James 2:1-7

Favoritism Forbidden

1 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.
2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in.
3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,”
4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?
7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

James 2:1 in Other Translations

KJV
1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
ESV
1 My brothers,show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.
NLT
1 My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?
MSG
1 My dear friends, don't let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith.
CSB
1 My brothers, hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ without showing favoritism.

James 2:1-7 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO JAMES 2

In this chapter the apostle dissuades from a respect of persons, on account of outward circumstances; shows that the law is to be fulfilled, and that mercy is to be exercised, as well as justice done; and exposes the folly of such who boast of faith without works: he dissuades the saints from all partiality to the rich and poor, from their relation to one another, as brethren, and from their common faith, of which Christ, the Lord of glory, is the object, Jas 2:1 supposes an instance of it, either in a court of judicature, or a religious assembly, Jas 2:2,3 and then makes an appeal unto them, and expostulates with them about it, Jas 2:4 and makes use of an argument against it, taken from the divine conduct, and an instance of his grace in the choice of persons to eternal life, Jas 2:5 a conduct very different from some persons here blamed, Jas 2:6, and other arguments follow, dissuading from a respect of persons, taken from the characters of rich men, as oppressors of the poor, litigious and quarrelsome with their neighbours, and blasphemers of the name of God, Jas 2:7 and from the law of God, which requires the love of the neighbour, and which to fulfil is to do well, Jas 2:8 and from the breach of it, by having respect to persons, whereby its penalty is incurred, Jas 2:9 for which a reason is given; because whoever offends in one point of the law, is guilty of the whole, Jas 2:10 as is a clear case, since the same lawgiver that forbids one sin, forbids another; so that he that is guilty of either of them is a transgressor of the law, Jas 2:11 wherefore it is right both to speak and act according to it, since men will be judged by it, Jas 2:12 and he will have no mercy shown him that has shown none to the poor, but merciful ones will escape damnation, Jas 2:13 and then the apostle argues from the unprofitableness of faith itself without works, Jas 2:14 and which he exemplifies in the case of a poor brother or sister who are wished well, but nothing given them; which good words, without deeds, are of no profit, Jas 2:15,16 so in like manner, faith without works is a dead faith, Jas 2:17 nor indeed can it be made out that a man has faith, if he has not works, Jas 2:18 at least such a faith as has justification and salvation connected with it; his faith, at most, is no better than that of the devils, who are damned, Jas 2:19 and that such a faith is a dead faith, Jas 2:2 and that true faith is attended with, and evidenced by works, the apostle proves by two instances; the one is that of Abraham, whose faith appeared to be genuine, and he to be a justified person, by the works he did; particularly by offering up his son Isaac; in which way his faith operated, and showed itself to be sincere and hearty; and the Scripture was fulfilled that Abraham was a believer; and had righteousness imputed to him, and was a friend of God, and a justified person, Jas 2:21-24 and the other instance is that of Rahab, whose faith was also shown by her works, and so a justified person, by receiving the spies with peace, and dismissing them with safety, Jas 2:25, and then the apostle explains what he means, by saying more than once, that faith without works is dead; which he illustrates by the simile of a man's body being dead, without the spirit or soul in it, Jas 2:26.

James 2:1-7 In-Context

1 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.
2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in.
3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,”
4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?
7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?
8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.
9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

Cross References 10

  • 1. Acts 7:2; 1 Corinthians 2:8
  • 2. ver 9; Deuteronomy 1:17; Leviticus 19:15; Proverbs 24:23; S Acts 10:34
  • 3. S John 7:24
  • 4. James 1:16,19
  • 5. Job 34:19; 1 Corinthians 1:26-28
  • 6. Luke 12:21; Revelation 2:9
  • 7. S Matthew 25:34
  • 8. S James 1:12
  • 9. 1 Corinthians 11:22
  • 10. Acts 8:3; Acts 16:19
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