1From James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ:
Greetings to all God's people scattered over the whole world.
Faith and Wisdom
2My brothers and sisters, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, 3for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. 4Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all. 6But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind. 7-8People like that, unable to make up their minds and undecided in all they do, must not think that they will receive anything from the Lord.
Poverty and Riches
9Those Christians who are poor must be glad when God lifts them up, 10and the rich Christians must be glad when God brings them down. For the rich will pass away like the flower of a wild plant. 11The sun rises with its blazing heat and burns the plant; its flower falls off, and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way the rich will be destroyed while they go about their business.
Testing and Tempting
12Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him. 13If people are tempted by such trials, they must not say, “This temptation comes from God.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14But people are tempted when they are drawn away and trapped by their own evil desires. 15Then their evil desires conceive and give birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16Do not be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters! 17Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down from God, the Creator of the heavenly lights, who does not change or cause darkness by turning. 18By his own will he brought us into being through the word of truth, so that we should have first place among all his creatures.
Hearing and Doing
19Remember this, my dear brothers and sisters! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry. 20Human anger does not achieve God's righteous purpose. 21So get rid of every filthy habit and all wicked conduct. Submit to God and accept the word that he plants in your hearts, which is able to save you.
22Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice. 23Whoever listens to the word but does not put it into practice is like a man who looks in a mirror and sees himself as he is. 24He takes a good look at himself and then goes away and at once forgets what he looks like. 25But those who look closely into the perfect law that sets people free, who keep on paying attention to it and do not simply listen and then forget it, but put it into practice — they will be blessed by God in what they do.
26Do any of you think you are religious? If you do not control your tongue, your religion is worthless and you deceive yourselves. 27What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.