BY: Judy Moore
DATE: Sunday 26 March 2023
BIBLE PASSAGES: Read online
James | Chapter 5 | Verses 7-12
How do I walk through suffering? For many believers and unbelievers one of the biggest questions we continually wrestle with is “how can a loving God allow suffering?” and yet suffering lies at the very heart of the Christian story. Rebecca McLaughlin writes & suffering is not an embarrassment to the Christian faith. It is the thread with which Christ”s name is stitched into our lives. How does this truth change the way we can walk through the darkest times?
Each week there are TWO different sets of questions for you to use, whether you are exploring the Bible within your Life Group, in other group settings, or simply using them on your own.
A | DISCUSSION STARTERS
These are simple questions to provoke discussion together out of the talk (ideal if you are watching our Sunday Service online with others in your group):
1 | Was there anything that particularly helped you during the talk?
2 | Was there anything that you didn’t necessarily agree with, or found difficult to understand in the talk?
3 | As a result of the talk, what:
a. Changes do you want to see?
b. Truths do you need to remember?
c. Actions do you need to take?
B | QUESTIONS TO EXPLORE
These are questions that are based on the talk and the surrounding themes:
Read James Chapter 5, verses 7-12
1 | Were there any points that stood out for you from the talk on Sunday? Was there anything you particularly agreed or disagreed with?
2 | James talks a lot about patience in these verses, using the word 4 times in 4 verses. The Greek word he uses for patience is makrothumia, which literally translated means ‘longtempered’. How might this be helpful to us as we think about the issue of suffering? How does this differ from the natural human tendency to be ‘short tempered’ in tougher times?
3 | At this point in history believers in Jesus were suffering, facing growing opposition to the Jesus movement from Rome and those Jews who did not follow Jesus. James says in verse 11 that those who persevere through suffering are ‘blessed’. What does he mean by that? How do you feel about that idea?
4 | What encouragement does James give us in regards to suffering? How is this similar to the teachings of Jesus in the sermon on the mount; Matthew 5:11-12?
5 | James doesn’t get into the unfairness of suffering or why suffering is allowed. What he seems to do is acknowledge that it is going to happen and says “here’s what we can do with the suffering’. How can you help walk with others through their times of suffering? What are ways that others have impacted you positively when you’ve been facing a time of suffering?
6 | Sometimes when you or those you love are suffering praying can be difficult. Remember that prayer is honest and open communication with God. Take Job’s example and let God know how you are feeling- it might be angry, sad, scared, confused, hopeful, questioning your faith or
a big mix of them all. You might want to do this individually or in pairs, asking others to pray for you so you know that God is right there in the midst of the suffering with you.
As you work thorugh these questions pray for one another to deepen and develop your relationship with Jesus in this year ahead.
Bible Study Resources
BOOK | The Letter of James by Scot McKnight (a shorter version with questions is also available: James & Galatians by
Scot McKnight). Please contact us to borrow a copy if you are preparing teaching material.
BOOK | The IVP Bible Background: Commentary by Craig S. Keener.
# Helpful for a brief overview of James.