New King James Version
Greeting to the Twelve Tribes
1 James, (A)a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:
Profiting from Trials
2 My brethren, (B)count it all joy (C)when you fall into various trials, 3 (D)knowing that the testing of your faith produces [a]patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be [b]perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 (E)If any of you lacks wisdom, (F)let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and (G)it will be given to him. 6 (H)But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is (I)a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
The Perspective of Rich and Poor
9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because (J)as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
Loving God Under Trials
12 (K)Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive (L)the crown of life (M)which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, (N)when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, (O)brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 (P)Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, (Q)with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 (R)Of His own will He brought us forth by the (S)word of truth, (T)that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
Qualities Needed in Trials
Doers—Not Hearers Only
22 But (Y)be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For (Z)if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But (AA)he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, (AB)this one will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone [e]among you thinks he is religious, and (AC)does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 (AD)Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: (AE)to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, (AF)and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
New American Standard Bible
The Testing of Your Faith
2 (G)Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter (H)various [c]trials, 3 knowing that (I)the testing of your (J)faith produces [d](K)endurance. 4 And let [e](L)endurance have its perfect [f]result, so that you may be [g](M)perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 But if any of you (N)lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and [h]without reproach, and (O)it will be given to him. 6 But he must (P)ask in faith (Q)without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, (R)driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a (S)[i]double-minded man, (T)unstable in all his ways.
9 (U)Now the brother or sister of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; 10 but the rich person is to glory in his [j]humiliation, because (V)like [k]flowering grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with (W)its scorching heat and (X)withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so also the rich person, in the midst of his pursuits, will die out.
12 (Y)Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has [l]been approved, he will receive (Z)the crown of life which the Lord (AA)has promised to those who (AB)love Him. 13 No one is to say when he is tempted, “(AC)I am being tempted [m]by God”; for God cannot be tempted [n]by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then (AD)when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and (AE)sin, when it has run its course, brings forth death. 16 (AF)Do not be [o]deceived, (AG)my beloved brothers and sisters. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is (AH)from above, coming down from (AI)the Father of lights, (AJ)with whom there is no variation or [p]shifting shadow. 18 In the exercise of (AK)His will He (AL)gave us birth by (AM)the word of truth, so that we would be [q]a kind of (AN)first fruits [r]among His creatures.
19 [s](AO)You know this, (AP)my beloved brothers and sisters. Now everyone must be quick to hear, (AQ)slow to speak, and (AR)slow to anger; 20 for a man’s (AS)anger does not bring about the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore, (AT)ridding yourselves of all filthiness and all [t]that remains of wickedness, in [u]humility receive (AU)the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. 22 (AV)But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his [v]natural face (AW)in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, [w]he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who has looked intently at the perfect law, (AX)the law of freedom, and has continued in it, not having become a forgetful hearer but [x]an active doer, this person will be (AY)blessed in [y]what he does.
26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, yet does not [z](AZ)bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion (BA)in the sight of our God and Father is this: to (BB)visit (BC)orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained [aa]by (BD)the world.
- James 1:1 Or Jacob
- James 1:1 Lit in the Dispersion
- James 1:2 Or temptations
- James 1:3 Or steadfastness
- James 1:4 Or steadfastness
- James 1:4 Lit work
- James 1:4 Or mature
- James 1:5 Lit does not reproach
- James 1:8 I.e., a chronic doubter
- James 1:10 Or downfall
- James 1:10 Lit the flower of the grass
- James 1:12 Or passed the test
- James 1:13 Lit from
- James 1:13 Lit of evil things
- James 1:16 Or misled
- James 1:17 Lit shadow of turning
- James 1:18 Or a certain first fruits
- James 1:18 Lit of
- James 1:19 Or Know this
- James 1:21 Lit abundance of malice
- James 1:21 Or gentleness
- James 1:23 Lit the face of his birth; or nature
- James 1:24 Lit and he
- James 1:25 Lit a doer of a work
- James 1:25 Lit his doing
- James 1:26 Or control
- James 1:27 Lit from
Testing Your Faith
1 [a]James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve [Hebrew] tribes [scattered abroad among the Gentiles] in the dispersion: Greetings (rejoice)!
2 Consider it nothing but joy, my [b]brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. 3 Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask [for wisdom] in faith, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind. 7 For such a person ought not to think or expect that he will receive anything [at all] from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable and restless in all his ways [in everything he thinks, feels, or decides].
9 Let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his high position [as a born-again believer, called to the true riches and to be an heir of God]; 10 and the rich man is to glory in being humbled [by trials revealing human frailty, knowing true riches are found in the grace of God], for like the flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; its flower falls off and [c]its beauty fades away; so too will the rich man, in the midst of his pursuits, fade away.(A)
12 Blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] is the man who is steadfast under trial and perseveres when tempted; for when he has passed the test and been approved, he will receive the [victor’s] crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God” [for temptation does not originate from God, but from our own flaws]; for God cannot be tempted by [what is] evil, and He Himself tempts no one. 14 But each one is tempted when he is dragged away, enticed and baited [to commit sin] by his own [worldly] desire (lust, passion). 15 Then when the illicit desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin has run its course, it gives birth to death. 16 Do not be misled, my beloved brothers and sisters. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow [d]cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes]. 18 It was of His own will that He gave us birth [as His children] by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits of His creatures [a prime example of what He created to be set apart to Himself—sanctified, made holy for His divine purposes].
19 Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]; 20 for the [resentful, deep-seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behavior which He requires from us]. 21 So get rid of all uncleanness and [e]all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. 22 But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth]. 23 For if anyone only listens to the word [f]without obeying it, he is like a man who looks very carefully at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he immediately forgets [g]what he looked like. 25 But he who looks carefully into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and faithfully abides by it, not having become a [careless] listener who forgets but [h]an active doer [who obeys], he will be blessed and favored by God in what he does [in his life of obedience].
26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious [scrupulously observant of the rituals of his faith], and does not control his tongue but deludes his own heart, this person’s religion is worthless (futile, barren). 27 Pure and unblemished religion [as it is expressed in outward acts] in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit and look after the fatherless and the widows in their distress, and to keep oneself uncontaminated by the [secular] world.
- James 1:1 James, the leader of the Jerusalem church, was the half brother of Jesus. He became a believer after the resurrection of Jesus and was later martyred for his faith.
- James 1:2 Lit brethren.
- James 1:11 Lit the beauty of its face perishes.
- James 1:17 Lit of turning.
- James 1:21 Lit surplus of.
- James 1:23 Lit and is not a doer.
- James 1:24 Lit what sort he was.
- James 1:25 Lit a doer of work.
New International Version
Trials and Temptations
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds,(F) 3 because you know that the testing of your faith(G) produces perseverance.(H) 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature(I) and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,(J) who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.(K) 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt,(L) 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(M) and unstable(N) in all they do.
9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position.(O) 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower.(P) 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat(Q) and withers(R) the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed.(S) In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
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(W) evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin;(X) and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.(Y)
16 Don’t be deceived,(Z) my dear brothers and sisters.(AA) 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above,(AB) coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,(AC) who does not change(AD) like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth(AE) through the word of truth,(AF) that we might be a kind of firstfruits(AG) of all he created.
Listening and Doing
19 My dear brothers and sisters,(AH) take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak(AI) and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger(AJ) does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of(AK) all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you,(AL) which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.(AM) 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom,(AN) and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.(AO)
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues(AP) deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after(AQ) orphans and widows(AR) in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.(AS)
- James 1:2 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in verses 16 and 19; and in 2:1, 5, 14; 3:10, 12; 4:11; 5:7, 9, 10, 12, 19.