James 2:1-7


My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you? (NRSV)

My brothers, do not let class distinction enter into your faith in Jesus Christ, our glorified Lord. Now suppose a man comes into your synagogue, well-dressed and with a gold ring on, and at the same time a poor man comes in, in shabby clothes, and you take notice of the well-dressed man, and say, ‘Come this way to the best seats’; then you tell the poor man, ‘Stand over there’ or ‘You can sit on the floor by my foot-rest.’ In making this distinction among yourselves have you not used a corrupt standard? Listen, my dear brothers: it was those who were poor according to the world that God chose, to be rich in faith and to be the heirs to the kingdom which he promised to those who love him. You, on the other hand, have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who lord it over you? Are not they the ones who drag you into court, who insult the honourable name which has been pronounced over you? (New Jerusalem)

My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism.Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong? (NIV)

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4 responses

  1. ‘King James’ coined the phrase that came into the vernacular: God is no ‘respecter of persons’.James here shows himself to be a true democrat, like Jesus and like Paul, who said, “not many rich….”

  2. A true democrat. Yes. I suppose so. I would have gone further and said a true socialist.

  3. Wasn’t the early christian community a kind of socialist one? I gueess this idea (of treating poor and rich equally) appeals to me because I’ve been on the edge of poverty (relatively speaking) for most of my life. But I think there is a whole group of christians who have a different take on it and think God wants us to put aside our “poverty consciousness” and be “abundant”.When I did research for a story that had a Jesuit character, I learned from one Jesuit that the American Jesuits not only had bank accounts but credit cards. I asked him about the vow of poverty and he joked, “You’re confusing poverty with being poor.” 🙂

  4. “democrat”, “socialist” — wow, a political blog! Well, the Lord’s Supper is called communion and mass — that reminds me of communism.

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