James, a servant of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, sends greeting to the members of the twelve tribes scattered throughout the world.
Consider yourselves happy indeed, my brethren, when you encounter trials of every sort,
as men who know well enough that the testing of their faith breeds endurance.
Endurance must do its work thoroughly, if you are to be men full-grown in every part, nothing lacking in you.
Is there one of you who still lacks wisdom? God gives to all, freely and ungrudgingly; so let him ask God for it, and the gift will come.
(Only it must be in faith that he asks, he must not hesitate; one who hesitates is like a wave out at sea, driven to and fro by the wind;
such a man must not hope to win any gift from the Lord.
No, a man who is in two minds will find no rest wherever he goes.)
Is one of the brethren in humble circumstances? Let him be proud of it; it exalts him,
whereas the rich man takes pride in what in truth abases him. (The rich man will pass by like the bloom on the grass;
the sun gets up, and the scorching wind with it, which dries up the grass, till the bloom on it falls, and all its fair show dies away; so the rich man, with his enterprises, will disappear.)
Blessed is he who endures under trials. When he has proved his worth, he will win that crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Nobody, when he finds himself tempted, should say, I am being tempted by God. God may threaten us with evil, but he does not himself tempt anyone.
No, when a man is tempted, it is always because he is being drawn away by the lure of his own passions.
When that has come about, passion conceives and gives birth to sin; and when sin has reached its full growth, it breeds death.
Beloved brethren, do not deceive yourselves over this.
Whatever gifts are worth having, whatever endowments are perfect of their kind, these come to us from above; they are sent down by the Father of all that gives light, with whom there can be no change, no swerving from his course;
and it was his will to give us birth, through his true word, meaning us to be the first-fruits, as it were, of all his creation.
You know this, my beloved brethren, well enough. It is for us men to be ready listeners, slow to speak our minds, slow to take offence;
man’s anger does not bear the fruit that is acceptable to God.
Rid yourselves, then, of all defilement, of all the ill-will that remains in you; be patient, and cherish that word implanted in you which can bring salvation to your souls.
Only you must be honest with yourselves; you are to live by the word, not content merely to listen to it.
One who listens to the word without living by it is like a man who sees, in a mirror, the face he was born with;
he looks at himself, and away he goes, never giving another thought to the man he saw there.
Whereas one who gazes into that perfect law, which is the law of freedom, and dwells on the sight of it, does not forget its message; he finds something to do, and does it, and his doing of it wins him a blessing.
If anyone deludes himself by thinking he is serving God, when he has not learned to control his tongue, the service he gives is vain.
If he is to offer service pure and unblemished in the sight of God, who is our Father, he must take care of orphans and widows in their need, and keep himself untainted by the world.