December 22

James 1:1 — 5:20


1 James, a slave of God and of [the] Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes that are scattered about:

2 Consider it all joy, my brothers, when YOU meet with various trials, 3 knowing as YOU do that this tested quality of YOUR faith works out endurance. 4 But let endurance have its work complete, that YOU may be complete and sound in all respects, not lacking in anything.

5 So, if any one of YOU is lacking in wisdom, let him keep on asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching; and it will be given him. 6 But let him keep on asking in faith, not doubting at all, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven by the wind and blown about. 7 In fact, let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from Jehovah; 8 he is an indecisive man, unsteady in all his ways.

9 But let the lowly brother exult over his exaltation, 10 and the rich one over his humiliation, because like a flower of the vegetation he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its burning heat and withers the vegetation, and its flower drops off and the beauty of its outward appearance perishes. So, too, the rich man will fade away in his ways of life.

12 Happy is the man that keeps on enduring trial, because on becoming approved he will receive the crown of life, which Jehovah promised to those who continue loving him. 13 When under trial, let no one say: “I am being tried by God.” For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone. 14 But each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.

16 Do not be misled, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect present is from above, for it comes down from the Father of the [celestial] lights, and with him there is not a variation of the turning of the shadow. 18 Because he willed it, he brought us forth by the word of truth, for us to be certain firstfruits of his creatures.

19 Know this, my beloved brothers. Every man must be swift about hearing, slow about speaking, slow about wrath; 20 for man’s wrath does not work out God’s righteousness. 21 Hence put away all filthiness and that superfluous thing, badness, and accept with mildness the implanting of the word which is able to save YOUR souls.

22 However, become doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves with false reasoning. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, this one is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, and off he goes and immediately forgets what sort of man he is. 25 But he who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and who persists in [it], this [man], because he has become, not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, will be happy in his doing [it].

26 If any man seems to himself to be a formal worshiper and yet does not bridle his tongue, but goes on deceiving his own heart, this man’s form of worship is futile. 27 The form of worship that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation, and to keep oneself without spot from the world.

My brothers, YOU are not holding the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, our glory, with acts of favoritism, are YOU? 2 For, if a man with gold rings on his fingers and in splendid clothing enters into a gathering of YOU, but a poor [man] in filthy clothing also enters, 3 yet YOU look with favor upon the one wearing the splendid clothing and say: “You take this seat here in a fine place,” and YOU say to the poor one: “You keep standing,” or: “Take that seat there under my footstool,” 4 YOU have class distinctions among yourselves and YOU have become judges rendering wicked decisions, is that not so?

5 Listen, my beloved brothers. God chose the ones who are poor respecting the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he promised to those who love him, did he not? 6 YOU, though, have dishonored the poor [man]. The rich oppress YOU, and they drag YOU before law courts, do they not? 7 They blaspheme the fine name by which YOU were called, do they not? 8 If, now, YOU practice carrying out the kingly law according to the scripture: “You must love your neighbor as yourself,” YOU are doing quite well. 9 But if YOU continue showing favoritism, YOU are working a sin, for YOU are reproved by the law as transgressors.

10 For whoever observes all the Law but makes a false step in one point, he has become an offender against them all. 11 For he who said: “You must not commit adultery,” said also: “You must not murder.” If, now, you do not commit adultery but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of law. 12 Keep on speaking in such a way and keep on doing in such a way as those do who are going to be judged by the law of a free people. 13 For the one that does not practice mercy will have [his] judgment without mercy. Mercy exults triumphantly over judgment.

14 Of what benefit is it, my brothers, if a certain one says he has faith but he does not have works? That faith cannot save him, can it? 15 If a brother or a sister is in a naked state and lacking the food sufficient for the day, 16 yet a certain one of YOU says to them: “Go in peace, keep warm and well fed,” but YOU do not give them the necessities for [their] body, of what benefit is it? 17 Thus, too, faith, if it does not have works, is dead in itself.

18 Nevertheless, a certain one will say: “You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith apart from the works, and I shall show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe there is one God, do you? You are doing quite well. And yet the demons believe and shudder. 20 But do you care to know, O empty man, that faith apart from works is inactive? 21 Was not Abraham our father declared righteous by works after he had offered up Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 You behold that [his] faith worked along with his works and by [his] works [his] faith was perfected, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says: “Abraham put faith in Jehovah, and it was counted to him as righteousness,” and he came to be called “Jehovah’s friend.”

24 YOU see that a man is to be declared righteous by works, and not by faith alone. 25 In the same manner was not also Rahab the harlot declared righteous by works, after she had received the messengers hospitably and sent them out by another way? 26 Indeed, as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Not many of YOU should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment. 2 For we all stumble many times. If anyone does not stumble in word, this one is a perfect man, able to bridle also [his] whole body. 3 If we put bridles in the mouths of horses for them to obey us, we manage also their whole body. 4 Look! Even boats, although they are so big and are driven by hard winds, are steered by a very small rudder to where the inclination of the man at the helm wishes.

5 So, too, the tongue is a little member and yet makes great brags. Look! How little a fire it takes to set so great a woodland on fire! 6 Well, the tongue is a fire. The tongue is constituted a world of unrighteousness among our members, for it spots up all the body and sets the wheel of natural life aflame and it is set aflame by Gehenna. 7 For every species of wild beast as well as bird and creeping thing and sea creature is to be tamed and has been tamed by humankind. 8 But the tongue, not one of mankind can get it tamed. An unruly injurious thing, it is full of death-dealing poison. 9 With it we bless Jehovah, even [the] Father, and yet with it we curse men who have come into existence “in the likeness of God.” 10 Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing.

