The Letter of

JAMES

Greeting

11James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:

Rejoice.1

Trials and Wisdom

2Consider it all joy, my brothers, whenever you fall into various trials, 3since you know that the testing2 of your faith produces endurance. 4And endurance must have [its] perfect work, so that you may be perfect and whole, lacking in nothing.

5But if any of you lacks wisdom, he must keep asking [for it] from God, who gives to all [people] generously and without reproaching [them], and it will be given to him. 6But he must keep asking in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7For that man must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8[he is] a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.3

Poverty and Riches

9The lowly brother must boast in his high position, 10and the rich in his low position, because like the flower of the grass he will pass away. 11For the sun rises with [its] scorching heat and "withers the grass; and its flower falls off,"4 and the beauty of its appearance perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in [the midst of] his pursuits.

Trial and Temptation

12Blessed [is] the man who endures trial, because when he has been approved he will receive the crown of life which [the Lord] has promised to those who love him. 13No one must say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; 14but each [person] is tempted when he is lured and enticed by [his] own desire. 15Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.

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1A common greeting
2Or, proven character
3Or, that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.
4Is. 40:8

James 1

16Quit being misled, my beloved brothers. 17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow [cast] by turning.5 18Since he wanted to, he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Hearing and Doing

19Know [this], my beloved brothers. And every man must be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, 20for the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God. 21Therefore put away all filthiness and abundance of evil and accept with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22But keep being doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. 23Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes the face that he was born with in a mirror; 24for he observes himself and goes away and immediately forgets what he was like. 25But the one who looks into the perfect law, the [law] of liberty, and continues [in it], being no hearer that forgets but a doer that works, he shall be blessed in his doing.

26If anyone thinks he is religious, and [yet] does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this [person's] religion [is] vain. 27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to keep visiting orphans and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep oneself spotless from the world.

Warning against Partiality

21My brothers, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, [the Lord] of glory, with partiality. 2For if a man with gold rings [and] in splendid apparel comes into your synagogue, and a poor man in filthy apparel also comes in, 3and you take notice of the one who wears the splendid apparel and say, "You sit here in a good place," and [yet] you say to the poor man, "You stand there," or "Sit down1 beside my footstool," 4have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

5Listen, my beloved brothers. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world [to be] rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has

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5Other ancient authorities read variation that [consists] of the turning of a shadow
1Other ancient authorities read stand," or "Sit down there; still others read stand there," or "Sit down here

James 2

promised to those who love him? 6But you have dishonored the poor man. [Is it] not the rich [who] oppress you, and [is it] not they [who] drag you into court? 7[Is it] not they [who] blaspheme the good name that was called over you?

8If you really fulfill the royal law, according to the scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself,"2 you do well. 9But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10For whoever keeps the whole law but trips up in one [point] has become guilty of all [of it]. 11For the One who said, "Do not commit adultery,"3 said also, "Do not murder."4 Now if you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12So speak and so act as those who are going to be judged through the law of liberty. 13For judgment [is] without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; [yet] mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith and Works

14What [does it] profit, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but he does not have works? That faith cannot save him, [can it]? 15If a brother or sister is ill-clad5 and in lack of daily food, 16and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things needed for the body, what [does it] profit? 17So also faith by itself, if it does not keep having works, is dead.

18But someone will say [that] you have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from [your] works, and I by my works will show you [my] faith. 19You believe that God is one;6 you do well. Even the demons believe--and shutter. 20But do you wish to know, O empty man, that faith apart from works is ineffective?7 21Was not Abraham our father declared righteous by works, when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22You see that faith was working together with his works, and by [his] works [his] faith was made perfect. 23And the scripture was fulfilled which says, "Now Abraham believed

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2Lev. 19:18
3Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:18
4Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17
5Lit., naked
6Other ancient authorities read there is one God
7Other ancient authorities read dead

James 2

God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness";8 and he was called the friend of God.9 24You see that a man is declared righteous by works and not by faith only. 25And likewise was not also Rahab the prostitute declared righteous by works when she received the messengers [as guests] and sent [them] out another way? 26For just as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

The Tongue

31Not many of you must become teachers, my brothers, since you know that we [who teach] shall receive a stricter1 judgment. 2For we all trip up in many things. If anyone does not trip up in what he says he [is] a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also. 3Now if we put the horses' bridles into [their] mouth in order that they may obey us, we also guide their whole bodies. 4Look at the ships also; though they are so great and are driven by hard winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot intends. 5So also the tongue is a little member and boasts of great things.

