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James 2 - An Understandable Version (2005 edition)

Favoritism Forbidden

1. My brothers, do not hold [views regarding] the faith of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ [i.e., as tenets of Christianity] which show favoritism toward [certain] persons.

2. For, suppose a person comes into your assembly wearing a gold ring and dressed in fine clothing and [then another] person comes in who is poor and dressed in shabby clothing.

3. Now if you people show special attention to the one wearing the fine clothing and say [to him], “You can sit here in this good seat,” and to the poor person, “You stand over there,” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,”

4. are you not making class distinctions among yourselves and judging [people] from evil motives?

5. Listen, my dearly loved brothers; did not God choose those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be wealthy in faith and to inherit the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

6. But you people have dishonored the poor person. Are not rich people the ones who oppress you and drag you to court?

7. Do they not speak against the honorable name by which you are called? [i.e., the name “Christ” or “Christian”].

8. However, you are doing well if you fulfill [i.e., obey] the royal law found in the Scriptures [Lev. 19:18], “You should love your neighbor the same way that you love yourself.”

9. But if you show favoritism toward [certain] persons, you are committing a sin and are convicted by the law [of God] as lawbreakers.

10. For, whoever observes the entire law [of God] and yet breaks one requirement [of it], becomes guilty of [breaking] all of it.

11. For God, who said [through Moses, Ex. 20:13f], “You must not be sexually unfaithful to your mate,” also said, “You must not murder.” Now if you are sexually faithful to your mate and yet murder [someone], you have become a lawbreaker.

12. So, you should speak and act as people who will be judged by a law that brings freedom.

13. For the person who has shown no mercy will be judged without mercy. [For] mercy wins out over condemnation.

Faith and Deeds

14. What good is it, my brothers [and sisters], if a person says he has faith but does not have [good] deeds? Can such faith save him?

15. If a brother or sister is without [adequate] clothing and needs daily food,

16. and one of you says to him, “Go [and be] at peace; keep warm and eat well,” and yet you do not give him anything for his physical needs, what good is that?

17. In the same way, if [your] faith does not have [good] deeds [to accompany it], it is dead, [because it stands] alone.

18. But someone may say, “You have faith and I have [good] deeds.” [I reply], show me your faith without your [good] deeds, and I will show you my faith by my [good] deeds.

19. You believe that there is [only] one God; that is good! Even the demons believe [that], and they shudder [with fear at the thought].

20. But will you acknowledge, you foolish person, that faith without [good] deeds is useless?

21. Was not our forefather Abraham made right with God by deeds [of obedience] when he offered his son Isaac [as a sacrifice] on the Altar?

22. [Do you not] see that faith cooperated together with his deeds, and faith was made complete by [his] deeds?

23. So, the Scripture was fulfilled, which says [Gen. 15:6], “Abraham believed God and [so] God considered him righteous,” and he was called God’s friend.

24. [So], you see, it is by deeds that a person is made right with God, and not by faith alone.

25. And in the same way, was not the prostitute Rahab made right with God by [her] deeds when she welcomed [and protected] the messengers, and [then] sent them away by a different road?

26. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without [good] deeds is dead.






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