Get the CD Now!

Epistle of James

The Letter from James

1:1James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are in the Dispersion: Greetings. 1:2Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various temptations, 1:3knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 1:4Let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 1:5But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him. 1:6But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed. 1:7For let that man not think that he will receive anything from the Lord. 1:8He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

1:9But let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his high position; 1:10and the rich, in that he is made humble, because like the flower in the grass, he will pass away. 1:11For the sun arises with the scorching wind, and withers the grass, and the flower in it falls, and the beauty of its appearance perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in his pursuits.

1:12Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love him. 1:13Let no man say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God," for God can't be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. 1:14But each one is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. 1:15Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. 1:16Don't be deceived, my beloved brothers. 1:17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow. 1:18Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

1:19So, then, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; 1:20for the anger of man doesn't produce the righteousness of God. 1:21Therefore, putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with humility the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 1:22But be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deluding your own selves. 1:23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man beholding his natural face in a mirror; 1:24for he sees himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 1:25But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of freedom, and continues, not being a hearer who forgets but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in what he does.

1:26If anyone among you thinks himself to be religious while he doesn't bridle his tongue, but deceives his heart, this man's religion is worthless. 1:27Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

2:1My brothers, don't hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality. 2:2For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your assembly, and a poor man in filthy clothing also comes in; 2:3and you pay special attention to him who wears the fine clothing, and say, "Sit here in a good place;" and you tell the poor man, "Stand there," or "Sit by my footstool;" 2:4haven't you shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 2:5Listen, my beloved brothers. Didn't God choose those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him? 2:6But you have dishonored the poor man. Don't the rich oppress you, and personally drag you before the courts? 2:7Don't they blaspheme the honorable name by which you are called? 2:8However, if you fulfill the royal law, according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well. 2:9But if you show partiality, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors. 2:10For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he has become guilty of all. 2:11For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," said also, "Do not commit murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 2:12So speak, and so do, as men who are to be judged by a law of freedom. 2:13For judgment is without mercy to him who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

2:14What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him? 2:15And if a brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food, 2:16and one of you tells them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled;" and yet you didn't give them the things the body needs, what good is it? 2:17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself. 2:18Yes, a man will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.

2:19You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder. 2:20But do you want to know, vain man, that faith apart from works is dead? 2:21Wasn't Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 2:22You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected; 2:23and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness;" and he was called the friend of God. 2:24You see then that by works, a man is justified, and not only by faith. 2:25In like manner wasn't Rahab the prostitute also justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? 2:26For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.

3:1Let not many of you be teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive heavier judgment. 3:2For in many things we all stumble. If anyone doesn't stumble in word, the same is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also. 3:3Indeed, we put bits into the horses' mouths so that they may obey us, and we guide their whole body. 3:4Behold, the ships also, though they are so big and are driven by fierce winds, are yet guided by a very small rudder, wherever the pilot desires. 3:5So the tongue is also a little member, and boasts great things. See how a small fire can spread to a large forest! 3:6And the tongue is a fire. The world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire by Gehenna. 3:7For every kind of animal, bird, creeping thing, and thing in the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by mankind. 3:8But nobody can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 3:9With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the image of God. 3:10Out of the same mouth comes forth blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 3:11Does a spring send out from the same opening fresh and bitter water? 3:12Can a fig tree, my brothers, yield olives, or a vine figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh water.

3:13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good conduct that his deeds are done in gentleness of wisdom. 3:14But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, don't boast and don't lie against the truth. 3:15This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. 3:16For where jealousy and selfish ambition are, there is confusion and every evil deed. 3:17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 3:18Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

4:1Where do wars and fightings among you come from? Don't they come from your pleasures that war in your members? 4:2You lust, and don't have. You kill, covet, and can't obtain. You fight and make war. You don't have, because you don't ask. 4:3You ask, and don't receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it for your pleasures. 4:4You adulterers and adulteresses, don't you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 4:5Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously"? 4:6But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." 4:7Be subject therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 4:8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 4:9Lament, mourn, and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to gloom. 4:10Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will exalt you.

4:11Don't speak against one another, brothers. He who speaks against a brother and judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge. 4:12Only one is the lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge another?

4:13Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow let's go into this city, and spend a year there, trade, and make a profit." 4:14Whereas you don't know what your life will be like tomorrow. For what is your life? For you are a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. 4:15For you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will both live, and do this or that." 4:16But now you glory in your boasting. All such boasting is evil. 4:17To him therefore who knows to do good, and doesn't do it, to him it is sin.

5:1Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming on you. 5:2Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth-eaten. 5:3Your gold and your silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be for a testimony against you, and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up your treasure in the last days. 5:4Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of those who reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Hosts. 5:5You have lived delicately on the earth, and taken your pleasure. You have nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter. 5:6You have condemned, you have murdered the righteous one. He doesn't resist you.

5:7Be patient therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it receives the early and late rain. 5:8You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

5:9Don't grumble, brothers, against one another, so that you won't be judged. Behold, the judge stands at the door. 5:10Take, brothers, for an example of suffering and of patience, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 5:11Behold, we call them blessed who endured. You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the Lord in the outcome, and how the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. 5:12But above all things, my brothers, don't swear, neither by heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other oath; but let your "yes" be "yes," and your "no," "no;" so that you don't fall into hypocrisy.

5:13Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praises. 5:14Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the assembly, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, 5:15and the prayer of faith will heal him who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 5:16Confess your offenses to one another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effective, earnest prayer of a righteous man is powerfully effective. 5:17Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it didn't rain on the earth for three years and six months. 5:18He prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.

5:19Brothers, if any among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 5:20let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.


[1] back to 1:2 The word for "brothers" here and where context allows may also be correctly translated "brothers and sisters" or "siblings."

[2] back to 1:21 or, preserve your life.

[3] back to 3:6 Gehenna is a name that describes a burning Hell with rotting bodies and unclean things in it

[4] back to 5:12 TR reads "under judgment" instead of "into hypocrisy"

Go to the Chronological List of all Early Christian Writings

Please buy the CD to support the site, view it without ads, and get bonus stuff!

Early Christian Writings is copyright © Peter Kirby <E-Mail>.

Get the CD Now!

Kirby, Peter. "Historical Jesus Theories." Early Christian Writings. <>.