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Greeting to the Twelve Tribes
1James, #Acts 12:17a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:
Profiting from Trials
2My brethren, #Acts 5:41count it all joy #1 Pet. 1:6when you fall into various trials, 3#Rom. 5:3–5knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5#1 Kin. 3:9; James 3:17If any of you lacks wisdom, #Prov. 2:3–6; Matt. 7:7let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and #Jer. 29:12it will be given to him. 6#(Mark 11:23, 24); Acts 10:20But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is #James 4:8a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
The Perspective of Rich and Poor
9Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10but the rich in his humiliation, because #Job 14:2as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
Loving God Under Trials
12#Job 5:17; Luke 6:22; Heb. 10:36; James 5:11; (1 Pet. 3:14; 4:14)Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive #(1 Cor. 9:25)the crown of life #Matt. 10:22which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15Then, #Job 15:35; Ps. 7:14; Is. 59:4when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, #(Rom. 5:12; 6:23)brings forth death.
16Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17#John 3:27Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, #Num. 23:19with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18#John 1:13Of His own will He brought us forth by the #2 Cor. 6:7; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 2:15; (1 Pet. 1:3, 23)word of truth, #(Eph. 1:12, 13); Heb. 12:23; Rev. 14:4that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
Qualities Needed in Trials
19So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, #Prov. 10:19; 17:27slow to speak, #Prov. 14:17; 16:32; Eccl. 7:9slow to wrath; 20for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Doers—Not Hearers Only
21Therefore #Col. 3:8lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, #Acts 13:26which is able to save your souls.
22But #Matt. 7:21–28; Luke 6:46–49; (Rom. 2:13; James 1:22–25; 2:14–20)be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23For #Luke 6:47if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25But #(John 8:32; Rom. 8:2; 2 Cor. 3:17); Gal. 2:4; 6:2; James 2:12; 1 Pet. 2:16he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, #John 13:17this one will be blessed in what he does.
26If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and #Ps. 34:13does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27#Matt. 25:34–36Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: #Is. 1:17to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, #(Rom. 12:2)and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.