The Epistle of James
© 2009 William R. Finck Jr.
William Finck also has an online commentary for the Epistle of James here at Christogenea.org
I 1 Iakobos servant of Yahweh and Prince Yahshua Christ to the twelve tribes in the dispersion, greetings.
2 Regard it with all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith results in endurance. 4 But the endurance must have a finished work, in order that you would be perfect and complete, wanting in nothing.
5 Now if one of you wants wisdom, he must ask from Yahweh, who gives to all sincerely and without reproaching, and it shall be given to him. 6 But he must ask with faith doubting nothing. For he who doubts is like a wave of the sea being driven and blown about by the wind. 7 For that man must not suppose that he shall receive anything from the Prince, 8 a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
9 The lowly brother must boast in his grandeur, 10 but the wealthy in his humiliation, because as a flower of grass he shall pass away. 11 For the sun rises with burning heat and parches the grass and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed. Thusly also the wealthy with his purposes wastes away.
12 Blessed is a man who endures trial, because being approved he shall receive the crown of life which He promised to those who love Him. 13 No one being tried must say that “From Yahweh I am tried”! For Yahweh is not able to be tempted by evil, and He tries no one, 14 but each is tried by his own desires being drawn out and enticed. 15 Then the desire conceiving gives birth to error, and the error being accomplished brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren, 17 every good act of giving and every perfect gift is from above, descending from the Father of Lights, with whom there is not a variation or shade of change. 18 Having desired He brought us forth in the Word of truth, for us to be some first fruit of His creations.
19 You know, my beloved brethren, that every man must be quick for which to listen, slow for which to speak, slow for anger. 20 Indeed the anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of Yahweh. 21 On which account laying aside every filth and residue of evil, accept with meekness the implanted Word which is able to save your souls.
22 Now you must be doers of the Word and not hearers only, defrauding yourselves. 23 Because if one is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man observing the appearance of his race in a mirror, 24 for he observes himself and departs and immediately forgets of what sort he was. 25 But he peering into the perfect law of freedom and abiding by it, not being a forgetful hearer but a doer of work, he shall be blessed by his deed.
26 If one supposes to be religious not guiding his tongue with a bridle, but deceiving his heart, his religion is vain. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and Father is this: to watch over orphans and widows in their tribulation; to keep oneself unblemished from society.
II 1 My brethren, do not with respect of the stature of persons hold the faith of our Prince Yahshua Christ of honor. 2 For if perhaps a man should enter into your assembly hall with a gold ring in a shining garment, and a beggar should enter in a filthy garment, 3 then you should look upon he wearing the shining garment and say “You sit here comfortably”, and to the beggar you should say “You stand there”, or “Sit beneath my footstool”, 4 have you not made a distinction among yourselves and become judges of evil reasonings? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: has Yahweh not chosen the beggars in society to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you dishonor the beggar? Do the wealthy not exercise power over you, and they themselves drag you into trial? 7 Do they themselves not blaspheme the good name labeled upon you?
8 If, however, you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture: “You shall love him near to you as yourself”, you do well. 9 But if you respect the stature of persons, you commit an error, being convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For he who should keep the whole law but would fail in one thing, has become liable for all. 11 For He having said “you should not commit adultery” also said “you should not commit murder”, and if you do not commit adultery but you commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
12 Thusly you speak and thusly you do as if going to be judged by a law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy for him not effecting mercy. Mercy exults over judgment.
14 What is the benefit, my brethren, if one should claim to have faith, but does not have works? Is faith able to save him? 15 If a brother or sister becomes naked and lacking daily food, 16 and one from among you should say to them: “Go in peace, be warm and fed”, but you would not give to them the provisions for the body, what is the benefit? 17 Thusly also faith, if it should not have works, is by itself dead.
18 Rather one shall say: “You have faith, and I have works, show to me your faith without the works, and I shall show to you faith by my works!” 19 You believe that there is one God, you do well; even the demons believe it, and they shudder!
20 Now do you desire to know, o vain man, that faith without works is idle? 21 Had Abraham our father not been deemed righteous by works, offering Isaak his son upon the altar? 22 Do you see that the faith had operated together with his works and by works the faith had been perfected? 23 And the Scripture had been fulfilled which says “And Abraham believed Yahweh, and it was accounted to him for righteousness”, and he is called a friend of Yahweh. 24 Observe that a man is deemed righteous by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in like manner was not Rahab the harlot also deemed righteous by works, receiving the messengers, and discharging them by another way? 26 For just as the body without a spirit is dead, thusly also faith without works is dead!
