Copyright (c) Timothy E. Clontz 1999 All rights reserved.
The Letter of James
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: greetings.
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
9 But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; 10 and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like the flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls and its beauty is destroyed. So will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is full-grown, it brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger, 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness, in humility receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he looks at himself and goes away, and immediately forgets what he was like. 25 But one who looks intently into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but a doer that acts, this man will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
1 My brethren, show no favoritism as you hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. 2 For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in shabby clothes, 3 and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes and say, "Have a seat here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit by my feet," 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my beloved brethren: has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? 7 Is it not they who blaspheme the honorable name by which you have been called? 8 If you really fulfill the royal law, according to the scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point has become guilty of all of it. 11 For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," said also, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment will be without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
14 What good is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has no works? Can such faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe-and shudder. 20 But are you willing to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness", and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works, when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses that they may obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4 Look at the ships also; though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of evil among the members of the body. The tongue corrupts our whole person, sets the whole course of our life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life let him show his deeds in the humility of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or hypocrisy. 18 And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
1 What causes quarrels and fights among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members? 2 You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong 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. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says without reason: "He jealously desires the Spirit which he has made to dwell in us"? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says,
"God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble."
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you-who are you to judge your neighbor?
13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." 14 Yet you do not know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth- eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out against you; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.
7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it receives the early and late rains. 8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Do not grumble, brethren, against one another, that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we call those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath, but let your yes be yes and your no be no, that you may not fall under condemnation.
13 Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer offered in faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the heavens gave rain and the earth produced its fruit.
19 My brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.