The Message

James 1

1I, James, am a slave of God and the Master Jesus, writing to the twelve tribes scattered to Kingdom Come: Hello!

Faith Under Pressure

2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

5-8 If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

9-11 When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that’s a picture of the “prosperous life.” At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.

12 Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.

13-15 Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.

16-18 So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.

Act on What You Hear

19-21 Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.

22-24 Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.

25 But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.

26-27 Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

Chinese Contemporary Bible (Traditional)

雅各書 1

1我是作上帝和主耶穌基督奴僕的雅各,問候散居各地的十二支派的人。

信心和忍耐

我的弟兄姊妹,當你們遭遇各種磨煉的時候,都要認為是喜樂的事。 要知道你們的信心經過考驗會產生堅忍。 你們要堅忍到底,使你們纯全、完備、毫無缺欠。

如果你們誰缺少智慧,就當求慷慨施恩、不責備人的上帝,上帝必賜給他智慧。 6-8 但他要憑信心毫不疑惑地祈求,因為疑惑的人三心二意,行事為人沒有定見,就像海上隨風翻騰的波濤,這種人從主那裡什麼也得不到。

卑微的弟兄高升,應當快樂。 10 富有的弟兄降卑,也要快樂,因為他會像花草一樣衰殘。 11 驕陽升起,草就乾枯,花也凋謝,美麗就消失了。富有的人在忙忙碌碌中也會如此衰殘。

12 在試煉中能夠忍耐到底的人有福了,因為他若經得起考驗,就會得到主應許賜給愛祂之人的生命冠冕。 13 當人受到誘惑時,不可說:「是上帝在誘惑我。」因為上帝不受邪惡的誘惑,也不誘惑人。 14 其實每個受到誘惑的人都是受自己的私慾慫恿和誘惑。 15 私慾懷了胎,便生出罪,罪一旦長成,便帶來死亡。

16 我親愛的弟兄姊妹,不要上當受騙。 17 一切良善的施予和完美的恩賜都是從天上,從眾光之父那裡來的。祂不像轉動的影子變幻無常。 18 祂按照自己的旨意,藉著真道重生了我們,使我們在祂所造的萬物之中好像初熟的果實。

聽道與行道

19 我親愛的弟兄姊妹,請記住:每個人都要快快地聽,慢慢地說,慢慢地動怒。 20 因為人的憤怒不能成就上帝的公義。 21 所以你們要除去所有的污穢和一切的惡習,謙卑地領受那已經栽種在你們心裡、能救你們靈魂的真道。

22 你們要行道,不要只是聽道,自己欺騙自己。 23 因為人聽道而不行道,就像照鏡子一樣, 24 看過後就走了,隨即忘記了自己的容貌。 25 但詳細查考那使人得自由的全備律法並且持之以恆的人,不是聽了就忘,而是身體力行,這樣的人必在他所行的事上蒙福。

26 如果有人自以為虔誠,卻不勒住自己的舌頭,就等於是自己欺騙自己,他的所謂虔誠也毫無價值。 27 在父上帝看來,純潔無暇的虔誠是指照顧患難中的孤兒寡婦,並且不讓自己被世俗玷污。