The Sin of Favoritism

My brothers, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.(A) For example, a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and a poor man dressed in dirty clothes also comes in. If you look with favor on the man wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here in a good place,” and yet you say to the poor man, “Stand over there,” or, “Sit here on the floor by my footstool,” haven’t you discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world(B) to be rich in faith(C) and heirs(D) of the kingdom that He has promised to those who love Him? Yet you dishonored that poor man.(E) Don’t the rich oppress you and drag(F) you into the courts? Don’t they blaspheme the noble name that was pronounced over you at your baptism?(G)

Indeed, if you keep the royal law prescribed in the Scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself,(H)[a] you are doing well. But if you show favoritism,(I) you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all.(J) 11 For He who said, Do not commit adultery,[b] also said, Do not murder.(K)[c] So if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you are a lawbreaker.

12 Speak and act as those who will be judged by the law of freedom.(L) 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who hasn’t shown mercy.(M) Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith and Works

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can his faith[d] save him?

15 If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it?(N) 17 In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.”[e] Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith from my works.[f](O) 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder.(P)

20 Foolish man! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless? 21 Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected.(Q) 23 So the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness,(R)[g] and he was called God’s friend.(S) 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by a different route?(T) 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.


  1. James 2:8 Lv 19:18
  2. James 2:11 Ex 20:14; Dt 5:18
  3. James 2:11 Ex 20:13; Dt 5:17
  4. James 2:14 Or Can faith, or Can that faith, or Can such faith
  5. James 2:18 The quotation may end here or after v. 18b or v. 19.
  6. James 2:18 Other mss read Show me your faith from your works, and from my works I will show you my faith.
  7. James 2:23 Gn 15:6

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