New Revised Standard Version
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:
Faith that rejoices in trials
2 My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it
nothing but joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces
endurance; 4 and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature
and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and
ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. 6 But ask in faith, never doubting,
for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the
wind; 7, 8 for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way,
must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
A reversal of fortunes
9 Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, 10 and the rich in
being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field.
11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower
falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst
of a busy life, they will wither away.
God who rewards faithful endurance
12 Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and
will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love
him. 13 No one, when tempted, should say, "I am being tempted by God"; for God
cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. 14 But one is tempted
by one's own desire, being lured and enticed by it; 15 then, when that desire
has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown,
gives birth to death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved.
17 Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or
shadow due to change. 18 In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by
the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his
Righteousness in word and deed
19 You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow
to speak, slow to anger; 20 for your anger does not produce God's
righteousness. 21 Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth
of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power
to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23
For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look
at themselves in a mirror; 24 for they look at themselves and, on going away,
immediately forget what they were like. 25 But those who look into the perfect
law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers
who act – they will be blessed in their doing.
Religion that is personal and social
26 If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but
deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure
and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows
in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Faith and acts of discrimination
1 My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe
in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? 2 For if a person with gold rings and in
fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes
also comes in, 3 and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes
and say, "Have a seat here, please," while to the one who is poor you say,
"Stand there," or, "Sit at my feet," 4 have you not made distinctions among
yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved
brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in
faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love
him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. 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
excellent name that was invoked over you?
8 You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture,
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 9 But if you show partiality, you
commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps
the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11
For the one who said, "You shall not commit adultery," also said, "You shall
not murder." Now if you do not commit adultery but if you 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
anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
The unity of faith and deeds
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do
not have works? Can faith save you? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and
lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and
eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good
of 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
apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You
believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder.
20 Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works
is barren? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered
his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his
works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. 23 Thus the scripture
was fulfilled that 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 person
is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 Likewise, was not Rahab the
prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent
them out by another road? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead,
so faith without works is also dead.
Faithfulness through a disciplined tongue
1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you
know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For all of us
make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able
to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. 3 If we put bits into the
mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4 Or look
at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them,
yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot
directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great
How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire.
The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the
whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by
hell. 7 For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can
be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8 but no one can tame the
tongue – a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless the Lord
and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this
ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both
fresh and brackish water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield
olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.
Two kinds of wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your
works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy
and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the
truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly,
unspiritual, devilish. 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there
will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from
above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy
and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18 And a harvest
of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.
Faithlessness in the community
1 Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not
come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2 You want something and
do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot
obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because
you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in
order to spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers! Do you not know
that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to
be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose that it
is for nothing that the scripture says, "God yearns jealously for the spirit
that he has made to dwell in us"? 6 But he gives all the more grace; therefore
"God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble."
Corrective formulae: a call to repentance
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 Lament and mourn and
weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection.
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Warning against improper speech
11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters. Whoever speaks
evil against another or judges another, speaks evil against the law and judges
the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
12 There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. So who,
then, are you to judge your neighbor?
Cautions to those who take God for granted
13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a
town and spend a year there, doing business and making money." 14 Yet you do
not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist
that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to
say, "If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that." 16 As it is, you
boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Anyone, then, who knows
the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.
Warnings to the rich
1 Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to
you. 2 Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold
and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it
will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. 4
Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back
by fraud, cry out, 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
murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you.
A word of consolation to the faithful
7 Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer
waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it
receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen
your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Beloved, do not grumble
against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing
at the doors! 10 As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the
prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Indeed we call blessed those
who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have
seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
12 Above all, my beloved, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any
other oath, but let your "Yes" be yes and your "No" be no, so that you may not
fall under condemnation.
A closing litany of pastoral concerns
13 Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They
should sing songs of praise. 14 Are any among you sick? They should call for
the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil
in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the
Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins 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 the righteous is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not
rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then
he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.
19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is
brought back by another, 20 you should know that whoever brings back a sinner
from wandering will save the sinner's soul from death and will cover a
multitude of sins.