Behold, how great a forest is set ablaze by how small a fire! 6And the tongue [is] a fire. The tongue makes [itself] a world of unrighteousness among our members, spotting the whole body and setting aflame the cycle of birth, and being set aflame by hell.2 7For all kinds of beasts and birds, and reptiles and sea creatures, are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8but no man can tame the tongue--a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth comes out blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11A spring does not gush out from the same hole with [both] sweet [water] and bitter, [does it]? 12My brothers, a fig tree cannot produce olives, or a grapevine figs, [can they]? Neither can salt water produce sweet.

Two Kinds of Wisdom

13Who [is] wise and scholarly among you? By his good conduct he must show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not boast and tell lies against the

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8Gen. 15:6
9Is. 41:8; II Chron. 20:7
1Lit., greater
2Greek Genenna

James 3

truth. 15This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but [is] earthly, animal,3 demonic. 16For where jealousy and selfish ambition [exist], there [also is] confusion and every bad practice. 17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, undoubting,4 [and] unhypocritical. 18And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for5 those who make peace.

Friendship with the World

41Where do wars [come] from, and where do fightings [come] from among you? [Do] not [they come] from this, from your pleasures that are waging war among your members? 2You desire and do not have; [so] you murder. And you are jealous1 and cannot obtain; [so] you fight and make war. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask with evil [motives], so that you may spend [it] on your pleasures. 4[You] adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes [himself] an enemy of God. 5Or do you suppose [it is] in vain [that] the scripture says, "He longs with envy over the Spirit which he has made to dwell2 in us"?3 6But he gives more grace; that is why it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."4 7Be subject therefore to God. And resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [you] sinners, and purify [your] hearts, [you] double-minded [people]. 9Be miserable and mourn and weep. Your laughter must be turned into mourning and [your] joy into dejection. 10Humble [yourselves] before the Lord and he will exalt you.

Judging a Brother

11Quit criticizing one another, brothers. The one who criticizes a brother or judges his brother is criticizing the law and judging the law.

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Chapter 3: 3Lit., soulish

4Or, impartial

5Or, by

Chapter 4: 1Or, have. You murder and are jealous

2Other ancient authorities read which dwells

3Or,Does the Spirit which he has made to dwell in us long with envy?

4Prov. 3:34


James 4

But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12There is [only] One [who is] lawgiver and judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you that you judge [your] neighbor?

Boasting About Tomorrow

13Come now, [you] who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a city and spend a year there and trade and get gain"; 14whereas you do not know about tomorrow. What [is] your life?5 For you are a vapor that appears for a little while and then disappears. 15Instead you [ought] to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall both live and do this or that." 16But now you are boasting in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17Therefore for the one who knows to do good and does not do [it], for him it is sin.

Warning to the Rich

51Come now, [you] rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon [you]. 2Your riches have rotted and your clothes have become moth-eaten. 3Your gold and silver have become corroded, and their corrosion will [serve] as testimony against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. 4Behold, the wages of the workers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have come to the ears of the Lord of Armies.1 5You have lived in luxury on the earth and lived in extravagance; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6You have condemned, you have murdered the righteous man; he does not oppose you.

Patience and Endurance

7Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the advent of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late [rain]. 8You also be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the advent of the Lord has come near. 9Quit complaining, brothers, against one another, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the doors. 10As an example of suffering hardship and of patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11Behold, we call those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the end [result] of the Lord['s dealings], that the Lord is tenderhearted and compassionate.

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5Or, know what sort of life [is] yours tomorrow; other ancient authorities read know about tomorrow. For what [is] your life?
1Hebrew Sabaoth

James 5

12But above all, my brothers, do not be swearing, not by heaven nor by earth nor with any other oath, but your yes must be yes and [your] no [be] no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

Prayer

13Is anyone among you suffering hardship? He must keep praying. Is anyone cheerful? He must keep singing psalms [of praise]. 14Is anyone among you sick? He must call for the elders of the church, and they must pray over him, anointing [him] with olive oil in the name of the Lord; 15and the prayer of faith will make the sick [person] well,2 and the Lord will raise him up; and if he may have committed sins, it will be forgiven him. 16Therefore keep confessing [your] sins to one another, and keep praying for one another, that you may be healed. The petition of a righteous person has much strength in its working. 17Elijah was a man with feelings like us and he prayed earnestly3 that it might not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18And he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.

19My brothers, if anyone among you errs from the truth and someone turns him [straight], 20he4 must know that the one who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

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2Lit., save the sick
3Lit., with prayer
4Other ancient authorities read you


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