A Greeting from James
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes of the Dispersion: a
Rejoicing in Trials
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
5 Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith, without doubting, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
9 The brother in humble circumstances should exult in his high position. 10 But the one who is rich should exult in his low position, because he will pass away like a flower of the field. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its flower falls and its beauty is lost. So too, the rich man will fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.
Good and Perfect Gifts
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when by his own evil desires he is lured away and enticed. 15 Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, with whom there is no change or shifting shadow. b 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we would be a kind of firstfruits of His creation. c
Hearing and Doing
19 My beloved brothers, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, 20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and every expression of evil, and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save your souls.
22 Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves. 23 For anyone who hears the word but does not carry it out is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, 24 and after observing himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom, and continues to do so—not being a forgetful hearer, but an effective doer—he will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not bridle his tongue, he deceives his heart and his religion is worthless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
1 a Literally To the twelve tribes in the Diaspora . Originally referring to the Jewish people living outside the land of Israel, the Diaspora is applied here to the Jewish believers scattered abroad.
17 b Or no change or shadow of turning.
18 c Or of His creatures.