James 2:14
Parallel Verses
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?

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

Darby Bible Translation
What [is] the profit, my brethren, if any one say he have faith, but have not works? can 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?

James 2:14 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

What doth it profit - though a man say he hath faith - We now come to a part of this epistle which has appeared to some eminent men to contradict other portions of the Divine records. In short, it has been thought that James teaches the doctrine of justification by the merit of good works, while Paul asserts this to be insufficient, and that man is justified by faith. Luther, supposing that James did actually teach the doctrine of justification by works, which his good sense showed him to be absolutely insufficient for salvation, was led to condemn the epistle in toto, as a production unauthenticated by the Holy Spirit, and consequently worthy of no regard; he therefore termed it epistola straminea, a chaffy epistle, an epistle of straw, fit only to be burnt. Learned men have spent much time in striving to reconcile these two writers, and to show that St. Paul and St. James perfectly accord; one teaching the pure doctrine, the other guarding men against the abuse of it. Mr. Wesley sums the whole up in the following words, with his usual accuracy and precision: "From James 1:22 the apostle has been enforcing Christian practice. He now applies to those who neglect this under the pretense of faith. St. Paul had taught that a man is justified by faith without the works of the law. This some already began to wrest to their own destruction. Wherefore St. James, purposely repeating, James 1:21, James 1:23, James 1:25, the same phrases, testimonies, and examples which St. Paul had used, Romans 4:3; Hebrews 11:17, Hebrews 11:31, refutes not the doctrine of St. Paul, but the error of those who abused it. There is therefore no contradiction between the apostles; they both delivered the truth of God, but in a different manner, as having to do with different kinds of men. This verse is a summary of what follows: What profiteth it, is enlarged on, James 2:15-17; though a man say, James 2:18, James 2:19; can that faith save him? James 2:20. It is not though he have faith, but though he say, I have faith. Here therefore true living faith is meant. But in other parts of the argument the apostle speaks of a dead imaginary faith. He does not therefore teach that true faith can, but that it cannot, subsist without works. Nor does he oppose faith to works, but that empty name of faith to real faith working by love. Can that faith which is without works save him? No more than it can profit his neighbor." - Explanatory notes.

That St James quotes the same scriptures, and uses the same phrases, testimonies, and examples which St. Paul has done, is fully evident; but it does not follow that he wrote after St. Paul. It is possible that one had seen the epistle of the other; but if so, it is strange that neither of them should quote the other. That St. Paul might write to correct the abuses of St. James' doctrine is as possible as that James wrote to prevent St. Paul's doctrine from being abused; for there were Antinomians in the Church in the time of St. James, as there were Pharisaic persons in it at the time of St. Paul. I am inclined to think that James is the elder writer, and rather suppose that neither of them had ever seen the other's epistle. Allowing them both to be inspired, God could teach each what was necessary for the benefit of the Church, without their having any knowledge of each other. See the preface to this epistle.

As the Jews in general were very strenuous in maintaining the necessity of good works or righteousness in order to justification, wholly neglecting the doctrine of faith, it is not to be wondered at that those who were converted, and saw the absolute necessity of faith in order to their justification, should have gone into the contrary extreme.

Can faith save him? - That is, his profession of faith; for it is not said that he has faith, but that he says, I have faith. St. James probably refers to that faith which simply took in the being and unity of God. See on James 2:19, James 2:24, James 2:25.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


James 2:16 And one of you say to them, Depart in peace, be you warmed and filled...

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

Romans 2:25 For circumcision truly profits, if you keep the law: but if you be a breaker of the law, your circumcision is made uncircumcision.

1 Corinthians 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing.

1 Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profits little: but godliness is profitable to all things, having promise of the life that now is...

Hebrews 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats...


James 2:18,26 Yes, a man may say, You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works...

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

Matthew 5:20 For I say to you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees...

Matthew 7:21-23,26,27 Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven...

Luke 6:49 But he that hears, and does not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house on the earth...

Acts 8:13,21 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered...

Acts 15:9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

1 Corinthians 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith...

1 Corinthians 16:22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

Galatians 5:6,13 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love...

1 Thessalonians 1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ...

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:

Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate.

Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that you affirm constantly...

Hebrews 11:7,8,17 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house...

2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

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


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

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

Fruitless Faith
"Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."--James 2:17. WHATEVER the statement of James may be, it could never have been his intention to contradict the gospel. It could never be possible that the Holy Spirit would say one thing in one place, and another in another. Statements of Paul and of James must be reconciled, and if they were not, I would be prepared sooner to throw overboard the statement of James than that of Paul. Luther did so, I think, most unjustifiably. If you ask
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 60: 1914

The Middle Colonies: the Jerseys, Delaware, and Pennsylvania --The Quaker Colonization --Georgia.
THE bargainings and conveyancings, the confirmations and reclamations, the setting up and overturning, which, after the conquest of the New Netherlands, had the effect to detach the peninsula of New Jersey from the jurisdiction of New York, and to divide it for a time into two governments, belong to political history; but they had, of course, an important influence on the planting of the church in that territory. One result of them was a wide diversity of materials in the early growth of the church.
Leonard Woolsey Bacon—A History of American Christianity

Whether Justice and Mercy are Present in all God's Works
Whether Justice and Mercy are Present in all God's Works We proceed to the fourth article thus: 1. Justice and mercy do not appear to be present in every work of God. For some of God's works are attributed to his mercy, as for example the justification of the ungodly, while other works are attributed to his justice, as for example the condemnation of the ungodly. Thus it is said in James 2:13: "he shall have judgment without mercy that hath showed no mercy." Hence justice and mercy are not present
Aquinas—Nature and Grace

Whether Fear is an Effect of Faith
Whether Fear is an Effect of Faith We proceed to the first article thus: 1. It seems that fear is not an effect of faith. For an effect does not precede its cause. But fear precedes faith, since it is said in Ecclesiasticus 2:8: "Ye that fear God, believe in him." Hence fear is not an effect of faith. 2. Again, the same thing is not the cause of contrary effects. Now it was said in 12ae, Q. 23, Art. 2, that fear and hope are contraries, and the gloss on Matt. 1:2, "Abraham begat Isaac," says that
Aquinas—Nature and Grace

Cross References
Luke 3:11
John answered, "Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same."

James 1:16
Don't be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.

James 1:22
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

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