James 2:14
New International Version
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?

New Living Translation
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?

English Standard Version
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

Berean Study Bible
What good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith, but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?

Berean Literal Bible
What is the profit, my brothers, if anyone says to have faith, but has no works? Is the faith able to save him?

King James Bible
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

New King James Version
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?

New American Standard Bible
What use is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

NASB 1995
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

NASB 1977
What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

Amplified Bible
What is the benefit, my fellow believers, if someone claims to have faith but has no [good] works [as evidence]? Can that [kind of] faith save him? [No, a mere claim of faith is not sufficient—genuine faith produces good works.]

Christian Standard Bible
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can such faith save him?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can his faith save him?

American Standard Version
What doth it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but have not works? can that faith save him?

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
What good is it my brethren, if a man says, 'I have faith', and he does not have deeds? Can his faith save him?

Contemporary English Version
My friends, what good is it to say you have faith, when you don't do anything to show you really do have faith? Can this kind of faith save you?

Douay-Rheims Bible
What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him?

English Revised Version
What doth it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but have not works? can that faith save him?

Good News Translation
My friends, what good is it for one of you to say that you have faith if your actions do not prove it? Can that faith save you?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
My brothers and sisters, what good does it do if someone claims to have faith but doesn't do any good things? Can this kind of faith save him?

International Standard Version
What good does it do, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but does not prove it with actions? This kind of faith cannot save him, can it?

Literal Standard Version
What [is] the profit, my brothers, if anyone may speak of having faith, but he may not have works? Is that faith able to save him?

NET Bible
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can this kind of faith save him?

New Heart English Bible
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him?

Weymouth New Testament
What good is it, my brethren, if a man professes to have faith, and yet his actions do not correspond? Can such faith save him?

World English Bible
What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him?

Young's Literal Translation
What is the profit, my brethren, if faith, any one may speak of having, and works he may not have? is that faith able to save him?

Additional Translations ...
Context
Faith and Works
13For judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. 14What good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith, but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.…

Cross References
Luke 3:11
John replied, "Whoever has two tunics should share with him who has none, and whoever has food should do the same."

James 1:16
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.

James 1:22
Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves.


Treasury of Scripture

What does it profit, my brothers, though a man say he has faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

What.

James 2:16
And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

Jeremiah 7:8
Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.

Romans 2:25
For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.

though.

James 2:18,26
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works…

James 1:22-25
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves…

Matthew 5:20
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

can.

1 Corinthians 15:2
By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

Ephesians 2:8-10
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: …









(14-26) FAITH AND WORKS.--We now enter on the most debatable ground of the Epistle; a battle-field strewn with the bones and weapons of countless adversaries. It is an easy thing to shoot "arrows, even bitter words"; and without doubt, for what seemed to be the vindication of the right, many a hard blow has been dealt on either side--so many, indeed, that quiet Christian folk have no desire to hear of more. The plain assertions of holy Scripture on this matter are enough for them; and they experience of themselves no difficulty in their interpretation.

The old story of the Knights who smote each other to the death upon the question of the gold and silver shield, each looking at it only from his own point of view, may well apply to combatants who cried so lustily for "Paul" or "James." But, now the dust of conflict has somewhat blown aside, it would be hard to prove that the Apostles themselves were ever at variance, or needed such doughty champions at all.

Truth is, they regarded the same object with a different motive, and aimed at a dissimilar result: just as in medicine, very opposite treatments are required by various sicknesses, and in the several stages of disease. The besetting error of the Jewish Christians to whom St. James appealed was that which we have traced (see Introduction, p. 353) to a foreign source; and, as it wandered but slowly from the furthest East, it had not yet reached the churches of Europe, at least sufficiently to constitute a danger in the mind of St. Paul. No better tonic for the enervating effect of this perverted doctrine of Faith could be found than a consideration of the nobler life of Abraham; and what example could be upheld more likely to win back the hearts of his proud descendants? And, if to point his lesson, the Apostle urged a great and stainless name, even that of the Friend of God, so with it would he join the lowly and, perhaps, aforetime dishonoured one of Rahab, that he might, as it were, plead well with all men of every degree or kind.

