The Letter of James

Though often neglected by scholars and church members alike, the letter of James has much to teach us about God's grace and our faithful response within the Church. Miriam Kamell shows how the grace of God through Christ is a recurrent theme in James, despite its famous focus on works. Robert Wall reconstructs the epistle's "theological grammar," while Patrick Hartin and Todd Still trace its unifying themes of perfection (as wholehearted obedience to God in the context of God's people) and of purity of speech.

James's moral instruction comes alive in vivid illustrations, pithy parables, and trenchant sayings. Graphic designer Paul Soupiset meditates on these elements through "liturgical sketching." Stephen Evans explains how Kierkegaard interpreted James's parable of the mirror as a sly revelation of our strategies to avoid hearing God's word as addressed to us. Exploring the arresting image of the disciple as "a friend of God," Paul Wadell writes, "James calls the Church to be a living sacrament of friendship with God, a compelling sign of hope and a credible witness of a more promising and truly human way of life."

The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to explore how the season of Advent guides our formation as disciples. The guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.

Download the entire The Letter of James issue and the set of six Study Guides. Or, download individual pieces by clicking the titles below.



  • "Drawing James," by Heidi J. Hornik, on Paul Soupiset, James the LessThe Seed-James the Less, and Ex Libris-James the Less, and El Greco, Apostle St. James the Less

Hymn and Worship Service

Inspirational Pieces

Book Review

  • "Finding a Central Thread in James," by David M. Moffitt
    • Patrick J. Hartin, A Spirituality of Perfection: Faith in Action in the Letter of James
    • Timothy Luke Johnson, Brother of Jesus, Friend of God: Studies in the Letter of James
    • Richard Bauckham, James

Study Guides and Lesson Plans

(Download the set of six Study Guides)

Further Reading