Lesson 1: We Are Responsible for Our Own Learning

Come, Follow Me - For Individuals and Families, January

Read December 31-January 6 lesson here.

James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”


James (or Jacob in Hebrew) was the brother of Jesus.

See also James, Epistle of.

The epistle states that it was authored by “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1). Christian tradition has held that this James, like Jude, is one of the sons of Joseph and Mary and hence half-brother of Jesus of Nazareth (see Matthew 13:55Mark 6:3Galatians 1:19) … After Jesus was resurrected, James was one of those special individuals to whom Christ appeared as a resurrected Being (see 1 Corinthians 15:7). Later James became an Apostle and, according to early Christian writers, the first bishop of the Church in Jerusalem (see Acts 12:1721:18Galatians 1:18–192:9).” For further information on James, see the commentary for Acts 15:13–29. New Testament Student Manual (Version 2, 5/18), Chapter 50.

Unfortunately, The General Epistle of James doesn’t clarify exactly which James was writing it, but the dates line up that James, the brother of Jesus, wrote it and plenty of scholars agree. “If the author of the epistle of James was the half brother of Jesus as the evidence seems to indicate, then perhaps he knew the Master as intimately as anyone. But later he knew the Savior as more than a brother. With a witness born of the Spirit, he knew him as Lord and God. James’ writing cannot help but reflect those lessons learned in childhood as he grew with Jesus, always being led and enlightened by his eldest brother’s example.” CES Manual: Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles (2nd ed; 1979), 407.


First and foremost, that means Jesus’ brother wrote the scripture that inspired Joseph Smith to pray in the Sacred Grove where he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ which led to the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ in the latter days. Blows. My. Mind.

As for James, he was raised side by side with Jesus. The resurrected Jesus also appeared to James. Think his message and testimony might be important? I do.

As you learn from the New Testament this year, consider the authors. Was the author a close family member to Jesus? Were they a personal friend to Jesus? Did the author have spiritual experiences that qualify their witness of Jesus to be particularly important? I know in my life, if someone wanted to know about me or my character, my siblings and close friends would be good people to ask. Guys, you can trust what these authors are telling you.

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