussion about using sweet and uplifting words (see verses 9–14).
Why should we “draw nigh to God” (James 4:8) when we face temptation?
President Dallin H. Oaks taught that “parents should encourage more priesthood blessings in the family” (“The Powers of the Priesthood,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 67). Perhaps reading James 5:14–16 and sharing experiences about receiving a priesthood blessing could encourage family members to ask for a blessing when they are sick or need spiritual strength.
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested hymn: “Have I Done Any Good?,” Hymns, no. 223.