The Letter from James

Chapter 2

It is not agreeable to Christian profession to regard the rich and despise the poor brothers, 1-12; rather we are to be loving and merciful, 13; and not to boast of faith where no deeds are, 14-16; which is but a dead faith, 17, 18; the faith of devils, 19, 20; not of Abraham, 21-24; nor Rahab, 25, 26.

1 My brothers, do not have the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2 For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring, in fine apparel, and also a poor man in vile clothing comes in, 3 And you have respect to him who wears the fine clothing and say to him, "Sit here in a good place," and say to the poor, "Stand there," or, "Sit here under my footstool," 4 Are you not then partial in yourselves and have become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers. Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have despised the poor. Do rich men not oppress you and draw you before the judgment-seats? 7 Do they not blaspheme that worthy name by which you are called?

8 If you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well. 9 But if you have respect to persons, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet offends in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not kill." Now if you commit no adultery, yet if you kill, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 Speak in such a manner and do in such a manner as those who are judged by the law of liberty. 13 For he shall have judgment without mercy who has shown no mercy. And mercy rejoices against judgment.

14 What does it profit, my brothers, if a man says he has faith and does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," and you do not give them those things which are needful to the body, what does it profit? 17 Likewise faith, if it does not have works, is dead, being alone.

18 Also a man may say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. The demons also believe, and tremble. 20 But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was Abraham our father not justified by works when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Do you see how faith wrought with his works, and by works, faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled, which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness," and he was called the Friend of God. 24 You see then that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also, was Rahab the harlot not justified by works when she had received the messengers and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.


Matthew Henry Commentary - James, Chapter 2[➚]


[v.1] - Reference, Deuteronomy 1:17, 16:19; Proverbs 24:23.

[v.8] - Quoting Leviticus 19:18 (LXX).

[v.9] - Reference, Deuteronomy 1:17, 16:19; Proverbs 24:23.

[v.11a] - "For he who said, 'Do not commit adultery,' also said, 'Do not kill.'" - See the Note for Mark 10:19.

[v.11b] - Quoting Exodus 20:13-14. See also, Deuteronomy 5:17-18.

[v.17] - Reference, Ephesians 2:8-10.

[v.21] - Reference, Genesis, ch. 22.

[v.23a] - Quoting Genesis 15:6 (LXX).

[v.23b] - "he was called the Friend of God" - Reference, Exodus 33:11; 2nd Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8.

[v.25] - Reference, Joshua, ch. 2.

[v.26] - Reference, verse 17; Ephesians 2:8-10.