Study Questions
James, Ephesians, I Peter

  1. Why is James writing his letter?  Who is he writing to?  What particular ethical challenges do his readers seem to be facing?
  2. What are the basic ethical standards James sets for Christians?  Do his standards seem to differ from those of other New Testament writers?
  3. What, according to James, are the main keys of living a life pleasing to God?  
  4. What is James’ attitude toward wealth/richer Christians?  How is James’ attitude to wealth connected with his concern with ethics?
  5. What is James advice to Christian leaders on the handling of ethical problems?
  6. Why do you suppose Martin Luther called this letter “an epistle of straw”?
  7. How does the structure of James’ argument support his theme, i.e., how does James ordering of his material reinforce/make more memorable what he has to say?
  8. Are James’s ethical standards especially high?  Is it possible for anyone to meet these standards?  
  9. How does James deal with failure/human weakness?
  10. Why does Paul write Ephesians?  Who is he writing to?
  11. What are the basic ethical standards Paul sets for the Ephesian Christians?  What seem to be the most import ethical challenges the Ephesian Christians are facing?
  12. How does Paul deal with failure/human weakness?
  13. In what ways does Ephesians seem different than Romans and Corinthians?  Is there anything here that would seem to warrant F.C. Bauer’s contention that Ephesians is not by Paul?
  14. What does Paul mean when he talks about “predestination” in Chapter 1?  
  15. What specific standards does Paul set for servants, masters, children, wives, and husbands?  Is he right is saying that the husband is the “head” of the wife?  How do Paul’s ideas differ from those of contemporary society?
  16. What is Paul’s advice to leaders on handling ethical problems?
  17. Why does Peter write I Peter?  What audience is he addressing?  What are the particular problems facing his readers?
  18. What is Peter’s advice for resisting temptation/coming successfully through trials?
  19. How does Peter deal with failure/human weakness?
  20. In what way does this letter fill out the picture of Peter one gets from the Gospels and Acts?
  21. What advice does Peter give to leaders on handling ethical problems?
  22. What do Peter, Paul, and James have in common in terms of their approach to ethics?