James 4:17

17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

James 4:17 in Other Translations

KJV
17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
ESV
17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
NLT
17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
MSG
17 In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don't do it, that, for you, is evil.
CSB
17 So, for the person who knows to do good and doesn't do it, it is a sin.

James 4:17 Meaning and Commentary

James 4:17

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good
This may regard not only the last particular of referring all things to the will of God, the sovereign disposer of life, and all events, which some might have the knowledge of in theory, though they did not practise according to it; but all the good things the apostle had exhorted to, and the contrary to which he had warned from, in this epistle; and suggests, that a Gnostic, or one that knows the will of God, in the several branches of it, revealed in his word,

and doth it not, to him it is sin:
it is a greater sin; it is an aggravated one; it is criminal in him that is ignorant of what is good, and does that which is evil, nor shall he escape punishment; but it is much more wicked in a man that knows what is right and good, and ought to be done, and does it not, but that which is evil, and his condemnation will be greater; see ( Luke 12:47 Luke 12:48 ) . The omission of a known duty, as well as the commission of a known sin, is criminal.

James 4:17 In-Context

15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.
17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

Cross References 1

  • 1. Luke 12:47; John 9:41