James 1:27
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

New Living Translation
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

English Standard Version
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Berean Study Bible
Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Berean Literal Bible
Pure and undefiled religion before the God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their tribulation; to keep oneself unstained from the world.

New American Standard Bible
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

King James Bible
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

International Standard Version
A religion that is pure and stainless according to God the Father is this: to take care of orphans and widows who are suffering, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

NET Bible
Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

New Heart English Bible
Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For pure and holy ministry before God The Father is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their affliction, and for a man to keep his soul without defilement from the world.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Pure, unstained religion, according to God our Father, is to take care of orphans and widows when they suffer and to remain uncorrupted by this world.

New American Standard 1977
This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Jubilee Bible 2000
The pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation and to keep thyself unspotted from this world.

King James 2000 Bible
Pure religion and undefiled before God the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

American King James Version
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

American Standard Version
Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation: and to keep one's self unspotted from this world.

Darby Bible Translation
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

English Revised Version
Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Webster's Bible Translation
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Weymouth New Testament
The religious service which is pure and stainless in the sight of our God and Father is to visit fatherless children and widowed women in their time of trouble, and to keep one's own self unspotted from the world.

World English Bible
Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Young's Literal Translation
religion pure and undefiled with the God and Father is this, to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation -- unspotted to keep himself from the world.
Study Bible
Hearing and Doing
26If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not bridle his tongue, he deceives his heart and his religion is worthless. 27Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Cross References
Deuteronomy 14:29
"The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

Job 31:16
"If I have kept the poor from their desire, Or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,

Job 31:17
Or have eaten my morsel alone, And the orphan has not shared it

Psalm 146:9
The LORD protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked.

Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.

Isaiah 1:23
Your rulers are rebels And companions of thieves; Everyone loves a bribe And chases after rewards. They do not defend the orphan, Nor does the widow's plea come before them.

Matthew 12:32
Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the one to come.

Matthew 25:36
I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.'

Romans 2:13
For it is not the hearers of the Law who are righteous before God, but it is the doers of the Law who will be declared righteous.

Galatians 3:11
And it is clear that no one is justified before God by the Law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."
Treasury of Scripture

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Pure.

James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, …

Psalm 119:1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments …

1 Timothy 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and …

1 Timothy 5:4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to …

To visit.

Job 29:12,13 Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and …

Job 31:15-20 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion …

Psalm 68:5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in …

Isaiah 1:16,17 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before …

Isaiah 58:6,7 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, …

Matthew 25:34-46 Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed …

Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision; …

Galatians 6:9,10 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall …

1 John 3:17-19 But whoever has this world's good, and sees his brother have need, …

to keep.

James 4:4 You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship …

John 17:14,15 I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because …

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the …

Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this …

Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord …

Colossians 3:1-3 If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, …

1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If …

1 John 5:4,5,18 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the …

(27) Pure religion . . .--It will be observed that by religion here is meant religious service. No one word can express this obvious interpretation of the original, taken as it must be in completion of the verse before; and certainly "religion" in its ordinary sense will not convey the right idea. Real worship, we may say, pure and undefiled, beheld and acknowledged as such in the presence of God, even the Father--mark the tender pathos of His divine relationship--is this:

To visit the fatherless (or, orphans) and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.--Here is the double proof of the perfect life of holiness, the savour whereof is as perpetual incense before the throne of God. And the help afforded to the helpless, put thus in the first place of the two requirements, will often bring about the second--namely, that spotless condition of unworldliness which marks, and will ever mark, the true servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Deeds of benevolence may be and are often done by those who are not His; but all who truly belong to Him must live a life which praises Him continually in good works; not, it is hardly needful to say, as a cause--but rather the natural and inevitable result of love for Him, warming the heart within.

Scrupulous indeed were the "religious" contemporaries of James; they would not enter where the image of Divus Csar had its votive flame, while they were ceremonially clean for the keeping of their passover--"they went not into the judgment hall lest they should be defiled" (John 18:28). But He whom there they cruelly sought to slay had told them before, though in vain, "that which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man" (Mark 7:20), and "nothing from without can defile him" (James 1:15). What an eternal caution may be learned here against cold reliance upon ritual! What an instance, ever, under all varieties and forms, to be applied to themselves by the erring; persecuting, and deceitful sons of men! while, on the other hand, from these words of the wise Apostle we may be sure what is truest, nay, the only true service, acceptable and accepted, of the Most High--"To visit the fatherless and the widow," beholding in them a new image of Christ, the Man of Sorrows, is to show pity verily to Him; and at the last such "pure religion" will receive His own approval. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:40). Blessed be the ears attuned to catch the golden cadence, for it rings in angel voices round the soothers of the sick and sorrow-laden even now!

