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James 2 Amplified Bible (AMP)

The Sin of Partiality

My fellow believers, do not practice your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of partiality [toward people—show no favoritism, no prejudice, no snobbery]. For if a man comes into your [a]meeting place [b]wearing a gold ring and [c]fine clothes, and a poor man in dirty clothes also comes in, and you pay special attention to the one who wears the [d]fine clothes, and say to him, “You sit here in this good seat,” and you tell the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down [on the floor] by my footstool,” have you not discriminated among yourselves, and become judges with wrong motives? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters: has not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and [as believers to be] heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you [in contrast] have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress and exploit you, and personally drag you into the courts of law? Do they not blaspheme the [e]precious name [of Christ] by which you are called?

If, however, you are [really] fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, if you have an unselfish concern for others and do things for their benefit]” you are doing well. But if you show partiality [prejudice, favoritism], you are committing sin and are convicted by the Law as offenders. 10 For whoever keeps the whole Law but stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of [breaking] all of it. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you murder, you have become [f]guilty of transgressing the [entire] Law. 12 Speak and act [consistently] as people who are going to be judged by the law of liberty [that moral law that frees obedient Christians from the bondage of sin]. 13 For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; but [to the one who has shown mercy] mercy triumphs [victoriously] over judgment.

Faith and Works

14 What is the benefit, my fellow believers, if someone claims to have faith but has no [good] works [as evidence]? Can that [kind of] faith save him? [No, a mere claim of faith is not sufficient—genuine faith produces good works.] 15 If a brother or sister is without [adequate] clothing and lacks [enough] food for each day, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace [with my blessing], [keep] warm and feed yourselves,” but he does not give them the necessities for the body, what good does that do? 17 So too, faith, if it does not have works [to back it up], is by itself dead [inoperative and ineffective].

18 But someone may say, “You [claim to] have faith and I have [good] works; show me your [alleged] faith without the works [if you can], and I will show you my faith by my works [that is, by what I do].” 19 You believe that [g]God is one; you do well [to believe that]. The demons also believe [that], and shudder and bristle [in awe-filled terror—they have seen His wrath]! 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish [spiritually shallow] person, that faith without [good] works is useless? 21 Was our father Abraham not [shown to be] justified by works [of obedience which expressed his faith] when he offered Isaac his son on the altar [as a sacrifice to God]? 22 You see that [his] faith was working together with his works, and as a result of the works, his faith was completed [reaching its maturity when he expressed his faith through obedience]. 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and this [faith] was credited to him [by God] as righteousness and as conformity to His will,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man (believer) is justified by works and not by faith alone [that is, by acts of obedience a born-again believer reveals his faith]. 25 In the same way, was Rahab the prostitute not justified by works too, when she received the [Hebrew] [h]spies as guests and protected them, and sent them away [to escape] by a different route? 26 For just as the [human] body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works [of obedience] is also dead.

Footnotes:

  1. James 2:2 Lit synagogue. This word comes directly from the Greek for “gather together,” and in the present context might refer in particular to a synagogue where Christians were allowed to meet.
  2. James 2:2 In the Greco-Roman world men wore simple clothing and no jewelry except for a ring. The wealthy were distinguished by the cleanliness of their clothes and a gold signet ring.
  3. James 2:2 Lit brightly shining.
  4. James 2:3 Lit brightly shining.
  5. James 2:7 Lit good.
  6. James 2:11 Lit a transgressor of Law.
  7. James 2:19 A reference to the Shema, the Jewish confession of faith.
  8. James 2:25 Lit messengers.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

James 2 New International Version (NIV)

Favoritism Forbidden

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[b] also said, “You shall not murder.”[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith and Deeds

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e] and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Footnotes:

  1. James 2:8 Lev. 19:18
  2. James 2:11 Exodus 20:14; Deut. 5:18
  3. James 2:11 Exodus 20:13; Deut. 5:17
  4. James 2:20 Some early manuscripts dead
  5. James 2:23 Gen. 15:6
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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