James 2:20
Parallel Verses
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?

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

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?

James 2:20 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

But wilt thou know - Will you have a full demonstration of it; will you have the clearest proof in the case. The apostle evidently felt that the instances to which he was about to refer, those of Abraham and Rahab, were decisive.

O vain man - The reference by this language is to a man who held an opinion that could not be defended. The word "vain" here used (κενε kene) means properly "empty," as opposed to "full" - as empty hands, having nothing in them; then fruitless, or without utility or success; then false, fallacious. The meaning here, properly, would be "empty," in the sense of being void of understanding; and this would be a mild and gentle way of saying of one that he was foolish, or that he maintained an argument that was without sense. James means, doubtless, to represent it as a perfectly plain matter, a matter about which no man of sense could have any reasonable doubt. If we must call a man foolish, as is sometimes necessary, let us use as mild and inoffensive a term as possible - a term which, while it will convey our meaning, will not unnecessarily wound and irritate.

That faith without works is dead - That the faith which does not produce good works is useless in the matter of salvation. He does not mean to say that it would produce no effect, for in the case of the demons it did produce trembling and alarm; but that it would be valueless in the matter of salvation. The faith of Abraham and of Rahab was entirely different from this.

James 2:20 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Application
1. Is Jesus Christ altogether lovely? Then I beseech you set your souls upon this lovely Jesus. I am sure such an object as has been here represented, would compel love from the coldest breast and hardest heart. Away with those empty nothings, away with this vain deceitful world, which deserves not the thousandth part of the love you give it. Let all stand aside and give way to Christ. O if only you knew his worth and excellency, what he is in himself, what he has done for you, and deserved from
John Flavel—Christ Altogether Lovely

Progress of Calvinism
(a) In Switzerland. /Calvini Joannis, Opera quae supersunt/ in the /Corp. Reformatorum/, vols. xxix.-lxxxvii. Doumergue, /Jean Calvin, les hommes et les choses de son temps/, 1900-5. Kampschulte, /Johann Calvin, seine Kirche und sein staat in Genf/, 1899. Fleury, /Histoire de l'Eglise de Geneve/, 3 vols., 1880. Mignet, /Etablissement de la reforme religieuse et constition du calvinisme a Geneve/, 1877. Choisy, /La theocratie a Geneve au temps de Calvin/, 1897. /Cambridge Mod. History/, ii., chap.
Rev. James MacCaffrey—History of the Catholic Church, Renaissance to French Revolution

The King James Version --Its Influence on English and American History
THE King James version of the Bible is only a book. What can a book do in history? Well, whatever the reason, books have played a large part in the movements of men, specially of modern men. They have markedly influenced the opinion of men about the past. It is commonly said that Hume's History of England, defective as it is, has yet "by its method revolutionized the writing of history," and that is true. Nearer our own time, Carlyle's Life of Cromwell reversed the judgment of history on Cromwell,
McAfee—Study of the King James Bible

Whether all Sins are Connected with one Another?
Objection 1: It would seem that all sins are connected. For it is written (James 2:10): "Whosoever shall keep the whole Law, but offend in one point, is become guilty of all." Now to be guilty of transgressing all the precepts of Law, is the same as to commit all sins, because, as Ambrose says (De Parad. viii), "sin is a transgression of the Divine law, and disobedience of the heavenly commandments." Therefore whoever commits one sin is guilty of all. Objection 2: Further, each sin banishes its opposite
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Cross References
Romans 3:28
For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

Romans 9:20
On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it?

1 Corinthians 15:36
You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies;

Galatians 5:6
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.

James 2:17
Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

James 2:26
For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

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