Two Kinds of Wisdom

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it(A) by their good life, by deeds(B) done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition(C) in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.(D) 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven(E) but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.(F) 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition,(G) there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven(H) is first of all pure; then peace-loving,(I) considerate, submissive, full of mercy(J) and good fruit, impartial and sincere.(K) 18 Peacemakers(L) who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.(M)

Submit Yourselves to God

What causes fights and quarrels(N) among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle(O) within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill.(P) You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive,(Q) because you ask with wrong motives,(R) that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

You adulterous(S) people,[a] don’t you know that friendship with the world(T) means enmity against God?(U) Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.(V) Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us[b]?(W) But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”[c](X)

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil,(Y) and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.(Z) Wash your hands,(AA) you sinners, and purify your hearts,(AB) you double-minded.(AC) Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.(AD) 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.(AE)

11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another.(AF) Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[d] or judges them(AG) speaks against the law(AH) and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it,(AI) but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge,(AJ) the one who is able to save and destroy.(AK) But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?(AL)

Boasting About Tomorrow

13 Now listen,(AM) you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”(AN) 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.(AO) 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will,(AP) we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.(AQ) 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.(AR)

Footnotes

  1. James 4:4 An allusion to covenant unfaithfulness; see Hosea 3:1.
  2. James 4:5 Or that the spirit he caused to dwell in us envies intensely; or that the Spirit he caused to dwell in us longs jealously
  3. James 4:6 Prov. 3:34
  4. James 4:11 The Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos) refers here to a believer, whether man or woman, as part of God’s family.

17 A friend loves at all times,
    and a brother is born for a time of adversity.(A)

18 One who has no sense shakes hands in pledge
    and puts up security for a neighbor.(B)

19 Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin;
    whoever builds a high gate invites destruction.

20 One whose heart is corrupt does not prosper;
    one whose tongue is perverse falls into trouble.

21 To have a fool for a child brings grief;
    there is no joy for the parent of a godless fool.(C)

22 A cheerful heart is good medicine,
    but a crushed(D) spirit dries up the bones.(E)

23 The wicked accept bribes(F) in secret
    to pervert the course of justice.(G)

24 A discerning person keeps wisdom in view,
    but a fool’s eyes(H) wander to the ends of the earth.

25 A foolish son brings grief to his father
    and bitterness to the mother who bore him.(I)

26 If imposing a fine on the innocent is not good,(J)
    surely to flog honest officials is not right.

27 The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint,(K)
    and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.(L)

28 Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent,
    and discerning if they hold their tongues.(M)

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