Main point summary
James warns his readers that they will encounter trials, but that those trials will have a good effect if they respond to them appropriately. Namely, they should respond by being doers of the word, not merely hearers. Moreover, they shouldn't respond with anger as that doesn't produce the righteousness God requires.
a James, a servant 1 of God and b of the Lord Jesus Christ, To c the twelve tribes in d the Dispersion: Greetings.
e Count it all joy, my brothers, 1 when you meet trials f of various kinds, for you know that g the testing of your faith h produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be i perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Be happy when you encounter trials for it is for your good because it will have a good effect for your faith.
j If any of you lacks wisdom, k let him ask God, l who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But m let him ask in faith, n with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like o a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; p he is a double-minded man, q unstable in all his ways.
If anyone needs wisdom [in light of these trials], ask God! God is generous and will give it. But don't ask with an unstable and doubting heart! If you do,don't expect a response.
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and r the rich in his humiliation, because s like a flower of the grass 1 he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and t withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
The rich must be cautions for God is causing such things to pass away.
u Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive v the crown of life, w which God has promised to those who love him.
Therefore, happy is the man that remains faithful under trial; he'll be saved.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire x when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and y sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
And as far as these trials are concerned, when they are temptations, don't assume God sends them, as if evil originates from him. Rather it is from you.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. z Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from a the Father of lights b with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 1 c Of his own will he d brought us forth by the word of truth, e that we should be a kind of f firstfruits of his creatures.
The things that come from God, however, are good and perfect gifts!
g Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person h be quick to hear, i slow to speak, j slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore k put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with l meekness the implanted word, m which is able to save your souls.
In response to these trials, you may become angry. But remember, righteousness doesn't come from anger. Rather, it comes from God via his Word.
But be n doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, o the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, p he will be blessed in his doing.
Therefore, don't just heart he word and not do it. Do the Word!
If anyone thinks he is religious q and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s r religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: s to visit t orphans and widows in their affliction, and u to keep oneself v unstained from the world.
Moreover, if you think you're religious and don't do the Word, you're tricked and your religion is worthless.