I read the first chapter, it was only a page so I hope its the right one. I think I got most of it. It talks about being joyful for the trials because they give you patience. the more you face things the easier it gets? Then it says that if you ask God for wisdom, you will get it, but only if you have complete faith because doubt makes a man change his mind. The perspective of the rich and poor, I didn't really get though. The rich should be in humility because that can fade away. Does it mean they shouldn't trust it too much? Then it talks about not blaming God for any temptations because as you give them up, you notice them more. Then the next part, I would assume means, that you should want to hear the words more than wanting to speak them or to judge others. I get the part about giving up everything to receive the word, but what does it mean to receive it with meekness? And the last part tells you that you have to practice the word, not just read it. Is it so you don't forget it? And to do what is right to help others but don't brag about it.
You made a good start. Yes, I selected a short chapter that was fairly straight forward to see how well you comprehended what you read.
Verses 2-4: Though trials are miserable in and of themselves, we are urged to see the benefits they bring to us. Trials make a Christian mature.
Verses 5-8: We are to ask God for wisdom, but notice that this follows a discussion on trials. Wisdom is the experience a person has to know when to apply knowledge and reasoning to a particular situation. We generally gain wisdom through experience, in other words by going through trials. Thus when we ask God for wisdom, He will grant it by giving us experiences which will make us grow. That is why we need full faith, knowing that the rough times we are currently facing will make us stronger in the long run, if we do not give up our faith.
Verses 9-11: The poor Christian should find joy in his salvation. It is a direct application of finding joy in trials. The rich should not find joy in his earthly wealth because it does not last. Instead, he should focus on the fact that he is the same as any other man and will one day die. He wealth gives him no advantage.
Verse 12: The reward for preserving under trials may not be seen in this life. The promise is a reward in eternal life.
Verses 13-16: This is about the nature of temptation and sin, one type of trial we all must face. There is a lot that can be gleaned from these few verses, so I'm going to ask that you read "The Nature of Sin, Temptation, and Lust" because it is important that you understand what you are up against. James' point is that God doesn't try men with temptation and sin, such comes from Satan, but God will make use of temptation and sin to give us reasons to become stronger.
Verses 17-18: What God does give are good gifts, in particular teaching us through the word of truth how to have salvation.
Verses 19-21: Thus we must prepare ourselves to be receptive to that gift. We have to be quick to listen to God's teachings, slow to interject our own opinions, and slow to get angry because when we are angered we don't think clearly or do as we ought. Thus we must aside the filthy sins of this work and meekly receive God's word. The word "meek" refers to a person who has no consideration for himself, everyone else -- God and his fellow men -- is more important. Study the outline, "The Meekness of Moses" for more details. Basically, James is warning that you can't learn God's word by putting yourself first. Being a Christian is not about satisfying feelings of "I want."
Verses 22-25: Learning is also a matter of application and not merely book knowledge. Unless you put what you learn into practice, you will rapidly forget what you learn.
Verses 26-27: James introduces some ways we can apply Christian living. He discusses these in greater detail later. It is absolutely important that a Christian gain control over his own mouth. We more often sin by the things we say than by any other means. Pure religion is caring for those in worse situations than your own, such as orphans and widows, and personally keeping yourself away from sin.
What I would like you to do is read through the two outlines mentioned above. Look up all the verses and see if you understand the points being made. Keep your notepad at hand and jot down any questions that you have and send them to me. If you have questions about applying what you are learning to your particular situation, ask those questions as well.
Next, I would like you to do what you did with chapter 1 with James chapter 2.