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James 4 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

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[a] 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. Adulterers! 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. Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, “God[b] yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says,

“God opposes the proud,
    but gives grace to the humble.”

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 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.

Warning against Judging Another

11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters.[c] 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. 12 There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. So who, then, are you to judge your neighbor?

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.” 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. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.” 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.

Footnotes:

  1. James 4:2 Or you murder and you covet
  2. James 4:5 Gk He
  3. James 4:11 Gk brothers
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

James 4 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Friendship with the World

Why do you fight and argue with each other? Isn’t it because you are full of selfish desires that fight to control your body? You want something you don’t have, and you will do anything to get it. You will even kill! But you still cannot get what you want, and you won’t get it by fighting and arguing. You should pray for it. Yet even when you do pray, your prayers are not answered, because you pray just for selfish reasons.

You people aren’t faithful to God! Don’t you know that if you love the world, you are God’s enemies? And if you decide to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you doubt the Scriptures that say, “God truly cares about the Spirit he has put in us”?[a] In fact, God treats us with even greater kindness, just as the Scriptures say,

“God opposes everyone
    who is proud,
but he is kind to everyone
    who is humble.”

Surrender to God! Resist the devil, and he will run from you. Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Clean up your lives, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you people who can’t make up your mind. Be sad and sorry and weep. Stop laughing and start crying. Be gloomy instead of glad. 10 Be humble in the Lord’s presence, and he will honor you.

Saying Cruel Things about Others

11 My friends, don’t say cruel things about others! If you do, or if you condemn others, you are condemning God’s Law. And if you condemn the Law, you put yourself above the Law and refuse to obey either it 12 or God who gave it. God is our judge, and he can save or destroy us. What right do you have to condemn anyone?

Warning against Bragging

13 You should know better than to say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to the city. We will do business there for a year and make a lot of money!” 14 What do you know about tomorrow? How can you be so sure about your life? It is nothing more than mist that appears for only a little while before it disappears. 15 You should say, “If the Lord lets us live, we will do these things.” 16 Yet you are stupid enough to brag, and it is wrong to be so proud. 17 If you don’t do what you know is right, you have sinned.

Footnotes:

  1. 4.5 God truly cares about the Spirit he has put in us: One possible meaning for the difficult Greek text; other translations are possible, such as, “the Spirit that God put in us truly cares.”
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