1 He sayeth, that to have respect of persons is not agreeable to Christ’s faith, 14 which to profess in words is not enough, unless 15 we show it also in deeds of mercy and charity, 21 after the example of Abraham.

My [a]brethren, have not the faith of our [b]glorious Lord Jesus Christ (A)in respect of persons.

For if there come into your company a man with a gold ring, and in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment,

And ye have a respect to him that weareth the gay clothing; and say unto him, Sit thou here in a [c]goodly place, and say unto the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool,

Are ye not partial in [d]your selves, and are become Judges of evil thoughts?

[e]Hearken my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the [f]poor of this world, that they should be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to them that love him?

But ye have despised the poor. [g]Do not the rich oppress you by tyranny, and do they not draw you before the judgment seats?

Do not they blaspheme the worthy Name after which ye be [h]named?

[i]But if ye fulfill the [j]royal Law according to the Scripture, which saith, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well.

But if ye regard the persons, ye commit sin, and are rebuked of the Law, as transgressors.

10 [k]For whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet faileth in one point, he is guilty of [l]all.

11 [m]For he that said, Thou shalt not commit adultery, said also, Thou shalt not kill. Now though thou doest none adultery, yet if thou killest, thou art a transgressor of the Law.

12 [n]So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judgeth by the Law of liberty.

13 For there shall be condemnation merciless to him that showeth not [o]mercy, and mercy rejoiceth against condemnation.

14 [p]What availeth it my brethren, though a man saith, he hath faith, when he hath no works? can that faith save him?

15 [q]For if a brother or a sister be naked and destitute of daily food,

16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace: warm yourselves, and fill your bellies, notwithstanding ye give them not those things, which are needful to the body, what helpeth it?

17 Even so the faith, if it have no works, is dead in itself.

18 But [r]some man might say, Thou hast the faith, and I have works: show me thy faith out of thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.

19 [s]Thou believest that there is one God: thou doest well: the devils also believe it, and tremble.

20 [t]But wilt thou understand, O thou vain man, that the faith which is without works, is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father [u]justified through works, (B)when he offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou not that the faith [v]wrought with his works? and through the works was the faith made [w]perfect.

23 And the Scripture was [x]fulfilled which saith, (C)Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God.

24 [y]Ye see then how that of works a man is [z]justified, and not of [aa]faith only.

25 [ab]Likewise also was not (D)Rahab the harlot justified through works, when she had received the messengers, and sent them out another way?

26 [ac]For as the body without the spirit is dead, even so the faith without works is dead.

