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James Chapter 1

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are in the Dispersion: Greetings.

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various temptations,

3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

4 Let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

5 But 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.

6 But 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.

7 For that man shouldn't think that he will receive anything from the Lord.

8 He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

9 But let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his high position;

10 and the rich, in that he is made humble, because like the flower in the grass, he will pass away.

11 For 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 the rich man will also fade away in his pursuits.

12 Blessed is a person 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.

13 Let 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.

14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed.

15 Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin. The sin, when it is full grown, produces death.

16 Don't be 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 turning shadow.

18 Of his own will he gave birth to us by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

19 So, then, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger;

20 for the anger of man doesn't produce the righteousness of God.

21 Therefore, putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with humility the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deluding your own selves.

23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror;

24 for he sees himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.

25 But he who looks into the perfect 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.

26 If anyone amongst you thinks himself to be religious while he doesn't bridle his tongue, but deceives his heart, this man's religion is worthless.

27 Pure 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.

Footnotes

Verse 2 (Brothers)
The word for "brothers" here and where context allows may also be correctly translated "brothers and sisters" or "siblings."
Verse 21 (save your souls)
or, preserve your life.

Version: World English Bible


James Chapter 1 Guide

James wrote to Christians in the midst of temptation and trial. He showed first that the issue of testing is that they "may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing." It is therefore to be looked upon as a means of blessing and received with joy. He clearly pointed out that God is never the Author of temptation as enticement toward evil, and in a passage full of remarkable force revealed the process of such temptation. It is an appeal through desire to some perfectly legitimate need of life, but suggests its attainment in illegitimate ways. If such enticement be rejected the victory is won.

James showed that the Word of God is the stronghold for faith in meeting temptation. Therefore the Word should be received “with meekness." Thus, and thus only, will it be possible under temptation to save the soul. James employed the figure of a man looking at himself in a mirror, and going away, and forgetting his likeness, which is graphic. The man who endures temptation is he who, looking into the law of liberty, continues therein.

This action dealing with the effect of faith on temptation closes with a remarkable contrast between the false and the true in religion. The word "religious" here occurs only in the New Testament, and is a somewhat remarkable word. It indicates all manner of external observances, and in this connection stands in direct contrast to the phrase, "pure religion." In all pure religion the deepest fact is the recognition of relationship to God, and this expresses itself in compassion, which drives men into touch with those in affliction and consecration, which keeps them unspotted from the world.

The whole section teaches us that temptation is not from God, but that in the divine economy it is overruled for the good of the saint.

From "An Exposition of the Whole Bible" by G. Campbell Morgan.