James 2 International Children’s Bible (ICB)
Love All People
2 My dear brothers, you are believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. So never think that some people are more important than others. 2 Suppose someone comes into your church meeting wearing very nice clothes and a gold ring. At the same time a poor man comes in wearing old, dirty clothes. 3 You show special attention to the one wearing nice clothes. You say, “Please, sit here in this good seat.” But you say to the poor man, “Stand over there,” or “Sit on the floor by my feet!” 4 What are you doing? You are making some people more important than others. With evil thoughts you are deciding which person is better.
5 Listen, my dear brothers! God chose the poor in the world to be rich with faith. He chose them to receive the kingdom God promised to people who love him. 6 But you show no respect to the poor man. And you know that it is the rich who are always trying to control your lives. And they are the ones who take you to court. 7 They are the ones who say bad things against Jesus, who owns you.
8 One law rules over all other laws. This royal law is found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”[a] If you obey this law, then you are doing right. 9 But if you are treating one person as if he were more important than another, then you are sinning. That royal law proves that you are guilty of breaking God’s law. 10 A person might follow all of God’s law. But if he fails to obey even one command, he is guilty of breaking all the commands in that law. 11 God said, “You must not be guilty of adultery.”[b] The same God also said, “You must not murder anyone.”[c] So if you do not take part in adultery, but you murder someone, then you are guilty of breaking all of God’s law. 12 You will be judged by the law that makes people free. You should remember this in everything you say and do. 13 Yes, you must show mercy to others, or God will not show mercy to you when he judges you. But the person who shows mercy can stand without fear when he is judged.
Faith and Good Works
14 My brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does nothing, his faith is worth nothing. Can faith like that save him? 15 A brother or sister in Christ might need clothes or might need food. 16 And you say to him, “God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat.” You say this, but you do not give that person the things he needs. Unless you help him, your words are worth nothing. 17 It is the same with faith. If faith does nothing, then that faith is dead, because it is alone.
18 Someone might say, “You have faith, but I do things. Show me your faith! Your faith does nothing. I will show you my faith by the things I do.” 19 You believe there is one God. Good! But the demons believe that, too! And they shake with fear.
20 You foolish person! Must you be shown that faith that does nothing is worth nothing? 21 Abraham is our father. He was made right with God by the things he did. He offered his son Isaac to God on the altar. 22 So you see that Abraham’s faith and the things he did worked together. His faith was made perfect by what he did. 23 This shows the full meaning of the Scripture that says: “Abraham believed God, and God accepted Abraham’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.”[d] And Abraham was called “God’s friend.”[e] 24 So you see that a person is made right with God by the things he does. He cannot be made right by faith only.
25 Another example is Rahab, who was a prostitute. But she was made right with God by something she did: She helped the spies for God’s people. She welcomed them into her home and helped them escape by a different road.
26 A person’s body that does not have a spirit is dead. It is the same with faith. Faith that does nothing is dead!
James 2 New International Version (NIV)
2 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?
8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[b] also said, “You shall not murder.”[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Faith and Deeds
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e] and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.