III 1 You must not produce many teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive a greater judgment. 2 For we all fail often! If anyone does not fail in word, he is a perfect man able to guide with a bridle even the whole body. 3 Even if the bridles of horses are put into their mouths for which to persuade them for us, then we maneuver their whole body. 4 Behold also, there are such great ships, and being driven by severe winds, maneuvered by the smallest rudder, being driven straight where impulse desires. 5 Thusly also the tongue is a small body-part and boasts loudly. Behold how small a fire ignites so great a forest! 6 And the tongue is a fire, an ornament of injustice. The tongue sits among our body-parts soiling the whole body and setting ablaze the course of existence, and being burned by Gehenna! 7 For every species of both beasts and birds, and reptiles and sea-creatures, is tamed and has been tamed by the species of man, 8 but the tongue no one of men is able to tame; it is an unstable evil, full of death-bearing poison. 9 With it we praise the Prince and Father and with it we would curse men who have been born according to the likeness of Yahweh. 10 From the same mouth proceeds praise and curse! There is no need, my brethren, for these things to be so. 11 Does any spring from the same opening flow sweet and bitter? 12 Is it possible, my brethren, for a fig tree to make olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither does salt make sweet water!
13 Who is wise and knowledgeable among you? He must show by good conduct his works in meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and rivalry in your hearts, do not exult and lie against the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom coming down from above but earthly, animal, demoniacal. 16 For where jealousy and rivalry are, there is instability and every mean deed. 17 But the wisdom from above is first indeed pure, then peaceful, reasonable, obedient, full of acts of mercy and good fruits, unhesitating, unhypocritical. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those making peace.
IV 1 From where are battles, and from where are fights among you? Is it not from this: from your pleasures making war among your members? 2 You desire, and you have not. You murder and strive and are not able to succeed. You fight and battle. You do not have for reason that you do not request. 3 You request and do not receive for reason that you request evil, in order that you may be consumed in your pleasures! 4 Adulterers! Do you not know that the love of Society is hatred for Yahweh? He therefore who would desire to be a friend of Society establishes himself as an enemy of Yahweh! 5 Or do you suppose that vainly the Scripture says: “With envy yearns the spirit which dwells in us”? 6 But more greatly He gives favor, on which account it says: “Yahweh opposes the arrogant, but He gives favor to the humble.”
7 Therefore subject yourselves to Yahweh, but stand against the False Accuser and he shall flee from you. 8 Draw near to Yahweh and He shall draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners! And purify your hearts, double-minded! 9 Endure hardship and lament and weep! Your laughter must turn into grief and joy into sorrow! 10 Humble yourself before the Prince and He shall exalt you.
11 Do not slander one another, brethren. He slandering a brother or condemning his brother slanders the law and condemns the law. Now if you condemn the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one Lawgiver and Judge, He who is able to save and to destroy! Now who are you who is judging him near to you?
13 Come on, those now saying “Today or tomorrow we shall go into this here city and we shall spend a year there and trade and make profit”, 14 those who do not know what condition your life is in tomorrow! For you are as vapor appearing for a short time, and then disappearing. 15 Instead of which you are to say “If the Prince desires and we shall live, then we shall do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your pretenses. Any such reason to boast as this is wicked! 17 Therefore he knowing to do good and not doing it, for him it is error.
V 1 Come on, those who are wealthy now, weep, crying out upon your coming hardships! 2 Your wealth is putrefied and your garments have become moth-eaten! 3 Your gold and silver are corroded and their corrosion shall be for a testimony to you and it shall eat your flesh as fire. You have saved up for the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers reaping your fields which have been withheld by you cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have entered into the ears of the Prince of Armies! 5 You have lived luxuriously and lewdly upon the earth: you have nourished your hearts in a day of slaughter! 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the righteous, who did not oppose you!
7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Prince. Behold, the farmer awaits the precious fruit of the earth, having patience for it until he should receive the early and the late. 8 You also have patience. Establish your hearts, because the coming of the Prince has approached. 9 Do not bemoan, brethren, against one another, in order that you would not be judged. Behold: the Judge stands at the door! 10 Take as an example, brethren, of ill-suffering and of patience those prophets who have spoken in the Name of the Prince. 11 Behold, we are blessed who are enduring. You have heard of the endurance of Iob and you know the accomplishment of the Prince, that the Prince is very affectionate and compassionate.
12 But before all, my brethren, do not swear, not even on heaven nor on the earth nor any other oath, but it must be from you the yes “Yes” and the no “No”, in order that you would not fall under judgment.
13 One who suffers ill among you must pray. One who is cheerful must sing. 14 One who is sick among you must summon the elders of the assembly and they shall pray for him anointing him with olive oil in the Name of the Prince, 15 and the prayer of the faith shall save the afflicted, and the Prince shall raise him. And if an error may have been committed, it shall be remitted for him. 16 Therefore acknowledge faults to one another, and pray for one another that you may be healed. The entreaty of the righteous being employed prevails much. 17 Elijah was a man of like nature with us, and in prayer he prayed for it not to rain, and it did not rain upon the earth for three years and six months. 18 And again he prayed, and the heaven had given rain and the earth sprouted her fruit.
19 My brethren, if one among you should stray from the truth and one should correct him, 20 you must know that he correcting a wrongdoer from the error of his way shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of errors!