“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”James 1.22-25
The book of James is like one of those magnification mirrors women use to put on makeup. In those mirrors, all the lines and contours are easier to see. Cringe-worthy pores, wrinkles, blemishes, and unwanted hairs also become more manifest, and we make any modifications within our power to conceal or alter such things. Every single time I read this book, it exposes the oversized pores and blemishes in my life, challenging me to change both my attitude and my actions.
There are various themes for the book of James, such as “The gospel of practical application,” or “Spiritual Maturity.” For the purposes of our scripture writing, I chose “Living our Faith” because faith is essentially belief in action. If we do not live what we believe—if we fail to follow in the footsteps of our Savior—we have an empty (dead) faith.
In the video series, The Truth Project, Del Tackett shares a conversation with a struggling Christian friend to illustrate a point (paraphrased below):
Tackett: “Do you believe God is omnipresent (everywhere at once)?”
Friend: “Of course I do.”
Tackett: “Then why do you engage in pornography? If you believe God is everywhere at once, you wouldn’t be sneaking onto your computer to look at those images.”
His friend knew the right answer, but his actions did not reflect that belief. His faith was empty.
Faith is belief in action.
For this month’s scripture writing, I have set it up so we can copy the entire book of James! Before you panic, remember: there are 31 days in the month of May and only 5 chapters in James. If this plan is too long, use the “kids” plan, which is significantly shorter and does not copy the entire book.
The shorter “kids” version allows younger children to participate in these plans without becoming overwhelmed, but if the longer plans are too cumbersome, these might work well for you too! For my own children, I have found that my 9 and 11-year-olds have no difficulty copying the longer plans, but my newly-minted 8-year old (who struggles with handwriting) needs the shorter plan so he can actually enjoy the copywork.
You might already have a bible reading program you are following, but if you do not, use this as a springboard for daily bible reading! Read the entire chapter the first day and then read each section before copying it down. Ask questions of the text, such as, “what joy can be found in trials?” or “what is the difference between belief and faith as highlighted in chapter 2 verses 19 and 20?” Consider how you would explain the passage to someone else. Write down some of your questions or meditations in your journal.
Finally, don’t be afraid to dress up your writing. This is totally optional, but I have always loved emphasizing words that jump out to me. I used to do it when I recopied my notes in college (I used it as a study method). You don’t have to get all fancy, but you can use different colors or different styles to bring out certain phrases or words. Below is an example of one of the passages I copied last month. It’s nothing flashy (I only used one additional color within the text), but it brought out the sections that struck me while I was copying down the words.
If you’d like to download a printable PDF, click the download button below. The long and short versions are both included in this PDF.
What is your favorite verse in James? What do you enjoy about scripture writing? Comment below!