Main point summary
The Scriptures attest to the fact that faith apart from works is useless, being unable to justify us before God. Therefore, put differently, just as the body is dead without the spirit, so faith is dead without works.
Θέλεις δὲ γνῶναι , ὦ ἄνθρωπε κενέ , ὅτι
Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that
ἡ πίστις χωρὶς τῶν ἔργων ἀργή ἐστιν ;
faith apart from works is useless?
Ἀβραὰμ ὁ πατὴρ ἡμῶν οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων ἐδικαιώθη
v Was not Abraham our father justified by works
ἀνενέγκας Ἰσαὰκ τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον;
when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?
You see that
ἡ πίστις συνήργει τοῖς ἔργοις αὐτοῦ
w faith was active along with his works,
καὶ ἐκ τῶν ἔργων ἡ πίστις ἐτελειώθη ,
and faith was completed x by his works;
καὶ ἐπληρώθη ἡ γραφὴ
and the Scripture was fulfilled
ἡ λέγουσα •
ἐπίστευσεν δὲ Ἀβραὰμ τῷ θεῷ,
y “Abraham believed God,
καὶ ἐλογίσθη αὐτῷ εἰς δικαιοσύνην
and it was counted to him as righteousness”—
καὶ φίλος θεοῦ ἐκλήθη .
and he was called a z friend of God.
You see that
ἐξ ἔργων δικαιοῦται ἄνθρωπος
a person is justified by works
καὶ οὐκ ἐκ πίστεως μόνον.
and not by faith alone.
ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ Ῥαὰβ ἡ πόρνη οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων ἐδικαιώθη
And in the same way was not also a Rahab the prostitute justified by works
ὑποδεξαμένη τοὺς ἀγγέλους
b when she received the messengers
καὶ ἑτέρᾳ ὁδῷ ἐκβαλοῦσα ;
and sent them out by another way?
ὥσπερ γὰρ τὸ σῶμα χωρὶς πνεύματος νεκρόν ἐστιν ,
For as the body apart from the spirit is dead,
οὕτως καὶ ἡ πίστις χωρὶς ἔργων νεκρά ἐστιν .
so also faith apart from works is dead.
The gar here is, on the surface, misleading, because it is included in the clause of comparison. However, the primary claim James is making, which this clause supports, is the inference of the entire discourse beginning in verse 21.