James,(A) a servant of God(B) and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes(C) scattered(D) among the nations:

Greetings.(E)

Trials and Temptations

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds,(F) because you know that the testing of your faith(G) produces perseverance.(H) Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature(I) and complete, not lacking anything. 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) 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. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded(M) and unstable(N) in all they do.

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.

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial(T) because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life(U) that the Lord has promised to those who love him.(V)

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)

Favoritism Forbidden

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious(AT) Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.(AU) Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges(AV) with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters:(AW) Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world(AX) to be rich in faith(AY) and to inherit the kingdom(AZ) he promised those who love him?(BA) But you have dishonored the poor.(BB) Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?(BC) Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[b](BD) you are doing right. But if you show favoritism,(BE) you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.(BF) 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles(BG) at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.(BH) 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[c](BI) also said, “You shall not murder.”[d](BJ) If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged(BK) by the law that gives freedom,(BL) 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.(BM) Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith and Deeds

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?(BN) Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.(BO) 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?(BP) 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.(BQ)

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds,(BR) and I will show you my faith(BS) by my deeds.(BT) 19 You believe that there is one God.(BU) Good! Even the demons believe that(BV)—and shudder.

20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[e]?(BW) 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?(BX) 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together,(BY) and his faith was made complete by what he did.(BZ) 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[f](CA) and he was called God’s friend.(CB) 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?(CC) 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.(CD)

Footnotes

  1. 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.
  2. James 2:8 Lev. 19:18
  3. James 2:11 Exodus 20:14; Deut. 5:18
  4. James 2:11 Exodus 20:13; Deut. 5:17
  5. James 2:20 Some early manuscripts dead
  6. James 2:23 Gen. 15:6