James 1:27
Parallel Verses
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.

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.

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.

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.

James 1:27 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Pure religion, and undefiled - Having seen something of the etymology of the word θρησκεια, which we translate religion, it will be well to consider the etymology of the word religion itself.

In the 28th chapter of the 4th book of his Divine Instructions, Lactantius, who flourished about a.d. 300, treats of hope, true religion, and superstition; of the two latter he gives Cicero's definition from his book De Natura Deorum, lib. ii. c. 28, which with his own definition will lead us to a correct view, not only of the etymology, but of the thing itself.

"Superstition," according to that philosopher, "had its name from the custom of those who offered daily prayers and sacrifices, that their children might Survive Them; ut sui sibi liberi superstites essent. Hence they were called superstitiosi, superstitious. On the other hand, religion, religio, had its name from those who, not satisfied with what was commonly spoken concerning the nature and worship of the gods, searched into the whole matter, and perused the writings of past times; hence they were called religiosi, from re, again, and lego, Iread."

This definition Lactantius ridicules, and shows that religion has its name from re, intensive, and ligo, I bind, because of that bond of piety by which it binds us to God, and this he shows was the notion conceived of it by Lucretius, who labored to dissolve this bond, and make men atheists.

Primum quod magnis doceo de rebus, et Arctis

Religionum animos Nodis Exsolvere pergo.

For first I teach great things in lofty strains,

And loose men from religion's grievous chains.

Lucret., lib. i., ver. 930, 931

As to superstition, he says it derived its name from those who paid religious veneration to the memory of the dead, (qui superstitem memoriam defunctorem colunt), or from those who, surviving their parents, worshipped their images at home, as household gods; aut qui, parentibus suis superstites, colebant imagines eorum domi, tanquam deos penates. Superstition, according to others, refers to novel rites and ceremonies in religion, or to the worship of new gods. But by religion are meant the ancient forms of worship belonging to those gods, which had long been received. Hence that saying of Virgil: -

Vana superstitio veterumque ignara deorum.

"Vain superstition not knowing the ancient gods."

Here Lactantius observes, that as the ancient gods were consecrated precisely in the same way with these new ones, that therefore it was nothing but superstition from the beginning. Hence he asserts, the superstitious are those who worship many and false gods, and the Christians alone are religious, who worship and supplicate the one true God only. St. James' definition rather refers to the effects of pure religion than to its nature. The life of God in the soul of man, producing love to God and man, will show itself in the acts which St. James mentions here. It is pure in the principle, for it is Divine truth and Divine love. It is undefiled in all its operations: it can produce nothing unholy, because it ever acts in the sight of God; and it can produce no ungentle word nor unkind act, because it comes from the Father.


Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits...

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 and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

1 Timothy 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

1 Timothy 5:4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to show piety at home, and to requite their parents...

To visit.

Job 29:12,13 Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him...

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

Psalm 68:5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.

Isaiah 1:16,17 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil...

Isaiah 58:6,7 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free...

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

Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love.

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

1 John 3:17-19 But whoever has this world's good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him...

to keep.

James 4:4 You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?...

John 17:14,15 I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world...

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good...

Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me...

Colossians 3:1-3 If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God...

1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him...

1 John 5:4,5,18 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith...

February 28. "Count it all Joy" (James i. 2).
"Count it all joy" (James i. 2). We do not always feel joyful, but we are to count it all joy. The word "reckon" is one of the key-words of Scripture. It is the same word used about our being dead. We do not feel dead. We are painfully conscious of something that would gladly return to life. But we are to treat ourselves as dead, and neither fear nor obey the old nature. So we are to reckon the thing that comes as a blessing. We are determined to rejoice, to say, "My heart is fixed, O God, I will
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

October the Eighteenth Unanimity in the Soul
"A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." --JAMES i. 1-8. If two men are at the wheel with opposing notions of direction and destiny, how will it fare with the boat? If an orchestra have two conductors both wielding their batons at the same time and with conflicting conceptions of the score, what will become of the band? And a man whose mind is like that of two men flirting with contrary ideals at the same time will live a life "all sixes and sevens," and nothing will move to purposeful
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Sermon on a Martyr's Day
Of three sorts of spiritual temptation by which holy men are secretly assailed; to wit: spiritual unchastity, covetousness, and pride. James i. 12.--"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him. ALL our life (says Job), so long as we are upon earth, is full of struggle and temptation, insomuch that this life is not called a life by the Saints, but a temptation. When one temptation is over,
Susannah Winkworth—The History and Life of the Reverend Doctor John Tauler

The Sixth Petition Corresponds as we have Observed to the Promise of Writing the Law...
The sixth petition corresponds (as we have observed) to the promise [26] of writing the law upon our hearts; but because we do not obey God without a continual warfare, without sharp and arduous contests, we here pray that he would furnish us with armour, and defend us by his protection, that we may be able to obtain the victory. By this we are reminded that we not only have need of the gift of the Spirit inwardly to soften our hearts, and turn and direct them to the obedience of God, but also of
John Calvin—Of Prayer--A Perpetual Exercise of Faith

Cross References
Deuteronomy 14:29
so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

Job 31:16
"If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary,

Job 31:17
if I have kept my bread to myself, not sharing it with the fatherless--

Psalm 146:9
The LORD watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

Isaiah 1:23
Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow's case does not come before them.

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

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