James 1-5 New American Standard Bible


1 [1] James , a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ , To the twelve tribes who are [2] dispersed abroad: Greetings .

Faith and Humility

2  Consider it all joy , my brethren , when you encounter various [3]trials , 3  knowing that the testing of your faith produces [4] endurance . 4  And let [5] endurance have its perfect [6]result , so that you may be [7] perfect and complete , lacking in nothing . 5  But if any of you lacks wisdom , let him ask of God , who gives to all generously and [8]without reproach , and it will be given to him. 6  But he must ask in faith without any doubting , for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea , 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 [9] double-minded man , unstable in all his ways . 9  But the [10]brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position ; 10  and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation , because like [11]flowering grass he will pass away . 11  For the sun rises with [12] a scorching wind and withers the grass ; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed ; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away .

Trial and Temptation

12  Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial ; for once he has [13]been approved , he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

13  Let no one say when he is tempted , " I am being tempted [14]by God "; for God cannot be tempted [15]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 lust . 15  Then when lust has conceived , it gives birth to sin ; and when sin [16]is accomplished , it brings forth death . 16  Do not be [17]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 [18]shifting shadow . 18  In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth , so that we would be [19]a kind of first fruits [20]among His creatures .

Hearing and Doing the Word

19  [21]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 achieve the righteousness of God . 21  Therefore , putting aside all filthiness and all [22]that remains of wickedness , in [23]humility receive the word implanted , which is able to save your souls . 22  But prove yourselves doers of the word , and not merely hearers who delude themselves . 23  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer , he is like a man who looks at his [24]natural face in a mirror ; 24  for once he has looked at himself and gone away , [25]he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25  But one who looks intently at the perfect law , the law of liberty , and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but [26]an effectual doer , this man will be blessed in [27]what he does . 26  If anyone thinks himself to be religious , and yet does not [28] bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart , this man's religion is worthless . 27  Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this : to visit orphans and widows in their distress , and to keep oneself unstained [29]by the world .

Warning against Partiality

2 My brethren , do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism . 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 dirty clothes , 3  and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes , and say , "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man , "You stand over there , or sit down by my footstool ," 4  have you not made distinctions among yourselves , and become judges with evil motives ? 5  Listen , my beloved brethren : did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6  But you have dishonored the poor man . Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court ? 7  Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called ?

8  If , however , you are fulfilling 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 are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors . 10  For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all . 11  For He who said , " DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY ," also said , " DO NOT COMMIT MURDER ." Now 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 merciless to one who has shown no mercy ; mercy triumphs over judgment .

Faith without Works Is Dead

14  What use is it, my brethren , if someone says he has faith but he has no works ? Can that 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 be filled ," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body , what use is that? 17  Even so faith , if it has no works , is dead , being by itself . 18  But someone may well 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 ; the demons also believe , and shudder . 20  But are you willing to recognize , you foolish fellow , 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 as a result of the works , faith was perfected ; 23  and the Scripture was fulfilled which says , " AND 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 just as the body without the spirit is dead , so also faith without works is dead .

The Tongue

3 Let not many of you become teachers , my brethren , knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment . 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  Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well . 4  Look at the ships also , though they are so great and are driven by strong winds , are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires . 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 , the very world of iniquity ; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body , and sets on fire the course of our life , and is 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 one e can tame the tongue ; it is a restless evil and 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 both blessing and cursing . My brethren , these things ought not to be this way . 11  Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12  Can a fig tree , my brethren , produce olives , or a vine produce figs ? Nor can salt water produce fresh .

The Wisdom from Above

13  Who among you is wise and understanding ? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom . 14  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart , do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth . 15  This wisdom is not that which comes down from above , but is earthly , natural , demonic . 16  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing . 17  But the wisdom from above is first pure , then peaceable , gentle , reasonable , full of mercy and good fruits , unwavering , without hypocrisy . 18  And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace .

Friendship with the World

4 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members ? 2  You lust and do not have ; so you commit murder . You are envious and cannot e 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 e wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God . 5  Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose : "He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us"? 6  But He gives a greater grace . Therefore it says , " GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD , BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE ." 7  Submit 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 into mourning and your joy to gloom . 10  Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord , and He will exalt you.

Judging a Brother

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 to destroy ; but who are you who judge your neighbor ?

Boast Not of Tomorrow

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 your life will be like tomorrow . You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away . 15  Instead , you ought to say , " If the Lord wills , we will live and also do this or that." 16  But 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 .

Warning to the Rich

5 Come now , you rich , weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. 2  Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten . 3  Your gold and your silver have rusted ; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire . It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure ! 4  Behold , the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields , and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth . 5  You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton 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.

Patience and Prayer

7  Therefore be patient , brethren , until the coming of the Lord . The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil , being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8  You too be patient ; strengthen your hearts , for the coming of the Lord is near . 9  Do not complain , brethren , against one another , so that you yourselves may not be judged ; behold , the Judge is standing right at the door . 10  As an example , brethren , of suffering and patience , take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord . 11  We count those blessed who endured . You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful .

12  But above all , my brethren , do not swear , either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath ; but your yes is to be yes , and your no , no , so that you may not fall under judgment . 13  Is anyone among you suffering ? Then he must pray . Is anyone cheerful ? He is to sing praises . 14  Is anyone among you sick ? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord ; 15  and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick , and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins , they will be forgiven him. 16  Therefore , confess your sins to one another , and pray for one another so that you may be healed . The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much . 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 sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit . 19  My brethren , if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back , 20  let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins .


[1] 1:1 Or "Jacob"

[2] 1:1 Lit "in the Dispersion"

[3] 1:2 Or "temptations"

[4] 1:3 Or "steadfastness"

[5] 1:4 V 3, note 1

[6] 1:4 Lit "work"

[7] 1:4 Or "mature"

[8] 1:5 Lit "does not reproach"

[9] 1:8 Or "doubting, hesitating"

[10] 1:9 I.e. church member

[11] 1:10 Lit "the flower of the grass"

[12] 1:11 Lit "the"

[13] 1:12 Or "passed the test"

[14] 1:13 Lit "from"

[15] 1:13 Lit "of evil things"

[16] 1:15 Lit "is brought to completion"

[17] 1:16 Or "misled"

[18] 1:17 Lit "shadow of turning"

[19] 1:18 Or "a certain first fruits"

[20] 1:18 Lit "of"

[21] 1:19 Or "Know" this

[22] 1:21 Lit "abundance of malice"

[23] 1:21 Or "gentleness"

[24] 1:23 Lit "the face of his birth;" or "nature"

[25] 1:24 Lit "and he"

[26] 1:25 Lit "a doer of a work"

[27] 1:25 Lit "his doing"

[28] 1:26 Or "control"

[29] 1:27 Lit "from"

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