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Do Not Show Partiality

My brothers, do not let your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus, the Messiah,[a] be tainted by favoritism. Suppose a man wearing gold rings and fine clothes comes into your assembly,[b] and a poor man in dirty clothes also comes in. If you give special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Please take this seat,” but you say to the poor man, “Stand over there” or “Sit on the floor at my feet,”[c] then you will have made false distinctions among yourselves and will have judged from evil motives, will you not?

Listen, my dear brothers! God has chosen the poor in the world to become rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who keep on loving him, has he not? But you have humiliated the man who is poor. Are not rich people the ones who oppress you and drag you into court? Are not they the ones who blaspheme the noble Name[d] by which you have been called?

Nevertheless, you are doing the right thing if you obey the royal Law in keeping with the Scripture, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.”[e] But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and will be convicted by the Law as violators. 10 For whoever keeps the whole Law but fails in one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For the one who said, “Never commit adultery,”[f] also said, “Never murder.”[g] Now if you do not commit adultery, but you murder, you become a violator of the Law. 12 You must make it your habit to speak and act like people who are going to be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For the one who has shown no mercy will be judged without mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith is Shown by Actions

14 What good does it do, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but does not prove it with actions? This kind of faith cannot save him, can it? 15 Suppose a brother or sister does not have any clothes or daily food 16 and one of you tells them, “Go in peace! Stay warm and eat heartily.” If you do not provide for their bodily needs, what good does it do? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it does not prove itself with actions, is dead.

18 But someone may say, “You have faith, and I have actions.” Show me your faith without any actions, and I will show you my faith by my actions. 19 You believe that there is one God. That’s fine! Even the demons believe that and tremble with fear. 20 Do you want proof, you foolish person, that faith without actions is worthless? 21 Our ancestor Abraham was justified by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar, wasn’t he? 22 You[h] see that his faith worked together with what he did, and by his actions his faith was made complete. 23 And so the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[i] And so he was called God’s friend. 24 You[j] observe that a person is justified through actions and not through faith alone. 25 Likewise, Rahab the prostitute was justified through actions when she welcomed the messengers[k] and sent them away on a different road, wasn’t she? 26 For just as the body without the spirit[l] is dead, so faith without actions is also dead.


  1. James 2:1 Or Christ
  2. James 2:2 Or synagogue
  3. James 2:3 Lit. Sit at my footstool
  4. James 2:7 I.e. God
  5. James 2:8 Cf. Lev 19:18
  6. James 2:11 Cf. Exod 20:14; Deut 5:18
  7. James 2:11 Cf. Exod 20:13; Deut 5:17
  8. James 2:22 The Gk. you is sing.
  9. James 2:23 Cf. Gen 15:6
  10. James 2:24 The Gk. you is pl.
  11. James 2:25 Other mss. read spies
  12. James 2:26 Or without breath