James now supplies examples of this life of active obedience. With these examples, he again poses two contrasting alternatives in two kinds of "religion." Both as an adjective threskos in 1:26 and as a noun threskeia in 1:27, the term especially refers to the outward observance of worship—for example, attending worship services, praying and fasting. James's initial proposition is that even among people who perform these outward observances, there are some who practice a deceptive and worthless religion and others who practice a pure and faultless religion. The examples he gives are so practical that they may make these verses pointed and uncomfortable reading for us.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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