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The IVP New Testament Commentary Series – Conclusion About Faith Without Deeds (2:17)
Conclusion About Faith Without Deeds (2:17)

In fact, his expectation is so strong that he concludes with the most severe condemnation of faith without deeds: it is dead. The last words of his sentence are by itself, referring back to faith. Placed here, these words emphasize the focus of James's concern, which is faith by itself—that is, faith without the authenticating actions. It is not that he is promoting deeds as an alternative to faith. He obviously knows the value of faith, for he called those who have faith "rich" in 2:5. What James is rejecting is the notion that one can have faith by itself, without the accompanying actions.

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