James 2-3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Sin of Partiality
2 My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. 2 For if a man comes into your [a]assembly with a gold ring and dressed in [b]fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, 3 and you [c]pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil [d]motives? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor [e]of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and [f]personally drag you into [g]court? 7 Do they not blaspheme the fair name [h]by which you have been called?
8 If, however, you are fulfilling the [i]royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the [j]law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole [k]law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the [l]law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy [m]triumphs over judgment.
Faith and Works
14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can [n]that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, [o]be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is [p]dead, being by itself.
18 But someone [q]may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that [r]God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and [s]as a result of the works, faith was [t]perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
The Tongue Is a Fire
3 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a [u]stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in [v]what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. 3 Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. 4 Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. 5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our [w]life, and is set on fire by [x]hell. 7 For every [y]species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human [z]race. 8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both [aa]fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce [ab]fresh.
Wisdom from Above
13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and [ac]selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, [ad]natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and [ae]selfish ambition exist, [af]there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [ag]reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the [ah]seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace [ai]by those who make peace.
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