Footnotes

  1. James 2:1 The fifth: Charity which proceedeth from a true faith, cannot stand with the accepting of persons: which he proveth plainly by setting forth their example, who with the reproach or disdain of the poor, honor the rich.
  2. James 2:1 For if we knew what Christ’s glory is, and esteemed it as we ought to do, there would not be such respect of persons as there is.
  3. James 2:3 In a worshipful and honorable place.
  4. James 2:4 Have ye not (which you ought not to do) by this means with yourselves judged one man to be preferred before another?
  5. James 2:5 He showeth that they are perverse and naughty Judges, which prefer the rich before the poor, by that that God on the contrary side preferreth the poor, whom he hath enriched with true riches, before the rich.
  6. James 2:5 The needy and wretched, and (if we measure it after the opinion of the world) the veriest abjects of all men.
  7. James 2:6 Secondly, he proveth them to be mad men: for that the rich men are rather to be holden execrable and cursed, considering that they persecute the Church, and blaspheme Christ: for he speaketh of wicked and profane rich men, such as the most part of them have been always, against whom he setteth the poor and abject.
  8. James 2:7 Word for word, which is called upon of you.
  9. James 2:8 The conclusion: Charity which God prescribeth cannot agree with the accepting of persons, seeing that we must walk in the King’s highway.
  10. James 2:8 The Law is said to be royal and like the King’s highway, for that it is plain and without turnings, and that the Law calleth everyone our neighbor, without respect, whom we may help by any kind of duty.
  11. James 2:10 A new argument to prove the same conclusion: They do not love their neighbors, which neglect some, and ambitiously honor others: for he doth not obey God, which cutteth off from the commandments of God that that is not so commodious for him, nay he is rather guilty generally for the breach of the whole Law, although he observe the residue.
  12. James 2:10 Not that all sins are equal, but because he that breaketh one tittle of the Law, offendeth the majesty of the Lawgiver.
  13. James 2:11 A proof: because the Lawmaker is always one and the selfsame, and the body of the Law cannot be divided.
  14. James 2:12 The conclusion of the whole treatise: we are upon this condition delivered from the curse of the Law by the mercy of God, that in like sort we should maintain and cherish charity and goodwill one towards another, and whoso doth not so, shall not taste of the grace of God.
  15. James 2:13 He that is hard and currish against his neighbor, or else helpeth him not, he shall find God an hard and rough Judge to himselfward.
  16. James 2:14 The fifth place which hangeth very well with the former treatise, touching a true and lively faith. And the proposition of this place is this: faith which bringeth not forth works, is not that faith whereby we are justified, but an image of faith: or else this, they are not justified by faith, which show not the effects of faith.
  17. James 2:15 The first reason taken of a similitude: If a man say to one that is hungry, Fill thy belly, and yet giveth him nothing, this shall not be true charity: so if a man say he believeth, and bringeth forth no works of his faith, this shall not be a true faith, but a certain dead thing set out with the name of faith, whereof no man hath to brag, unless he will openly incur reprehension, seeing that the cause is understood by the effects.
  18. James 2:18 Nay, thus may every man beat down the pride.
  19. James 2:19 Another reason taken of an absurdity: If such a faith were the true faith whereby we are justified, the devils should be justified: for they have that, but yet notwithstanding they tremble, and are not justified therefore, neither is that faith a true faith.
  20. James 2:20 The third reason from the example of Abraham, who no doubt had a true faith: but he in offering his son, showed himself to have that faith which was not void of works, and therefore he received a true testimony when it was said, that faith was imputed to him for righteousness.
  21. James 2:21 Was he not by his works known and found to be justified? for he speaketh not here of the causes of justification, but by what effects we may know that a man is justified.
  22. James 2:22 Was effectual and fruitful with good works.
  23. James 2:22 That the faith was declared to be a true faith, and that by works.
  24. James 2:23 Then was the Scripture fulfilled, when it appeared plainly, how truly it was written of Abraham.
  25. James 2:24 The conclusion: he is only justified that hath that faith which hath works following it.
  26. James 2:24 Is proved to be just.
  27. James 2:24 Of that dead and fruitless faith which you boast of.
  28. James 2:25 A fourth reason taken from a like example of Rahab the harlot, who also proved by her works that she was justified by a true faith.
  29. James 2:26 The conclusion repeated again: faith which bringeth not forth fruits and works, is not faith, but a dead carcass.

Favoritism Forbidden

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious(A) Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.(B) Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges(C) with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters:(D) Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world(E) to be rich in faith(F) and to inherit the kingdom(G) he promised those who love him?(H) But you have dishonored the poor.(I) Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?(J) Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a](K) you are doing right. But if you show favoritism,(L) you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.(M) 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles(N) at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.(O) 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[b](P) also said, “You shall not murder.”[c](Q) If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged(R) by the law that gives freedom,(S) 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.(T) Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith and Deeds

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?(U) Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.(V) 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?(W) 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.(X)

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds,(Y) and I will show you my faith(Z) by my deeds.(AA) 19 You believe that there is one God.(AB) Good! Even the demons believe that(AC)—and shudder.

20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]?(AD) 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?(AE) 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together,(AF) and his faith was made complete by what he did.(AG) 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e](AH) and he was called God’s friend.(AI) 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?(AJ) 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.(AK)

Footnotes

  1. James 2:8 Lev. 19:18
  2. James 2:11 Exodus 20:14; Deut. 5:18
  3. James 2:11 Exodus 20:13; Deut. 5:17
  4. James 2:20 Some early manuscripts dead
  5. James 2:23 Gen. 15:6

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