Verse 27. - God and the Father; rather, our God and Father. The article (τῷ) binds together Θεῷ and Πατρί, so that they should not be separated, as in the A.V. To visit the fatherless... and to keep himself unspotted. Observe that our duty towards our fellow-men is placed first; then that towards ourselves. Ἐπισκέπτεσθαι is the regular word for visiting the sick; cf. Ecclus. 7:35, "Be not slow to visit the sick (μὴ ὄκει ἐπισκέτεσπθαι ἀῥῤωστον)." The fatherless and widows (ὀρφανοὺς καὶ χήρας). These stand here (as so often in the Old Testament) as types of persons in distress; the "personae miserabiles" of the Canon Law (see e.g. Deuteronomy 10:18; Psalm 68:5; Psalm 82:3; Isaiah 1:17; and cf. Ecclus. 4:10). "Be as a father unto the fatherless, and instead of an husband unto their mother; so shalt thou be as the son of the Most High, and he shall love thee more than thy mother doth." To keep himself unspotted. Man's duty towards himself. (For ἄσπιλον, cf. 1 Timothy 6:14; 1 Peter 1:19; 2 Peter 3:14.) From the world. This clause may be connected either with τηρεῖν or with ἄσπιλον, as in the phrase, καθαρὸς ἀπὸ in Acts 20:26.



Pure religion and undefiled,.... That which is sincere and genuine, and free from adulteration and hypocrisy:

before God and the Father; or in the sight of God the Father of Christ, and all his people; that which is approved of by him, who is the searcher of hearts, and the trier of the reins of men, "is this": not that the apostle is giving a full definition of true religion; only he mentions some of the effects of it, by which it is known, and without which it cannot be true and genuine; and they are these:

to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction; and not only to see them, and speak a word of comfort to them, but to communicate to them, and supply their wants, as they may require, and according to the ability God has given: where there is true religion in the heart, there is love to God; and where there is love to God, there is love to the saints; and this will show itself to them, in times of affliction and distress; and where this is wanting, religion itself is not pure and undefiled:

and to keep himself unspotted from the world: from the men of the world, who defile by their evil communications; and "from the vices of the world", as the Arabic version renders it, which are of a defiling nature; and, where religion is in its power and purity, and the Gospel of the grace of God comes with efficacy, it teaches to separate from the rest of the world, and to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly. 27. Pure … and undefiled—"Pure" is that love which has in it no foreign admixture, as self-deceit and hypocrisy. "Undefiled" is the means of its being "pure" [Tittmann]. "Pure" expresses the positive, "undefiled" the negative side of religious service; just as visiting the fatherless and widow is the active, keeping himself unspotted from the world, the passive side of religious duty. This is the nobler shape that our religious exercises take, instead of the ceremonial offices of the law.

before God and the Father—literally, "before Him who is (our) God and Father." God is so called to imply that if we would be like our Father, it is not by fasting, etc., for He does none of these things, but in being "merciful as our Father is merciful" [Chrysostom].

visit—in sympathy and kind offices to alleviate their distresses.

the fatherless—whose "Father" is God (Ps 68:5); peculiarly helpless.

and—not in the Greek; so close is the connection between active works of mercy to others, and the maintenance of personal unworldliness of spirit, word, and deed; no copula therefore is needed. Religion in its rise interests us about ourselves in its progress, about our fellow creatures: in its highest stage, about the honor of God.

keep himself—with jealous watchfulness, at the same time praying and depending on God as alone able to keep us (Joh 17:15; Jude 24). 1:26,27 When men take more pains to seem religious than really to be so, it is a sign their religion is in vain. The not bridling the tongue, readiness to speak of the faults of others, or to lessen their wisdom and piety, are signs of a vain religion. The man who has a slandering tongue, cannot have a truly humble, gracious heart. False religious may be known by their impurity and uncharitableness. True religion teaches us to do every thing as in the presence of God. An unspotted life must go with unfeigned love and charity. Our true religion is equal to the measure in which these things have place in our hearts and conduct. And let us remember, that nothing avails in Christ Jesus, but faith that worketh by love, purifies the heart, subdues carnal lusts, and obeys God's commands.
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