Dean Alford, quoting with entire approbation the opinion of the German commentator De Wette, found it "impossible to say" that the ideas of Faith, Works, and Justification in the two Apostles were the same. The summary of his remarks is fairly this:--According to St. James, Faith was moral conviction, trust, and truth; and yet such a theoretical belief only that it might be held by devils. Works are not those of the Law, but an active life of practical morality and well-doing; Justification is used in a proper or moral sense, but not the higher or "forensic," as we now call it. On the other hand, St. Paul's idea of Faith presupposes self-abasement, and "consists in trust on the grace of God, revealed in the atoning death of Christ"; Works with him referred chiefly to a dependence on legal observances; Justification assumed a far wider significance, especially in his view "of the inadequacy of a good conscience to give peace and blessedness to men" (1Corinthians 4:4), such being only to be found by faith in God, who justifies of His free grace, and looks on the accepted penitent as if he were righteous. But even this divergence, small as it is compared with that discerned by some divines, is really overstrained; for in the present Epistle the Church of every age is warned "against the delusive notion that it is enough for men to have religious emotions, to talk religious language, to have religious knowledge, and to profess religious belief, without the habitual practice of religious duties and the daily devotion of a religious life": while the letters of St. Paul do not, in this way, combat hypocrisy so much as heterodoxy. There is always the double danger, dwelt upon by Augustine somewhat after this manner:--One man will say, "I believe in God, and it will be counted to me for righteousness, therefore I will live as I like." St. James answers him by showing that "Abraham was justified by Works" (James 2:21). Another says, "I will lead a good life, and keep the commandments; how can it matter precisely what I believe!" St. Paul replies that "Abraham was justified by faith" (Romans 4). But, if the Apostle of the Gentiles be inquired of further, he will say that, although works go not before faith, they certainly come after. (Witness his discourse on Charity, 1 Corinthians 13) And, therefore, concludes Bishop Wordsworth, "the faith described by St. Paul is not any sort of faith by which we believe in God; but it is that healthful evangelical faith whose works spring from love."

Thus the divine lesson stands forth, clearly written; and he who runs may read. Faith must be embodied in acts: "faith, without acts of faith, is but a dream." "The two cannot be separated, for they are given in one by God to man, and from him go back in one to God. As by faith we behold the greatness of God, and of His eternal grace, His ineffable holiness, majesty, glory, goodness, love; so we shall know and feel the nothingness of all in ourselves--whether faith or works--save as they are the gift of God. As we probe ourselves, we learn the depth of our own evil; but, as we confess our own evil and God's good, He will take away from us the evil, and crown us with His goodness: as we own ourselves to be, of ourselves, unprofitable servants, He, owning us in His works, will say, 'Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord'" (Matthew 25:21).

A deeply learned and interesting excursus on Faith, in its active and passive meanings, and on its Hebrew, Greek, and Latin synonyms, may be read in Bishop Lightfoot's Notes on the Galatians, pp. 152-162. Admitting that "so long as our range of view is confined to the apostolic writings, it seems scarcely possible to resist the impression that St. James is attacking the teaching, if not of St. Paul himself, at least of those who exaggerated and perverted it," our profoundest theologian assures us that the passage in Genesis (Genesis 15:6) was a common thesis in the Rabbinical schools, the meaning of faith being variously explained by the disputants, and diverse lessons drawn from it. The supremacy of faith, as the means of salvation, might be maintained by Gentile Apostle and Pharisaic Rabbi: but faith with the former was a very different thing from faith with the latter. With one its prominent idea was a spiritual life, with the other an orthodox creed; with the one the guiding principle was the individual conscience, with the other an external rule of ordinances; with the one faith was allied to liberty, with the other to bondage. "Thus," he says in conclusion, "it becomes a question whether St. James's protest against reliance on faith alone has any reference, direct or indirect, to St. Paul's language and teaching; whether, in fact, it is not aimed against an entirely different type of religious feeling, against the Pharisaic spirit which rested satisfied with a barren orthodoxy, fruitless in works of charity." . . .

