James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are of the dispersion, greeting. 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various temptations, 3 knowing that the proving of your faith works patience. 4 And let patience have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing. 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all liberally and without reproaching, and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, never doubting. For he that doubts is like the surge of the sea driven by the wind and tossed. 7 Do not let that man think that he shall receive anything from the Lord. 8 He is a doubleminded man, unstable in all his ways.
9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with the scorching wind and withers the grass, and the flower of it falls and the beauty of its appearance perishes. So also shall the rich man fade away in his business.
Temptation and God’s word
12 Blessed is the man that endures temptation. For when he has been approved, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted: I am tempted by God. For God cannot be tempted with evil, and He tempts no one. 14 But each man is tempted, when he is dragged away by his own lust and enticed. 15 Then the lust, when it has conceived, carries sin; and the sin, when it is fully grown, brings death.
16 Be not deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation nor shifting shadow. 18 Of His own will He gave us birth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creations.
19 You know this, my beloved brothers! But let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. 20 For the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God. 21 Wherefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding your selves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like to a man seeing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he sees himself and goes away and immediately forgets what manner of man he was. 25 But he that looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues, being not a hearer that forgets, but a doer that works, this man shall be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious while he does not hold his tongue but rather just deceives his own heart, this man's religion is vain. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: To visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
1:5 The allusion here is to Solomon, who when given the choice of whatever he wanted, chose wisdom- and therefore so much else was added to him.
1:13 Jesus was tempted (Heb. 2:14-18; 4:15); yet God cannot be. Therefore, Jesus cannot be God in person.
1:14,15 Sin and temptation come from within; we are tempted by our own desires, not by any cosmic being called Satan. We are therefore totally responsible for our sin, and the result of sin is therefore quite rightly death.
1:18 The word of God is likened to seed in Lk. 8:11; 1 Pet. 1:23. This is what has the power to birth the spiritual man within us. We should therefore be quick to hear it (:19).
1:22 We who read the Bible can delude ourselves that this very process will save us; but unless there is a direct connection between our Bible reading and concrete action, it will not help us at all. True Bible reading as God intends will elicit self-examination and an abiding awareness of our true spiritual state (:24). If it doesn’t, then we are actually deceiving ourselves by the process of Bible reading into thinking we are religious when actually we are vain (:26).