It is not proper, my brothers, for these things to go on occurring this way. 11 A fountain does not cause the sweet and the bitter to bubble out of the same opening, does it? 12 My brothers, a fig tree cannot produce olives or a vine figs, can it? Neither can salt water produce sweet water.

13 Who is wise and understanding among YOU? Let him show out of his fine conduct his works with a mildness that belongs to wisdom. 14 But if YOU have bitter jealousy and contentiousness in YOUR hearts, do not be bragging and lying against the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is [the] earthly, animal, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and contentiousness are, there disorder and every vile thing are.

17 But the wisdom from above is first of all chaste, then peaceable, reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits, not making partial distinctions, not hypocritical. 18 Moreover, the fruit of righteousness has its seed sown under peaceful conditions for those who are making peace.

From what source are there wars and from what source are there fights among YOU? Are they not from this source, namely, from YOUR cravings for sensual pleasure that carry on a conflict in YOUR members? 2 YOU desire, and yet YOU do not have. YOU go on murdering and coveting, and yet YOU are not able to obtain. YOU go on fighting and waging war. YOU do not have because of YOUR not asking. 3 YOU do ask, and yet YOU do not receive, because YOU are asking for a wrong purpose, that YOU may expend [it] upon YOUR cravings for sensual pleasure.

4 Adulteresses, do YOU not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God. 5 Or does it seem to YOU that the scripture says to no purpose: “It is with a tendency to envy that the spirit which has taken up residence within us keeps longing”? 6 However, the undeserved kindness which he gives is greater. Hence it says: “God opposes the haughty ones, but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones.”

7 Subject yourselves, therefore, to God; but oppose the Devil, and he will flee from YOU. 8 Draw close to God, and he will draw close to YOU. Cleanse YOUR hands, YOU sinners, and purify YOUR hearts, YOU indecisive ones. 9 Give way to misery and mourn and weep. Let YOUR laughter be turned into mourning, and [YOUR] joy into dejection. 10 Humble yourselves in the eyes of Jehovah, and he will exalt YOU.

11 Quit speaking against one another, brothers. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother speaks against law and judges law. Now if you judge law, you are, not a doer of law, but a judge. 12 One there is that is lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But you, who are you to be judging [your] neighbor?

13 Come, now, YOU who say: “Today or tomorrow we will journey to this city and will spend a year there, and we will engage in business and make profits,” 14 whereas YOU do not know what YOUR life will be tomorrow. For YOU are a mist appearing for a little while and then disappearing. 15 Instead, YOU ought to say: “If Jehovah wills, we shall live and also do this or that.” 16 But now YOU take pride in YOUR self-assuming brags. All such taking of pride is wicked. 17 Therefore, if one knows how to do what is right and yet does not do it, it is a sin for him.

Come, now, YOU rich [men], weep, howling over YOUR miseries that are coming upon YOU. 2 YOUR riches have rotted, and YOUR outer garments have become moth-eaten. 3 YOUR gold and silver are rusted away, and their rust will be as a witness against YOU and will eat YOUR fleshy parts. Something like fire is what YOU have stored up in the last days. 4 Look! The wages due the workers who harvested YOUR fields but which are held up by YOU, keep crying out, and the calls for help on the part of the reapers have entered into the ears of Jehovah of armies. 5 YOU have lived in luxury upon the earth and have gone in for sensual pleasure. YOU have fattened YOUR hearts on the day of slaughter. 6 YOU have condemned, YOU have murdered the righteous one. Is he not opposing YOU?

7 Exercise patience, therefore, brothers, until the presence of the Lord. Look! The farmer keeps waiting for the precious fruit of the earth, exercising patience over it until he gets the early rain and the late rain. 8 YOU too exercise patience; make YOUR hearts firm, because the presence of the Lord has drawn close.

9 Do not heave sighs against one another, brothers, so that YOU do not get judged. Look! The Judge is standing before the doors. 10 Brothers, take as a pattern of the suffering of evil and the exercising of patience the prophets, who spoke in the name of Jehovah. 11 Look! We pronounce happy those who have endured. YOU have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome Jehovah gave, that Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful.

12 Above all things, though, my brothers, stop swearing, yes, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath. But let YOUR Yes mean Yes, and YOUR No, No, so that YOU do not fall under judgment.

13 Is there anyone suffering evil among YOU? Let him carry on prayer. Is there anyone in good spirits? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is there anyone sick among YOU? Let him call the older men of the congregation to [him], and let them pray over him, greasing [him] with oil in the name of Jehovah. 15 And the prayer of faith will make the indisposed one well, and Jehovah will raise him up. Also, if he has committed sins, it will be forgiven him.

16 Therefore openly confess YOUR sins to one another and pray for one another, that YOU may get healed. A righteous man’s supplication, when it is at work, has much force. 17 Elijah was a man with feelings like ours, and yet in prayer he prayed for it not to rain; and it did not rain upon the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the land put forth its fruit.

19 My brothers, if anyone among YOU is misled from the truth and another turns him back, 20 know that he who turns a sinner back from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.