“Home-Study Lesson: Hebrews 5–James 1 (Unit 28)” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2016)
“Home-Study Lesson: Unit 28,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
The Apostle James counseled the scattered Israelites to be doers of the word, to serve others, and to stay spiritually clean.
Note: Students learned two scripture mastery passages in this unit—Hebrews 12:9 and James 1:5–6. You might want to read or recite these passages together as a class and invite students to explain the doctrines and principles the passages teach.
Invite a student to read aloud the following account by Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“I recently met a fine teenage young man. His goals were to go on a mission, obtain an education, marry in the temple, and have a faithful happy family. I was very pleased with his goals. But during further conversation, it became evident that his conduct and the choices he was making were not consistent with his goals. I felt he genuinely wanted to go on a mission and was avoiding serious transgressions that would prohibit a mission, but his day-to-day conduct was not preparing him for the physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual challenges he would face. He had not learned to work hard. He was not serious about school or seminary. He attended church, but he had not read the Book of Mormon. He was spending a large amount of time on video games and social media. He seemed to think that showing up for his mission would be sufficient” (“Choose Wisely,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 47).
If you had been in Elder Cook’s situation, what concerns might you have had with this young man’s lack of mission preparation?
Invite a student to read James 1:22 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what James taught that could help the young man described in Elder Cook’s account.
What did James teach that could help that young man?
Explain that, as recorded in James 1:23–24, James likened someone who is a hearer but not a doer to a man who sees himself in a mirror but then forgets what he looks like as he goes his way.
Invite a student to read James 1:25 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happens to those who choose to act on the truths they hear.
What happens to those who are not only hearers but are also doers? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: As we hear and act on the word of God, He will bless us in our deeds.)
Invite students to assess themselves as hearers and doers of God’s word by pondering the following questions. You may want to read these questions aloud or write them on the board.
How fully do I believe the truths I am learning in the scriptures, at home, at church, and at seminary?
How often do I set spiritual goals to act on the truths I am learning? How often do I achieve them? How often do I forget them?
What can I do better to be a doer of the word and not just a hearer?
Testify of the blessings that come as we act on what we learn.
Invite a student to read James 1:26–27 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for James’s suggestions for how we can live our religion.
According to James, what are some ways in which we can live our religion, or show our devotion to God?
Explain that in verse 27 James used the idea of “visit[ing] the fatherless and widows” in need as one example of caring for others and that to “keep [oneself] unspotted from the world” means to remain spiritually clean, even in a world where wickedness can be prominent.
What truth can we learn from James 1:27? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following truth: We demonstrate pure religion when we care for others and keep ourselves spiritually clean. Write this truth on the board.)
In what ways might caring for others and keeping ourselves spiritually clean be important expressions of our devotion to God?
Whom do you know who is a good example of demonstrating “pure religion” in his or her daily life? What does this person do that inspires you?
Invite students to write on a piece of paper one or two deeds they will do during the next week to care for someone in need or to keep themselves “unspotted from the world.” Invite them to be doers of God’s words by applying this principle in their lives.
Explain to students that as they study James 2–1 Peter 5, they will learn the answers to the following questions: What did James counsel the Saints to do if they saw a brother or sister who was “naked, and destitute of daily food”? (James 2:15). What if we do nothing to help the needy? Why did James say that “faith without works is dead”? (James 2:26). What part of the body did James say is “a fire” and can “[defile] the whole body”? (James 3:6). What blessing awaits those who help convert a sinner “from the error of his [or her] way”? (James 5:20). What reasons did Peter give for preaching the gospel to the dead? Invite students to look for answers to these questions as they study the next block of scripture.