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the letter of
1James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:
Faith and Wisdom
2Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7, 8For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.
Poverty and Riches
9Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10and the rich in his humiliation, because like the flower of the grass he will pass away. 11For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
Trial and Temptation
12Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God 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 with evil and he himself tempts no one; 14but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.
16Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.a 18Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
Hearing and Doing the Word
19Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, 20for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God. 21Therefore put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror; 24for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing.
26If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man's religion is vain. 27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.