James 1

AUV(i) 1 [This letter is from] James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, [who sends] greetings to the twelve tribes which are scattered throughout the world. [Note: This refers to Christians, probably of Jewish descent]. 2 Consider it [an occasion for] much joy, my brothers, when you experience various trials, 3 because you [should] know that when your faith is tested, it produces perseverance. 4 And you [should] allow your perseverance to complete its work, so that you will be perfect and complete, [and] not lacking in anything. 5 But if any one of you lacks wisdom, he should pray to God, who gives to everyone generously and does not begrudge [the person who asks], and it will be given to him. 6 But he should ask in faith, without doubting, because the person who doubts [that he will receive wisdom] is like an ocean wave that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that [doubting] person should not think that he will receive anything from the Lord [through prayer], 8 because he is double-minded and undecided in all that he does [i.e., he cannot make up his mind and follow through about anything]. 9 But the person [who must live] in humble circumstances should be happy over being lifted up [spiritually by God]. 10 And the wealthy person [should be happy] that he is humbled [by God], because he will pass away like a flower [blossoming] from grass. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass [so that] its flower [blossoms] fall off, and its beautiful appearance is destroyed. In the same way, the wealthy person will fade away as he goes about his business [affairs]. 12 The person who perseveres under trials is blessed, because when he has been approved by God, he will receive the crown of [never ending] life, which God has promised to those who love Him. 13 No one should say when he is tempted, “God is tempting me,” because God cannot be tempted by evil and He does not tempt anyone. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own evil desire. 15 Then, when the evil desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin. And when sin is fully grown, it produces [spiritual] death. 16 [So], do not be deceived, my dearly loved brothers. 17 Every good thing that is given and every perfect gift [received] is from above, coming down from the Father of [heavenly] lights, with whom there can be no change or shifting shadow [i.e., God always remains the same]. 18 It was God’s purpose to bring us into being [spiritually] by the message of truth, so that we could become a kind of “firstfruits” of those He created. [Note: “Firstfruits” here suggests either that Christians are the best of all of God’s creatures (Num. 18:12), or that they were the first to be converted, with many more to come]. 19 You people [already] know this [or, “you should know this”], my dearly loved brothers. However, every person should be quick to listen, slow to talk and slow in becoming angry. 20 For the anger of people does not produce what God considers to be right. 21 Therefore, you should put away [from you] all moral filth and overflowing wickedness and humbly receive the word [of God], planted within you [by the Holy Spirit. See John 16:8], which is capable of saving your souls. 22 But you should not deceive yourselves by just listening [to God’s word] instead of doing what the word teaches. 23 For if anyone is [only] a listener to the word and does not practice it, he is like a person who sees his natural face in a mirror, 24 and [then after] he sees himself, [he] goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the person who looks closely into the perfect law that brings freedom, and continues to do so, is not a listener who forgets [what he hears], but someone who does the work [it requires]. This person will be blessed for doing so. 26 If anyone considers himself to be religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, this person is self-deceived and his religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and uncorrupted in the eyes of [our] God and Father involves taking care of orphans and widows in their distress and keeping oneself unstained by the world.