1 My brethren, hold not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. (See Rom. 2:11. Don't play favorites.)
2 For if there come to your synagogue a man with a gold ring, in bright (or, shining) apparel (cp. Luke 23:11. Acts 1:10; 10:30; 12:21. Rev. 15:6; 18:14; 19:8; 22:1,16), and there come in a poor man also in vile raiment; (Analogy. Compare this spiritually.)
3 And you have respect to him that wears the gay clothing, and say to him, "Sit you here in a good place;" and say to the poor, "Stand you there, or sit here under my footstool:" (Get out of the way.)
4 Are you not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil reasonings? (Double-minded.)
5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Did not God choose the poor of the world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to them that love Him? (Arranged worldly standards.)
6 But you have shamed the poor. Do not rich men oppress you (cp. Acts 10:38), and themselves drag you to the judgment seats?
7 Do not they blaspheme the honorable name (Christians. see Acts 2:38; 15:26) which is called upon you?
8 If you fulfill the royal (see John 4:46. Christ is our royalty) law according to the scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," (Quoted from Lev. 19:18) you do well:
9 But if you have respect to persons (cp. Acts 10:34. See Lev. 19:15), you commit sin, being convicted of the law as transgressors. (You don't fit the roll.)
10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he has been guilty of all. (See Deut. 27:26. Mat. 26:66. Gal. 3:10.)
11 For He that said, "Do not commit adultery," said also, "Do not murder (criminal homicide). Now if you commit not adultery, yet if you murder, you are become a transgressor of the law. (Forgetful of sin.)
12 So speak you, and so do, as they that are about to be judged by the law of liberty. (See 1:25.)
13 For [there shall be] judgment to without mercy, that has showed not mercy; and mercy boasts over judgment. (Mercy trumps everything. See 3:14. Rom. 11:18.)
14 What is the profit, my brethren, if one says he has faith, and have not works? (cp. Matt. 5:16) can faith save him? (Assumes a negative answer.)
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and lacking of daily food, (See Amos 8:13.)
16 And one of you say to them, "Depart in peace, be you warmed and filled;" notwithstanding you give them not those things which are needful to the body; what does it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being by itself. (Do you work for the Lord?)
18 Yes, a man may say, "You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith apart from 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 shudder. (Just believing doesn't cut it.)
20 But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 See you how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness:" and he was called the Friend of God. (Quoted from Gen. 15:6, but it received a further fulfillment after 22:10, which obtained the testimony of vv. 15-18.)
24 You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise was not Rahab also the harlot (she risked her life. She was a dealer in flax. She was not a harlot. Men called her a harlot.) justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without spirit is dead, so faith also without works is dead also.