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Chapter 2 of the Book of James

As you read this chapter of James keep the following questions in mind. You may even wish to write the questions down on a separate piece of paper before you begin. Allow yourself several lines between each question. When you have finished reading the chapter devote several minutes to your answers. Click on a question to get our interpretation.

1. What does James have to say about the rich and the poor and how we treat them?

2. James talks about transgressing the law. Why is it important to obey the laws sent down by God?

3. James says "faith, if it has not works, is dead". What does he mean by this?

James Chapter 2

2:1My brothers, don't hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality. 2:2For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your assembly, and a poor man in filthy clothing also comes in; 2:3and you pay special attention to him who wears the fine clothing, and say, "Sit here in a good place;" and you tell the poor man, "Stand there," or "Sit by my footstool;" 2:4haven't you shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 2:5Listen, my beloved brothers. Didn't God choose those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to those who love him? 2:6But you have dishonored the poor man. Don't the rich oppress you, and personally drag you before the courts? 2:7Don't they blaspheme the honorable name by which you are called? 2:8However, if you fulfill the royal law, according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well. 2:9But if you show partiality, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors. 2:10For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he has become guilty of all. 2:11For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," said also, "Do not commit murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 2:12So speak, and so do, as men who are to be judged by a law of freedom. 2:13For judgment is without mercy to him who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

2:14What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him? 2:15And if a brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food, 2:16and one of you tells them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled;" and yet you didn't give them the things the body needs, what good is it? 2:17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself. 2:18Yes, a man will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.

2:19You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder. 2:20But do you want to know, vain man, that faith apart from works is dead? 2:21Wasn't Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 2:22You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected; 2:23and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness;" and he was called the friend of God. 2:24You see then that by works, a man is justified, and not only by faith. 2:25In like manner wasn't Rahab the prostitute also justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? 2:26For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.

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