Showing Partiality – James 2:1-13

The subject of the first 13 verses of James 2 is partiality. The word literally means, “to receive or accept the face.” In other words, showing partiality is treating a person favorably or unfavorably based on who they are – the color of their skin, the amount of their wealth, their educational attainment or their societal status. The example James uses is that of treating a rich person better than a poor person (2:2-4). He makes clear that showing partiality is sin (“if you show partiality, you commit sin” vs.9). In fact, James says that those who determine how they treat people based on who they are have become judges with evil thoughts. Partiality is evil; partiality is sinful. Showing partiality is inconsistent with having faith in Jesus Christ (2:1-4). Showing partiality is inconsistent with the character of God and the example He has set (2:5-7). Showing partiality is inconsistent with the royal law or the law of liberty (2:8-13) – “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
As Christians, we must shun partiality; we must put it off! May God help us to root out all forms of partiality from our hearts.

Questions for James 2:1-13
1. What is the literal meaning of the word translated “partiality?”
2. What does it mean to “hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ”?
3. What does it mean to show partiality? Can you give some examples from our culture?
4. What illustration did James use to demonstrate the evils of showing partiality? How might we be tempted here at Hillside to show such partiality?
5. Why is showing partiality inconsistent with having faith in Jesus Christ?
6. What might continually showing partiality say about someone who says they have faith in Christ? Consider verses 1&14.
7. What example did James give to demonstrate that God does not show partiality? BTW, on what basis does God elect people to salvation? See Romans 9:1-13, 11:1-7
8. What does it mean to blaspheme God’s name? Why does it mean that God’s name is noble?
9. Do all rich people blaspheme God’s name? (see also 5:1-6)
10. What is the royal law? Is it the same as the Mosaic law?
11. What does verse 10 teach us about the law?
12. What is the law of liberty? See also James 1:25
13. What does it mean to be judged by the law of liberty?
14. What is the warning in verse 13? What does it have to do with showing partiality?