1James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
2My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. 9Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: 10But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. 11For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. 12Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
19Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 26If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. 27Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
1I, James, am writing this letter. I serve God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I am sending this letter to you, the 12 tribes scattered among the nations.
Facing All Kinds of Trouble
2My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble. When you do, think of it as pure joy. 3Your faith will be tested. You know that when this happens it will produce in you the strength to continue. 4And you must allow this strength to finish its work. Then you will be all you should be. You will have everything you need. 5If any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He will give it to you. God gives freely to everyone and doesn’t find fault. 6But when you ask, you must believe. You must not doubt. That’s because a person who doubts is like a wave of the sea. The wind blows and tosses them around. 7They shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8This kind of person can’t make up their mind. They can never decide what to do.
9Here’s what believers who are in low positions in life should be proud of. They should be proud that God has given them a high position in the kingdom. 10But rich people should take pride in their low positions. That’s because they will fade away like wild flowers. 11The sun rises. Its burning heat dries up the plants. Their blossoms fall. Their beauty is destroyed. In the same way, rich people will fade away. They fade away even as they go about their business.
12Blessed is the person who keeps on going when times are hard. After they have come through hard times, this person will receive a crown. The crown is life itself. The Lord has promised it to those who love him.
13When a person is tempted, they shouldn’t say, “God is tempting me.” God can’t be tempted by evil. And he doesn’t tempt anyone. 14But each person is tempted by their own evil desires. These desires lead them on and drag them away. 15When these desires are allowed to remain, they lead to sin. And when sin is allowed to remain and grow, it leads to death.
16My dear brothers and sisters, don’t let anyone fool you. 17Every good and perfect gift is from God. This kind of gift comes down from the Father who created the heavenly lights. These lights create shadows that move. But the Father does not change like these shadows. 18God chose to give us new birth through the message of truth. He wanted us to be the first harvest of his new creation.
Listen to the Word and Do What It Says
19My dear brothers and sisters, pay attention to what I say. Everyone should be quick to listen. But they should be slow to speak. They should be slow to get angry. 20Human anger doesn’t produce the holy life God wants. 21So get rid of everything that is sinful. Get rid of the evil that is all around us. Don’t be too proud to accept the word that is planted in you. It can save you.
22Don’t just listen to the word. You fool yourselves if you do that. You must do what it says. 23Suppose someone listens to the word but doesn’t do what it says. Then they are like a person who looks at their face in a mirror. 24After looking at themselves, they leave. And right away they forget what they look like. 25But suppose someone takes a good look at the perfect law that gives freedom. And they keep looking at it. Suppose they don’t forget what they’ve heard, but they do what the law says. Then this person will be blessed in what they do.
26Suppose people think their beliefs and how they live are both right. But they don’t control what they say. Then they are fooling themselves. Their beliefs and way of life are not worth anything at all. 27Here are the beliefs and way of life that God our Father accepts as pure and without fault. When widows are in trouble, take care of them. Do the same for children who have no parents. And don’t let the world make you impure.