You will find an introduction and outline, here.
A prayer from the Book of Common Worship, to use before your reading,
Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles, “Peace I give to you; my own peace I leave with you:” Regard not our sins, but the faith of your Church, and give to us the peace and unity of that heavenly city, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.
1:2-27 Opening exhortations: In this section, James resembles collections of sayings, such as Proverbs. Each of these statements is in the imperative. Sometimes there are explanatory statements (“for”) also. In traditional wisdom collections, there are not clear connections between statement nor are there themes. There are connections between these statements and latter parts of this letter. For example 1:2 and 5:7-11.
Three main concerns of James are present. These concerns are presented as contrasts between:
1. God’s ways and the world’s ways.
2. Attitude and behavior consistent with God or the world.
3. True devotion and false devotion.
2:1-13 The Law of God’s Kingdom James directly addresses the reader. We do not know if James has a particular community in mind or not. James uses Torah to make his point in this section
2:14-26 Faith and Works: Recall 1:22,26. James used the history of Israel to illustrate his points here.
Read More About It:
Johnson, Luke Timothy, The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation, rev. ed. (Minneapolis:Fortress Press) 1999. Chapter 23 “The Letter of James”.
Johnson, Luke T. “James” in HarperCollins Bible Commentary, rev. ed.James L Mays, ed. (New York: Society of Bible Literature) 2000.
Quanbeck, Warren A., Pheme Perkins, “James in The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Bruce M. Metzger, Roland E. Murphy eds. (New York: Oxford University Press) 1994.