James 1Expanded 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].
22 ·Do what God’s teaching says; when you only listen and do nothing, you are fooling yourselves [L Be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deceiving yourselves; Luke 11:28; Rom. 2:13]. 23 Those who hear God’s ·teaching [word] and do nothing are like people who look at ·themselves [their natural face; L the face of their birth] in a mirror. 24 [L For] They ·see their faces [gaze at themselves] and then go away and quickly forget what they looked like. 25 But ·the truly happy people are [L blessed are] those who ·carefully study [look intently into; L stoop down to look at] God’s perfect law that makes people free [C probably refers to the law of Moses as it is fulfilled in Christ; 2:8, 12], and they ·continue to study it [persevere in it]. ·They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God’s teaching says [L not being a forgetful hearer but an active doer]. Those who do this will be ·made happy [blessed].
The True Way to Worship God
26 People who think they are religious but ·say things they should not say [L do not bridle their tongues; 3:1–12; 4:11–12] are just ·fooling [deceiving] themselves. Their “religion” is ·worth nothing [empty; meaningless]. 27 Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and ·without fault [undefiled] is this: caring for orphans and widows [2:1–13, 15–16; Ex. 22:22; Deut. 14:29] ·who need help [L in their trouble/distress/persecution], and keeping yourself ·free from the world’s evil influence [L unstained/unpolluted by the world; 4:4–10].
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