Verses 14-26. - WARNING AGAINST RESTING CONTENT WITH A MERE BARREN ORTHODOXY. Preliminary note: This is the famous passage which led to Luther's depreciation of the whole Epistle, which he termed a "right strawy" one. At first sight it appears, indeed, diametrically opposed to the teaching of St. Paul; for:

(1) St. Paul says (Romans 3:28)," We conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from (χωρίς) works of Law," whereas St. James asserts (ver. 26) that "faith without (χωρίς) works is dead," and that man is "justified by works and not by faith only" (ver. 24).

(2) St. Paul speaks of Abraham as justified by faith (Romans 4; cf. Galatians 3:6, etc.); St. James says that he was justified by works (ver. 21).

(3) St. Paul, or the Pauline author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, appeals to the case of Rahab as an instance of faith (Hebrews 11:31); St. James refers to her as an example of justification by works (ver. 25). The opposition, however, is only apparent; for: . . .

Parallel Commentaries ...


Greek
What
Τί (Ti)
Interrogative / Indefinite Pronoun - Nominative Neuter Singular
Strong's 5101: Who, which, what, why. Probably emphatic of tis; an interrogative pronoun, who, which or what.

good [is it],
ὄφελος (ophelos)
Noun - Nominative Neuter Singular
Strong's 3786: Advantage, gain, profit, help. From ophello; gain.

my
μου (mou)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Genitive 1st Person Singular
Strong's 1473: I, the first-person pronoun. A primary pronoun of the first person I.

brothers,
ἀδελφοί (adelphoi)
Noun - Vocative Masculine Plural
Strong's 80: A brother, member of the same religious community, especially a fellow-Christian. A brother near or remote.

if
ἐὰν (ean)
Conjunction
Strong's 1437: If. From ei and an; a conditional particle; in case that, provided, etc.

someone
τις (tis)
Interrogative / Indefinite Pronoun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's 5100: Any one, some one, a certain one or thing. An enclitic indefinite pronoun; some or any person or object.

claims
λέγῃ (legē)
Verb - Present Subjunctive Active - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's 3004: (a) I say, speak; I mean, mention, tell, (b) I call, name, especially in the pass., (c) I tell, command.

to have
ἔχειν (echein)
Verb - Present Infinitive Active
Strong's 2192: To have, hold, possess. Including an alternate form scheo skheh'-o; a primary verb; to hold.

faith,
πίστιν (pistin)
Noun - Accusative Feminine Singular
Strong's 4102: Faith, belief, trust, confidence; fidelity, faithfulness.

but
δὲ (de)
Conjunction
Strong's 1161: A primary particle; but, and, etc.

has
ἔχῃ (echē)
Verb - Present Subjunctive Active - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's 2192: To have, hold, possess. Including an alternate form scheo skheh'-o; a primary verb; to hold.

no
μὴ (mē)
Adverb
Strong's 3361: Not, lest. A primary particle of qualified negation; not, lest; also (whereas ou expects an affirmative one) whether.

deeds?
ἔργα (erga)
Noun - Accusative Neuter Plural
Strong's 2041: From a primary ergo; toil; by implication, an act.

Can
δύναται (dynatai)
Verb - Present Indicative Middle or Passive - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's 1410: (a) I am powerful, have (the) power, (b) I am able, I can. Of uncertain affinity; to be able or possible.

such
(hē)
Article - Nominative Feminine Singular
Strong's 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

faith
πίστις (pistis)
Noun - Nominative Feminine Singular
Strong's 4102: Faith, belief, trust, confidence; fidelity, faithfulness.

save
σῶσαι (sōsai)
Verb - Aorist Infinitive Active
Strong's 4982: To save, heal, preserve, rescue. From a primary sos; to save, i.e. Deliver or protect.

him?
αὐτόν (auton)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Accusative Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Strong's 846: He, she, it, they, them, same. From the particle au; the reflexive pronoun self, used of the third person, and of the other persons.


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