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James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes in the dispersion:


Faith and Wisdom

My brothers and sisters, whenever you face various trials, consider it all joy,(A) because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance complete its work, so that you may be complete and whole, lacking in nothing.

If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.(B) But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.(C) 7,8 For the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

Poverty and Riches

Let the brother or sister of humble means boast in having a high position 10 and the rich in having been humbled, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field.(D) 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away.

Trial and Temptation

12 Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord[a] has promised to those who love him.(E) 13 No one, when tempted, should say, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. 14 But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; 15 then, when desire has conceived, it engenders sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death.(F)

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters. 17 Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[b](G) 18 In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave birth to us by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.(H)

Hearing and Doing the Word

19 You must understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger,(I) 20 for human anger does not produce God’s righteousness.[c] 21 Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.(J)

22 But be doers of the word and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.(K) 23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves[d] in a mirror;(L) 24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25 But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.(M)

26 If any think they are religious and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless.(N) 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.(O)

Warning against Partiality

My brothers and sisters, do not claim the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory while showing partiality.(P) For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here in a good place, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit by my footstool,”(Q) have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?(R) But you have dishonored the poor person. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into the courts?(S) Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well.(T) But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.(U) 11 For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but you murder, you have become a transgressor of[e] the law.(V) 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.(W) 13 For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.(X)

Faith without Works Is Dead

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Surely that faith cannot save, can it?(Y) 15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food(Z) 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from works, and I by my works will show you faith.(AA) 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder.(AB) 20 Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works is worthless?[f] 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?(AC) 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and by works faith was brought to completion.(AD) 23 Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,”[g] and he was called the friend of God.(AE) 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers[h] and sent them out by another road?(AF) 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.

Taming the Tongue

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will face stricter judgment.(AG) For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is mature,[i] able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle.(AH) If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Or look at ships: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.

How great a forest is set ablaze by a such a small fire!(AI) And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of life, and is itself set on fire by hell.[j](AJ) For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue—a restless[k] evil, full of deadly poison.(AK) With it we bless the Lord[l] and Father, and with it we curse people, made in the likeness of God.(AL) 10 From the same mouth comes a blessing and a curse. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

Two Kinds of Wisdom

13 Who is wise and knowledgeable among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.(AM) 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be arrogant and lie about the truth. 15 This is not wisdom that comes down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish.(AN) 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.(AO) 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.(AP) 18 And the fruit of righteousness[m] is sown in peace by those who make peace.(AQ)

Friendship with the World

Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it, so you commit murder. And you covet[n] something and cannot obtain it, so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.(AR) Adulterers![o] Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.(AS) Or do you suppose that the scripture speaks to no purpose? Does the spirit that God caused to dwell[p] in us desire envy?(AT) But God gives all the more grace; therefore it says,

“God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble.”(AU)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.(AV) Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.(AW) Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.(AX)

Warning against Judging Another

11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters. Whoever speaks evil against another or judges another speaks evil against the law and judges the law, but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.(AY) 12 There is one lawgiver and judge[q] who is able to save and to destroy. So who, then, are you to judge your neighbor?(AZ)

Boasting about Tomorrow

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.”(BA) 14 Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.(BB) 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.”(BC) 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it commits sin.(BD)

Warning to Rich Oppressors

Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten.(BE) Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure[r] during the last days. Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.(BF) You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have nourished your hearts in a day of slaughter.(BG) You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you.

Patience in Suffering

Be patient, therefore, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.(BH) You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.[s](BI) Brothers and sisters, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors!(BJ) 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Indeed, we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the outcome that the Lord brought about, for the Lord is compassionate and merciful.(BK)

12 Above all, brothers and sisters, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “Yes” be yes and your “No” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.[t]

The Prayer of Faith

13 Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.(BL) 14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.(BM) 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up, and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.(BN) 17 Elijah was a human like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.(BO) 18 Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth yielded its harvest.(BP)

19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth[u] and is brought back by another, 20 you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s[v] soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.(BQ)


  1. 1.12 Gk he; other ancient authorities read God
  2. 1.17 Other ancient authorities read variation due to a shadow of turning
  3. 1.20 Or justice
  4. 1.23 Gk at the face of his birth
  5. 2.11 Other ancient authorities read a rebel against
  6. 2.20 Other ancient authorities read dead or empty
  7. 2.23 Or justice
  8. 2.25 Other ancient authorities read spies
  9. 3.2 Gk a mature man
  10. 3.6 Gk Gehenna
  11. 3.8 Other ancient authorities read uncontrollable
  12. 3.9 Other ancient authorities read God
  13. 3.18 Or justice
  14. 4.2 Or you murder and you covet
  15. 4.4 Gk Adulterous women; other ancient authorities read Adulterous men and women
  16. 4.5 Other ancient authorities read the spirit that dwells
  17. 4.12 Other ancient authorities lack and judge
  18. 5.3 Or will eat your flesh, since you have stored up fire
  19. 5.8 Or is at hand
  20. 5.12 Other ancient authorities read into hypocrisy
  21. 5.19 Other ancient authorities read from the way of truth
  22. 5.20 Gk his