James 2:20
Parallel Verses
New International Version
You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

New Living Translation
How foolish! Can't you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

English Standard Version
Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?

New American Standard Bible
But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?

King James Bible
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Foolish man! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless?

International Standard Version
Do you want proof, you foolish person, that faith without actions is worthless?

NET Bible
But would you like evidence, you empty fellow, that faith without works is useless?

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Are you willing to know, oh feeble man, that faith without works is dead?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
You fool! Do you have to be shown that faith which does nothing is useless?

Jubilee Bible 2000
But, O vain man, dost thou desire to know that faith without works is dead?

King James 2000 Bible
But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

American King James Version
But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

American Standard Version
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is barren?

Douay-Rheims Bible
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Darby Bible Translation
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

English Revised Version
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is barren?

Webster's Bible Translation
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Weymouth New Testament
But, idle boaster, are you willing to be taught how it is that faith apart from obedience is worthless? Take the case of Abraham our forefather.

World English Bible
But do you want to know, vain man, that faith apart from works is dead?

Young's Literal Translation
And dost thou wish to know, O vain man, that the faith apart from the works is dead?
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

2:14-26 Those are wrong who put a mere notional belief of the gospel for the whole of evangelical religion, as many now do. No doubt, true faith alone, whereby men have part in Christ's righteousness, atonement, and grace, saves their souls; but it produces holy fruits, and is shown to be real by its effect on their works; while mere assent to any form of doctrine, or mere historical belief of any facts, wholly differs from this saving faith. A bare profession may gain the good opinion of pious people; and it may procure, in some cases, worldly good things; but what profit will it be, for any to gain the whole world, and to lose their souls? Can this faith save him? All things should be accounted profitable or unprofitable to us, as they tend to forward or hinder the salvation of our souls. This place of Scripture plainly shows that an opinion, or assent to the gospel, without works, is not faith. There is no way to show we really believe in Christ, but by being diligent in good works, from gospel motives, and for gospel purposes. Men may boast to others, and be conceited of that which they really have not. There is not only to be assent in faith, but consent; not only an assent to the truth of the word, but a consent to take Christ. True believing is not an act of the understanding only, but a work of the whole heart. That a justifying faith cannot be without works, is shown from two examples, Abraham and Rahab. Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. Faith, producing such works, advanced him to peculiar favours. We see then, ver. 24, how that by works a man is justified, not by a bare opinion or profession, or believing without obeying; but by having such faith as produces good works. And to have to deny his own reason, affections, and interests, is an action fit to try a believer. Observe here, the wonderful power of faith in changing sinners. Rahab's conduct proved her faith to be living, or having power; it showed that she believed with her heart, not merely by an assent of the understanding. Let us then take heed, for the best works, without faith, are dead; they want root and principle. By faith any thing we do is really good; as done in obedience to God, and aiming at his acceptance: the root is as though it were dead, when there is no fruit. Faith is the root, good works are the fruits; and we must see to it that we have both. This is the grace of God wherein we stand, and we should stand to it. There is no middle state. Every one must either live God's friend, or God's enemy. Living to God, as it is the consequence of faith, which justifies and will save, obliges us to do nothing against him, but every thing for him and to him.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 20-24. -

(3) Third point: Proof from the example of Abraham that a man is justified by works and not by faith only. In Genesis 15:6 we read of Abraham that "he believed in the Lord; and he accounted it to him for righteousness" (LXX., Ἐπίστευσεν Αβραμ τῷ Θεῷ καὶ ἐλογίσθη αὐτῷ εἰς δικαιοσύνην, quoted by St. Paul in Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6). But years after this we find that God "tested Abraham" (Genesis 22:1). To this trial St. James refers as that by which Abraham's faith was "perfected" (ἐτελειώθη), and by which the saying of earlier years found a more complete realization (cf. Ecclus. 44:20, 21, "Abraham... kept the Law of the Most High, and was in covenant with him... and when he was proved, he was found faithful. Therefore he assured him by an oath, that he would bless the nations in his seed," etc.). Verse 20. - Faith without works is dead. The Received Text, followed by the A.V., reads νεκρά, with א, A, C3, K, L, Syriac, Vulgate (Clementine). The Revisers, following B, C1, if, read ἀργή, "barren" (so Vulgate Amiat. by a correction, otiosa).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

But wilt thou know, O vain man,.... These are the words of the apostle reassuming the argument, that faith without works is dead, useless, and unprofitable; and the man that boasts of his faith, and has no works to show it, he calls a "vain man", an empty one, sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal; empty vessels make the greatest sound; such are proud boasters, vainly puffed up by their fleshly mind; but are empty of the true knowledge of God, and of the faith of Christ, and of the grace of the Spirit: the Syriac version renders it, "O weak", or "feeble man", as he must needs be, whose faith is dead, and boasts of such a lifeless thing; and the Ethiopic version renders it, "O foolish man", for such an one betrays his ignorance in spiritual things, whatever conceit he has of his knowledge and understanding: the character seems levelled against the Gnostics, who were swelled with a vain opinion of their knowledge, to whom the apostle addresses himself thus. The phrase, "vain man", is a proper interpretation of the word "Raca", or Reka, used in Matthew 5:22; see Gill on Matthew 5:22, which though not to be said to a man in an angry way, yet may be applied to men of such a character as here described; who were empty of solid good, and yet boasted of their knowledge. "Wilt thou know?" dost thou require proofs,

that faith, without works, is dead? as in James 2:17 and that true faith has always works accompanying it, and is shown and known by it? then take the following instances.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

20. wilt thou know—"Vain" men are not willing to know, since they have no wish to "do" the will of God. James beseeches such a one to lay aside his perverse unwillingness to know what is palpable to all who are willing to do.

vain—who deceivest thyself with a delusive hope, resting on an unreal faith.

without works—The Greek, implies separate from the works [Alford] which ought to flow from it if it were real.

is dead—Some of the best manuscripts read, "is idle," that is, unavailing to effect what you hope, namely, to save you.

James 2:20 Additional Commentaries
Context
Faith and Works
19You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?…
Cross References
Romans 3:28
For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

Romans 9:20
But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'"

1 Corinthians 15:36
How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.

Galatians 5:6
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

James 2:17
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

James 2:26
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
Treasury of Scripture

But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

O vain.

James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridles not his tongue, …

Job 11:11,12 For he knows vain men: he sees wickedness also; will he not then consider it…

Psalm 94:8-11 Understand, you brutish among the people: and you fools, when will …

Proverbs 12:11 He that tills his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that …

Jeremiah 2:5 Thus said the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, …

Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, …

1 Corinthians 15:35,36 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what …

Galatians 6:3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he …

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, …

1 Timothy 1:6 From which some having swerved have turned aside to vain jangling;

Titus 1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially …

that. See on ver.

James 2:14 What does it profit, my brothers, though a man say he has faith, …

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