How to Study James (NASB)
Read James in one sitting to familiarize yourself with the book as a whole.
Mark every reference to the recipients. James structure his writing distinctively. Once you see the pattern he uses, you will better understand the flow of the book.
First, James introduces a subject by marking a statement or giving an introduction. For example, in James 1:2 he says to consider it all joy when you encounter various trials.
He then usually follows with more instructions concerning that particular subject, or he gives an illustrations pertaining to the subject, or he gives an explanation of it.
As you read back through James, mark in the text the key words (and their synonyms and pronouns): brethren, faith, perfect (perfected), sin, rich (riches), judge (s) (judgment, law). Key words help you see the subjects of the book; keep in mind that some key words only appear in a portion of a book.
Watch for these, including say (says) and words in chapter 2, tongue in chapter 3, and so on. Mark these in their own distinctive way. Also, mark any reference to the devil and his demons.
When you finish, you'll find it profitable to list everything you learn from marking a key word.
Read James chapter by chapter:
List the subjects introduced by the author on the James subject by subject chart. Be sure to include the chapter and verse from which you took the information.
Next, if the author gives instructions or illustration regarding a particular subject, record that information in the appropriate column.
After you list the subjects in each chapter, determine the theme of each chapter and record these on Structure of James.
Finally, look for theme of James. Determine if one subject is predominant or if there is a common denominator among the subjects. The more dominant or common subject will be the theme of James and points to the author's reason for writing. Record the theme of James on Structure of James and complete the chart.
Key Words in the NIV and KJV
Key doctrines in James
Works - salvation is determined by faith alone and is demonstrated by faithfulness to obey God's will (2:14-26; Matt 7:16, 17, 21-23, 26; 21:28-32; Rom 3:28; 11:6; Gal 5:6; Eph 2:8-10; 2 Tim 1:9; Titus 3:5; 2 Pet 1;3-11)
Godly behavior - wise living through uncompromising obedience to the Word of God (1:22; 3:13, 17; 4:7- 11; 5:7-12; Job 9:4, 28; Ps 104:24; 111:10; Prov 1:7; 2:1-7; 3:19, 20; 9:10; Jer 10:7, 12; Dan 1:17; 2:20-23; Matt 7:21, 26; Luke 6:46-49; Rom 2:13)