“November 18–24. James: ‘Be Ye Doers of the Word, and Not Hearers Only’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“November 18–24. James,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2019
Record Your Impressions
Invite class members to share verses from James that inspire them to be “doers of the word” (James 1:22). If it’s not too personal, they could also share what they feel they need to act on, individually or as families.
The principles taught in James 1:5–6 led Joseph Smith to a life-changing spiritual experience, and they can bless each of us in some way. Perhaps you could write questions like the following on the board and ask class members to ponder them silently: What influence has James 1:5–6 had in your life? What has Joseph Smith’s experience with these verses taught you about seeking wisdom about your own questions? (see Joseph Smith—History 1:10–17). What experiences have taught you that “the testimony of James [is] true”? (Joseph Smith—History 1:26). Invite class members to share thoughts they have after pondering these questions.
Perhaps class members could put James 1:5–6 into their own words. How does this help them understand these verses better?
To help class members remember that God has promised to give liberally to His children when they approach Him in prayer, ask class members to share experiences in which the promise in James 1:5–6 was fulfilled in their lives. What have they learned as they have asked Heavenly Father to confirm their own questions about gospel truths?
To start a discussion on James’s teachings about patience in these verses, you might invite class members to share experiences when they had to be patient and what they learned from that experience. Then they could search James 1:2–4; 5:7–11 for principles that they can apply to their experiences. They might also find applicable principles in the video “Continue in Patience” (LDS.org) or President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s message “Continue in Patience” (Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 56–59). Why is patience necessary as we strive toward perfection? What has helped class members develop patience in their lives?
One way to discuss James’s teachings about faith and works could be to divide your class into two groups—one to explore why faith requires action and the other why our actions require faith. To do this, they could read Matthew 7:21–23; James 1:6–8, 21–25; 2:14–26; and Joseph Smith—History 1:19. Then each group could share what they found and discuss why both faith and works are necessary.
To help class members ponder more deeply the memorable phrase “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26), you could write the following sentence on the board: Faith without works is like without . Invite class members to think of creative ways to complete the sentence, and let them write their ideas on the board. They might also benefit from doing this activity in pairs or small groups. The story told by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf in “Additional Resources” could add to their understanding of this principle. What can we do to continually act on our faith in Jesus Christ?
To help inspire class members to show Christlike love to everyone regardless of others’ situation or outward appearance, you could ask class members to take turns reading verses from James 1:9–11; 2:1–10; 5:1–6. Discuss questions like the following: What does it mean to “have respect to persons”? (James 2:9). Why do we sometimes treat those who have money, fame, or power differently than those who don’t? How can we avoid treating others differently based on what their circumstances are? In what way are faithful followers of the Savior really the richest of all? (see James 2:5).
The powerful images James used can provide helpful reminders and motivation to use words—both spoken and written—to uplift others. Consider inviting class members to scan James 3 looking for images that describe how language is used to hurt or bless others; some class members might enjoy drawing pictures of these images. How do these images illustrate James’s instructions in this chapter? For example, how can our words be like a fire? What images can class members think of to demonstrate the positive power that language can have? You might invite class members to ponder how they can apply James’s counsel.
To encourage class members to read 1 and 2 Peter, invite them to look for doctrinal teachings in these epistles that are better understood because of the Restoration of the gospel. How do these teachings testify of the prophetic mission of Joseph Smith?
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught:
“There is an old Jewish tale about a soap maker who did not believe in God. One day as he was walking with a rabbi, he said, ‘There is something I cannot understand. We have had religion for thousands of years. But everywhere you look there is evil, corruption, dishonesty, injustice, pain, hunger, and violence. It appears that religion has not improved the world at all. So I ask you, what good is it?’
“The rabbi did not answer for a time but continued walking with the soap maker. Eventually they approached a playground where children, covered in dust, were playing in the dirt.
“‘There is something I don’t understand,’ the rabbi said. ‘Look at those children. We have had soap for thousands of years, and yet those children are filthy. What good is soap?’
“The soap maker replied, ‘But rabbi, it isn’t fair to blame soap for these dirty children. Soap has to be used before it can accomplish its purpose.’
“The rabbi smiled and said, ‘Exactly’ (“The Just Shall Live by Faith,” Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2017, 4).