Partiality Forbidden

My brothers, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with partiality. For if someone[a] enters into your assembly[b] in fine clothing with a gold ring on his finger, and a poor person in filthy clothing also enters, and you look favorably on the one wearing the fine clothing and you say, “Be seated here in a good place,” and to the poor person you say, “You stand or be seated there[c] by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers! Did not God choose the poor of the world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor! Are not the rich exploiting you and they themselves dragging you into the courts? Do they themselves not blaspheme the good name of the one to whom you belong[d]?

However, if you carry out the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”[e] you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and thus[f] are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but stumbles in one point only has become guilty of all of it. 11 For the one who said “Do not commit adultery”[g] also said “Do not murder.”[h] Now if you do not commit adultery but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 Thus speak and thus act as those who are going to be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is merciless to the one who has not practiced mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith and Works

14 What is the benefit, my brothers, if someone says that he has faith but does not have works? That faith is not able to save him, is it?[i] 15 If a brother or a sister is poorly clothed and lacking food for the day, 16 and one of you should say to them, “Go in peace, keep warm and eat well[j],” but does not give them what is necessary for the body, what is the benefit? 17 Thus also faith, if it does not have works, is dead by itself.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.”[k] Show me your faith apart from your[l] works, and I will show you my[m] faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe, and shudder! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he[n] offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working together with his works, and by the works the faith was perfected. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness,”[o] and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And likewise was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she[p] welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.


  1. James 2:2 Literally “a man,” but clearly in a generic sense here meaning “someone, a person”
  2. James 2:2 Literally “synagogue,” but here probably referring to a Christian assembly
  3. James 2:3 Some manuscripts have “you stand there or be seated”
  4. James 2:7 Literally “that was called over you”
  5. James 2:8 A quotation from Lev 19:18
  6. James 2:9 Here “and thus” is supplied as a component of the participle (“are convicted”) which is understood as result
  7. James 2:11 A quotation from Exod 20:14; Deut 5:18
  8. James 2:11 A quotation from Exod 20:13; Deut 5:17
  9. James 2:14 *The negative construction in Greek anticipates a negative answer here
  10. James 2:16 Literally, “be satisfied”
  11. James 2:18 Some see the quotation by “someone” extending to the end of v. 18, while others see it extending through v. 19
  12. James 2:18 Literally “the”; the Greek article is used here as a possessive pronoun
  13. James 2:18 Literally “the”; the Greek article is used here as a possessive pronoun
  14. James 2:21 Here “when” is supplied as a component of the participle (“offered up”) which is understood as temporal
  15. James 2:23 A quotation from Gen 15:6
  16. James 2:25 Here “when” is supplied as a component of the participle (“welcomed”) which is understood as temporal