James 1–3; Psalm 58

James Illustration

James

Greeting

aJames, a servant1 of God and bof the Lord Jesus Christ,

To cthe twelve tribes in dthe Dispersion:

Greetings.

Testing of Your Faith

eCount it all joy, my brothers,2 when you meet trials fof various kinds, for you know that gthe testing of your faith hproduces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be iperfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

jIf any of you lacks wisdom, klet him ask God, lwho gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But mlet him ask in faith, nwith no doubting, for the one who doubts is like oa wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; phe is a double-minded man, qunstable in all his ways.

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and rthe rich in his humiliation, because slike a flower of the grass3 he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and twithers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

12 uBlessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive vthe crown of life, wwhich 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 with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire xwhen it has conceived gives birth to sin, and ysin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 zEvery good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from athe Father of lights, bwith whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.4 18 cOf his own will he dbrought us forth by the word of truth, ethat we should be a kind of ffirstfruits of his creatures.

Hearing and Doing the Word

19 gKnow this, my beloved brothers: let every person hbe quick to hear, islow to speak, jslow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore kput away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with lmeekness the implanted word, mwhich is able to save your souls.

22 But be ndoers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, othe law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, phe will be blessed in his doing.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious qand does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s rreligion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: sto visit torphans and widows in their affliction, and uto keep oneself vunstained from the world.

The Sin of Partiality

My brothers,5 wshow no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, xthe Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, You sit here in a good place, ywhile you say to the poor man, You stand over there, or, Sit down at my feet, have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become zjudges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, ahas not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be brich in faith and heirs of cthe kingdom, dwhich he has promised to those who love him? But you ehave dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who fdrag you ginto court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable hname by which you were called?

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, iYou shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. But if you jshow partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point khas become guilty of all of it. 11 For he who said, lDo not commit adultery, also said, lDo not murder. If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under mthe law of liberty. 13 For njudgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith obut does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 pIf a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 qand one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled, without giving them the things needed for the body, what good6 is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith rapart from your works, and I will show you my faith sby my works. 19 tYou believe that God is one; you do well. Even uthe demons believeand shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 vWas not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that wfaith was active along with his works, and faith was completed xby his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, yAbraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousnessand he was called a zfriend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also aRahab the prostitute justified by works bwhen she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Taming the Tongue

cNot many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For dwe all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, ehe is a perfect man, fable also to bridle his whole body. If we put gbits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet hit boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And ithe tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, jstaining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life,7 and set on fire by hell.8 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, kfull of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people lwho are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,9 these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Wisdom from Above

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? mBy his good conduct let him show his works nin the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter ojealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not pthe wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, qdemonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But rthe wisdom from above is first pure, then speaceable, gentle, open to reason, tfull of mercy and good fruits, uimpartial and vsincere. 18 And wa harvest of righteousness xis sown in peace by those who make peace.


God Who Judges the Earth

To the choirmaster: according to hDo Not Destroy. A iMiktam1 of David.

58  Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods?2

Do you judge the children of man uprightly?

No, in your hearts you devise wrongs;

your hands jdeal out violence on earth.

The wicked are kestranged from the womb;

they go astray from birth, speaking lies.

lThey have venom like the venom of a serpent,

like the deaf adder that stops its ear,

so that it mdoes not hear the voice of charmers

or of the cunning enchanter.

O God, nbreak the teeth in their mouths;

tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!

Let them ovanish like water that runs away;

when he paims his arrows, let them be blunted.

Let them be like the snail othat dissolves into slime,

like qthe stillborn child who never sees the sun.

Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of rthorns,

whether green or ablaze, may he ssweep them away!3

10  tThe righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance;

he will ubathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.

11  Mankind will say, Surely there is va reward for the righteous;

surely there is a God who wjudges on earth.