Warning against Partiality
1My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?2For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in,3and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,”4have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?5Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?6But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court?7Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?8You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”9But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.10For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.11For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.12So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.13For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.Faith without Works Is Dead
14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you?15If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food,16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?17So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.18But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.19You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder.20Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works is barren?21Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?22You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works.23Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God.24You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.25Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road?26For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.
Chapter 3Taming the Tongue
1Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.2For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle.3If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies.4Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.
How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!6And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell.7For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species,8but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison.9With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God.10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.11Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water?12Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.Two Kinds of Wisdom
13Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.14But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth.15Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish.16For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.18And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.Chapter 4Friendship with the World
1Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you?2You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask.3You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.4Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.5Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, “God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?6But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says,
“God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.”7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.9Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection.10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.Warning against Judging Another
11Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters. Whoever speaks evil against another or judges another, speaks evil against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.12There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. So who, then, are you to judge your neighbor?
Boasting about Tomorrow
13Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.”14Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.15Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.”16As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.17Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.Chapter 5Warning to Rich Oppressors
1Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you.2Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten.3Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.4Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.5You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.6You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you.Patience in Suffering
7Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.8You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.9Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors!10As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.11Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.12Above all, my beloved, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “Yes” be yes and your “No” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.The Prayer of Faith
13Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.14Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.15The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.16Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.17Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.18Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.19My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another,20you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner's soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.