Here are some ideas for learning and teaching a few of the great principles in James. And while you’re here, I recommend you check out my free online course, “Seeking Jesus.”
Videos for James
“Do to Know” A fun story from my life that connects with James 1:22: “Be ye doers of the word.”
The Bible Project videos are helpful for getting a big picture, in this case, of the Book of James.
Ideas for Learning and Teaching About James
***The Power of the Tongue***
James 3:1-13 has some valuable teachings about controlling our tongues. When we introduce these verses in our family scripture study, I’ll probably use this object lesson I got from my friend Anthony Sweat:
Pair up the learners. Have one half of each partnership close their eyes. Have those whose eyes are open look at a phrase you’ve written down: “Little Lucy Loves Lolly Pops.” Have them silently memorize the phrase and then hide it. Tell the other half of the learners to open their eyes and inform them that their partners are going to tell them a phrase you just showed them. The only catch is that that they are going to say that phrase without using their tongue! Their tongue must stay totally still. Have the partners try and guess what the phrase was.
This little activity shows the importance of our tongues. As James said, the “tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” (James 3:5).
As you read James 3:1-13, look for phrases that stand out to you about the words we say. How can we better control our tongues?
Years ago I made a DVD that had a segment about watching our words. The quality is a little low, but you might enjoy this video segment.
***Doers of the Word***
As I was considering what scripture to put on my missionary plaque, one of the top contenders was, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22). Later, as a full-time missionary, my companion and I were asked to give a presentation that would help encourage missionaries to be all in–not just to “try” but to really “do.”
We came up with the idea of creating a video mashup of scenes from two wise people–Yoda and Mr. Miyagi. It’s been more than twenty years since I made this video, but I still show it to students for a humorous moment that makes an important point. If you’re interested, you can see the video here–it’s a fun one!
For a deeper view on the importance of being “Doers of the word,” I highly recommend Elder David A. Bednar’s article, “Seek Learning by Faith.”
As a teenager living in an area where Latter-day Saints were often accused of trying to “earn their salvation,” I got into a lot arguments about “Faith versus Works.” I wish I would have had the background and insight offered by Dr. Mark D. Ellison in his article, “Paul and James on Faith and Works.” This might be more “in-depth” than some people want to go, but if you’re interested in a deep dive into this topic, I recommend this article.