James 1:1-21 New International Version (NIV)
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:
Trials and Temptations
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
Listening and Doing
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
James 1:1-21 Expanded Bible (EXB)
To ·all of God’s people [L the twelve tribes; C an allusion to the twelve tribes of Israel; referring either to Jewish Christians or all believers as the new covenant people of God] ·who are scattered everywhere in the world [L in the Diaspora/Dispersion; C a reference to the scattering of the Jews during the Babylonian captivity, now applied to the church]: Greetings.
Faith and Wisdom
2 My brothers and sisters [C fellow believers], when you have many kinds of ·troubles [trials; testing], ·you should be full of joy [L consider it all/pure joy], 3 because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you ·patience [perserverance; endurance]. 4 [L And] Let your ·patience [perserverance; endurance] ·show itself perfectly in what you do [have its full effect; finish its work]. Then you will be ·perfect and complete [mature and whole; or completely mature] and will ·have everything you need [L lack nothing]. 5 But if any of you ·needs [lacks] wisdom, you should ask God for it [Prov. 2:6]. He is generous to everyone and will give you wisdom ·without criticizing you [without finding fault; ungrudgingly; Matt. 7:7]. 6 But when you ask God, you must ·believe [ask with faith] and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like a wave in the sea, ·blown up and down [driven and tossed] by the wind.
9 ·Believers [Brothers or sisters] who are ·poor [in lowly/humble circumstances] should ·take pride [boast] ·that God has made them spiritually rich [in being raised up; in their exaltation; in their high position]. 10 [L But] Those who are ·rich [wealthy] should ·take pride [boast] ·that God has shown them that they are spiritually poor [in their humiliation; in their lowly state; Jer. 9:23–24]. [L Because] The rich will ·die [pass away; wither] like a ·wild flower in the grass [or flower in the field]. 11 [L For] The sun rises with ·burning [scorching] heat and ·dries up [withers] the ·plants [or grass]. The flower falls off, and its beauty is ·gone [destroyed]. In the same way the rich will ·die [L wither away] ·while they are still taking care of business [in the midst of their pursuits; L in his journeys; Ps. 49:16–17; 103:15–16; Is. 40:6–8].
Temptation Is Not from God
12 ·When people are tempted and still continue strong, they should be happy [L Blessed is the one who perserveres/endures trials/temptations]. After they have ·proved their faith [stood/endured/passed the test], ·God will reward them with life forever [L they will receive the crown of life; C alludes to the laurel crown given for a victory]. ·God [L He] promised this to all those who love him. 13 When people are ·tempted [undergoing a trial], they should not say, “God is tempting me.” [L For] God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But ·people are [L each person is] tempted when their own evil desire ·leads [lures; drags] them away and ·traps [entices; lures] them. 15 ·This desire leads to sin [L Then, after desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin], and then the sin ·grows [or becomes full-grown] and ·brings [gives birth to] death.
16 My ·dear [beloved] brothers and sisters [C fellow believers], do not be ·fooled [deceived] about this. 17 Every good ·action [or act of giving] and every perfect gift ·is from God [L comes from above]. These good gifts come down from the ·Creator of the sun, moon, and stars [L the father of lights; C referring to God’s creation of the heavenly bodies (Gen. 1:14–19; Ps. 136:7–9; Jer. 31:35)], who does not change like their shifting shadows. 18 God ·decided [chose; willed] to give us ·life [birth] through the ·word of truth [true message] so we might be ·the most important [or the first of many; L a kind of firstfruits; C firstfruits were the first crops to be harvested and guaranteed the coming harvest; Ex. 34:22; 2 Thess. 2:13; Rev. 14:4] of all ·the things he made [or his creatures].
Listening and Obeying
19 My ·dear [L beloved] brothers and sisters [C fellow believers], [L under-stand/know this:] ·always be willing to listen and slow to speak. Do not become angry easily [L be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; Prov. 17:28], 20 ·because anger will not help you live the right kind of life God wants [L because human anger does not produce God’s righteousness]. 21 So ·put out of your life [get rid of; lay aside] every ·evil thing [moral filth/defilement] and every ·kind of wrong [excessive evil]. Then in ·gentleness [humility] ·accept [welcome] God’s ·teaching [word] that is planted in your hearts, which can save ·you [L your souls; C referring to the whole person].
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